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Mid-drive vs. Hub-drive: a clear comparison of e-bike motors


To ride your e-bike at its most comfortable, it’s important to know what kind of a motor to use. Here’s a crystal clear comparison of e-bike motor types, and the advantages they provide.

It is obvious that the electric motor is one of the most important components of an e-bike, as it turns the electrical energy from your battery into movement. In this case, having sufficient technical knowledge is key to make the most out of your e-bike purchase. In this article we’ll be comparing different types of e-bike motors and how they work, so that you can choose the best one that fits your needs.

To start, don’t skip our basic introduction to e-bike motors, which explains e-bike motors and how they work at its simplest!

Types of e-bike motors, explained

As you would know, what an e-bike motor does is to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy, therefore providing eclectic assistance to the rider. When it comes to e-bike motors, there are two types called “mid-drive” and “hub-driven”. While mid-drive motors are placed between the cranks of the e-bike, hub-driven motors are located at the front or rear hub. Mid-drive motors generate electric assistance within the chain-drive, by creating torque that spins a shaft connected to a chainring. On the other hand, in hub-driven motors, the motor (hub) spins around the shaft fixed in place, therefore drives the e-bike forward.

If you want to learn more about the working principles of e-bike motors, here’s a detailed explanation on technical aspects of every kind.



Mid-drive motors vs direct-drive hub motors

Different types of e-bikes bring along different advantages to the rider. To choose among them, the first thing you need to do is to evaluate your priorities about your ride. Below are the pros and cons of each motor type.


Advantages of mid-drive motors

If you want to climb steep hills in the most efficient way, then mid-drive motors are the type you should opt for. Mid-drive motors are able to make use of the existing geared drivetrain of the e-bike, therefore benefit from higher gear reduction for low-speed climbing instead of enforcing it functioning like an additional non-geared power source. You will also have a more balanced ride as mid-drive motors are located at the center of the e-bike. This, added to the advantage it provides in climbing, translates into a motor just perfect for any mountain e-bikes. You should also note that you can run any wheelset as it is easier to change tires on mid-drive e-bikes, since there is not any wiring between the frame and the hub.

Disadvantages of mid-drive motors

If you consider adding a mid-drive motor to a chain-driven bike, you should expect the chain wear to increase. Even if you buy your e-bike from a well-known manufacturer, added torque always translates to more often chain replacing. The mechanical components and higher gear reduction also make mid-drive motors a more expensive option.

Advantages of hub-driven motors

As you would guess, hub-driven motors operating outside a bike’s chain drive eliminates the possibility of wearing off chains and cogs. Hub-driven motors are also the cheaper option as they are produced in larger quantities, which means they don’t need manufacturers to adjust a frame to fit any motor.

Disadvantages of hub-driven motors

When it comes to climbing, hub motors can not be considered as efficient as mid-drives. Direct-drive hub motors may require higher wattage in climbing, leading to a bigger motor and battery, therefore a higher weight. Also, weight is not evenly distributed in e-bikes with hub-driven motors, so, depending on the weight of the motor, you should probably adjust your handling accordingly. And lastly, it is harder to change tires as it is required to disconnect the wires that power and control the hub motor first.

Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, you’re closer to buying the e-bike which fits your needs better. From now on, all you need is to prioritize your needs in reaching the most efficient e-bike ride. When you’re all set, check our models to get on two wheels immediately!

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