As you might have guessed from the title, this is my first bike. I ran out of the normal magazines that kept me awake during the long weekend nightshift and had to buy a pair of Motorcycle Mags to stay awake. The W650 was in both and I was smitten from the first. Two weeks later I found, and bought, a used one. I have a really bad impulse control problem! Anyway, this bike is a perfect beginner's bike. It is forgiving, controlable, it sounds beautiful, and it looks great. That is what makes it a good first bike. What makes it the perfect first bike is that power. There is just enough. The engine will give you a great learning tool as you find out how much skill is involved with riding but it will not overpower you so that it is very easy to get yourself killed. Please note my language, on any bike at any level it is easy to get yourself killed, but on this bike it is NOT "very easy", it is only "easy". Some of the things I have done on this beauty could be seen as acting on a deathwish, but she has carried me through. She will do the ton, but I almost never push her that hard. She can keep up with highway trafic at or around 80 mph, but she doesn't have the deep well of power needed to get out of trouble through speeding up. Earlier I said that there was just enough, but what I didn't say was that there is STILL enough. After the first year I felt very confident that I could handle more bike. As a student on a limited budget, that "more bike" concept must remain only a concept. I drool over the new bikes in magazines and dream of my next bike and the one after that, but every time I throw a leg over my W650 and hit the kick starter (you gotta love the kickstarter) the idea of trading her in for another bike becomes absurd. I don't have the power I would like, but that is probably a good thing, and I still have plenty of power to get me from A to B with a smile on my face. This beginner's power is why she gets only a four star rating on performance. Reliability gets five stars because she is a tank. I have had to learn all I know about bikes on her and she has suffered for it, but she is still here and staying strong. Comfort is another four stars because the seat is great, but it is not somewhere you want to have to stay all day. There is plenty of space for a passenger, but I am not brave enough to have anyone ride with me yet so I can't pass on any secondhand info on that. The only after market seat I know of is the Corbin. It looks comfortable, but I like the classic look of the stock seat. Quality is four stars simply because I have obnoxiously high standards, and while this bike is put together very well and I have not had a problem with the workmanship, nothing trys to convince you that it is anything but factory made. It is just not overly fancy, but that helps to control costs. I love this bike and I am so glad I found it. It has treated me very well and I cannot recommend it enough. That being said, guys should note that they will become invisable to women on this bike. I have been complimented on this bike countless times (because face it, the thing looks great) but never by a woman my own age (20s). 80% of the time it is older guys who, "had one just like it, I loved my Triumph!" They still think it is cool after they learn that it actually works, I mean is from Japan. The other 20% is made up of children who recognize a motorcycle that looks like what a motorcycle should look like. Despite this fact, I still love this bike, and would recommend anyone who is thinking about getting into motorcycles to consider it.