i think youd be better suited with a used cruiser- 750cc or smaller. something like a mid 80’s honda magna, or the later honda spirit shadow (or is it the ace…i dont remember). these bikes are quality bikes, reliable, and if something needs to be repaired, its not going to hit you as hard as some other bikes b/c the parts are available and not too expensive.
for sport bikes, if thats the way you want to go, id say look for an older 250 or 500 kawasaki ninja. like early 90’s. the 250 would really be ideal. you have to remember about sportbikes is that although you might be dealing with a smaller engine, in terms of cc’s- youve also got a much lighter bike than a cruiser.
the power-to-weight ratio is much higher. easiest example is this: take a current stock harley- 96 cubic inches/~1600cc. compare that to a honda/kawa/suzuki/yamaha 600cc sportbike–> the speed of the sportbike will definitely trump that of the harley, even though the harley’s engine is almost triple the size of the sportbike.
my point here is to not shy away from a 250cc ninja because it is “only” 250cc. to the same effect, the 250cc ninja wont stand a chance against the current 600cc ninja, but itll prepare you for that 600cc sportbike, if thats the route you decide to go.
having said that about the sportbikes, i will offer two different views on the current bikes. ill be buying a new bike soon, have been set on a harley for quite some time. i sat on honda’s new cbr600rr and loved the way it felt.
i compared it to the other 600cc sportbikes made by kawasaki, yamaha, and suzuki. the yamaha and kawa were uncomfortable just sitting on them in the showroom. the suzuki was comfortable, but not as much as the honda. i am 5’9". for 2 out of 4 of those bikes, the seats were very uncomfortable, and my toes were barely touching the ground.
the suzuki was a little better in the seat, still didnt have feet flat on the ground. honda felt great in the seat, feet were close enough to flat on the ground- i ride, so i know that they were close enough that id definitey have control. i think for a lot of sportbikes, your height will be a factor.
once you hit about 5’9"-10" youll be able to ride just about anything. even at your height, people ride certain bikes, but i feel like they are asking for trouble, as their toes barely touch the ground.
i have a '77 honda cb750 supersport. this is certainly not the first bike ive ridden, but the first ive owned. i have had a blast on it since last july. old bikes like this can be rickety, but they can also be quite fun.
not to mention cheap, if you know what youre doing. old bikes like this, maybe a honda cb450-500, yamaha xs650, kawasaki kx400, etc…if they are in good condition, would be wise choices for a first bike. id rate these as second choice- the honda magna, spirit, etc as first choice.