I have had a few bikes as well. My first was a Honda 400 Custom. Then I had a Yamaha 350 something or other. Then was my 450 Kawasaki LTD (my fave til I blew it up !!! LOL). Last one was another LTD tho a bit smaller (400??). Am looking to get a 550 or 650 Shadow or Maxim next year. All of these would have made greater starter bikes. Small enough to pick up by yourself (that's a big deal to a 5'6" female; LOL); easy to work on; not expensive to buy or run & all were not top heavy but rather were lowrider styled bikes with excellent balance (also important to us small to average size women !!!). I would recommend any of that style to start with. Maybe a bit bigger model for a gent tho !! Happy puttin' !!
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