im a beginner rider too (in street anyways) but after getting my license and looking for a bike i found this great deal on an 04 500r. now i didnt get it just b/c it was only 1800 bucks with only 1600 on the tac, but also b/c the bike fit me. when i got on it, it just felt right. i had gone down to the dealership before and sat on the new model 250 and my gf freaked out b/c she didnt realise how forward the riding position was and then she yelled at me to get off (sometimes shes worse then my mudda). anyways as we were leaving the dealership i saw a used 500 and wanted to know the difference between the two so i sat on it and as aformentioned it just felt right. so now ive been riding the 500 which is perfect for me to learn on and is one that i plan on having for awhile. regardless of looks, power, or so-called lack of, i ride what i ride because it suits me, i can learn better riding on it and well yeah finances lol. and about not getting an older 250 its not b/c i think there is something wrong with them i just found a bike i really liked and went with it and havent regreted anything since.