The MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) conducts 2-3 day beginners classes that in some US states will get you a license on completion.Just for those of thus that don't live in the States, could you explain what you've passed and what's involved. Cheers.
Quick question... would the Tiger 800 be suitable for a first bike? I currently have nothing to ride yet.
It's possible, but I wouldn't recommend it. My advice would be to pick up a cheap used bike as your first, because at some point you WILL drop it. And while the MSF class is terrific for learning the basics, it's all parking-lot practice and gives you no experience in real-world street riding, so you've got a lot of practicing to do. In my opinion it's foolish to rush right out and buy a brand-new bike. Find yourself a used Kawasaki Ninja 250 or EX500, Suzuki GS500, etc, to abuse while you're learning. Better yet, pick up a used dual-sport such as a Suzuki DR-Z400, Kawasaki KLR250, or Yamaha XT350. These are made to be dropped and abused, plus you can take them in the dirt; the skills learned in dirt riding will improve your street riding considerably, particularly when things get slippery. Plus once you get your "real" bike, you can keep the dual-sport for offroad riding, or sell it for pretty much the same price you paid for it.
+1 Spot on advice.There are dozens of used Ninja 250's around on craigslist, bought by folks who were also making an entrance into riding. You can usually pick on up for about $2200. If you dont drop it too many times, you can sell it for about what you paid for it in about 6 months to a year. Seriously, its amazing how they hold their vaule! Its a non-intimidating, good handling and reliable bike that you will have a blast on, and not be scared everytime you ride it. Another good choice (if you plan on keeping it a bit longer) is a used Bonnie. More than a few of us have learned to ride on those, and ended up keeping them since they're such a great bike. Easy to ride, enough power, smooth fueling, good brakes and a nice low seat height.
Good luck!! Dont forget to invest in a good jacket, proper riding pants, full face helmet, motorcycling boots and gloves, and read a book titled "Proficient Motorcycling" by author David Hough. - also - stay away from group rides for now.