Yamaha FZ600 (1988) [1.5 years]: First bike....great bike to start on as I fell twice due to my own inexperience....was able to fix it up myself on the cheap.
2 year gap when I moved to the UK
Suzuki SV650S (2004) [1 year]: First UK bike...cheap, wicked V-twin fun, and insurance over there is strict so they wouldn't even entertain an offer for an R bike of any capacity
Kawasaki ZX6R (2005) [2 years]: Huge step up from previous bikes...dreamed of the 1L...finally I proved myself to the insurance companies with the 6R and no accident record in the UK
Kawasaki ZX10R (2006) [1.5 years]: Not as huge a leap from the 6R as the 6R was from the non-R 600s. Also noticed lack of agility and some loss of urban fun factor...but I still fell in love with the L big boy!
Left UK to Toronto
Kawasaki ZX10R (2009): Insurance was kind to me on my return after 7 years away. Considered to have no no claims record, and brand new licence. Even still much kinder on me that the UK insurers ever were. After seeing all the squids and teens jumping on 1L straight out of the licencing office I am in agreement with UK insurers making you earn your 1L!!!!
For me earning my 1L was appropriate and I enjoyed the process. These can be seriously dangerous and expensive machines, and there is no rush! In the UK the average 1L rider is well into their 30s. I also had never ever ever met anyone under 28 with any R bike (600, 750, 1000). The insurers really make having a 1L a serious badge of honour!
In North America any douche bag squid can be posing on a 1L in their teens completely oblivious to the responsibility and power they have on tap.