I think business visas are a great option, although making one is more costly.
What is important to note, and what was already suggested by Mark Mayo, is that you ARE entitled to do tourist travels with your business visa, that is once you obtain it. While consulates demand a Letter of Invitation (LOI) from a Russian company, you do not need to go and visit this company once you are in Russia or anything like this. You do not need to look like a businessman too ;) Normally, you pay an agency which will organize a LOI for you from a Russian company and you are good to apply. Since the visa is granted by the consul, it is not in the capacity of the border folks to question it, really.
I previously travelled through Russia on a 1-year multi-entry business visa. I crossed to Russia on foot from Abkhazia with a 25-year old backpack and no questions were asked about my business visa.
Another thing are registrations. If I remember correctly, if you stay longer than 3 days in a given place you need to register yourself at that place. This is done by a hotel at which you are staying. What if you are an independent traveller? You can register at anybody's private house at a post office, as long as that person owns the place. Last time, I registered at my friend's place in Cherkessk for 2 or 3 months (sic!) although I stayed there only 1 or 2 days. I got a slip of paper stating my registration. All I had to do later is to claim that I did not stay anywhere else longer than 3 days, which would make me require a new registration invalidating my previous one.
If you need to stay at a hotel, no problem too, you can show them your private registration that is still valid and tell them not to make a new one. As long as you don't stay long with them, there should be no problem with that. Even if you are far away from a place of your registration, you can say that you are on a trip and that you would be coming back to your friend's place soon. But normally noone will ask you for your registration anyway. Still, it's good to have one just in case! When I left Russia noone asked me for it as well. I read reports, though, that people were sometimes asked for a registration when leaving the country.
I hitchhiked from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea and back trough all the Caucasian republics, meaning I crossed numerous internal border controls and was even questioned for few minutes by FSB (at the Ingush-Ossetian border). The visa topic was never brought up. So don't worry about travelling as an independent traveller with a businsess visa in Russia!
On Monday I should receive a new Russian visa, this time 3 months double-entry business visa, and I will be off to hitchhiking through Russia again. I will be doing the same, early on I will register somewhere, i.e. at a CSer, for a long period and will not bother again.