I'm new to this community and to motorcycles in general. I completed the MSF course a couple weeks ago and got my license on Tuesday. I live in San Francisco, so I'm planning on getting my first bike through craigslist - there's quite a lot listed. However, now I'm getting paranoid about getting ripped off. Would it be worth it to go through a used dealer instead? They're more expensive, but at least I'll know my bike will be in good shape. I dont want to spend too much on my first bike, especially since I'll probably be upgrading in a year or so, but it might be worth it. Should I just take it to a mechanic to look it over before I commit to buying it?
And if I do go through craigslist, how will that work? What specific questions should I ask to begin with? Will they let me test drive it (especially since I'm an obvious newbie - I still have the paper temporary version of a license until I get it in the mail)? What should I be looking for? Would the potential seller go with me to a mechanic to look it over? Or do I buy it first and then take it to a mechanic? Is it realistic to expect to pay with a check or should I bring cash?
Insurance: What's worth investing in? Collision? Comprehensive? Neither? Both? Any company recommendations?