Gah, stupid IE lost my post…
I have ridden the F650GS, same engine as the F800ST but detuned. You can find my thoughts on it in this forum. My Dad rode the F800ST. It is NOT a beginner friendly bike. I don’t care what anyone else says. It has a lot of power, the brakes take a very light touch, and it totally belays the speed you are going. You can cruise at a 100mph without noticing. Not god for riders still learning to judge speeds coming into corners. Great bike, awesome SECOND bike. Not a good starting bike.
Ducati and Sportster both have threads on here.
Sportster costs more to buy, repair, and insure than a 600/650 cruiser, with similar performance and handling. LOADS of personality. Good starting bike if you want it and money is not a concern.
Ducati is as good as a 650 twin (SV650, Ninja650R). But costs more to buy, much more to repair, and requires more frequent maintenance. Not really an ideal starter bike.
My 2 cents