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No matter what your states rules on cc I would still recommend taking the MSF course. No matter what size bike it is for the course will teach you actual skills that you will use every time you ride where if you just do the dmv route you may not get those skill and have a higher chance of getting overwhelmed if you run into an unexpected situation.

I think the right cc bike depends on the style of bike you want to ride. A 1000cc sport bike as a first bike is probably going to be a bit overwhelming but a 1200cc cruiser might not be. The other thing is the weight of the bikes you are looking at. A sport bike will be pretty light and nimble where the big cruisers will start to get up there in weight. My first bike was actually a 1200cc but it was a BMW sport tourer so it was still pretty light at 450lbs and had a great weight distribution so it was quite comfortable to ride.

I would think something like the FZ07 or the FZ8 would be great bikes. They have enough power to fun for an experienced rider but will not be overwhelming for a new rider.
 
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