Mid-Drive vs. Hub Motor - What is the difference?

Mid-Drive vs. Hub Motor - What is the difference?

Electric bikes have become increasingly popular in recent years, and one of the key decisions to make when buying an electric bike is whether to go for a hub motor or a mid-drive motor. Both types of motors have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to understand the differences before making a decision. Learn more below about the difference between hub & mid-drive motors, so that you can make an informed decision on your e-bike purchase. 

Mid Drive Motors

Mid-drive motors can have a significant impact on the performance of electric bikes, due to the way they are integrated into the bike's transmission system. The mid-drive motor is integrated into the bike's bottom bracket, which is the part of the frame that holds the pedals and cranks. This allows the motor to utilize the bike's transmission system, such as the chain and gears, to multiply the motor's power and provide a more efficient and responsive ride. The motor is controlled by a controller, which is typically located near the handlebars and allows the rider to adjust the level of assist. The controller communicates with the motor to provide the appropriate amount of power based on the rider's input and the bike's speed and torque sensors. The integration of the motor into the bike’s transmission system allows for a more seamless and efficient riding experience compared to a hub motor. 

Mid-drive motors also tend to be more powerful than hub motors, which can provide a more exhilarating riding experience. This is because the motor is located closer to the bike's center of gravity, which allows for better weight distribution and more efficient power transfer. This can result in a more responsive and agile ride, with better acceleration and speed, especially on steep inclines. The weight distribution can result in a more natural riding experience, with less stress on the bike's wheels and suspension. This can also increase the lifespan of the bike's components and reduce the need for maintenance.


Mid-Drive Motor on Eunorau Specter-S Electric Bike

*Mid-Drive Motor on Eunorau Specter S


Since mid-drive motors are able to use the bike’s transmission system to multiply the motor’s torque, they tend to be more energy efficient compared to hub motors. The motor won’t have to work as hard to achieve the same level of performance, which can result in longer battery life and fewer recharges. This is a major benefit for riders that want to go long distances or save money on battery replacements. 

However, it's important to note that mid-drive motors are typically more expensive than hub motors. The performance of the motor is more coveted for riders looking for a smoother riding experience, who typically will pay a premium for this option. Mid-drive motors can be more difficult to install. They also require more maintenance, as the bike's transmission system will need to be serviced more frequently. 

Overall, a mid-drive motor can have a significant impact on the performance of an electric bike, making it more efficient, powerful, and enjoyable to ride. The main things to consider for a mid-drive motor are the performance, price, and maintenance needed on the motor compared to its counterpart. 

Hub Motors

Hub motors are located in the wheel hub, typically in the front or rear wheel. The location of the motor tends to make these e-bikes less efficient because of the weight distribution and its inability to connect to the transmission system. Hub motors do have some benefits compared to mid-drive motors though. 

One of the main advantages of a hub motor is that it's simple and easy to install. It doesn't require any modifications to the bike's existing transmission system, and it can be easily swapped out if needed. This makes hub motors a popular choice for those who want to convert a traditional bike into an electric bike, or for those who want an easy to maintain e-bike. Another advantage of hub motors is that they are typically more affordable than mid-drive motors. This makes hub motors a more budget-friendly option and typically a great first electric bike option.


Hub Motor on Ecotric Hammer Electric Bike

*Hub Motor on Ecotric Hammer


Hub motors do have some disadvantages when compared to mid-drive motors in terms of performance. Hub motors tend to be less efficient due to the lack of transmission and added weight to the bike’s wheel. This can result in a less smooth or natural ride, especially when climbing steep hills or inclines. Since the motor adds weight to one wheel it can cause the bike to feel less balanced and make rides less comfortable compared to a mid-drive motor. Additionally, hub motors are typically less powerful than mid-drive motors, which can at times make the bike feel less responsive and agile. This can decrease the acceleration and speed, especially when going uphill. 

Another downside of hub motors is that they tend to be less energy efficient than mid-drive motors, as they don't take advantage of the bike's transmission system to multiply the motor's torque. This means that the motor needs to work harder to achieve the same level of performance, which can result in shorter battery life and more frequent recharges.

Overall, a hub motor can be a good option for those looking for a simple, budget-friendly electric bike conversion or upgrade. However, it's important to consider the disadvantages when it comes to performance, as it can make the bike less efficient, less powerful, and less comfortable to ride. 

The Main Difference?

The main difference between mid-drive and hub motors are their location on the bike and their involvement with the transmission system. Mid-drive motors are integrated within the bike bottom bracket and transmission system, while hub motors are attached to the front or rear wheel and have no transmission system integration. This feature typically allows mid-drive motors to be better performing in terms of acceleration, power on inclines, more efficient for battery life, and the smoothness of the ride. Hub motors do lack these features in comparison to mid-drive motors, but are going to be more affordable, easier to maintain and customize. As always, make sure that you do your research when purchasing an electric bike or test ride them yourself to get a better understanding on the best fit for you.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The Rider Difference

Price Match Guarantee

We offer the absolute lowest prices on the highest quality electric bicycles. Find a lower price elsewhere? We will gladly match it!

Free Shipping

Enjoy free shipping throughout the Lower 48 in the United States.

Two Week Guarantee

If you aren't in love with your Rider after 14 days simply return it for a full refund.