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eBike Systems - Hub vs Mid-Drive

Words by eBike Centre

on 25/10/2019 15:51:33

HubVmid

EPACS ( Electric Power Assist Cycles), ebikes, electric cycles, we’re all seeing these terms in everyday life now.

What was only a few short years ago, a niche, “Oh look, it’s one of those electric things” has now become mainstream. People are understanding the benefits of an ebike with many of our customers selling their car and reducing their carbon footprint by using the ebike for commuting/ shopping, or simply for having fun. Let’s not forget, cycling is fun and by removing some of the barriers that some people associate with cycling, i.e. I’ve lost my fitness/ I live in a hilly area/ I don’t want to arrive all sweaty, etc, it’s easy to see why ebikes are becoming so popular.

When something becomes popular the choice inevitably increases, so now the choice is staggering and for people new to the world of ebikes, it can be a very confusing subject, so here is our simple guide through the minefield.

Hub-Drive

BAFANG-48V750W-Brushless-Geared-Cassette-Motor-RMG06-DC-750W-Rear-Hub-Motor-CST-OLD-190mm-Cassette This was the “original ebike system” which started the ebike revolution and refers to a bicycle which has the motor contained within one of the wheels. These motors produce in general between 25-35Nm of torque (although some do exceed this) to assist the rider. Hub motors are generally cheap to produce and there is a vast array of companies producing them (some well-known, others not so much!).

This system is basic in its delivery of power and is not effort related. As the rider rotates the pedals, a series of magnets spin, which in turn pass a sensor completing a circuit and sending a signal to the rear/front wheel motor to provide power. This power is delivered in a binary fashion, i.e. on or off, so it can take over the ride giving an un-natural feeling. The amount of power delivered by the motor will depend upon the assistance setting selected, most bikes have between 3-7 assistance settings operated by a controller on the handlebars.

Dependent on the bike/motor manufacturer some can find this system a little aggressive, as the power is not provided progressively. It is also worth noting that most, but not all, of the hub drive manufacturers favour one frame size, so if you’re not of average height, you may struggle to find the perfect fit.

Mid-Drive/ Crank Drive/ Torque Drive

csm_DU_2019_1.25_682d20ad24There are lots of terms for this type of motor, but essentially it is motor located in-between the pedals that provides power to the rear wheel via the crank. These motors produce between 50-120Nm of torque to assist the rider. Traditionally this system was fitted to mountain bikes (as their high torque output makes light work of hills) but over the years this system is now favoured across all ebike genres.

This system is mostly (but not exclusively) a torque driven system, meaning the motor provides assistance based upon the amount of pressure being applied to the pedals. In addition to a torque sensor, the system has several other sensors measuring various data, including cadence, speed, gradient etc, that when added together provide a much more measured and intuitive riding feel. Essentially this system fills in the gaps exposed by the on/off nature of the hub drive system.

You will see household names such as Bosch/ Yamaha/ Shimano producing these mid-drive motors. In addition, all the major bicycle manufacturers favour this system over hub drives (with some manufactures no-longer producing hub driven bikes).

The sophisticated nature of the mid-drive means that your ride feels much more natural, but with the additional benefits of the extra power and range afforded by an electric bike. The location of the motor provides a more central weight distribution and centre of gravity, which is of particular benefit should you take the bike off-road. The additional sensors which receive feedback from your pedal stroke,  ensures the battery transmits the correct amount of power to the motor, increasing the motors efficiency and with it the battery range. Many of the mid-drive motors have a “diagnostic” capability which enables certificated ebike shops, like ourselves with the ability to diagnose, fix and prevent potential problems with the system. In addition, many of these motors receive regular software updates which improves their efficiency and functioning.

The next question is….

Which system is right for you?

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Only you can answer this one.

There will be a lot of deciding factors in making this decision. So we recommend trying both systems, and several different bicycle manufacturers, and remember as in all things, not all ebikes are the same.

Feel free to visit our showroom where we have approx. 90+ models in store available to try. The kettle is always on, so give us a call and let us know you’re coming so we can have one of our specialists to give you further assistance, or if you have made your choice, select from our site and we can send the bike to you, with free delivery.

Our ethos is, the more information we can impart to you, the better-informed decision you can make.

We don’t want to supply you with any ebike, we want to supply you with the right ebike for you.

See you soon.

Steve Mitchell

ebike-centre.co.uk

Unit 4, Premier Business Park, Main Road, Birdham, Chichester, West Sussex, PO207BU

Our showroom location

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