What do you mean by mid-level guy? While the 500 is a nice bike, I try not to recommend anything less than a 600 because it's very easy to outgrow the 500. How experienced are you? If you are new, then the 500 will be best. If you've ridden before, then I'd go with a 600. Something like the Honda F4i or ZX6R. With the F4i, you will probably want to get both stock seats replaced or reupholstered, as they are basically planks and pretty uncomfortable. But it is one hell of a solid bike, and Hondas are known to be bulletproof.