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Hub-Drive or Mid-Drive motor? What to know before buying an eBike!

Updated: Sep 13, 2021


If you are thinking on buying an e-bike, you probably already made yourself the same question: which motor is better?


E-bike motors are complex electric systems but we can break them down into three important specifications: position, power, and torque. Newer e-bikes should have a motor either in the rear wheel (hub-drive) or mid-drive where the motor is in the crank- pedals.


The different motors will make an e-bike feel different to ride so make sure you try both to see what you prefer.


Hub-Drive Motor

Rear-wheel drive motors are simpler technology and therefore a good option for entry-level bikes and new rear-drive bikes will also be torque sensing.


Advantages

- Little or no maintenance.

- Chain will probably last longer than a non-electric bike because the hub motor will be doing more work, allowing the chain to often sit idle.

- Since the hub motor and the pedal drive system are completely independent, you can lose one and still get home on the other.

- Hub motor somehow fails? Pedal back. Either way, you’ve got a backup.

- They are much cheaper than mid-drives.


Disadvantages

- Almost all hub motors only allow a single gear ratio.

- They are usually heavier than mid-drives.

- Hub drives can be more limiting when it comes to wheel components such as rims, tires, and cassettes.

- Tire changing is also more difficult with hub motors since you must often disconnect the motor wire or wrestle a heavy wheel around while it’s still tethered to the bike.



Mid-Drive Motor

While a mid-drive e-bike has the motor positioned directly in between the pedals at the back bottom bracket, this ensures a low and central center of gravity, providing load balancing and creating the feeling of riding a traditional bike.


Mid-drive technology is relatively new but each brand has taken different directions of what the import parts are, some brands like Dapu have focused more on raw speed and torque whereas bosch has tried to really focus on the smoothness and ride feel of the motor. These differences will change how the bike rides


Advantages

- Nicer rides and higher torque.

- The drive motor power going through the gear set increases efficiency.

- It will be measuring how hard your pedaling (torque sensing) then adding the assist amount on that is what makes them feel so smooth. And less intrusive in their power delivery.

- A mid-drive motor in low gear can climb steeper hills than a hub motor of similar power and can climb hills for longer than a hub motor.

- A mid-drive motor is also usually smaller and lighter than a hub motor of similar power.

- Changing a tire on a mid-drive motor e-bike is much easier.


Disadvantages

- Mid-drive motors can be brutal on your drive system, which is perhaps their single biggest flaw.

- If the motor does fail, and it’s a motor that is built directly into the frame of the bicycle, it can be more expensive to replace than just swapping out a hub motor.

- You can’t shift unless the bicycle is moving.

- There’s too much torque in an electric motor, and the extra stress can easily break the chain when it is between cogs.



Which one should you buy?

Of course, the answer will depend on each person interests and what will you use the bike for:


If you’re looking for peak performance responsiveness that gives a similar feel to a pedal bike, mid-drive motors will be the better choice for you.


If you don’t need the highest levels of performance – such as city cyclists – but still want the helping hand of a motor, a hub-drive eBike will be a great option.


The most important thing is doing a test drive and see which bike makes you feel more comfortable and fulfill your requirements.


If you have any questions give us a call and we will be happy to help :)


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