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I put a few thousand miles on a Honda Sabre (Shadow) 1100 and while it is a bigger bike, it was much easier to handle than the sportster.

The sportster is a great bike, but more of a "hot rod" bike. Not that you couldn't learn on it as your first motorcycle, as many people have.

If you really want a Harley, then get one. You will have a learning curve on any bike you get. If the name is not a big deal then get a metric 650, 750 or something to get used to. Typically they are much easier to just hop on and go.

Regardless of what direction you go, make sure you take the MSF course it will be the best investment you make.
 
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