While any bike is better than no bike, I recommend a cruiser style motorcycle over other styles of motorcycles. Most other styles of bikes are designed for a specific purpose and, I feel that cruisers are the better bikes to learn on. With a cruiser, you can learn how to handle the bike and have a good, safe time on the road and then you can upgrade to something that's a little more extreme or focused.
Here are some good cruiser motorcycles to get you started.
The Honda Rebel ($4,190 new) has been around for decades and while it's not a super powerful machine, it is a great motorcycle to start out on because it's light weight and comfortable. Don't plan to do many cross-country trips on this little 250cc bike, though, as it's a little under powered for that.
Find a Honda Rebel for sale near you
Suzuki Boulevard S40
I love the look of this bike. The S40's ($5,499 new) big single-cylinder engine might not be the smoothest thing on the road, but this 650cc thumper makes me smile and its a little more powerful than other small cruisers like the Rebel. Another interesting thing about this bike is that its belt driven, meaning you won't have to lube up a chain. As far as simple, easy to maintain bikes go, this is a good one.
Find a Suzuki Boulevard S40 for sale near you
Yamaha V Star 250
The Yamaha V Star 250 ($4,340 new) might be a couple hundred dollars more than the Rebel, but you get the classic V-style engine and a bike that is just downright sexy. If you want a lightweight, powerful cruiser, the V Star 250 is one heck of a nice bike. These motorcycles also seem to retain their value pretty well, so when you upgrade, you won't be out too much money.
Find a Yamaha V Star 250 for sale near you
Cleveland CycleWerks Heist
I'm a big fan of Cleveland CycleWerks and everything the company is trying to do. If you're looking for a smaller, lightweight bobber-style bike with some serious attitude for a bargain, this is the bike you want. The Heist (under $3,300 new) looks like a bike way more expensive and wherever you go you'll have people asking you questions about it.
Find a Cleveland CycleWerks Heist for sale near you
Like the Rebel, the Honda Shadow ($7,499 new) has been around for decades. It's a serious motorcycle that you won't outgrow any time soon. The Shadow comes with a 745cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine, that is plenty powerful enough. While the bike is a little bigger than the Rebel, it still has a low seat height and is easy to operate, making it a great beginner's motorcycle if you have some extra money to spend.
Find a Honda Shadow for sale near you
Have any other bikes you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments.