New rider here, vistavette is 100% on point! I just passed my MSF about two-ish weeks ago. If you're taking the MSF Basic RiderCourse, they provide the bikes and the helmets, you just follow whatever policy they have for dress code. Mine was long sleeves, over ankle shoes, sturdy pants (like jeans), and gloves (any kind of full gloves, really). If it's going to be hot outside, bring a cooler filled with ice and water, you'll need it.
The bikes they have on hand will usually range form Yamaha TW200s to Honda Rebel 250s, to Honda Nighthawks.
I bought a Buell Blast some days before the course, then a Honda Rebel 250 after the course. I don't what it was about the Rebel I had for the course, but I had fallen in love with that bike and had to get my own. I'm finding the 500cc single in the Buell to be a great starter bike. It has a lot of torque and can go more than fast enough to get you in trouble. Meanwhile, the Rebel seems to be a great work commuter seemingly borrowing from the "slow car fast" principle.
You are getting good advice here. I will just add something...a good beginner bike should fit the size of the rider and be a bridge towards their riding goal. If your goal is to become a great sport rider, then I would start with a 250 Ninja or maybe an R3. If you want to ride cruisers, then a Rebel or maybe a Boulevarde is a better fit. Or maybe you want to ride back woods and use your bike to check out hunting areas? Then you start with a dual purpose bike like a KLR250, before moving up to a bigger adventure bike.
And size does matter. If you are short, then sport bikes or tall adventure bikes are difficult to ride. In that case maybe you find one with adjustable suspension that can be lowered a bit. Likewise, if you are 6'5" and your knuckles scrape the ground when you walk, a Rebel will be uncomfortable and awkward at best. So I would determine what your goal is, and lean in that direction, and then find a bike that is a good fit logistically.
And I can't stress this enough...buy newer/used and buy something that isn't super powerful. Cemeteries all across America are full of novice riders whose first bike said it would do 150 miles an hour and said to themselves, "I wonder if it really will?"
^^ can't stress the used bike purchase. if it's your first bike, you WILL drop it... somehow, some way. don't buy new. first time ya drop it and you will cry. especially if it's a sportbike. Plastics are NOT cheap.
Sit on a lot of bikes and find out what "fits" you. Even the bikes that aren't on your list (for whatever reason), check em out. You might be surprised.
What is your intent on getting a bike...? commute, cruise, carve canyons, tour, etc? that will help narrow it down too.
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