Ok, so I got to test-ride the 2012 VJF250 today. I have to say, overall I was extremely impressedwith this bike... though lacking in grunt I found the ride wonderfully smooth and it would be a fantastic entry level learners bike (the intended market anyway), fun to ride without being scary for a first timer. That's not to say a more experienced rider wouldn't enjoy it- if they're not a pony-queen (I just made that up... Cool term though). Those looking for raw power SHOULD look elswhere, in fact 250's really are not the ballpark for powr anyway, so this bike would probably not enter their sigts. Anyway, on with the review. The first thing I noticed when I got on the bike was the layout, so lets talk this out first. The front brake has a 4 point adjustable position lever, just like the suzuki across did. Handy for those who have huge or tiny hands, for me I found the factory setting just fine for a quick ride. But customisation is always nice and it saves you getting a screwdriver out (or buyign a whole new lever) if the default doesn't suit you. The instrament panel (like most new model bikes these days) is an analouge tacho with central speedo display, and then a side panel LCD with a few extra bits including a clock (handy), odo (naturally) trip meter (expcted) temp guage (somewhat small and hard to read but not critical) and fuel guage (About the same size as the temp guage but on the oposite side and thus not sheilded by the plastic moulding on the panel so not a problem). It has a tron-like blue LCD backlight but if this annoys you you CAN turn it off... in fact it was off on my bike untill I asked them to turn it on. I liked it, some won't, but you can turn it off so that's handy. Position wise the whole dash is very easy to see so no problems there. One thing I found a little bit tricky were the headlights. Under your right thumb where you expect a kill switch to be there is the primary light controls - on, park and off - as a selector switch. You CAN ride with your lights off on this bike, for those who wish to. The arguments about visibility can be made and countermade but I'm not going into that debate in this post. But the option is there. Your HIGHBEAMS however are on a toggle switch (in for on, out for off) on the left hand side, with the flasher on the brake side of the controls where you'd expect it. Somewhat different but not an insurmountable problem imho. Style wise the bike is very pretty... some may say it's a msih-mash of to copied styles but honestly... that could be said of a lot of bikes. it doesn't look like a direct clone, and I think it looks good on it's own merit, so I'm happy. I'm not my sisster (who is VERY vocal on motorcycle styles) so I'm not worried. One point of style/design: The indicators are clear mountted yellow LED's. I found these to be much nicer both in size and brightness to my old Across flashers. The distinctive shape I would think would also aid visibility. Ok, enough on looks/style you say. Get on the damn bike already! The seating position on the VJF is almost straight up and down. In fact it was almost identicle to my old CB250. For me that ment I was immediatly relaxing into the bike, and extremely comfortable. The seat itself is a synthetic job (not leather) which appeared to be a lot more waterproof than leather (when I acidentaly spilt my complimentary water onto it nothing stuck- just shed right off) and it is VERY cosy. This is good because brand new the bike buzzes like you would not believe, though I would say I did not feel it at all through the seat, only the pegs and knees). Taking off and I could describe the WHOLE feel of the bike as light but grounded. They VJF is VERY stable, even in a stiff breeze (At 165kg dry this is to be somewhat expected) but the moment you touch the steering it responds INSTANTLY. I could see this aspect getting a new rider a little bit of a shock initially but for me, my heart lept. I had SO much fun zipping around the roud-abouts fo north fitzroy, even at a sedate 40. Honestly I could have done that all day. It almost felt that fun like this should be illegal. Maybe absuing council roundabouts for sheer pleasure is. I don't care. I did it anyway. Acceleration is likewise fairly light in feel, and at first this had me dissapointed... but although the responce doesn't seem that great, when you look down at your speedo you realise that what you're NOT feeling is the jerk of a sudden pull. The power is applied very smoothly, but it IS there, at least to 60 (no highway riding for me on a test bike!). I'd potentially credit this to a slightly torquey fuel injected engine, but oonce I realised I was actually moving at the pace I expected, I learned to love not having the bike jump at the start. Braking is an interesting one. First let me say I have only been riding a year, so I was cautious not to put the brakes to any intensive test, but I found a nice quiet deead end cul-de-sac where I (a touch nervously) gave it a few relatively sudden stops. Again, the pull-up is extremely smooth, but here the dual front disks do their job admirably, and it pulls up very quickly... a lot more so than the old Across did. Again I am not an experienced rider and I didn't do anything close to what I'd call a 'simulated emergancy stop' but I liked what I felt, and it would be shorter by far to what I'd have expected from my previous two bikes. A final note here on the suspension: It might not be as hard as some sport bike riders like, but for city riding (or the M1 past pakenem which is always dicey at beast) it was GORGEOUS. I'm used to getting bounced around by anything more than 30 on your average speedbump but this thing just seemed to roll with it wonderfully... Buzzing. This is my ONLY bugbear for the whole ride - being new, and a thumper, I was prepared for it and I have heard that after 500-1000km the engine settles down a lot however I must report on what I felt. At anything above 6krpm, the bike was on buzzed like a bee. It didn't feel unstable or knock, and I wouldn't be worried about it from an engine perspective, however the feel through the pegs was a sensation I'm not really used to, and wouldn't want to live with throughout the bike's life. That being said, what I hear tells me it settles down nicely as the engine beds in, and I look forward to discovering that for myself! Overall, the VJF is everything I'd expect from a 250cc - light, responsive, and comfortable. No, it's not an angry stallion begging to be let slip it's reigns and tear off down the street (*cough* Duccatti) but it's a little 250, anyone who gets on expecting that is somewhat delusional. What it does do is pull off the curb (and through the gear range) at any rpm you like, and gets you in out and around the city and suburbia without flinching at the obsticles you encounter there, while still (on paper at least) having the up and go to make it on the highway. I honestly LOVED it, and for the deal I negotiated (and at 5k ride away sticker price it's already a good deal) I'm EXTREMELY happy with it, and cannot wait to have one sitting in my driveway.