Hub-drive vs. Mid-drive Motors

Electric bike motors fall into two categories: hub-drive and mid-drive. When deciding on your next ebike, it's important to think about which style of motor you'd prefer.

Hub-drive motor ebikes are the most common type of ebike we offer here at Crazy Lenny's eBikes. You will find the motor in the hub of the rear wheel. Some ebikes will offer hub motors in the front wheel but this is uncommon. Additionally, some off-road ebikes will offer an all-wheel-drive option where there are hub motors found in the front and rear wheels to provide even more power to your ride.

Mid-drive motors are located near the pedals of the ebike which provides greater efficiency by placing more weight towards the center of gravity of the ebike. This allows for slightly easier handling and better weight distribution.

How do they power the ebike differently?

Hub-drive motors apply power directly to the wheels independent of the gears. This allows for many hub-drive ebikes to also include a throttle so that you can take short breaks where pedaling is not necessary. Mid-drive ebikes are pedal-assist only and work in tandem with the ebikes gears. They require a rider to provide power to the pedals in order to engage the motor. Mid-drives are more efficient and therefore typically have a greater range than hub-drives. Because mid-drives do not have a throttle, they feel more like riding a traditional bicycle.

What is the cost difference?

Mid-drive motors are typically more expensive than hub-drive motors due to the complexity of their design. The difference in price is not usually very large and if an ebike with a natural feel is important to you, then the extra couple hundred dollars will be worth it.

Are they maintained the same?

All ebikes should be maintained frequently and tuned up every few hundred miles. When it comes to maintenance differences between hub-drives and mid-drives, there are key differences to understand. Hub-drives can require special tools in order to remove the wheel that contains the motor. They are typically less complex than mid-drives and are often less maintenance. Chains are more likely to break on a mid-drive due to the added torque. If your chain breaks on a hub-drive ebike, you can engage the throttle to get you home or to a bike shop because the motor works independently of the gears.

Which one should I choose?

This really depends. Do you want to be able to take breaks from pedaling, want quick acceleration from a stop, and are on a budget? Then a hub-drive ebike is right for you! Do you want a natural feeling ride, long-range, and have lots of hilly terrain on your rides? A mid-drive ebike may be for you!

The best way to decide which type of motor will be best for you is to come in for a test ride! You'll be able to feel the differences right away and determine which model will be suit you best in the long run.

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