Having just got my motorcycle license a couple months back, I'm curious to know, how did you figure out what type of motorcycle that you wanted? I want to practice, and become more comfortable on one, but I don't have one, and I don't want to drop a couple k on a bike that I'm not going to enjoy...
Well the weekend crash course to get your CY endorsement introduced us to some pretty crappy Rebel 250cc's. SO funny how many people "drop" the bikes during training. Most of them are women who can't understand the shifting... and overweight people that just don't work very well with the small-sized Rebel's.
As for what type/style motorcycle I wanted. Easy. I want a Triumph bike. The Triumph Speedmaster
is my ultimate goal. But I'll settle for a simple Bonneville or Thruxton.
Everyone has a Harley is mainly why I DO NOT want a Harley. And i'm not into crotch rocket bikes (with the exception of the Ducati line).
But alas, just like yourself, I do not want to drop a lot of $ for my first motorcycle. Not even to mention the fact, living in Michigan - we can't ride them all year 'round.
So, what it all comes down to (for me) is I love cafe style bikes. Be it a UJM/british/american, is how I found my 1980 Yahama 850xs. Saw it on the side of the road. Sign was $850 OBO. So I parked my car. Got out, guy gave me the keys to "test drive" it. I came back with all intentions to purchase it. Offered $600 and the rest is history!
The wife didn't think it was a wise purchase at the very start cuz of the problems I had with it (wouldn't start, lights were odd, tons o' stuff), but after I took it in for a repair - it runs so AWESOME my wife (now) thinks it was a very good purchase!
Here's an old photo I found when I first purchased it 3 years ago: