For #1 above, I'm not sure what causes this, it's only happened rarely 3 or 4 times. When coming up to a red light and downshifting, it goes into neutral instead of first and there's nothing I can do to get it into first. I've tried going back up to second and stepping down hard, going into second and creeping up a few feet in gear to move the gears a bit and try again (this works when my truck won't go into reverse), nothing. This doesn't happen very often, but it's extremely annoying when it does, especially the first times when you aren't expecting it and you try to take off and just the engine revs with cars behind you honking. I have my 4000 mile checkup coming soon, and I will have them check it out if it happens again.
With #2 above, the first time this happened after a long ride, it did not go away over night and the bike would still vibrate and idle rough the next morning (sounded mean like a Harley, but I didn't like all the vibrations), so bad that the mirrors were useless just at a stand still. Took it back to the dealer and the service guy said it was a V Twin thing and they all did that, umm no, because it ran smooth as glass the first 800 miles.
I looked around online and found a forum that said to resync the carbs when it gets like that; I used some clear aquarium hose, a broom stick and some 2 cycle oil I had lying around to make that tool and did a resync; now it runs perfectly again. Occasionally during a long weekend ride it will start to get loud like that again, but not near as bad and it always goes away over night, not enough to bother me anymore and I actually like the exhaust note more when it does it.
Other than those two minor quirks I've come across, I love this bike, and knowing what I know now, I'd still buy it again in a heartbeat. I wanted something I could use for commuting that I could also take out on weekend cruises with friends and on long trips to rallys. Something small enough and manoeuvrable for traffic, but big enough for the interstate and keeping up with much bigger bikes, and comfortable enough for long rides. So far the 650 V Star fits the bill perfectly, with the exception of the seat, which starts to get uncomfortable after an hour and a half or so, I'm definitely upgrading to Mustang seats when I get the money.
The candy red paint and styling is just beautiful; I get compliments on it regularly, including many Harley guys at the Aspencade rally I went to a few weeks ago, where it seemed like it was many thousand Harleys and my one V Star heh. So far nobody has come close to guessing the engine size, everyone says 1100+ The smaller size is definitely noticeable at highway speeds where it starts to lose power though. It has plenty of power from 0 - 70; any faster than that and it takes a few extra seconds to pass a car, and if you're ridding 2 up at that speed wait, for a long passing stretch. If you're going to be touring 2 up a lot I'd definitely recommend going up to the 1100; I'm only 160lb and the girlfriend is 95, so it's not that bad for us.
This thing is a blast to ride and I can't wait to get on it in the mornings; my boss has noticed that since I got the bike I've been getting into work 30 minutes earlier, although I do take off earlier whenever possible to get in more riding time later heh. I've put on 3000 miles in 5 weeks so far, and not even left the state or gone longer than 250 miles at a time. I don't understand how there can be as many 5+ year V Stars on eBay with less than mine. It's so much fun to ride I'd never get off if I could.
For the money you can't get any better than this bike, and it does have a few quirks that you quickly get used to like the clutch, a bit under powered at speed and other things mentioned above that you have to take into account when riding it, but just enough to give it a bit of personality, and not an ongoing headache like I've seen many of my biker friends go through, always having to fix one thing or another. If you're looking for a lightweight cruiser that's also light on the pocketbook, this is it.