I had a 1000DS (Ducati) for about two months before I bought an SV650. The Duc was my first bike, but multiple mechanical issues made it a lemmon law case .. which I easily won.
So my SV is almost my first bike, and i love it!!!
It has enough power/speed to ride along with most 4Cy-600 (if you are not going straight line) and is easily "thrown" around in the curves. Good breaks and so-so suspenssion, but since I am not a "hard" rider I'm ok with it.
I have not gotten scared yet. The bike is fast, but the power never kicks in to fast or abruptly. In brief, a great bike.
You may want a 500, but after the break in period (which also serves as the learning period for a new rider) you should be able to ride it a SV without getting in trouble. A 500 is great, but within six months you will be thinking about a bigger one ... and unless you have extra money for a trade ....