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If your wife is tall enough, why not consider some type of dual sport? Really, I don't know why more people don't start out on dual sports. Yeah, they're ugly, but there's a certain beauty in that. If you drop a dual sport, as long as it still functions, a few scratches or dings don't make it look any worse. I started out on an EX500 then upraded to a Triumph Sprint ST, which I still have. Last year, I got a used KLR650 for pocket change and have loved every minute of it. I ride it as often, if not more than, the Triumph. And there's been practically no limit to where I ride it, too. From the interstate to forest trails to a motocross track (a bit of an ask, but do-able for an idiot like me). If your wife wouldn't find the size of the KLR intimidating, it's really a decent bike to start on and one that could keep her happy for years. If it's too big, there are some smaller dual sports that would share many of the positive qualities of the KLR.
 
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