One of the main components of an e-bike is the motor. Still, it can be placed in different positions by different manufacturers. Although it seems like an insignificant detail, this is not the case. Riders can feel the difference when riding hub motor e-bikes or another type.
A hub motor eBike is a type of electric bicycle that uses an electric motor built into the center of one of its wheels. The motor assists the rider while pedaling. In addition, the hub motor attaches to a rechargeable battery, typically mounted on the bike’s frame.
Below you will find all the pros and cons of hub motor e-bikes and other types.
In how many places can the e-bike motor be placed?
Typically, electric bike motors can mount in three prominent locations on the bike: the wheel’s hub or near the bottom bracket (where the pedals are located):
- Hub motor: As the name suggests, a hub motor mounts in the center of a wheel, usually the front or rear. The motor is integrated into the hub and provides power directly to the wheel.
- Mid-drive motor: The motor sits near the bike’s bottom bracket, in the center of the bike frame. The motor is connected to the chain and pedals and provides power directly to the chain.
- Scrubber motor: This type of motor applies power to the tire, via a wheel. Often called a friction motor. Think of it as a rubber wheel sitting on top of the bike tire turning the bike wheel.
There are also some rare cases where motors go in other locations, such as on the frame, but these are less common and less popular.
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What are the advantages of hub motors?
If you need to decide between a hub motor e-bike and a mid-drive motor e-bike, then you should know the pros and cons of each. This way, you can determine which suits your riding needs best.
Hub motors have several advantages compared to other types of electric bike motors, including:
Hub motors are a simple solution for adding electric assistance to a bike, as all components reside within the wheel’s hub. It makes them relatively low maintenance and easy to install and use.
2. Direct power delivery
Hub motors deliver power directly to the wheel, resulting in a smooth and consistent ride, especially at lower speeds.
Hub motors can be retrofitted to almost any bike, making them a convenient option for people who want to add electric assistance to their existing bike.
Hub motors are typically less expensive than mid-drive motors, which can make them a more affordable option for some riders.
Hub motors are typically quieter and less noticeable than mid-drive motors, making them a good option for people who want to maintain the appearance of a traditional bike.
Hub motors are less complex and have fewer moving parts than mid-drive motors, which can result in a more reliable and long-lasting motor.
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- Heavy duty 1000 watt motor (built for cargo bikes)
- +50 volt 17.5 Ah battery for speed and distance
- Easy installation with provided tools.
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What are the disadvantages of hub motors?
Hub motors have a few disadvantages compared to other electric bike motors, such as mid-drive motors. Some drawbacks include the following:
- Traction: Hub motors provide power to only one wheel, which can affect traction and handling, especially when riding on wet or slippery surfaces.
- Weight distribution: Hub motors add weight to one of the wheels, influencing the bike’s balance and handling.
- Power delivery: Hub motors deliver power directly to the wheel, resulting in a less natural and efficient riding experience than a mid-drive motor, where the power goes directly to the pedals.
- Gear shifting: Hub motors do not interact with the bike’s gears, so the rider cannot adjust the power delivery to match the terrain.
- Efficiency: The direct drive nature of hub motors can result in less efficient use of the battery, as the motor can use more energy to maintain a constant speed.
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What is the difference between front hub vs. rear hub motors in e-bikes?
The main difference between front and rear hub motors in electric bikes is the location and effect on the bike’s handling and weight distribution.
A front hub motor provides power directly to the front wheel. It can significantly impact the bike’s handling, especially when riding at high speeds or in tight turns. It can provide extra traction and stability, especially on hills and loose terrain.
A rear hub motor provides power directly to the rear wheel. It can have a more balanced effect on the bike’s handling, as the rider’s weight sits over the rear wheel.
Both front and rear hub motors have advantages and disadvantages, and the choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
For example, some riders prefer a front hub motor for its extra traction and stability. In contrast, others prefer a rear hub motor for its more natural and efficient ride.
RIDE e MTB Pro Tip: With eBikes growing in popularity learning all the terms and definitions can be a bit overwhelming. Let me help with this comprehensive glossary. 👉 eBike Glossary
Frequently Asked Questions
Hub motor vs. mid-drive efficiency, what is the difference?
The main difference between a hub motor and a mid-drive motor in terms of efficiency lies in how the power is delivered to the bike (directly to the wheel or the chain). A hub motor e-Bike is its simplicity and low-maintenance design. In contrast, a mid-drive motor directly assists the rider’s pedaling, which becomes more natural.
Can mid-drive and hub motor be together on an e-bike?
It is possible to have both a mid-drive motor and a hub motor on the same electric bike, but this is relatively uncommon. The combination of the two engines would provide additional power and versatility. Still, it would also add significant cost, weight, and complexity to the bike.
What is better, a mid-drive or a hub motor?
Neither mid-drive nor hub motor is inherently “better,” as the best option will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the rider. For example, a mid-drive motor can be better if you tackle steep hills or rough terrain. In contrast, hub motors can provide an efficient ride, especially at lower speeds.
Hi David Humphries here the guy doing all the pedaling behind the scenes with this blog. I’ve been in the MTB world for a while and recently started getting into eMTBs. You can check out more about me HERE and on my other passion project – DIYMountainBike.com
- Vanraam.com, “Why a front or rear hub motor instead of a mid-drive motor,” https://www.vanraam.com/en-gb/advice-inspiration/news/why-a-front-or-rear-hub-motor-instead-of-a-mid-drive-motor, last accessed February 10, 2023
- Pureelectric.com,“ Hub-drive vs mid-drive—which electric bike motor is right for you?,” https://www.pureelectric.com/blogs/news/hub-drive-vs-mid-drive, last accessed February 10, 2023
- Switched-on-cycles, ” Pros and Cons of different hub versus mid-drive motors (and brands),”https://switched-on-cycles.myshopify.com/blogs/news/pros-and-cons-of-different-hub-versus-mid-drive-motors-and-brands#:~:text=Rear%20hub%20motor%20cons&text=Harder%20to%20change%20tyres%20on,so%20use%20more%20battery%20power.llast accessed February 10, 2023
- Crooze.com.au, “What’s better? Mid-Drive Motor or Hub Motor for e-bikes?,” https://crooze.com.au/blogs/news/what-s-better-mid-drive-motor-or-hub-motor-for-e-bikes, last accessed February 10, 2023