Chi - welcome to the forum. Here are a couple of thoughts.
There is no such thing as a free bike. Any bike you get for free, usually has a good reason behind it being "free", like requiring a ton of hours and loads of money in unobtainable (or at least not easily obtainable) parts that will make you be on first name basis with all the junkyard/used parts dealers in a 500 mile radius and everybody selling used parts on e-Bay. I have a friend that owns a salvage parts business. If you want to hear him rant, ask him about the guys that come in looking for parts for their "free" bikes. I'm not saying you can't get lucky and have it be only $500 in parts. But realistically, you should plan for $1500 or more if it's not running when you take over ownership. How good a mechanic are you? If the bike has to go to a shop, simply forget about it. It's going to cost you $70/hr of some guy guessing what could be wrong with the bike for hours. It adds up very quickly.
I agree with those that said a beater bike is ideal to start with, but not a big, heavy and non-running beater bike. Ideally, you'll find a cheap Ninja 250/500, Suzuki GS500 or some other relatively lightweight, short, simple to operate and maintain motorcycle that you can really learn to ride on without worrying too much about the financial consequences of dropping it. Once you master the basics of motorcycle riding, you'll be able to ride anything and the experience may give you a better indication of what type of riding you are more drawn to (as opposed to what appeals to you now from looking at pictures and imagining what it might be like).
The Versys is indeed a great bike. It could also make a reasonable learning bike, but I don't think it's the best bike to learn on, even if you are wealthy enough to not care if you trash it making noob mistakes in parking lots.
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