Finally pulled the trigger on getting a bike and it was the VStar 1300.
Many of my friends say I'm nuts for buying such a full size bike for a first ride, but my line of thought is go big or stay home. Other than dirt bikes as a kid, this is it. I am learning the magic of leans and picked up "Learning to ride Like a Pro"
I am presuming you're open for criticism or you wouldn't have put it out here.
You're friends are right. They know you so, they're not saying "Jeff always goes big and it works out fine.' They're saying you're impulsive and rash and it doesn't always work out.
There is no good reason to just jump on a full sized bike right out of the chute. If there were, beginner classes would have gold wings instead of 250cc rebels on the premise that it is better to 'go big or stay home'.
You may do fine and I hope you do. But, riding can get you killed in an instant and it is not reasonable or rational to just jump in the deep end. Your 'life guards', the ex motor cops, can't jump in to save you.
You should park the big bike, go get a dirt bike and spend a year or so refreshing your long past dirt bike skills and take any course you can find using their little bikes. Some Harley dealers offer one using little Buells. Take the 1300 out on weekends and work on parking lot skills and easing cruising after a few months.
I don't know you so, this isn't personal. It's just my recommendations of what I would suggest anyone should do in order to learn to ride safely. 50% of all new riders have some sort of wreck in their first six months. Obviously, many of them are because they were in over their heads including too much bike too soon. Everyone has their first six months. The goal should be to stack the odds in your favor of getting through them successfully. You're not doing that.
However, that doesn't mean you WILL wreck. It just means, in my view, you damn well better take parking lot practice seriously
as well as listening to and working with your experienced friends.
My goal here is not to discourage you. You already took the leap. My goal here is to encourage you to work at and learn all you can about how a motorcycle works, and doesn't, take classes, listen, practice and learn.
I'd be happy to hear from you in six months that you're doing great.