When I first bought my N50....way back in 1997, I lusted for the 28-105mm, which came out a year later I think. I finally got one and I loved it. I sold it and my N80 (the N50 went some time ebfore it) when I got into digicams. I wish I hadn't sold it, because it was a fine lens.
> I'm coming around to thinking there are no bad Nikon Lenses
Try one of the 1970-vintage 43-86's and you might change your mind
But seriously, you're right - even the Nikon lemons (35-80/f3.5-4.5?) are pretty decent in the optical category. And actually, there aren't many independent lenses any more that fail to meet some reasonable minimums. (Independent in this case means Sigma/Tamron/Tokina/Zeiss.)
The 28-105 was my second lens purchase for my D50 (the first was the ever popular 50 1.8). It stays on the camera probably 90% of the time. Perfect size and weight. For a wannabe amateur photographer like myself, its a great lens.