Originally Posted by gpb
This is excellent advice. With rare exceptions, all new riders *will* drop their bike at least a time or two. I know I did back in 1990 when I first learned to ride.
Best to start with a relatively naked smaller displacement bike with a few bumps and scratches but otherwise mechanically sound. You'll add your own battlescars to the bike and down the road pass it along to another new rider. The cost of owning it will be FAR less than the insurance on a brand new shiny bike or the cost to do the repairs without going through insurance and raising your rates even further.
The other thing is a lower displacement bike's throttle is a little more "forgiving"... I'm probably not going to make my point well here, but I'm trying to convey that each incremental movement of the throttle "releases" more power on the larger displacement bike. IMHO its easier to learn to finesse power delivery on the smaller displacement bike, *and* learn to properly use the power you have available. Plus when you inadvertantly grab a handful of throttle you're likely to have more time to react and correct your error on the smaller displacement bike.
Second tip: find and enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course if you haven't done so.
BTW - I recommend all riders, new and old, read David L Hough's "Street Strategies" books.
EDIT: BTW2, Sara504, the above is gender-neutral and I'd say the same thing to anyone considering a motorcycle.
Quality advice! Well stated.