Your e-bike riding experience depends fundamentally on the drive system. One of the most popular types of drive system is the mid-drive motor. What a mid-drive motor is and what distinguishes it from other e-bike motors is explained below.
What is a mid-drive motor?
The motor on a pedelec may be placed in one of several locations. As its name suggests, the mid-drive motor sits in the middle of the frame of the e-bike and is directly connected to the bottom bracket. E-bikes with mid-drive motor are efficient, economical, and less prone to breakdowns than electric bicycles with a front hub or rear hub motor.
Where exactly is the mid-drive motor located?
The mid-drive motor on an e-bike is installed in the frame and is placed exactly in the area of the crank behind the bottom bracket. This ensures a low centre of gravity, which is particularly beneficial for your balance off-road.
What mid-drive motors are available?
Mid-drive motors are available for bicycles with hub gears and derailleur gears. One particular feature of using a mid-drive motor with derailleur gears is that only the rear sprocket can be shifted. This means that with a mid-drive motor, you will only have a possible gear range of 8 to 12 gears, significantly less than a conventional bicycle with derailleur gears.
What are the advantages of a mid-drive motor?
Because the drive of a mid-drive motor is directly connected to the bottom bracket, the motor assistance is optimal. The placement of the mid-drive motor also has a beneficial effect on weight distribution, and not only makes the e-bike easy to handle but also gives the rider a riding experience very similar to that of a normal bicycle without electric drive. Even cornering at higher speeds is no problem. Due to the direct connection with the bottom bracket, the mid-drive motor generates drive power based on the pedalling force of the rider and always provides exactly as much support as is needed at any given moment.
Which e-bike motor is the best choice?
The three different drive types for e-bikes all have certain advantages and disadvantages:
The front hub motor:
The front hub motor is the most economical drive system for an e-bike. It can be combined with both derailleur gears and hub gears. Due to its location, it makes changing the tyre on the front wheel more complicated, and the increased weight on the front wheel increases the risk of slipping. The weight of the engine can also make steering more difficult. A front hub motor is not as powerful as a mid-drive motor. E-bikes with a front hub motor can assist the rider with motor power when starting to ride.
The rear hub motor/rear wheel motor:
The biggest advantage of the rear hub motor on an e-bike is the ability to recover energy from braking while riding. The rear hub motor also means less wear on the chain and sprocket compared to a mid-drive motor. Due to the position of the motor on the rear axle, changing tyres on the rear wheel is somewhat more complicated. Additionally, a rear hub motor is not quite as powerful as a mid-drive motor. But on the plus side, it runs quietly and, just like a front hub motor, supports the driver immediately when starting.
The mid-drive motor:
Even though the mid-drive motor is the most expensive option, the price difference is justified by its advantages of optimal weight distribution, powerful performance, and efficient operation. In contrast to the drive systems on the front and rear hub, however, with this motor the wear of the chain and sprocket is much higher, and so these require significantly more maintenance. Current models of mid-drive motor are now also compatible with many gear systems. And because of the position of the motor, it does not impede changing tyres in any way.
There is no such thing as the best e-bike motor; each motor has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the cyclist’s requirements and driving behaviour. What type of motor is right for your e-bike is, therefore, a question of your priorities.