Trail bikes. A lightweight, off-road bike can make a great first project. You don’t have to worry about your state’s department of motor vehicles roadworthiness requirements, you don’t have to worry about the 12 V electrical supply for the horn and lights; and it really doesn’t matter how pretty it is. You can use a small battery pack, since you’re probably not going far. Here, “range anxiety”—worrying about getting stranded—isn’t as much of an issue. You can even design the bike with quick-swap batteries and the components can be low-power and inexpensive.
Small street bikes. A bike that started off in the 250 to 500 cc range is a great size for a starter project. The components don’t need to be overly powerful and because of low weight, the battery capacity doesn’t have to be enormous to get decent performance. The Kawasaki Ninja 250 has a great, open-bottom frame, and the older Honda Interceptors, with their large, boxy frames, can accommodate lots of batteries—and both are pretty easy to find.
Heavy sport bikes. Larger sport bikes are at the top end of the performance scale, but need a lot of battery capacity to pull the chassis weight and larger motors. A worthy target for an experienced builder, a large sport bike is probably not best for the novice, if for no other reason than AC motor and battery expense.