There are several types of motors for both electric scooters and electric bicycles. Knowing the different motor types and how they work to make the e-rideable move can be extremely helpful when it comes time to shop.
A hub motor is situated in the hub of one of the bike’s wheels, either the front or the rear, and creates propulsion by spinning its wheel. This is the most common motor configuration used by manufacturers, but mid-drive motors are gaining popularity.
There are three different types of hub motors, identified by their placement on the eRideable:
Rear hub motors “push” the bike forward. This often feels more natural to those accustomed to riding conventional bicycles since bicycles also generate power at the rear wheel, using a chain and gears. Similarly, because the bulk of the rider’s weight is above the rear wheel, rear hub motors tend to spin out less often than front hub motors and, in certain riding conditions, can provide a smoother, more efficient riding experience.
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However, rear hub motors can be tricky to install or remove since they work around derailleurs, chains, and cassettes, which can also make it difficult to perform certain types of repairs. Despite the familiar feel of power being generated at the rear wheel, the added bulk of the rear hub motor can negatively affect the overall handling of the bike, making it feel a bit back-heavy. Finally, like their front hub counterparts, rear hub motors introduce extra torque to the rear wheel which means they should be used with particularly strong spokes and rims.
Front hub motors “pull” the eRideable forward. Front hub motors are great for electric bikes with multiple gears, because they don’t interfere with the bicycle’s drivetrain. Cyclists can ride with the pedal power from the rear wheel, while getting help from the motorized front wheel.