The suspension on the redesigned 2008 KLR650 is much stiffer. It may not react the same way. Either way I’ve heard that the KLR650 even though it is a 650 is a decent beginner bike. Because it is a thumper (single cylinder) and a dual sport it doesn’t have the power of a sport bike. The only issues seem to be that it is much heavier than the smaller bikes, and more importantly, that it is extremely tall and even a tall beginner would want to purchase lowering links and the shorter side stand and have it lowered.
The F650GS is a great bike. Much better looking than the KLR650. Doesn’t handle quite as well off-road (although the 2008 is more road oriented also). Finding parts for it will be more difficult and more expensive than the KLR. We only have one place here to get BMW service but 3 that do factory work on Kaws [and a lot of small shops that I bet would work on any Japanese bike but wouldn’t touch a BMW.. any place is going to charge a fortune if they do though]. The new F800GS makes me drool. If you could find a used F650GS with antilock brakes and were planning on doing mostly road riding it might be worth it. My friend loves his. He rides primarily on the interstate in Georgia where the ABS is much needed.
If I had the money I think my bike would be the 2008 KLR650… but since I’m a bit short on $$ and worried about dumping a brand new bike I think I’ll end up with a used TW200 (some people hate the look.. I love the fat tires like I love a plump woman!) or an XT225, or whatever small dual sport I can find at a good price used (DR200SE, KLR250, an old Honda NX250 etc.)