First day back at work after the Christmas Holiday. Probably one-third of our staff was on hand, the rest were using vacation time to lengthen their holiday. So there was a little less hussle and a little more time for conversation. One conversation with a co-worker started something like this, "I want to get my motorcycle license, so I guess I need to buy a motorcycle first."
It dawned on me that I have been in a conversation that started like this several different times over the last few years. I am somewhat surprised every time I hear this thought and am always quick to alter the thinking slightly.
"No, I would recommend getting your license first", is my typical response. This usually is met with wide eyes. I then explain that I would recommend doing what I did. Attend a Riders Edge course or a MSF RiderCourse. Many rider training courses provide the motorcycles for the students. So, first time riders can learn to ride without a significant investment. The cost of the course runs around $275 and the student is responsible for supplying their own helmet.
Why do I suggest taking the rider's course before buying a motorcycle? If you buy a motorcycle before you have a license, you are going to ride it. Without sound instruction, chances are, you are going to pickup some bad habits, and even more likely, you are going to ride it on public streets and roadways (in violation of the law). And in the chance that you wreck it while riding without a license, most insurance providers will not pay a cent for damage caused by an unlicensed rider.
So why not get that initial exposure to a street bike in a controlled environment with someone coaching you through the right and safe way to ride while at the same time getting prepared for the written and riding exam. At the end of the course, you get to sit for the written exam (which you have been properly prepared for) and then you get to take the riding exam (which you have been practising for).
The course I took was painless, two week nights, a Saturday, and a Sunday and you were done. Advanced courses are available to fine-tune your riding skills and are always a good idea.
Just my two cents, but it sure seems like the best approach to me.