I just got a 650R this past weekend and have been having a blast on her. I wouldn’t consider myself a completely new rider as I rode bikes as a teenager. The MSF course was absolutely fantastic for refreshing me and restoring confidence in my riding ability.
I still consider myself a “new” rider though as the bike I rode as a kid was a 125cc – very different than a 500 or 650. I’m definitely taking it easy and gradually getting to know the bike, her abilities and more importantly my own!
I think the 650R is a great bike – very easy to balance, super responsive without feeling “overpowered”. I hit 4K rpm (max rpm during break-in period) pretty quickly when shifting and haven’t felt once like she was getting away from me.
Good luck in choosing your bike, but I definitely think the 650R is a great bike.