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

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2012 Star Motorcycles V-Star 250
The 2012 Star Motorcycles V-Star 250 starts at $4,190. Photo © Brian J. Nelson
Cruisers— at least in the archetypal sense— are usually all about larger-than-life personality: typical examples are usually raked out and wide, and Star Motorcycles, Yamaha's cruiser division, epitomizes those proportions with by bikes like the imposing 1,854cc Stratoliner Deluxe and the tire scorching, drag race-ready 1,679cc V-Max.

In a segment where a 950cc motor is considered a middleweight, the entry level Star Motorcycles V-Star 250 is like a shrimp swimming among killer whales: this beginner bike has a humble, 249cc displacement and compact footprint. But it also happens to be the only choice in its class with a V-twin configuration; the $4,190 Honda Rebel 250 has a parallel twin, while the $5,399 Suzuki Boulevard S40 comes equipped with a single-cylinder and their GZ250 gets a parallel twin. The only change for the 2012 V-Star 250 is a small one: a re-sculpted handlebar for easier reach.

The V-Star's air-cooled, carbureted engine is fed by a 2.4 gallon fuel tank with an estimated fuel economy of 78 mpg— enough for a theoretical range of 187 miles. No fuel gauge means keeping track of fuel levels the old fashioned way: keeping an eye on the odometer and paying attention to power delivery when you're running low, so you're ready to rotate the petcock into "reserve" when the main tank is depleted. A 5-speed transmission routes power to the rear tire via a chain drive, and the front disc/rear drum brake setup helps keep the price down to $4,190.

This simple little ride— one of our 10 Great Beginner Motorcycles— may be the smallest offering in the Star lineup, but during a day spent sampling Star's 2012 lineup in the hills outside Atlanta, Georgia, the Star 250 offered a surprising draw amidst far bigger and more powerful motorcycles. To find out why, read on.


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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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Bottom Line, Specs, Who Should Buy the Star Motorcycles V-Star 250?

2012 Star Motorcycles V-Star 250
The Star takes a turn. Photo © Brian J. Nelson

Bottom Line

One of the easiest and most affordable ways for cruiser fans to get into riding, the V-Star 250 offers a low seat height, approachable ergonomics, and pleasant on road manners that make it an excellent choice for beginners craving a cruiser.


  • Price: $4,190
  • Engine: 249cc air-cooled, carbureted v-twin
  • Transmission: 5-speed, with multiplate wet clutch
  • Frame: Steel tube
  • Fuel Capacity: 2.4 gallons
  • Seat Height: 27.6 inches
  • Front Suspension: 33mm fork; 5.5 inches travel
  • Rear Suspension: Dual shocks with adjustable preload; 3.9 inches travel
  • Front Brakes: Hydraulic disc, 282mm
  • Rear Brakes: Drum, 130mm
  • Warranty: 12 month unlimited

Who Should Buy the Star Motorcycles V-Star 250?

Beginner riders or those of smaller stature looking for a simple, low-priced cruiser that's capable, competent, and stylish.


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Your Citation
Wasef, Basem. "2012 Star Motorcycles V-Star 250 Review: Cruising for Beginners." ThoughtCo, Aug. 30, 2016, thoughtco.com/2012-star-motorcycles-v-star-250-review-2400041. Wasef, Basem. (2016, August 30). 2012 Star Motorcycles V-Star 250 Review: Cruising for Beginners. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/2012-star-motorcycles-v-star-250-review-2400041 Wasef, Basem. "2012 Star Motorcycles V-Star 250 Review: Cruising for Beginners." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/2012-star-motorcycles-v-star-250-review-2400041 (accessed November 23, 2017).