Hub Motor vs Mid-Drive Motor: What Suits Your Needs?

Monday Motorbikes presents a new educational blog series to help you make the right decision when buying you electric ride!

The electric vehicle industry is fairly new and many companies bank on the fact that most people will make an emotional purchase without really knowing what they actually buy. Over the years, we received a lot of the same questions about the differences of all the electric choices out there. Thus, we thought it would be beneficial for our awesome community to learn more about electric vehicles in a new weekly Monday Motorbikes Educational Blog Series. We’ll have a new educational blog coming out every Monday to insure everyone makes the right choice when choosing the next electric vehicle.

The Series will cover the following topics:

  1. Motors

  2. Batteries

  3. Electric Bicycle classes

  4. Choose Your Retailer Wisely

  5. Warranties/Repairs

  6. Plan Your Purchase

To kick off the series, we’ll focus on one of the most prominent and important aspects of an electric vehicle: the Motor.

Hub Motors

The most commonly used motor type in the 2-wheeled market today is a hub motor. Typically, it is placed in the rear wheel to eliminate connecting a chain from the motor to a sprocket. The hub motor is a closed system and relatively inexpensive to manufacture (due to large volumes of production), but they are limited in their power capabilities..

Hub motor. Photo courtesy of  dhgate.com .

Hub motor. Photo courtesy of dhgate.com.

Hub motor. Photo courtesy of  newatlas.com .

Hub motor. Photo courtesy of newatlas.com.

With a hub-drive, the motor drives the wheel directly and spins with the wheel. This is great for flat and well paved areas because the shocks are more directly absorbed by the motor. Steep inclines draw higher power from the hub motor which is spinning slowly.  The result is a high current draw, which can make the motor overheat, resulting in temporary shut-offs or permanent damage to the components inside. Many hub motors used today will need to be replaced after a few hundred to one thousand miles depending on the riding style, terrain, and climate. If you live in a very hot or hilly area, vehicles with hub motors might not be the right choice. The money saved buying a lower priced product with a hub motor will be quickly be spent in replacement parts. However, in flat areas with mild climates, going with a less robust hub motor may do the trick.

Mid-Drive Motors vs. Hub

A mid-drive motor is one that is positioned between the pedals or front pegs. This helps to keep the center of gravity in the center of the bike, providing better directional and tracking stability compared to a Hub-Motor, especially at higher speeds. Mid-drive motors are known for higher performance and torque when compared to a similarly powered traditional hub motor. One key reason is that the mid-drive motor leverages the bike’s gear ratios which can be optimized for each riding condition.  Mid-drive motors are designed to make maintenance and service extremely easy. A motor can be replaced without affecting the rear wheel, and a rear wheel can be serviced without affecting the motor. This means that virtually any regular repair shop can easily perform troubleshooting and repairs in quick time.

The mid-drive motor on the  Monday Motorbikes GEN7 .

The mid-drive motor on the Monday Motorbikes GEN7.

Take it from the experts: “Mid-drive motors have a few important advantages over hub motors,” shares Micah Toll, Electrek Journalist and Author of Electric Motorcycles 2019. “They run at higher RPMs which can allow the motor to operate more efficiently, they provide a more comfortable weight balance in the bike by keeping the center of gravity closer to the rider, and most importantly they improve handling by reducing unsprung weight in the rear wheel.”

A Lesson in Unsprung Mass

From our high school or college physics classes, unsprung mass refers to the amount of mass that must travel up and down as a bike goes over a bump. In the case of a bike with suspension, unsprung mass still refers to the mass that goes up and down, but now it only includes the weight of the wheel (plus hardware). It can be shown that a bike with suspension and having a lower unsprung mass will result in a smoother ride. When a bike with a hub motor goes over a bump, the entire wheel (plus motor) must go up and then down. On a bike with a mid-drive motor, only the rear wheel goes up and down.

Monday Motorbikes decided to use only mid-drive motors with higher power rating. This allows our motorbikes to only sip power versus operating at near “red line” of a lower-powered motor. The result is a longer lifespan of our motors. This might have resulted in a higher GEN7 price but in our opinion it’s worth it. Our riders will save the additional cost over time through lower maintenance, a longer motor lifespan (our mid-drive motors are rated for over 100,000+ miles) and lower labor cost when repairs are needed. Our motorbikes leverage the agility benefits of having a centrally-located motor and the suspension benefits of a reduced unsprung mass.

Our motorbikes are built to provide the thrill of a motorcycle with the ease of a bicycle.