I answered the reliabilty question in the suzuki forum, so i'll offer my first biek opinion here.
Are you the only rider?? By that I mean are you planning on taking a passenger?? IF so, how frequently?? I went from my VFR to the Gixxer knowing that I wouldn't carry a passenger often. Granted my g/f goes out maybe once a month, but that's rare enough.
The SV650 is a good choice for a starter, if you have to look sporty, get the SV650s I've been eyeing that bike since it came out.
The 7 has capabilities beyond most of our dreams. Although it is well beyond a newbie's skill, it can also build confidence very quickly. One track day and I learned more about braking than I had developed in three years. Had the back end skipping off the ground with confidence. Would you try that on a Kawi 500?? Maybe, but probably not.
With that said, if you buy the 7, always remind your self that the limits are yours, not the bikes. Get in above your head? remember the bike is right at home. Confronted with a new situation? Relax and remember what you're riding. Might save your life to know that the bike is ready for anything....
Now if I could just remind myself, that my 1000 isn't trying to throw me off
Good Luck Shiny Side Up