The Basic Difference Between Alloy Wheel Hub Motor And Mid-drives

Update:Nov 25,2022
Summary:The basic difference between Alloy Wheel Hub Motor and mid-drivesHub motors are located in the hub of the front or rear wheels. You will often find mo...

The basic difference between Alloy Wheel Hub Motor and mid-drives

Hub motors are located in the hub of the front or rear wheels. You will often find more rear hub motor e-bikes than front hub motors.

Hub motors work by applying torque to your wheels and work independently of your gears.

A mid-drive motor, on the other hand, sits in the middle of an e-bike and is tied into the gear and pedal assembly. The mid-drive motor sends torque to your wheels through the sprockets that work with your gears for more responsive power and acceleration.

Because the mid-drive motors work in tandem with your gears, they provide a more natural feel and greater efficiency when driving in the proper gear.

An important consideration is a weight and design. Since the hub motor is usually lighter and located in the rear hub, a range of other e-bike designs, such as folding or AWD e-bikes, are offered, which many mid-drive models shy away from.

A mid-drive motor setup is harder to design as a folding e-bike or with many customizable components given the weight. Fortunately, many electric fat bikes combine hub motors with mid-drive motors for better performance.

With that in mind, let's do a head-to-head comparison of hub motors versus mid-drive e-bikes in terms of efficiency, ride quality, and maintenance.

The basic difference between hub motors and mid-drives

Mid-mounted electric bike engine

Hub motors with moderate drive efficiency

Hub motors are generally considered less efficient because they only run in one gear.

For riders who need to climb up and down steep terrain, hub motors are a major drawback, unable to get the job done smoothly and efficiently.

For this reason, mid-drive motors not only provide a smoother ride when going uphill but often more range as well.

For example, shifting to a lower gear requires the mid-drive motor to work less to generate enough power to move. As a result, the mid-drive motor consumes fewer internal resources and provides greater range on a single charge.

Of course, not all hub motors operate independently of your gear system. Even so, an e-bike with a mid-drive will often provide better performance on the track if you have two equally powerful motors, one mid-drive,  and the other hub-drive.