May 26,2023

Legs of an E-bike: Motor

Generally, all electric bikes' motor power is measured in the unit of watts. According to the regulations of the US, the max power of an e-bike motor is 750watts. The wattage signifies how much power the motor is capable of consuming. A motor with high wattage will be able to consume a lot of energy in a short amount of time. The more energy a motor consumes, the more mechanical power it will produce. In general, a higher motor watt rating means the motor will accelerate more quickly, carry more rider weight and climb steep hills.

“The electric motor is the legs of your electric bike. It determines top speed, acceleration, hill-climbing ability, power consumption and performance. ” John, who has been selling and servicing e-bikes for 12 years and also the engineer of Magicycle fat tire ebikes says when he introduces us about the 750w motor, “When the pedal assistant and the motor are switched on, you can easily ride without generating a lot of power yourself. ”

Two types of motor sweep the market: the mid-drive motor and hub motor, divided into rear one and front one. For most riders, it is not a must to choose a mid-drive motor unless you make your mind for the brand or the style of the e-bike model. But of course, in certain situations, a mid-drive motor e-bike shows its value. 

Let’s talk about mid-drive motors. As the name told, a mid-drive motor is placed between the pedals at the bottom of an e-bike. Mid-drive motors can use the energy in your battery more efficiently in certain situations – particularly off-road trails. So, on a demanding trail ride, a 500-watt battery on a mid-drive might deliver the same range as a 550 or 600 watt-hour battery on a hub drive. However, because of the high complexity and higher power, usually a mid-drive motor is more vulnerable to damages. Thus it requires more maintenance than a hub motor. At the same time, a mid-drive motor can cause chains and shifters to wear out more quickly than a hub motor.

It’s almost impossible to buy a quality mid-drive e-bike for under about $3000 unless you prepare a well-made electric bike kit to change your own good quality non-electric bike into an electric one. However, quality hub drive bikes vary from $1500-$3000. The reason for the difference is that hub motors have been around longer and have been produced in larger volumes so the manufacturing cost per unit is less. Another reason is that producing a frame to incorporate a mid-drive motor is more expensive than producing a frame suitable for a rear hub motor.

Then how about hub motors? Hub motor is positioned in the front or rear wheel of the bicycle, placed in the wheel hub. Instead of placing the motor where the pedals are, the hub motor is integrated into the wheel making them directly connecting the motor and the ground the integrated design of hub motors requires less maintenance than mid-drive motors.

Placing the motor in the rear wheel hub often results in more balanced weight distribution of the bike. This gives a smoother acceleration and a more natural feel to the ride. A rear hub motor is also easier to hide behind the gears, giving the e-bike a stealthy regular bicycle look.

But because of the difference in gear ratio between mid-motors and hub motors, hub motor bikes generate less power when both of them have low gear. A mid-drive motor e-bike in low gear can climb steeper hills than a hub motor one. 

In summary, when comparing two ebikes with a 750w motor there are some performance differences in certain situations. If you expect to find yourself in situations such as long, steep hill climbs, then a mid-drive may be the answer for you. But if you spend most of your riding time on city road or just some off-road trails, a hub motor would be the best for you.

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