When shopping for an electric bike, prospective buyers may notice that some models utilize a hub-drive motor while others use a mid-drive motor. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two systems and explain why some bikers prefer one over the other.
Hub-drive motors are located in the wheel hub, usually in the rear but sometimes in the front. Mid-drive motors are located in the middle of the bike where the pedals come out.
Other than the location on the bike, there are some key differences that you will want to take into account when deciding which kind of motor is right for you. Let's examine the pros and cons of each type of motor.
- Hub-drive motors are generally less expensive than comparable mid-drive motors.
- Many people find that hub-drive looks less obtrusive and thus improves the aesthetics of their bikes. Of course, opinions may differ on this matter.
- A hub-drive bike will still function without a chain, as long as it has a throttle. This means that you won't be stranded if your chain snaps.
- These motors are easier to install if retrofitting a bike.
- The hub's connection to the wheel makes it harder to remove the wheel in case of a flat. There may also be wires that need to be disconnected.
- The bike's weight distribution will be different depending on which wheel contains the hub-drive motor.
- Mid-drive motors typically have a higher torque output than hub-drives with the same power output.
- The bike handles better with the weight of the motor centered on its frame, especially when going off road.
- With the mid-drive motor powering the front chain-ring, you can use your rear gears more effectively.
- Bikes typically have to be designed to accommodate a mid-drive motor. Retrofitting an existing bike with a mid-drive motor can be difficult.
- Mid-drive motors tend to be more costly than comparable hub-drive motors.
- Mid-drive motors can put greater stress on the chain, especially if the rider is using the gears incorrectly or is climbing a steep hill.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the mid-drive vs hub-drive debate. The choice depends on what you value in a motor and how much money you have to spend on an electric bike.
In my experience, I have generally preferred mid-drive motors. They provide greater torque, enable me to still use my rear gears in conjunction with the motor's power, and I like their feel. I have yet to snap a chain while using a mid-drive, although in the event that I do, I always carry an extra chain or quick links.
Do you have a preference between these two types of motors? Let us know why in the comments. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to help!