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I'd suggest #42037 Formula Off-roader or #42040 Fire Plane as good places to start. They have more of the 'Technic' functionality than some of the pocket money sets like the Cherry Picker, but they're not crazy complicated / expensive like the Merc Arocs or Volvo Wheel Loader.
Whatever you choose, have fun!
Check out the UCS Slave 1, Sandcrawler, Tumbler and probably others. So Technic is becoming more mainstream.
For example, recently I built the #9392 Quad Bike from a few years back. It'll sit on the palm of your hand, and function-wise, it's not exactly laden down. However, it gave me a perfect understanding of dual wishbone suspension, which I hadn't fully understood before. It didn't take long to build, but I really enjoyed it.
Last week I built the new flagship, the #42043 Mercedes-Benz truck. That's got everything but the kitchen sink. Power functions, pneumatics, active suspension, working in-line 6 cylinder engine, tilting cab and so on and so on.
I enjoyed that too.
What I would say, is that if you're after an appreciation of how Technic works, then starting with something like that is a mind scrambler. I'm no Technic expert, and building the massive gearbox, which drives any number of functions off a single motor, didn't enhance my knowledge of gearboxes, it simply made me think 'How on earth does anyone design that?'. Whereas with the smaller sets, it's understandable. Manageable. You get what's going on.
Don't let me put you off. If you want to go and drop £150+ on a huge set - do. Chances are you'll love it.
But try a couple of small ones too!
However, the largest Technic sets definitely offer the most rewarding building experience, in my opinion. Building them is time-consuming, but you get a lot of functionality out of it in the end. The larger sets are basically the only Technic sets my family gets anymore (but to be fair, I get my smaller Technic building fix from Bionicle and Hero Factory sets, which are generally a lot simpler). As such, even if it would be better starting with a smaller Technic set, I'd have no idea which currently available set to recommend! I certainly doubt any of the smallest and most affordable sets like pull-back vehicles would give you a real, genuine taste of the kind of complexity you could expect in a larger set.
I dunno, maybe a more dedicated Technic collector can offer you some better advice. Personally, I think the motorcycle could be a good buy if you're just starting out. Decent price, good display presence, nice functions. One warning is that unlike the Volvo, it's probably a set that won't look as good without the stickers. But Technic stickers usually aren't too difficult to apply from my experience, especially if you have experience applying stickers from other themes and have a general idea of how to center them. And as with the build, it's good practice.
I picked it up for £139.99 (£40 off) CLICK HERE!
I was also new to Technic until recently.
I just made a huge leap of faith into the Arocs, and I loved it.
It was my longest build so far, but it was enjoyable.
I'm sure other people are right with their suggestions of starting with a smaller kit.
But, I'm a bit of an impulse buyer. Saw it, wanted it, got it.
When I saw the Volvo on sale, that was just an excuse to myself to buy it!
I'm yet to build it, but I can't wait to get started!