Is a crap old bike a good leaner bike?

I've been debating about getting a bike for a little while now, but will something from the 70's do me good or harm?

Long story short I'm a designer that doesn't know the product he's designing. There have been many times this year where I said: "Oh, if I rode I would of known that". It also doesn't hurt that bikes I like are cheap. But I have a few questions for those that care/know.


Is a 500 too big for a first bike? Does it really even matter, cant I just not rev it out while learning?

Should BMW's be avoided? Aka are Japanese bikes more reliable?

Is 70+mpg real world?

And here are some things I like:

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