Originally Posted by eaglefrq
Unfortunately, that is all to common. It seems like motorcycle dealerships are more than willing to sell the big heavy cruisers and sport bikes to brand new riders who obviously can't handle them.
On the flip side, I have seen (rarely) a salesman try and talk someone out of a certain bike and the person is adamant and won't accept the advice of the dealer.
If you know someone that is knowledgeable about bikes, I would check craigslist and have your friend go with you to look at them.
It's always a balancing act - I sold motorcycles while I was in college and also rode them competitively during that period. I would always try to sell a person who was new to motorcycling as large a bike as I though they could handle, just so they wouldn't quickly outgrow a smaller motorcycle.