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Hub Drive VS Mid Drive E-Bike Motor Systems

Views: 138     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-10-25      Origin: Site


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If you're looking to buy an electric bike, one of the most important decisions you'll have to make is choosing the right motor system. Almost all of the most common e-bikes on the market today use either the hub drive e-bike motor system or the mid drive e-bike system, both of which have their pros and cons. So in this article we're going to talk about mid-drives vs hub-drives!

Difference between hub-drive and mid-drive

So first things, what's the difference between the two? A hub-drive is an electric bike motor that is right in the middle of the hub, or in the middle of the wheel. Now that motor gets a little bit of juice from the controller and then the motor starts to turn and then through the spokes onto the tire, and the entire bike gets moving. That's a hub-drive!

Now a mid-drive on the other hand is an electric bike motor that (instead of in the back or the front of the bike) it's right in the middle. Usually this means that it's in-between the pedals. So like, there's the pedals, there's the cranks and that's where the motor would be. That's the difference between the two.


Pros of hub-drive e-bike motor system

1. Cheap

Let's focus on just one for now which is the hub-drive and we're going to start with the Pros. Now first up, hub-drives are cheap. From a manufacturing standpoint they can be attached to a variety of different frames with just a few minor tweaks. So the designer has a lot of room to work with the rest of the bike. Hub-drives have been manufactured on a large scale for quite some years. So there's a lot of option for low to high power options, wheel size, all sorts of stuff. If you want to build you own electric bike, then a hub-drive is an excellent way to start.

2. Peppy

Another thing about hub-drives is that they're actually very peppy. Here in the states, usually a hub-drive bike will have a throttle that expressly engages the motor without pedaling, and then off it goes. Like a rear wheel drive car a hub-drive in the back of the bike has this pushing effect, almost like rocket propulsion. And it's a lot of fun.

3. No chain need to be operated

Now another thing is that hub-drives don't need a chain to operate. If the chain breaks, or more likely if the rider is tired, then you can engage the the throttle and the motor without having to use the pedals at all (because you don't really need the chain), and then the rider can get home to safety without being stranded.

So this is actually the main reason why we recommend a hub-drive for folks using an electric bike for serious rehabilitation, it's a pretty good plus.

Cons of hub-drive e-bike motor system

1. Difficult to remove

So let's talk about some of the cons of the hub-drive, because they do have some. Now the hub-motor is the weight on the front or back wheel. Yes, those wheels can be difficult to remove from the bicycle. It's not super complicated, usually just washers and a plug, but it can be very overwhelming and if it's not on there right then the entire bike just feels really weird. If you switch out tires often, then a hub drive can really be a drag.

2. Disrupting the balance

Another sizable issue is that putting the motor weight either on the front or the back of the bike away from the rider has a pretty big impact on front to back balance. So, it's not really a big deal if you plan on riding on the road or pretty casual, but when you get off-road into the trails it makes a big difference to have that weight bulking you back or kind of pulling you forward. So if you intend on riding off road trails, then you should intend on looking into a mid-drive electric bike. 


Pros of mid-drive e-bike motor system

1. Newest innovation

Speaking of mid-drives, let's talk about pros that a mid-drive has. Mid-drives are the newest innovation to really take hold of the electric bike market. A few years ago a professionally made mid-drive electric bike wasn't easy to find. But now, almost everyone has their hat in the ring: Bosch, Shimano, Yamaha to name a few. Surprisingly electric bike batteries haven't changed too much in the last few years, but the motors have. If you want the latest and greatest, then a mid-drive is in your future.

2. Natural

Mid-drives are also much more natural of a biking movement. With a hub-drive on the other hand when you twist the throttle (or depending on how the pedal assist is actuated) it can feel like a scooter, or a dirt bike. But with a mid-drive (most of them don't have throttles) and so when you get on and you pedal (you have to pedal by the way) it has this very experience. You know, you go a lot farther, a lot faster, you get to see a lot more of what you're going after. The real thrill of cycling all comes back to you. It has the very built-in reward system to it. It's really a lot of fun.

3. Balance

Mid-drives also have superior balance, and that's just true. Having the system smack-dab in the middle is really nice for off-road trails for knarly riding and especially downhill. The mid-drive can feel like a mountain goat; leaping up to precarious heights that seem impossible in some ways. But the hub-drive (depending on how powerful it is) it can feel kind of like a moose that sort of skattering up almost pushing the hill out of way.

Cons of mid-drive e-bike motor system

1. Custom frame required

Mid-drives aren't all fun and games though. Well they are, but let's talk about a couple of Cons. The first is that a mid-drive motor (because it fits right inside the bike frame) has to have a bicycle frame literally designed around it. Now because of that sometimes mid-drive bikes can have a higher price tag. This hasn't really been the case, it's been kind of dying down the last little while we've noticed that because we've seen other electric bikes come out riding the coat-tails of the previous one, designs are being used from one company to another. So honestly, this isn't as big of an issue as it was a couple of years ago. But it's still something to look out for; if you see a really expensive mid-drive electric bike that could be one reason.

2. Stress on the chain

But the big issue facing mid-drive bikes is actually stress on the chain. On a regular mountain bike when you're climbing up a really steep hill: you stand on the pedals and put a lot of stress on that front cog, and therefore stress on the chain, and that's all fine and good. That's what bikes are made to do. And that's the parts that exist in the market right now. When you add a motor into the equation, suddenly things get a little bit risky. When you're standing on the pedals putting a lot of stress on it, and you have the added stress from the motor putting torque on that front cog the chain has too much, and the chain will break. That has happened to us, on mountain bikes, but only mid drive mountain bikes. There are a few mitigators that are coming out into the market. Also, they're stronger chains coming into the market from the regular bicycle manufacturing world. So as time goes on this will not be as big of an issue for steep climbing but right now if you plan on climbing a really steep hill, there is a very good chance that your mid-drive mountain bike will snap a chain.

Which e-bike motor system is better?

Alright, so who's the winner between hub-drives and mid-drives? Well, it's you the customer, because you can decide which one best suits your needs and that is why we're here, so we can help you make that decision. Right now, neither one of them completely overlaps the other in all of their uses, so there's still a lot of options to choose from. So which e-bike motor system do you prefer? Please leave a message and tell us.

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