Comparing Electric Motorcycle Hub Motors and Mid-Drive Systems
2023 Dec 25 By admin 0 comment

The rising popularity of electric two-wheeler bikes is undeniable, owed to their convenience and eco-friendly attributes. These electric motors provide additional pedal-assist force, making riding more effortless and efficient.

In the realm of electric motorcycles, two major motor types dominate the market: the electric motorcycle hub motor and the mid-drive system. While hub motors hold a substantial market share, the high-end models in Europe and the United States lean toward mid-drive motors. Understanding the differences between these systems is crucial.

Electric Motorcycle Hub Motor: Advantages and Disadvantages

The hub motor, as its name implies, integrates the motor within the wheel hub. Its key feature is the integration of power, transmission, and braking components within the hub. This design is widely used in electric two-wheelers and automobiles due to its mature design and cost-effectiveness.


  1. Simplified Structure and Low Maintenance: The hub motor comprises a coil, rotating shaft, magnetic steel, and casing, resulting in a simple structure with relatively low failure rates and minimal maintenance requirements. Additionally, it operates independently of the pedal drive system, extending the lifespan of chains and other components.
  2. Cost-Efficiency and High Performance: Hub motors boast a low manufacturing cost, especially for basic models, and exhibit high power conversion efficiency. With direct rear-wheel drive, these motors avoid energy loss during transmission, boasting a kinetic energy conversion rate of around 80%.


  1. Comfort and Durability Concerns: Hub motors can impact vehicle handling, comfort, and suspension reliability, affecting the riding experience, especially at higher speeds. They are more suitable for low-speed commuting and might cause tilting at higher speeds.
  2. Vulnerability to Environmental Factors: Excessive vibrations and harsh external conditions can lead to potential failure issues. Additionally, replacing wheel components like rims and tires can be more challenging.

Hub motors can be further categorized into geared and gearless types, with geared motors incorporating internal planetary gears to reduce higher-speed motor velocity. On the other hand, gearless hub motors have fewer moving parts, resulting in reduced wear and tear.

Electric Motorcycle Mid-Drive System: Advantages and Disadvantages

The mid-drive system positions the motor at the bottom bracket between the bike’s central pedals, directly linked to the crank. Unlike hub motors, mid-drive motors integrate into the bike’s frame and transfer power through the bike’s drivetrain.


  1. Enhanced Efficiency and Torque: Mid-drive motors offer excellent gear ratios, enabling riders to utilize the bike’s existing chain and gear set. This setup provides high torque, making it suitable for steep inclines and quick acceleration.
  2. Balanced Center of Gravity and Reduced Resistance: The mid-drive system’s center of gravity maintains balance and stability, particularly advantageous for off-road handling. It offers minimal resistance and allows easy pedaling even without power.


  1. Complex Structure and Maintenance: The mid-drive system’s intricate structure involves multiple components, leading to higher costs, regular maintenance, and increased vulnerability to failure.
  2. Chain Wear and Tear: The power transmission through chainrings and chains in mid-drive systems can accelerate wear, requiring periodic replacements and gentler gear changes.

Comparison Between Electric Motorcycle Hub Motors and Mid-Drive Systems

Examining both structures and riding experiences, hub motors, being integrated into the wheel hub, can slightly affect weight distribution and handling compared to mid-drive systems, especially on rough terrains. Mid-drive systems excel in maintaining balance and handling diverse road conditions due to their centered weight distribution.

Hub motors suit low-speed commuting, offering cost-effective and environmentally friendly options. Conversely, mid-drive systems deliver superior performance but come with a higher price tag, mainly catering to sportier models.

In the end, the choice between hub motors and mid-drive systems depends on specific needs, preferences, and intended use, with brand and grade differences far outweighing the variation between motor categories. Hub motors are more suitable for urban commuting, whereas mid-drive systems cater to high-performance and off-road biking experiences.