Best motorcycles for beginner women?

I'm 20 years old, 5' 6.5", and weigh 132 lbs. I'm taking my MSF course next week and am looking into buying a bike as soon as possible. I'm from the Bay Area, CA and would mostly be riding to commute to school on the freeway, as well as going for drives through the mountains. I was wondering... show more I'm 20 years old, 5' 6.5", and weigh 132 lbs. I'm taking my MSF course next week and am looking into buying a bike as soon as possible. I'm from the Bay Area, CA and would mostly be riding to commute to school on the freeway, as well as going for drives through the mountains. I was wondering what kind of bikes one might recommend for me
My friend (who's 22 years old, 5' 1", 100 lbs) recently got a 2007 Ninja 250 and after having it for 2 months she told me she wishes she got a bigger bike
Basically, I want a bike that I will be happy with for at least a year and will be able to comfortably ride with a passenger without having the performance of the bike being thrown off (as I've heard can happen with a 250). I'm also looking for performance and speed. I'm not trying to do any street racing by any means, but I do want to have a bit of fun with my new toy when it's appropriate. Plus, I want to be able to keep up with my friends when we go for group rides

Any insight would be great, thanks!
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