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2012 Star Motorcycles V-Star 250 Review: Cruising for Beginners

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On the Road
2012 Star Motorcycles V-Star 250

The V-Star 250 in action.

Photo © Tom Riles
Swing a leg over the Star Motorcycles V-Star 250, and you're hit with an instant reminder of what basic bikes are all about— and I say that in a good way. The low 27.6 inch seat height is easily managed by most inseams, and the narrow saddle makes even easier to reach the pavement. A small speedometer is flanked by a few warning lights, and riding ergonomics are of the familiar, cruiser variety: feet and arms forward, butt low, everything laid back and mellow.

Also easygoing are the V-Star 250's road manners: the shifter clicks into gear with clean, precise action, and power comes on with mild and manageable delivery. In contrast to other bikes in the Star lineup, the V-Star 250 feels a bit buzzier and less testosterone laden, but on the meandering roads that wind up and down Georgia's hill country, this 326 pound motorcycle offered a unique draw with its nimbler handling and greater lean angles. Those who prefer to ride a slow bike fast than a fast(er) bike slow will surely understand the point: it takes extra effort to get yourself into trouble with a low powered bike like the V-Star 250, but there's also something inherently fun about pinning the throttle, wringing out the engine, and exploring the powerband and lean angles with full confidence of what the machine has to offer. The seat is comfortable enough for longer rides, and the suspension, though a bit soft and wallowy for canyon carving, soaks up most road irregularities well enough.

If there's one aspect of the V-Star 250 that lags behind in its overall setup, it's the brakes: initial bite feels soft, possibly intentionally in order to keep beginners from locking up, and though adequate for more situations, these stoppers could use a bit more clamping power and less lever effort. ABS would be a welcome option... but overall, the V-Star 250's package makes it a surprisingly fun bike for farting around town or taking on the twisties, even if your body's big enough to make this Lilliputian ride look like a clown cycle.

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