As found on ocau... The most common newbie question is: What bike should I buy? No one wants to give a straight answer to that question. There are a lot of good reasons not to. But I'm going to give you a answer. Your first bike should be a Piece Of Shit. It doesn't matter the brand, model or year. As long as it's a Piece Of Shit, you're on the right track. It should have dents. It should have rust. It should have an inch of greasy, black road splooge caked up underneath the rear fender. Weeping fork seals, drips of oil and kinky chains aren't requisite, but they aren't a a bad thing. Trust me, go out and find a POS. Let me explain why. You're wrong. You have a vision of what your life as a motorcyclist will be. You have an expectation of what kind of riding you will do and what kind of bike you will ride. Of how you will look going down the road. Your vision is wrong. This is not your fault. The problem is, most everything you know about motorcycles and motorcycling has come from grossly inaccurate sources. Movies, TV, newspapers and--if you're an American--motorcycling magazines all get it wrong. They all are interested in various myths of motorcycling, not the reality. You may have a friend or family member who rides. There's a disturbingly good chance that they are giving you false information, too. This is why these helpful souls tell you to avoid using the front brake, and think counter-steering is bullshit. They're good people, but they don't get out much. Once you actually spend some time in the saddle, you will discover what kind of riding is really the right one for you. No one ever says, "I want to ride hundreds of miles through crappy weather in order to sleep on a floor." Yet lots of riders find themselves doing just that. Yes, some people find that they're true mode of riding is just taking fair-weather, low-speed jaunts through the country, looking like Lorenzo Lamas in "Renegade". If that turns out to be you, start saving for your Harley and have fun. But it may not be you. You'll never know until you actually start riding. After a year or two, you'll know what kind of riding you'll be doing, and then you can buy the right motorcycle for that purpose. You may not be a rider. Not everyone who starts riding sticks with it. Either you are a rider or you aren't, but you'll never know until you actually do it. Why spend $8,000 - $15,000 on a shiny new motorcycle that's just going to become a garage ornament and something a loved one bitches at you about? When you decide motorcycling isn't for you and sell your POS, you'll get most, if not all, or your money back, which you can spend on your next hobby. You're going to drop it. You are. If you're lucky it'll be in a parking lot or a driveway when no one's watching. If you're a dumbass like me, you'll tank on a country road and get a long ambulance ride while strapped to a backboard to reinforce what a dumbass you are. Either way, the bike will get damaged. Who cares if you damage a POS? You won't regret replacing it... as much. If you really are a rider, you will love your first motorcycle. It doesn't matter how crappy it is, you'll love it. So, when you go to replace it, you'll feel a pang of guilt. If it's a POS, it'll be easier to get over that guilt. When you ride your new motorcycle that perfectly fits your new--and accurate--vision of your motorcycling life, you'll find it much easier to say good-bye to your first love. You new bike is so right, you'll be able to focus on the bad things about your old POS, instead of thinking about the reasons you loved it. And, yes, no matter what you buy, you'll replace it. True, some people ride their first bike forever. Similiarly, some people marry and live a long happy life with the first person they had sex with. But how many people don't? Did you? You will replace it. Replacing a POS hurts a lot less than replacing an expensive, shiny new bike. You'll be a better rider. POS don't forgive you. Sometimes they are down-right contrary. A friend of mine describes one of his POSs this way: I'd be coming to a turn and say to the bike, "Okay, we should turn now." And the bike would say, "fcuk you! I'm going straight!" And I'd say, "No, REALLY, we need to turn now." And they bike would say, "fcuk You!" So I'd jerk at the bars, saying, "We are going to turn now, dammit!" And the bike would say, "Okay, we'll turn... THIS time." Don't let this scare you. You're a newbie rider and won't know any better. The poor acceleration, handling and braking of your POS will seem normal to you because you've never ridden a better bike. You'll learn to ride well despite the bike. Then when you replace you POS with a good bike, you'll be a much better rider than you would have been if you'd started on a capable bike. Any good football coach will tell you that practices should be longer and harder than the games, so that the games seem easy by comparison. Well, your first bike is practice. Paitence is a virtue. If you really are a rider, you will ride thousands of miles over the rest of your life. You don't need to rush out and try to have the ultimate motorcycling experience the first week. Take your time. Learn the sport. Learn about yourself. You've got the rest of your life--do it right. You WILL wrench. It's tough to justify spending $800 to have some mechanic professionally fcuk up the carbs on a $1500 motorcycle. fcuk them up yourself. It's only a $1500 bike, right? Destroying the engine in a shiny new $8000 motorcycle is a lot more heart-breaking than doing it to a POS. Not to mention, it's a lot more budget-busting. Even if you never do any of the maintenance or repair on the replacement bike you'll end up buying, the knowledge you gain from wrenching on your POS will be invaluable. When the dealer tells you that your blinker fluid is low and your muffler bearings need re-packed, you can tell him with confidence to go stick an impact driver up his ass. Besides, wrenching on a bike teaches you the details of how a bike works. Why it performs and handles the way it does. This information will be very useful when you start looking for your replacement bike. And, in the end, good, honest motorcycle mechanics can be damned difficult to find. You may end up wrenching on your replacement bike whether you want to or not. You'll be happy to have first banged your knuckles on a POS, trust me. You'll meet more interesting people. Any shmoe can buy a new shiny bike and park it outside a bar or coffee shop and "oo" and "ah" over other new shiny bikes. Real riders appreciate POSs. They've ridden them, too, and can see the functional beauty under the dents and rust. The guys who come up and say, "Hey, I used to have one of those!" in reference to a POS are much more interesting and informative than guys who once sat on a new bike like yours in a showroom. Lots of POSs also have little communities built around them for technical support and such. The folks in those groups tend to be much better riding partners than the guys you meet at the bar/coffee-house. You'll be part of the chain. Nearly every POS has gone through the hands of many riders. Most of them beginners, after a certain point in a bike's life. When you sell it--or give it away, it's a POS after all--you'll be continuing the chain. You'll be passing on all the good things that come from starting on a POS. You will, hopefully, be helping another true rider get started on a life of motorcycling. Really. Ask around. Most riders who started their motorcycling life on a POS don't regret it. They see it for what it was--the first step in a life-long passion.