Electric bicycles are quickly becoming a popular replacement for traditional bicycles. By using a motor to supplement pedaling, e-bikes are easier to ride than regular bikes and can help you navigate steep hills and long distances. Not only are they incredibly fun for anyone to ride, but they’re also an excellent way for the elderly or people recovering from surgery to enjoy bike riding without the risk.
When looking to buy an e-bike, there are two types of motors to choose from: hub-drive and mid-drive. While hub-drive e-bikes are by far the most popular, mid-drive e-bikes are becoming increasingly common. Here are the biggest differences between the two:
One of the biggest differences between hub-drive and mid-drive e-bikes is the motor positioning. On a hub-drive e-bike, the motor is located in the wheel hub on the front or rear wheel. The motor propels the bike by spinning the tire that it’s mounted on. This means that a hub motor may be more difficult to maneuver due to the additional weight in the front or the back.
With a mid-drive e-bike, the motor is located in between the pedals. This often results in easier handling, as the weight distribution is even and central. A mid-drive e-bike will feel more like riding a traditional bicycle, and you won’t even notice the additional weight of the motor.
When it comes to riding up hills, a mid-drive motor is going to be much more efficient. This is because the mid-drive motor drives the crank rather than the wheel itself. By driving the crank, the motor magnifies its power and takes advantage of the bike’s gears.
A hub-drive motor doesn’t do quite so well at riding up steep hills. The motor of a hub-drive e-bike is going to undergo quite a bit of effort helping the wheel spin, and it can often overheat. When the motor overheats, it may result in it being temporarily shut down or even permanently damaged.
Mid-drive e-bikes are also going to be much more easy to maintain because of the location of the motor. You can quickly do tasks such as changing flat tires without having to touch the motor. The motor is also easily removed by taking out two bolts without having to rearrange the bike.
With a hub-drive e-bike, however, you have to detach the motor from the rim and re-spoke it anytime you need to work on the tires. There is one maintenance benefit to the hub-drive motor—it requires far less maintenance than a mid-drive motor. A hub-drive motor has all of its components inside the motor casing, with fewer factors that can break down.
Whether you choose the popular hub-drive e-bike or the more efficient mid-drive e-bike, both are going to be an affordable and fun form of transportation. Staying informed about the different types of e-bikes and how to properly maintain them will ensure that you have a safe and happy ride.