I have owned 41 bikes in my life, and still own 6 of them. I have always done all my own maintenance (It helps that I am a professional auto mechanic, and into mechanical things as my main hobby) I like working on bikes almost as much as riding them. I like to get to know my bikes, and know that things are done right. Most of the cost of motorcycle maintenance and repair is labor, if you have it done. Labor rates here are $100 an hour, with a half hour minimum. If it takes 35 minutes, you pay for 1 hour. I have never done valves on a Ducati, but I have on everything else. If I could not work on my own bikes, I would not have them. Same goes for a place to keep them. All of my bikes are stored indoors, locked up. I lived in a mobile home back in 1980, when I bought my first brand new bike, and kept in on the patio, under an awning, and under a cover. I have seen fairly new bikes that looked 100 years old, because they were left to sit out in the weather. The only 2 bikes I ever had that I treated that way were a well worn Suzuki GS450, and a Honda Rebel 250, which I used as work transportation. They were in bad cosmetic condition when I got them, but I still kept them properly maintained. Even my dual sport bike is kept inside out of the weather. It may be dirty and scratched up, but it is not rusted or sun rotted.
I would not buy a new or nice bike until you get really good at riding, especially a street bike and even more especially a sport bike. I started riding at age 8 on dirt bikes, and got all my crashing/dropping bikes done with before I got my first street bike at age 16. I have never dropped a street bike. Nowhere is it written that it is inevitable that you will drop your bike. But if you think you might, you need more practice. I too have had a lot of close calls, but got out of every one of them without a scratch on me or the bike. If you are resolved to the fact that you will drop your bike, you will.
2002 Vulcan 750 (now deceased) 2013 Royal Enfield B5
2001 XT225, 2009 Genuine Stella
2012 Zuma 125, 1980 Puch moped
JerryH screwed with this post 11-03-2012 at 03:07 PM