How do you choose the best motor?
The debate rages on about which type of motor is best for eBikes. However, the best advice is that they will both turn your bike into a great eBike, and each has pros and cons. What may suit your style of riding may not suit another. Also, not all motors are created equally. Beware of bargain basement eBay offers – we spend a lot of time helping customers who bought poor quality motors and after a year, need to replace them.
- Gear Ratio – you are powering the rear wheel via the normal bike gears, so you can select a low gear for steep hills. A mid drive motor of the same size as a hub drive can climb steeper hills, and won’t be as prone to overheating.
- Mid drive motors are much smaller and lighter.
- Changing tyres is much faster. If you have a hub motor, you have wires and the wheel’s weight to deal with.
- Mid drive motors dump all of that power through your normal chain and drive system. They can wear them out rapidly, and cheap chains can just snap.
- Mid drive motors have more parts to fail, so tend to be a little less reliable.
- Mid drive motors tend to be more expensive.
- Shifting gear under power can’t be done There is simply too much torque through the drive system.
Hub motors don’t suffer from the same wear problems as mid drives, but they are generally less efficient, and heavier. What’s more, that weight is not mounted centrally – it’s right over the front or rear of your bike. As the drive is direct to the wheel, without going the drive chain, you loose the wear and tear, but also loose the efficiency of having the power go through your gears. They are effectively single gear motors. Want to climb a steep hill with a hub motor, or have some low down torque for off roading? Not going to happen with a hub motor.
The hub motor generally comes already incorporated into a wheel, and often, this isn’t the best quality wheel! You may find in addition, changing an inner tube is more work. You have all of the wiring to consider, added to the increased weight of the wheel.
Rear wheel vs front wheel
- Better traction than front wheel hub motors.
- The frame mounting is stronger than the front forks, so tends to cause less issues.
- Rear wheel tyres often get less punctures than front wheel ones.
- Rear wheel hub motors cope better with larger (more than 500W) motors than front wheel hub motors.
- The front wheel hub motor helps to balance out all of the weight that the rear wheel is subjected to.
- They tend to be a little cheaper and easier to fit than rear wheel hub motors.