My take? Having owned a Versys previously, which is essentially a jacked-up version of the Ninja 650R, I found the power to be excellent for quick blasts but I also found the bike's power to be quite manageable.
The 650R also uses handlebars instead of clip ons, which means you'll be sitting more upright and you'll have less pressure on your wrists while you're riding.
Also, the 650R will typically deliver around 48 - 50 mpg, pretty important for a bike that will be a daily rider, in my humble opinion.
Last but not least will be the bike's insurance rating. The 650R will typically be less on insurance than the F4i.
I had a 650r (just like my pic), and even added a ~2" riser. It was essentially a standard type motorcycle then, remniscent of the old 70s jap bikes, but with modern styling. They also have a number of different bags, windshields, ohlns shocks, auto chain oilers, and other accessories available to make it one very capable sport touring bike.
If you're going to race it, go for the Honda... but it sounds like a daily bike with some fun trips in mind as well.
If I were you... go with a 650r. They'll putter along at 3000rpm with a light load (140 lb rider on flat, or slight incline), but the power starts to pick up at 3500rpm, and between 5500 and 9k it's pure fun! Mine stopped pulling at about 9k, so that's when I shifted, rather than the 11k redline.
With a jardine pipe they sound MEAN. Youtube it. It's not me in those videos, just what I wanted for it, but ended up trading it in for something more comfortable for the lady.
I agree with ozyran440 on this. Basically, you need to ask yourself "What do I expect from a bike?". I have had a 2006 650R for almost 3 years now, and love it. Here's why: Upright seating position so it's more comfy, fuel economy (I get 50-70 almost all the time when I'm not riding hard in curves), plenty of power for me but not too much that I get in trouble, fully faired, looks good, sounds pretty good I guess, and performs very well in all situations. That CBR600 is a serious bike IMO, so if you have the need for speed, and maybe drag some knees, then go with the CBR600. You're going to like either bike I think, but the 650R should give you all the bike you need for a year or two IMO. Good luck and ride safe.
I just got a 650R after about 2 months of consideration. comfort and midrange torque were my main requirements and the 650 delivers on that. As far as price my guess is that you can do better, but its depends on your mkt area. GL!
As nice as the ZZR is, I wouldn't recommend it for anyone's first bike. It's basically a re-dressed ZX6R, which is no beginner's bike IMO. A 650R is the most powerful bike I'd ever recommend for a first bike, and because it's actually quite docile for it's engine size, I think it'd be better for you. It's a fantastic all-around bike and I can promise you won't get bored anytime soon. Don't let the upright seating position fool you. When asked, it'll get up and move with the big boys - but in a more predictable manner. More power down low in the rpm range makes it a great in-town bike, and great highway power to get around that slow-moving semi without downshifting. I loved mine and would recommend it to anyone.
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