Best bike for your dollar
My first bike was a Honda CB200 that I bought for $175 in 1981. It didn't run. It had been rusting in the back yard for a couple of years. I cleaned it up and got it running; most of the early practice was to see if the bike would stay running. After a month or so, I hauled it up to the DMV to get my license. This was back in the days when the riding test consisted of "Take it out there on the street, go to the end of the block, make a u-turn, and use the turn signal when you come back into the lot here." So I did. "Ok, you passed."
About a dozen bikes later, my Honda SilverWing stopped being reliable. I wanted to get a bike that was reliable enough to ride to work, narrow enough to split lanes in Washington DC traffic, common enough to find parts bikes, and cheap enough to replace when it wore out. The Ninja 250 was the best answer.
Somewhere along the line I took the MSF advanced course and eventually became an instructor. I just like to ride. The 250 gives the best bang for the buck so far. My next 250 will be running this summer, unless the current 250, ZX6 or moped need more work.