Hi ladies. This thread was the motivation that pushed me to join the board.
I'm currently beginning the search for a first motorcycle, cruiser style 250s. The Yamaha Virago and Honda Rebel are the top of my list. I've ridden dirtbikes in my teen years so I'm familiar with bikes, but I'll need to go through all MSF/licensing as well as some major practice with my unique challenges that donned me in '98. But enough of that.
My main response is to 250s being small and licensing requirements depending on country. DH is military and we are Americans stationed in Japan. Anyone who's spent any time in JPN knows that POV laws are pretty in depth and quite tiresome. The paperwork involved in purchasing, registering, licensing, insuring and even parking for our two vehicles was enough to say "I quit, let's go home". But alas, we survived as pressed on.
Licenses are required for ALL scooters and motorcycles operating on public roads. Depending on the size of the engine the requirements change as far as paper test only or classroom, paper and riding test. Inspection, otherwise known as SHAKEN is also required for bikes over 250cc.
JPNs dense population and cramped construction makes for pretty wild city driving conditions. Couple that with lack of parking and you've got a lot of people who use scooters and motorcycles for their daily ride. Yes, many use the subway or JR line, but many also commute in a POV or motorcycle.
Around here, motorcycles are cheap, economical, easy to park and easy to manuever, and for everything under 250cc, it requires no extra weight tax or annual inspection. And let's not make the mistake of thinking an inspection here is $15 and a 20min wait and you're set. Inspections are expensive (think hundreds) and weight tax isn't too terrible, but still more money in addition to everything you've already paid. You'll spend anywhere from $200-$700 depending on how many repairs your POV/motorcycle needs before passing inspection.
Basically, here in JPN, unders 250 is cheap and readily available. They're light and manueverable. While JPN is a widely motorcycle-toured country, it is the smaller bikes that are the best all-around choice for both the rural and urban settings. Bigger is not always better here. And bigger is EXTREMELY expensive here too. Not to mention, JPN have no regard for mileage vs cost here. A huge difference than the States.
Well, that's my novela for the day. Hope it sheds some light on something useful
Edit: Today I've added a 250cc sportbike to the list of contenders. I sat on a Honda CBR250RR and new ideas arose.