I took the BRCin February with no previous riding experience, then bought a used 2001 LS650 Savage/S40 in April. I was looking at the V-Star 250 but the lack of power on the 250’s at the BRC made me concerned. I wanted to start on something not too big but with a little more juice.
For the S40, I can tell you all opinions are valid: it’s a great bike that you can keep for a long time AND you’ll want something bigger/better/faster soon. It has been a great bike to learn and I continually remind myself that the bike is capable of more than I am right now. It’s great around town and on back roads, and gets 60+ mpg. It is lightweight with good power. It can run 65 mph+ but being light with a skinny front tire makes it feel a little unstable to me at highway speeds. It backfires some, which hasn’t bothered me (makes me feel like a punk when I’m riding through the rich neighborhoods) and vibrates a little, but all in all a great first bike that can last a long time.
For me, though, I’m getting the itch to trade up to something around 800–900 cc’s but also not ruling out 1100–1300cc bikes, either. I want a little more weight, a little more “presence” and that v-twin rumble. Thinking I’ll keep it for at least a year before really shopping, though.
Owlie, just a quick FYI, the BRC I attended had a Blast. I tried riding it, but the clutch was so finicky I kept stalling. Switched mid-course to the Suzuki 250 and had no troubles.