That's a pretty big bike for a first-time rider, although definitely not as big and heavy as a "Big Twin" Harley. My first motorcycle was a '64 Honda 250 Scrambler, back in 1966. After a long hiatus of 35 years I bought an '89 HD Sportster in 2001. It was plenty fast, but felt like it was going to come unglued at freeway speeds, and it also seemed too small for my 6' 2" frame, so I sold it and bought a full-size '00 HD Dyna Superglide.I just got my first motor cycle and have very little experience or knowledge. I got a 02 sportster 1200 custom from a friend and am just here for any and all advice, need to knows, dos and do nots for riding and maintaining and repairs that I plan to do myself.
Some mechanical knowledge will go a long way, but keep in mind that things are put together differently on motorcycles vs. cars. By all means get the official service manual for your Sporty, as others have advised. A good place to look for the official service manuals is eBay. The Haynes and similar manuals can't always be trusted.I have mechanical knowledge and have common sense most of the time although I do have my moments.