Hub or Mid drive

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Question: Hub or Mid drive? Both hub motors and mid drives have pros and cons. In general mid drives are better for steep hills while hub motors are better for flat terrain. There is actually two types of hub motor as well, direct drive and geared. Here is a more detailed pro and con list to help you decide.


Direct drive hub motor pros:

  • Ultra Low maintenance
  • Easy to install
  • Regen braking, Gain about 10% more range and reduce brake pad wear significantly.

Direct drive hub motor cons:

  • Overheats on steep hills that slow the motor down.
  • Requires torque arms: Sold separately.
  • Cogs (drags) when pedaled without power.
  • Large and heavy for the power level.

Geared hub motor pros:

  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to install

Geared hub motor cons:

  • Overheats on steep hills that slow the motor down.
  • Poor heat dissipation due to gearing system.
  • Requires torque arms: Sold separately.

Mid drive pros:

  • Crazy torque in lower gears for climbing any hill, uses your bikes drive train and gears for much faster acceleration without sacrificing top speed.
  • Can climb any hill efficiency without overheating the motor
  • More efficient over a wide range of speeds
  • Some come with built in torque sensors

Mid drive cons:

  • High maintenance. Will cause chains and sprockets to wear down much faster and can cause damage to the chain/frame if the chain falls off your front sprocket while throttle is applied.
  • Slightly more difficult install.
  • Often limits you to 1 front sprocket gear. While some mid drives like cyclone support 2 front sprocket gears it causes the chain to get trapped much easier if it falls off.
  • Generally can not support a torque sensor if the torque sensor is not built into the mid drive
  • Some may not fit all bikes due to protruding metal around bottom bracket*

External Links:

Why Hub Motors? By Grin Technologies