Based on our 15 years’ experience Motorino has chosen to carry a variety of high-quality electric bicycles with top performance characteristics of their electric drive system. Fulfilling all the main priorities of light weight, high torque, and long range is only possible to a certain extent by using a geared hub motor. Many discussions are available regarding the pros and cons of a geared hub motor vs direct drive gearless hub and mid-drive geared motor. Therefore, we would like to explain the advantages and disadvantages of each propulsion system.
It is a fact that geared motors deliver much better and immediate torque for the same amount of input power with the same magnet surface compare to direct drive hub motors. This is possible because the geared motors are faster RPM motors and they achieve their max efficiency immediately. For the same amount of torque, a geared hub motor is almost twice lighter than direct drive one. Geared motors also have an internal clutch allowing the wheel to spin free whereas the direct motor will always have a slight amount of induced drag. The immediate torque a geared hub motors provide allows using a throttle without affecting its durability because the motor runs independently from the mechanical gears of the bike.
Most of direct drive e-bike manufacturers make their bikes power assisted only unless they use bigger motors. This is because direct drive motors lack starting torque due to their lower efficiency in low speed. In comparison, geared hub motor bikes make the worst-case scenario uphill start from 0 km/h much easier because they are equipped with a throttle providing immediate starting torque.
The geared mid-drive motor was introduced by Bosch in 2012 for the European market. Since then it became the most popular concept for the bikes in Europe where the regulations allow motor with max power of 250W and speed of 25km/h. The advantages of the mid-drive motor that drives the chain and takes advantage of the bike gears. However, the tension of the rear gears is transferred back to the mid-drive gear box resulting in extensive ware and tear from still start. For that reason, you wouldn’t be able to find a mid-drive propelled bike with a throttle and if you do avoid using the throttle without peddling.
The amount of power and efficiency of BLDC motors ultimately depends of the surface of the magnets. The position of the mid-drive motor restricts the size of the magnets and limits its power to 200-250W. Some manufacturers advertise higher than that power, but this is mainly achieved by increasing the input power resulting in more heat dissipation. Fictitious way to claim more power is by increasing the motor RPM and convert the speed into torque by increasing the gear ratio in gear box. The mid-drive motor and the mid-drive frame are also much more complicated for maintenance and expensive to produce. There is also a risk of jamming the gears if they are switched during the operation of the motor. For that reason, Bosch is using special gear shifter sensor that disengage the motor but not all mod-drive motor manufacturers have these additional sensors.
We at Motorino carry the largest selection of electric bikes for all your needs. All Motorino electric bicycles are built to meet European Union EN 15194 safety requirements. Most of them are based on designs by European manufacturers and comply with European quality requirements although many Motorino electric bicycles are upgraded, higher-power versions that maximize performance under North American regulations.
During our experience we have become very confident that the best propelling option for an e-bike is a geared hub motor. These motors are very durable, very easy to maintain and because they are working independently from the mechanical gears they can safely work with a throttle that provides immediate torque without the need of initial peddling. Any peddling however boosts the starting torque to incomparable levels compare any same power motor. The geared hub motor has a free wheeling due to the built-in roller clutch that avoids any internal resistance when coasting. The geared hub motor weighs twice less compared to the same power direct drive motor. It doesn’t require a special frame, it is quieter than a mid-drive motor and it can be upscaled easily. The controller of the geared hub motor is outside of the motor and that makes eliminating possible problems much easier. All hub motors come with water resist connectors and the wheel can be detached from the bike.