Welcome to the party, GTEye. I'll be glad to make a few suggestions. As far as a bike goes, since you want a Kaw, I can tell you're a person of discerning taste, and refinement. I would suggest you look at a first-model ZX6. It will be a little more expensive than the bikes you mentioned, but it has a lot more power, and 17" wheels front and back, as well as more modern suspension. The 17" wheels will carry all of the latest & greatest tires, and there is a big technology gapo between the bikes you mentioned and the zx6, more of a gap than that between the zx6 and the newest models. You'll be happier with it longer, and it's known for being a roomy, comfortable bike, which might fit your height better than some others.
As for the gear, I strongly suggest that you get a full set of leathers. Since you will be just starting, there is a good possibility that you may fall. Even a slow-speed getoff can skin you up pretty good, and a set of leathers can mean the difference between no injury and skin grafts.
If money is an object, there are several sources of used leathers that you can get for around 200 dollars.
For tuning & modifying, this is a good place to start. Check out Muzzy's site, as well as some of the other performance companies. Buy motorcycle magazines. They are among the best sources of technical info there are.
Gotta go, hope this helps with your decision. Let us know what you do