I own a 1999 HD Softail Custom (see below), and I will give you my two-cents...
When I first saw the V-Rod, I didn't like it. However, since it is a Harley, I tried to let it "grow on me". But, after a couple of years, I still don't like it.
It is my opinion that the V-Rod was build for a different marketing segment than the "traditional" Harley rider. It was supposed to attract the "crotch rocket" crowd to HD. But, because of it's ho-hum performance, very few "Ninja" riders are making the switch.
If your buddy likes the looks of the V-Rod better than any other bike, then get it. For me... I'll just keep my chopper!