I bought a '98 Triumph Daytona (955cc) as my first bike and have never regretted it. Many people say to start small. However, if you are mature enough and can exercise some self-control, you won't kill yourself on a bigger bike. My wife has an EX250 Ninja and its the bike that everybody on most of the sportbike forums recommend as a first bike along with the Ninja EX500 and Suzuki GS500. The little 250 is still quicker (low-14 quarter mile) than probably 90% of the cars on the road and is very forgiving. It also turns quickly and has plenty of power for riding in town or on the highway. Also, it only weighs about 300lbs and can be manhandled in certain situations where you might drop another bike. The classic "dusty/oily parking spot"-scenario comes to mind as I rode her bike to work one day, put my foot down when I got it parked, and if it had been my bike, it would have been on the ground. Her's is a little easier to handle in situations like that. My Daytona getting up there in years and is a portly 435lbs compared to the newer liter bikes that are below 400lbs. It turns slower (has a 190 rear tire), is far faster, and is much less forgiving than the 250. Right now I also have an FZR600 that I bought off of a friend. It was a hell of a deal at $920. I've done some paint work and will be Ebaying it here in a week or two. I've ridden it and its like a combination of our two bikes. Its definitely peppier than her 250, but not over-powering. Its also very nimble as it only has a 140 or 150 rear tire so it turns quickly and is very nimble. The FZRs are great starter bikes because they built them from '89-'99 and replacement parts are cheap and plentiful.