Ebike Hub Motor Vs Mid Drive: Which is the best? The most annoying response: It depends!
Electric bikes are increasingly becoming a generally accepted mode of two-wheeled electric transport for both pleasure cycling and commuting. The two most widespread electric engine styles used in electric bikes today are mid-drive and hub motors.
Electric bikes that have the motor located at the center of the bicycle wheel are known as hub motors. They’re the most common mode of electric bike motors.
Electric bikes that accommodate the motor near the center of the bike and convey its power to the back wheel through the chain drive are known as mid-drive motors. Over the last 2 to 3 years, mid-drive electric bikes have become much more common than hub motors.
Both have a couple of unique benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, selecting a suitable motor for you will largely rely on your needs and what benefits appear more helpful to you. So, hub motor vs. mid drive, which one is suitable for your needs? Keep reading to learn more!
E-Bike Hub Motor
A hub motor is a wide term that defines the type of electric motor that’s in your wheel. It provides power to the bicycle wheel directly. The hub engine is usually located in the back wheel. However, it can be located on front wheels also (albeit not very common).
Usually, the engine is completely contained and doesn’t require any maintenance in the device.
There are two hub engine types: a geared and gearless hub engine. A geared hub engine comprises planetary gears that reduce the motor’s speed to a much lower velocity to drive the wheel.
A gearless hub engine, on the other hand, is connected to the wheel directly. You directly propel it without additional gears. Hub engines don’t use cogwheels, pedals, or chains to operate.
This implies that there won’t be additional strain on your chain or cogwheels. This leads to minimized wear and tear on your drivetrain over time. Generally, it can lessen stress as you’ll be using electric assist along with your pedal power. Additionally, hub engines are best suited for flat terrain.
Advantages of E-bike Hub Motor
1) Front Hub Engines
- They’re light and simple to retrofit onto many available bikes.
- Hub engines are inexpensive as compared to mid drive motors because they can be fitted onto an ordinary bike frame.
- Hub motors work well with gears. It implies that when using a hub engine, there’s no need of pushing if you don’t want to. As a result, these engines assist more than mid-drive motors.
- It’s easy to repair and replace them.
- You can use front hub engines with hub cogwheels, belt-driven bicycles, and derailleur gears.
- They require less maintenance on the drive chain.
- If you retrofit a front hub engine, you don’t have to change gears and the conversion is easy.
2. Rear Hub Engines
- They can be used for retrofitting many bicycles, comprising carbon fiber bikes.
- Generally, rear hub engines are relatively torque, suitable for normal frames, and perform well with derailleur gears.
- On dirt roads, rear hub engines are better than front hub motors.
- They have similar maintenance costs with front hub engines and the drive chain wears less.
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Disadvantages of Front and Rear Hub Motors
- More weight is concentrated in the front and back wheel – A hub motor doesn’t have ideal weight distribution. If you compare mid drive vs. hub motor electric bike, the latter feels quite diverse and heavier. That’s why it’s hard mountain biking.
- It doesn’t have the perfect traction – It happens if the hub motor is on the front wheel. If the hub motor electric bike takes off from a near-vertical gradient, particularly if it’s damp, the wheel can slide.
Therefore, it’s not ideal for mountain biking.
- There’s a probability of breaking spokes – The likelihood of breaking spokes is higher because the wheel is fastened at the middle of the rim with a somewhat hefty motor. The hub and spokes are usually under more pressure. The rider has to lift themselves off the saddle when riding over speed bumps and potholes.
All riders should possess this skill, but on rear hub motors electric bikes, reducing broken spokes and rim fatigue is critical.
- Changing a flat tire is more complicated – On many hub engine electric bike designs, it’s hard to change a flat tire. Removal requires more skill and generally a wrench instead of the fast release wheels.
E-Bike Mid-Drive Motor
A mid-drive motor is an engine that’s located at the center of your bike, in between your pedals. The engine directly joins to a chainring (front gear) and directly propels the chain. It uses your available gears and drivetrain, which can put additional strain on your gears and chain.
Therefore, ensure that you’re using a Shimano chain or a good SRAM. Your chain won’t break even if you ride for long. Mid-drive motors are effective because they use all the available gears on your bike.
This implies that you can maintain the mid-drive in a satisfactory RPM range. Simply ride it just like you would ride your ordinary bike. When cycling uphill, change down to lower cogwheels. If you want to travel faster, go to a higher gear. When stopping, change down the gears.
The best thing about using a mid-drive motor is that you’ll keep a center of gravity at the center of the bike. This implies that it’ll feel exactly what you’d anticipate a bike to handle and feel.
A great advantage of a mid-drive motor is power and torque! As you can use your cogwheels, the engine can spin uphill at a good speed and has sufficient power to take you uphill easily.
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Advantages of E-bike Mid-Drive Motor
Many mid-drive engines need a special frame constructed around the engine. Due to this, the engine is completely encapsulated, which is possibly more aesthetically appealing and best suited for single-track mountain biking.
- A mid-drive engine can be added to a regular bike frame. It’s a benefit as it makes the bike easier to repair, and is much cheaper because no “special” frame is required.
- A mid-drive engine isn’t hefty as compared to the heavier hub motors.
- They’re more effective as they propel the cranks directly. This implies that you’ll cover more distance out of your battery.
- Mid-drive electric bikes are best suited for seasoned cyclists as you need to apply more push to get more torque. Although mid-drive engines are relatively good at low velocity and use minimal power, you’ll have to apply more leg power to achieve the same velocity as an equivalent hub engine.
- A mid-drive motor may be suitable for towing a trailer or for larger cyclists because of the low speed together with the mid-position of the engine.
- It’s easier to change a tire in mid drive electric bikes as you can still have fast release wheels.
- Mid-drive engines are relatively silent.
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Disadvantages of E-bike Mid-Drive Motor
- Mid-drive engines are costly – Generally, the engines and bikes are manufactured in Europe, which explains the high price tag. However, this is changing because some brands are manufacturing engines and mid-drive kits for frame makers.
- They require more effort – To achieve the same performance as a hub engine, mid-drive motors require more effort from the rider. Therefore, if you compare mid drive motor vs. hubmotor, mid-drive engines are suitable for regular riders.
- The chain and cassette wear fast – They can wear quickly unless the rider slows down the pedal stroke to house the hefty loads on the cassette and chain. On some mid-drive engines, the motor turns off when the rider changes gears, but the engine is still engaged while spinning down.
Therefore, the rider should slow down the stroke before changing to lessen clunky and intrusive cogwheel shifting. In other mid-drive motors, such as Shimano e8000 and Brose, this is necessary because there’s no sensor to switch off the engine when changing gears. Therefore, the likelihood of chain and hangar breaking is high, particularly at full power and on a near-vertical gradient, off-road hill climbs.
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Final Verdict on Ebike Hub Motor Vs Mid Drive
Ebike mid-drive vs hub motor: Which is the best? As I said earlier, it depends!
Mid-drive motors have numerous enhancements as compared to hub motor technology. However, they have their unique problems. Hub engines have been there for long and, there’s a reason – they work.
The prime benefits of mid-drive comprise lower weight and enhanced cogwheel usage, making them more suitable for cross-country and hilly terrain.
On the other hand, hub engines are somewhat bulletproof and require less maintenance and, therefore, they’re best suited for commuters and people who need a simple, dependable electric bike that requires little or no maintenance.
Nonetheless, numerous off-roaders love the dependability and power of hub engines, and many commuters choose light, inconspicuous, and stealthy mid-drive engines. It relies on which features suit you best.
At the end of it all, the best electric bike is the one you have. Therefore, go out there and cycle!
What kind of electric bike do you have? Mid drive vs. hub motor: Which one do you prefer purchasing