kawi jm, yes these bikes are 2-stroke. I have test ride the bikes, and (maybe because I am such a newbie) they both have enough grunt for me, albeit at a high rpm. This is actually what I wanted from my first bike, so that when I accidentally twist the throttle at the wrong time I wouldn't be in a deep sheep. Both have 30 horses to play with in a 270lb bike.
The SV650 has received great praises and recommendation from a lot of people. I would really love to get my hands on one, but in my area the taxes for 500cc or larger bikes are much more expensive, placing the SV or other more exciting bikes way out of my budget.
Vector, thanks for recommending the 250cc bike. Over here the most popular 250cc sport bike is the Aprilia RS 250 (unfortunately, V2, 2 cycle), with 70 horses on a 320lb frame it should be more than enough for me to play around for some time. Maybe I should also have a look on them. They were not on my list because they are no longer available brand new (last one was 2002). Since I don't know anything about bikes (yet) I want the peace of mind of buying fully warranted brand new bike. But, who knows? As for the Rebel, I really do not want to spend money on a cruiser bike.
Smitty, thanks for the input. As I have stated above, the 500cc or larger is out of my budget. If I wanted to practice sport riding (which would include some track time) wouldn't it be better to have a riding position that is leaning forward as on a sport bike? Or am I a victim of the newbie syndrome of wanting more looks than go?