Hello from the Northcoast
I purchased my first bike 5 years ago, an old 1998 V-Star 650 Custom with 4K miles at the age of 40. I grew up on the back of my dads HD, going to grandparents, little league games, and school.
I bought my bike from a local dealer for a reasonable price, 2 days after I completed a Rider course. It is not an expensive bike, nor one that I knew I was going to keep long term. It was a perfect bike to really learn to ride on.
I am now in the market for a new bike. Well, not new, but a new-to-me used bike. What can I say, I'm thrifty, and I love workin on stuff!
I have friends that ride all sorts of brands of bikes, and each one tells me a different story. There isn't any brand bashing, but just props about the bikes they own. I personally love the Victory Cross Country and Cross Roads, but with the folding of the Victory line, I will not be heading in that direction. I have narrowed it down to a few brands and styles, but am leaning hard to another Yamaha. I have been looking hard at finding a used Road Star. I love the look, versatility, custom-ability, reasonably priced, and Yamaha reliability. My ex-Bro-in-law owes one and loves it.
I'll keep you all posted how the search goes and I may ask for some pointers on things to look for/watch out for.