And I really would avoid a "starter" you'll wish you would have saved your money and spent it a little more wisely.
I tend to disagree with this. Riding motorcycles is a lot like shooting hand guns.
Everybody wants to go big then "grow" into it. Most of the time the result is dis-satifaction due to the owners inability to control the weapon (bike) or bad habits born of it's traits, or worse.
I believe a solid starter bike is the way to go. Minimal investment, simplistic design, mild traits, and a low initial price (coupled with an equal re-sale value).
As stated earlier, it has to be big enough to safely
move you at highway speeds, yet not so large or powerfull that it is difficult to manauver or will get away from you in a panic situation.
Dual sports handling traits are poor compared to street bikes, but they are usually very simple to work on, give you a better visual area, and make you easier to see. They can also be used as secondary transportation for hunting or scooting off to your favorite fishing hole. A 450-650cc engine will give you a good amount of power. Kawasaki, Suzuki and KTM offer a selection of excellent bikes, many running in the mid $2000 region.
Mid sized street bikes are IMHO, a good choice for somebody starting into street riding. Cruiser styles offer a wide range of engine sizes, as well as a variety of seat heights. They also force you to sit up, giving a wider field of view and making you more visible. Many solid older bikes can be had for under a grand. Inlines such as the CB series are claw hammer reliable and fairly cheap. Their seat height can be a bit taller than others and they are a bit sportier.
Others, such the Kawasaki LTD, Honda Shadow, and Yamaha Virago, offer low seat height (including a lower center of gravity), reliability, and low cost in a number of engine sizes.
Remember, if you opt for a used bike, insure your happy with the mechanical condition of it. Replacing tires, brakes, and carb adjustments can turn a "bargain" bike into an investment.