The Best Position For An Electric Bicycle Motor
Where is the best position for an electric bicycle motor? Almost all e-bikes opt to put the battery in the middle of the bike, just above the pedals, or on a rack on top of the rear wheel. Each option has its own advantages.
“The reason we put the battery in the middle is because weight distribution is important,” says Olsen.
“Front drive motors are the cheapest and drive power through the front wheel hub, but these can make accelerating out of corners a little precarious,” says Hunt.
“Rear hub motors put the weight at the rear and provide better traction and more stability. Central drive motors are quickly becoming the most popular system, because they make an e-bike ride much more like a regular bike and keep weight near to the bottom bracket, providing optimum stability, which is hugely important for city bikes as well as mountain bikes.”
Further below in this article, I will guide you in the selection of the right type of e-bike for you, based on comfort, speed, or trend – whatever is your preference. We will sift through specifications, the pros and cons of the front, rear, and middle motor so that you can make the right choice for your individual circumstances.
Features of front electric bicycle motor
In the front motor e-bikes, the motor is placed in the middle of the front wheel. Installation of the wires and battery is relatively easier in the front motor e-bikes. Typically, in the front motor e-bike, the motor pulls the rider forward.
The main features and pros of front electric bicycle motor are as follows:
Installation and configuration of front motor e-bikes are relatively more straightforward in comparison to rear-motor bikes. This is due to the fact that there is usually no gear system in the front-motor bikes.
Front hub motors help in distributing the total strain between the front wheel and rear wheel. The front wheel takes on the front weight, and human weight adjusts the rear part.
Further, the front motor system is isolated from the rest of the bike parts. This separate placement makes servicing of the bike easier without interfering with the motor.
Following are some of the limitations of front motor e-bikes:
One of the limitations of front-motor bikes is that they come with the lower end of motor capacities like 250 W or 350 W. It is because the front fork of the bike lacks structural platform in contrast to rear-hub motor e-bikes. Hence, your choice becomes limited in the selection of motor capacity.
Front motor e-bikes tend to have a traction problem at low speeds. This is due to the weight distribution in the front motor models.
Features of middle electric bicycle motor
E-bikes with middle motors are also called hub-motor e-bikes. In these types of electric bikes, the motor is actually placed near the center of the bike. But the power of the motor rotates the rear wheel that controls the chain drive. Hub-motor technology is currently the most widely used among e-bike motors.
The main advantages of middle-motor e-bikes are as below:
The design of the middle motor makes sense as these motors more protected from the external environment. Due to this fact, there is the least wear and tear with the motor and life of the motor becomes extended.
The middle motor technology requires the least maintenance. This makes middle motor e-bikes the first choice of e-bike buyers.
Overall performance and torque of mid-motor e-bikes are usually better than that for the front or rear motor e-bikes. Mid-drive motors drive the crank rather than the wheel, which makes better use of the motor power.
Many of middle motor e-bikes like Evolo bicycles, for example, make it very easy to replace their motors. One only needs to take out two special bolts without disturbing other parts of the bike. Hence, service and maintenance become quite simple.
The placement of motor is near to the center of gravity and close to the ground, which makes the electric bike much more balanced, as compared to the front or rear motor e-bikes.
There is no or least loss of power because battery and motor are placed together. When the battery and the motor are placed apart, some loss of power will occur.
Now let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages of middle motor e-bikes:
Mid-drive motors can be uncomfortable while climbing hills or cruising along the flats. They require shifting gears more carefully.
The life of the motor can be reduced due to the higher power systems. It can lead to the more frequent replacement of motor accessories than on other models.
Since the mid-motors are more complicated in design than front-motor and rear-motor systems, cost of mid-motor e-bike is usually higher than that for the other two options.
Features of rear motor e-bikes
In the case of the rear motor e-bikes, the drivetrain directly connects to the rear motor. This makes a pushing sensation to the rider, which, in turn, makes the riding more responsive.
Rear motor e-bikes typically are more famous due to their design. Motors of rear motor e-bikes give them this special and unusual for bicycles look. This design is compatible with the highest capacity of motors available in the market. Hence, if you prefer power, rear motors are for you.
Let’s find out some of the advantages and disadvantages of rear motor e-bikes:
Advantages of rear motors for e-bikes
Many models of modern e-bikes use rear motor technology. Hence, those models are more popular. Most of those who have experienced normal bike will find more natural riding sensations in rear motor e-bikes.
Rear motor e-bikes also have the look of a standard bicycle without much strange design and built. This makes many riders prefer such models.
Rear motor e-bikes are generally more powerful than front motor e-bikes. Rear motor e-bikes are then more comfortable for people heavy in weight.
Disadvantages of rear motors for e-bikes
Bikes having heavy rear motors could be subject to “popping wheelies” risk at high speeds. This is not always fun and can be dangerous on certain occasions. For example, when you accelerate from a red light or climb a hill.
Rear-motor is not the right choice for people with more weight. There will be imbalance issue because of significant strain in the rear part of the bike.
Service or replacement of the motor is the most cumbersome in the rear motor system.
Rear motor e-bikes will lack the option of the rear disk brakes.
Which e-bike motor system is best for me?
We have taken a look at the differences between all three motor systems for electric bikes. Let’s now discuss, which one is better for you.
The front motor drive e-bikes have the main center of gravity behind the front wheel, which may cause problems while climbing hills.
The rear motor drive has a better-positioned center of gravity. This means that the bike will less likely slip from excessive torque. But the additional weight on the rear wheel does take a toll on performance.
The mid-motor drive moves the sprocket instead of the whole wheel. It utilizes the whole range of gears, thus providing perfectly balanced weight distribution and excellent power efficiency.
After an in-depth analysis of the features, specific advantages, and disadvantages of each type of bike it should be helpful for you to decide the right choice of the e-bike. Our finding concludes that mid-motor e-bikes should be the most comfortable type of e-bike for the majority of e-bike riders.
The mid-drive motor helps conquer long steep hills drive by keeping RPM in an efficient range. The bike feels most responsive and is great for both casual riding and off-road trips.
Bottom line is that the middle motor e-bike makes the rider feel like a super-powered human rather than feeling like a motor has assisted them. Additional considerations like cost, maintenance, ease of replacement of motor also support this choice.
Battery placement also varies between bikes. The two most common placements are in the frame down tube, or on a rear rack. The down tube variation seems more visually attractive, and more importantly places the weight centrally. The rack-mount does raise the bike’s center of gravity, and biases more weight towards the rear, which again makes it inappropriate for MTBs.
On the other side, most e-MTBs have a mid-drive motor for weight balance – which is particularly important on full-suspension machines – and a smoother power delivery. Using a mid-drive motor also allows fitment of a standard rear MTB wheel, whereas most hub motors are proprietary to the brand.
If you are looking for a new way of commuting or want a healthier lifestyle, we are here to help you. Visit our website to learn more about electric bikes and electric scooter or please leave information to us.
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