I love motorcycles. (Of course, I love flying, boating, driving German cars, and motorcycles, in that order!).
My Dad bought me my first (and until recently only) motorcycle, a Yamaha Enduro in Pakistan in 1981-82, when they were still imported from Japan.
Twenty years later, in about 2001-2002, here in the USA, I went to go buy another bike because I wanted to enjoy them while I was physically fit. (I prefer racing style bikes to hogs). I figured the under $200 monthly payment was worth it, but was dissuaded by the shocking price of comprehensive insurance.
The insurance company was treating me like a new rider considering how long I had not ridden officially. (I did take friend's bikes in Pakistan for occasional spins during trips there in that time).
So, 10 more years went by, but as I near 50, I took the leap and last year at my birthday, got myself a gorgeous 2011 Yamaha YZF-R6.
The R1 was just a couple thousand dollars more, and a year older unsold Kawasaki 1400cc was just a thousand more on clearance. It was very tempting. But, I realized the few thousand dollars more was worth the price of the toy but not the almost certain guarantee to have too much power and get myself killed.
However, even though I decided on the 600cc, even after the R6 was delivered to me, I did not ride it until I had taken three riding classes. I was delighted at how the instructors were pleasantly surprised that I did not need classes but took them anyway. And I am glad I did. I still learnt so much more. I had all the mechanical and riding skills to pass my test, but the lessons, the tips, the advice, the stories of how people get in trouble, made the riding classes a great investment.
Fortunately, I realized something a lot of people may rather forget. In the 30 years since my first Yamaha, the bike I owned went from 100cc street legal dirt bike weighing probably 100 lbs to a 600cc monster of power (max speed 165 mph) weighing 350 lbs, while my body, though fairly fit, has gone from that of a 150 lbs. 18 year old to a man nearing 200 lbs. and 50, even if not feeling (or looking, LOL) it.
I also bought, and read, books like Proficient Motorcycling, and others, and learned even more. In about 8 months, including winter in NY, I put nearly 4000 miles on the bike and loved every minute of it.
I believe in the adage that at the end of life we regret the things we did not do more than the ones we did (and shouldn't have). But, keep in mind, there are many cases of people where the purchase of a motorcycle more than they could handle led to a hastened end of life.
So, be very, very careful in making this decision. I did not regret it and am blessed so far. But I realize, one false move, even from an inattentive car driver on the road, can mean the end for me.
Choose wisely. Ride safe. I'll see you on the road.