I've had my '08 for a couple of months now, and I'm right around 1400 (all pleasure) miles. I'm going to address my experience with the commonly stated problems point by point.
- crap paint job
With the exception of the spot my jacket rubs on the tank cover, my bike looks brand new, despite being ridden through a lot of rain, hail, dirt and sand.
- burned exhaust paint( turns white)
My exhaust hasn't exhibited any change in color.
- high oil consumption
No problems here, either.
- smoking exhaust on downshifts
The only time I get anything visible coming out of the exhaust is during the first warm-up cycle of the day, which is simply the automatic choke doing its job. These last two items could be caused by a less than perfect break-in, which may have left the rings poorly seated.
- notchy gearbox that hangs up on the first to second upshift
My gearbox has performed flawlessly. All of my motorcycles have had a small hang up on first to second, I like to call it neutral.
- flighty suspension bits
No problems here either. It's the most predictable and stable motorcycle I've ever ridden.
- overall poor build quality.
I respectfully disagree with this as well. The bike is rock solid inside and out. My only complaint is that I can't ride it all day, every day. Oh, and the tool kit is a joke.
I would strongly recommend this bike to anyone thinking about this class of machine. Some items I wasn't expecting but really enjoy:
- Fuel consumption computer. Tells you your average miles-per-gallon and how much fuel you've consumed, including your reserve, in 0.1 gallon increments.
- Slipper clutch. I didn't know anything about them when I picked up the bike, but I've found it to be extremely forgiving. I needed to re-learn how to launch.
- Tank cover. It has these really great squishy portions for your knees. You can just give your bike a hug and go nuts with the throttle.
- Large turn signal indicators. So far, I have yet to drive down the road with my blinker on inappropriately.
Have fun with your bike shopping!