I guess I'm of two minds. Willie, how old is your friend? Why I ask, is that I upgraded from a 1981 Honda CB250 to a 2000 Suzuki GSXR750 just before Christmas. I only started riding about May 2003.
The CB250 was the only motorbike I had ever ridden. I remember the day I bought my Gixxer, when I took it out for a run, it frightened the living $#!^ out of me. I can remember muttering into my helmut, "Why did'nt you buy a 600, Rees you idiot!".
I think I required fresh undies when I got home that day........thankfully I have a mate who has ridden for years and has spent a bit of time going over the ins and outs with me since I bought my bike. Also, being 31 years old when I started riding has helped me realise I am most certainly mortal.
Put me in the same situation but change my age from 31 years back to when I was 17 to 23, I know I would have been a statistic. I don't necessarily support the "you must ride a 250cc in the first 50 years of your motorcycling life" camp, I just know I was just a @!*&head at that age, how I am still alive from the dumb stuff I did back then makes me scratch my head in confusion.........
Admittedly, the bike I did fall in love with before I bought my GSXR750 was a 2001 GSXR1000. The salesman, who was aware of my riding experience (or lack thereof), (gently) steered me towards the 750. To which I am ever so grateful.
I just love my bike, and it grows more and more everytime that I ride my bike. I gave up my car for it. Yes, I get a big fat head when people look at my bike, it takes about three hours for my smile to fade, but it is not the reason why I bought it.
I suppose Willie, it will ultimately be up to your friend, you just need to know if you think your friend is ready or not, and advise them either way. If they take your advice - great; if not, you did the right thing telling your friend what you honestly thought.
Just my two bobs worth.