Hub drive v Mid drive?

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Poshshire
Except its conveniently leaving out some very inconvenient facts. He stated his case in the very first sentence, and presented only tha facts that supported his own assertion.

A patent LOB if ever there was.

Bottom line...

Direct drive hub motors aren't very nice when restricted to the UK limit - they need to be spun up.

Mid motors work through the drivetrain gearing. But geared hub motors also have their own gearing to work through. Even worse, the mid drive is working through gearing that suits your legs, which is not necessarily the efficient operating range of the motor. Geared hub motors are always working a within their efficient range, so one can get away with a lower output.

In the UK we're stuck with 250 watts, and physics doesn't really care where that comes from - moving the source of that 250 watts from one part of the vike to another makes little different to grunt the rear tyre receives. If youre sticking to tarmac the hub motor brings no disadvantage, if you're seriously going off road then mid drive gimves much better mass centralisation and reduces unsprung weight on full squidge bikes, but costs more.

You makes your choice.
 
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ebikeerwidnes

Über Member
I have had 3 different hub motor ebikes

and 1 mid drive

and the ebike is UK road legal

of the 4 I much prefer the mid drive - it matches what I am doing far better rather than the hub drives did. It is much closer to a full assist rather than me pedalling and a motor chipping in as well.

and the weight of the heavy battery and motor are not totally over the rear wheel!

BUT
a) The drive to the wheel is going through the chain and gears. Hence if I give it some wellie at the point where the motor is assisting at full power there is a lot of power going through that chain.
As a result the chain and gears needed to be replaced after just over a year - and 3000 miles.
Of course, the original chain and gears that came with the bike may have been a bit on the cheap side. The LBS says they have replaced them with better quality so we shall see it these last longer!e

b) The mid drive bike was the most expensive - the hub drive bikes were at the cheaper end of the range. In fact the first ebike was of 2009(ish) vintage.
In fact with at least 2 of the 3 you could trick the motor into doing all by simple rotating the pedals with very little pressure on them at all.
So - it is possible that a more expensive hub drive would have a proper torque sensor and assist more realistically.
 

ebikeerwidnes

Über Member
I'd sooner have a front hub motor
Interesting - when I was looking to replcae my old bike I saw a lot of people saying the front hub was no good compared to mid or rear.
However, I can;t remember the reasons and - to be honest - a lot of them seemed to be comparing cheap self install kits to full systems so I was never sure how reliable they were.
So - why do you prefer the front hub systems?
I did think they made sense - especially in the days when most batteries were on a rear rack.
However, as the vast majority of manufacturers have gone to rear or mid drive I assumed the front was wore for some reason - so it would be nice to have a proper review of them.

Thanks
 
OP
S

Stul

Über Member
..before taking the plunge (or understanding the "physics"), we tried all 3 variants and found the front hub our least favourite, followed by the rear hub, and we ended up with mid drive as for us this gave the most "natural" ride. But I guess it's each to their own...
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
A quality crank drive gives a better rendition of ordinary cycling, which I prefer.

Some users might genuinely not give a toss about that, so long as the damn thing helps them up hills.

It's also correct to say technology inches along, and the latest hub/controller combinations give a much smoother power delivery than hub drives of several years ago.
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
Interesting - when I was looking to replcae my old bike I saw a lot of people saying the front hub was no good compared to mid or rear.
However, I can;t remember the reasons and - to be honest - a lot of them seemed to be comparing cheap self install kits to full systems so I was never sure how reliable they were.
So - why do you prefer the front hub systems?
I did think they made sense - especially in the days when most batteries were on a rear rack.
However, as the vast majority of manufacturers have gone to rear or mid drive I assumed the front was wore for some reason - so it would be nice to have a proper review of them.

Thanks
Our 2 are both 'self install' though at @ £500 for the kit were hardly 'cheap' they were both fitted before the regulations changed so are 'thumb throttle' only (although they have the capability of crank sensors and assist level controller/display) but do have brake lever power cutouts. I did a fair bit of research between rear and front motors (mid drive not being an option 8 years ago) and rear motors 'drag' when not powered i.e. flat battery whereas the front motor doesn't (unless you push the bike backwards when some resistance can be felt)
There is also no need for a speed sensor as the motors are 3 phase AC 'hall effect' so the motor is 'governed' by the controller and the frequency it will output so will only rotate to a certain speed under power (althugh it will 'freewheel' faster)
The targets for ours were simplicity and reliability and as such have been fault free for 8 and 7 years respectively although the batteries may be getting a bit tired these days and could possibly do with being replaced (they seem OK for the distances we use them for)

You may question "Why thumb throttle only?" and it is for efficiency, there are times when I don't want to use assist and rather than faff about turning it on and off with buttons on an assist controller I only use power when i choose to.
 

matiz

Veteran
Location
weymouth
I've only had my ebike a few weeks but chose a rear hub .
I was worried about the handling with a front hub motor we get a lot of sand on the roads off the beach down here also with rain and mud would it make the front end slide out when cornering?
Probably no problem on a trike though.
 

ebikeerwidnes

Über Member
I've only had my ebike a few weeks but chose a rear hub .
I was worried about the handling with a front hub motor we get a lot of sand on the roads off the beach down here also with rain and mud would it make the front end slide out when cornering?
Probably no problem on a trike though.
That is the sort of problem I have heard about.
However, on slippery stuff you could also find that having a motor pushing in the direction you want to go could be an advantage???
 

gbb

Legendary Member
Location
Peterborough
I see it quite simply...the country, maybe the world isn't full of rear hub drive bike owners who desperately wished they'd brought mid drive (or vice versa) I suspect the vast majority of owners, whichever system they have, are quite happy with their choice
If one, front , mid or fear drive had a glaringly apparent advantage in every sense, the others would have already fallen by the wayside, obsolete, outdated, useless. But they're not, each has its advantages....and disadvantages.
You pays your money....
 

keithmac

Veteran
I have a hub drive and mid drive.

I like the hub drive for it's simplicity and it's practically silent, been my work hack for 5 years now!.

The mid drive is nice for a weekend toy, needs a bit more maintenance though.
 

raleighnut

Legendary Member
That is the sort of problem I have heard about.
However, on slippery stuff you could also find that having a motor pushing in the direction you want to go could be an advantage???
I've only had my ebike a few weeks but chose a rear hub .
I was worried about the handling with a front hub motor we get a lot of sand on the roads off the beach down here also with rain and mud would it make the front end slide out when cornering?
Probably no problem on a trike though.
Nah i'd done Maz's Dawes about a year before I did the Trike and nobody has ever fallen off that, bear in mind I bought the trike for physiotherapy after breaking my leg but then found I couldn't get back up the hill if I went anywhere other than the ridge I live on top of.
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
A front hub can skip when climbing hard - 15-20%+, although I doubt many users would regularly come across gradients that steep.

The problem is worse with short wheelbase small wheeled bikes.

The front wheel on my 20" Bosch crank drive bike can jump on steep climbs, as could the front wheel on my now departed front hub drive Brompton Nano.

Front hubs do equalise the weight and wheel stresses.

I have crank drives, but for a big lad like me, asking the rear wheel to bear my weight and deal with the motor torque might be a bit much.
 

ebikeerwidnes

Über Member
I am in a rather unusual place here because I bought a rear hub drive bike - then had a problem and the manufacturer upgraded me to a 'better' ebike which has a crank drive. It is a much better bike in many ways
BUT
I would have been happy to keep the rear drive it not for the problem - which was with charging (now fixed BTW) and nothing to do with motors
I do use my wife's folder quite often - and that has a rear drive. I prefer mine but then it is a more expensive system

I suspect that if I had spent several hundred more on a better hub drive bike then I would not see much difference in quality!
 
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