If you are interested in purchasing an ebike and researching the options, you probably discovered there are two types of motors on modern ebikes: the hub and the mid drive. Besides your budget, where the motor is located is the biggest decision you will have to make. While both options will provide you with assistance when you pedal, there are big differences in the technology and it is helpful to understand what these are before you commit.
A Hub motor is placed on the center or hub of the rear wheel, although placing the motor on the hub of the front wheel is also possible. The motor provides propulsion by spinning the tire on which it is mounted. The motor has no impact on the main pedal drive system.
There are two types of hub motors. Geared hub motors have internal planetary gears to reduce the speed of the higher RPM motor. The gears are a point of weakness since a tooth can break off and the reinforced nylon gears will eventually strip.
Gearless have no gearing and directly connect the lower RPM motor stator’s axle to the bike. There are no moving parts aside from their bearings so nothing to wear out.
Pros for Hub Drive
Cons for Hub Drive
A mid drive motor is located in the middle of the bike in between the pedals at the bike’s bottom bracket and is designed to drive the cranks or pedals and transfer the motor’s power to the rear wheel via the chain drive. Advancements in mid-drive motor technology is resulting in smaller, lighter, and quieter ebikes.
Pros for Mid Drive
Cons for Mid Drive
So which is best? There are advantages and disadvantages of each based on cost, weight, gear usage, and reliability. So unless you have some unique requirements for each of these key attributes, just make your selection and get outside and enjoy your ride!
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories