Hub Drive vs Mid Drive Motor Overview
In the world of ebikes there are two main types of motors we see that power the forward motion of the bike. The first is a mid drive motor, which is located near the pedals. A mid drive motor powers the cranks and sends force through the drivetrain in the same way your own legs would move it with added assistance. The second is a hub drive motor, which is located within the rear or front wheel of the bike and powers the motion of the wheel itself. A hub drive motor typically has a throttle as well as pedal assist modes.
Mid Drive Motor Pros and Cons:
A mid drive motor is mounted underneath you in the middle of the frame. It powers the front chainring along with your own pedal power to give a smooth and consistent ride feeling. The mid mounted motor system is usually powered by a 250W-600W motor which when combined with leg power provides you with an overall added strength in your legs. This has the advantage of being able to tackle hills with ease when combined with a gearing system which most mid drive ebikes come with. This is also why you generally will always see electric mountain bikes with mid drive motors.
- Centered and balanced feel
- Smooth and consistent power
- Maintains a non-ebike “feel”
- Longer range due to increased efficiency
- Lighter than most hub motor ebikes
- Typically more expensive
- Lacks a throttle
Hub Drive Motor Pros and Cons:
Hub drive motors are located within the hub of either the front or rear wheel (sometimes both) and are generally driven by a throttle and/or a pedal assist. They move the wheel forward through a motor driven in the wheel itself and generally use a higher rated power motor (250W-750W). Hub motors don’t directly translate to easier pedaling but in turn move the bike forward with power the same way a motorcycle or motor driven scooter would. This creates a situation where your legs are adding assistance to the motors power. This makes going uphill a bit less desirable but has a benefit of putting less overall wear on your drivetrain components.
- Typically less expensive than mid drive motor ebikes
- Sometimes offer regenerative braking
- Less overall stress on gears
- Lower range
- Less reliable – wheel breakage is possible due to torsion on spokes
- Difficulty climbing due to no gearing
- Generally heavier than mid drive motor ebikes
- Uneven power output
Hub Drive Motor vs Mid Drive Motor eBike Summary
In summary, hub drive motor and mid drive motor ebikes offer uniquely different riding experiences. Depending on a rider’s individual needs, one motor system may be a better choice than the other. For Gazelle, we prefer a ride experience that is natural and intuitive and reflects the power and actions of the rider. So with this, we have fully embraced mid drive motor electric bikes. Curious to learn more? Meet our complete ebike fleet. Looking for more in depth information about all things ebikes? Check out our knowledge base.