Do you know what a mid-drive motor e-bike is? When choosing between the different types of electric bikes, salespeople will likely ask you if you prefer a mid-drive motor, a hub-motor setup, or something else.
A mid-drive motor electric bike, or simply a mid-drive eBike, is a type of electric bike with its motor located in the center of the bike. That is, near the bottom bracket (the part where the pedals connect to the frame). It provides unique and different benefits compared to other designs of e-bikes.
Keep reading to learn everything you need about mid-drive motor e-bikes.
How does a mid-drive eBike work?
A mid-drive electric bike uses an electric motor integrated into the bike’s crankset, located near the pedals.
The motor connects to the bike’s chain and gears, which helps to deliver the motor’s power directly to the bike’s wheels. It makes the bike more efficient, as it can use its gears to provide the proper assistance for a given situation.
When you pedal the bike, the mid-drive motor provides additional power to assist you. You can control the engine’s energy using a handlebar-mounted throttle or a sensor that detects your pedal-power input and automatically provides the appropriate level of assistance.
The battery that powers the mid-drive motor mounts on the bike’s frame. You can recharge it using a standard electrical outlet.
What is the difference between mid-drive motor eBikes and other e-bikes?
Mid-drive motor e-bikes are different from other electric bikes, mainly those with motors located either in the front wheel (referred to as front-wheel drive) or the rear wheel (referred to as rear-wheel drive).
The mid-drive motor is connected directly to the bike’s chain and gears, allowing a more efficient and smoother power transfer from the mo to the wheels.
It can result in better traction, performance, and handling compared to other types of electric bikes. Additionally, mid-drive motors are generally more versatile. They can be used with a broader range of gears, allowing for a more comprehensive range of speeds and riding conditions.
However, mid-drive electric bikes tend to be more expensive and complex than other electric bikes, requiring more maintenance and upkeep. Despite these drawbacks, many cyclists prefer mid-drive eBikes for their superior performance and versatility.
I’ve got a group of articles explaining why eBikes are Awesome Check Them Out Below 👇
- I love riding eBikes, want to learn why? Read 👉 What Are The (Great) Features of Electric Bikes?
- Are you weighing the Pros and Cons of getting an eBike? Let me help 👉 Electric Bike Pros and Cons
- Interested in how it “feels” to ride an eBike? Awesome 👉 What Does it Feel Like to Ride an eBike?
- What is “Pedal Assist? Let me explain it in this article. 👉 What is Pedal Assist and How Does it Work?
What is cadence sensing?
Cadence sensing is a feature found in some mid-drive electric bike motors. It helps regulate the motor’s power output based on the rider’s pedaling cadence or the rate at which they turn the pedals. In other words, it measures if you are pedaling at all.
The cadence sensor is typically a tiny component attached to the bike’s frame. It measures the rotation speed of the pedals. This information then transmits to the control unit, which controls the motors on and off when the rider stops pedaling.
It works mainly like a switch.
The amount of assistance the motor provides can be adjusted using the bike’s display or a handlebar-mounted control, allowing the rider to customize the speed and level of assistance.
What is torque sensing?
Torque-sensing in mid-drive motor eBikes measures how hard a rider pedals in real-time and how much force is applied to the forward motion. So it can help the internal system calculate how much electric power is necessary to move the bike forward at the desired speed.
Torque-sensing provides a more natural and intuitive ride experience. The motor provides more assistance when applying more force to the pedals and less assistance when applying less pressure.
It can make the ride feel more like a traditional bike and also help improve its efficiency by reducing the motor’s power consumption.
Did you Know You Can Convert a Regular MTB to Electric?
Bafang a leader in DIY electric bike conversions has a mid-drive kit that will fit on most regular bikes. I’d recommend the BBSHD kit, it’s a complete setup with a huge capacity battery and a 1000 watt motor. Why this setup?
- Heavy duty 1000 watt motor (built for cargo bikes)
- +50 volt 17.5 Ah battery for speed and distance
- Easy installation with provided tools.
If you’re considering a conversion, do what I’m doing get the BANFANG BBSHD 1000w eBike Conversion with Battery
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to pedal on a mid-drive eBike?
Yes, you typically have to pedal on a mid-drive electric bike. While the motor provides assistance to make pedaling more manageable, it does not replace pedaling entirely. You still have to turn the pedals to move the bike, but the motor provides additional power to make it easier to pedal. Read more in 👉 Do You Have to Pedal an eBike
How long do ebike mid-drive motors last?
The lifespan of an eBike mid-drive motor can vary depending on the quality of the motor, the frequency of use, and the conditions under which you ride the bike. However, manufacturers provide warranties for their motors, giving you an idea of the expected lifespan. For example, some mid-drive motors come with 2 to 3 years warranties, while others offer up to 5 years.
Can you use the throttle only on a mid-drive eBike?
It depends on the specific mid-drive electric bike you have. Not all mid-drive electric bikes have a throttle. Some of them are designed to be used only in pedal-assist mode, meaning that the motor only provides assistance when you’re pedaling. In these cases, you cannot control the motor using a throttle.
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
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
- JuiceBikes.com,“ Torque Vs. Cadence Sensing,” https://www.juicedbikes.com/pages/torque-vs-cadence-sensors#:~:text=The%20basic%20cadence%20sensor%20uses,or%20less%20like%20a%20switch, last accessed February 13, 2023
- Livescience, “Cadence Sensors: What Are They, and How Do They Work?,” https://www.livescience.com/40064-cadence-sensors.html, last accessed February 13, 2023
- Evelo.com,“ Electric Bike Motors Explained: Mid-Drive vs Hub,” https://evelo.com/pages/evelo-difference__advantages-mid-drive-motor-vs-hub-motor#:~:text=Performance.,of%20the%20bike’s%20existing%20gears, last accessed February 13, 2023
- Storybicyles,“ What is the difference between torque and cadence sensing,” https://storybicycles.com/blogs/ebike-blog/what-s-the-difference-between-torque-and-cadence-sensing#:~:text=Torque%20Sensing%20Vs%20Cadence%20Sensing,to%20do%20on%20your%20bike, last accessed February 13, 2023
- Aventon, “Torque Sensor vs. Cadence Sensor on Electric Bikes,” https://www.aventon.com/blogs/aventon_bikes/torque-sensor-vs-cadence-sensor-on-electric-bikes#:~:text=A%20torque%20sensor%20measures%20how,pedal%20force%20a%20rider%20applies, last accessed February 13, 2023