Advantages of Mid-Drive Motor Vs. Hub Motor

You offer both the 250 watt motor power package and 500 watt motor power package. Which one should I go with? 

That is a great question! To best address it, it helps to look at your riding needs:

You will benefit from a 500W motor if:

  • You live in a really hilly area and you wish to have a lot of torque and power to go quickly on hills;
  • You plan to do little or no pedaling (instead relying more on the electric-only throttle) and maintain a higher cruising speed;
  • The rider’s weight is over 200 lbs.

You should find the 250W motor enough for your needs if:

  • You live in a moderately hilly area;
  • You plan to use the motor to complement your own power when you need a boost or feel tired, but still plan to pedal the bulk of the time;
  • The rider’s weight is under 200 lbs.

As you’d expect, the 500W upgrade offers more power–with the main tradeoff being the increased expense. Our standard 250W configuration works great for most people, as our unique mid-drive design is incredibly efficient; by providing power at the crank it takes full use of the mechanical advantage of the bike’s gearing.

People looking to use “throttle-only” mode more frequently, looking to go faster on hills and simply looking for more acceleration should consider the 500W option.

The assisted top speeds of both bikes is limited to 20mph per Federal regulations–and the 500w versions are able to attain this speed with little pedaling effort. However, there is an “off-road only” option on the 500W configuration which will allow for speeds up to 25mph with assist. Keep in mind that actually speeds depend on a variety of conditions, and will vary.

Please note that only our Aries and Aurora models offer a 500W motor power upgrade. Coupled with a 48V battery, it delivers unparalleled torque and power – enough to tackle virtually any sort of terrain.

As a side note, we put this our motors to the test ourselves when several of our bikes were used in a 4,000 mile Trans-American Electric Bike Tour and performed superbly even in the steep and mountainous  areas.

How does the patented mid-drive motor compare to a standard hub motor? What are the major differences between the two?

The differences between the two types of motor are actually quite substantial and can be placed into three categories: (1) performance; (2) safety; and (3) maintenance.

1.  Performance

When it comes to performance, mid-drive motors are capable of doing more with less. A mid-drive motor takes advantage of the existing gearing mechanism that comes on every bike to enable it to go as fast as possible and climb hills with ease – all while conserving battery power.

With a hub motor, on the other hand, the motor drives the wheel and does not take advantage of the bicycle gears.

Therefore, if you were comparing using a hub motor on a bike to the equivalent setup on a car, the car would esentially have only one gear. Therefore, if the car were designed for speed, it would struggle to climb up even the slightest hill without giving it more gas, causing terrible gas mileage. If it were made for torque, the car would go up the hill with ease, but could not reach any significant speed without wasting much more gas than you would want to.

The EVELO mid-drive motor system eliminates the issue by allowing the motor to take advantage of the bicycle’s gears. Not only does this provide you with superior speed and torque, but it also uses less energy (which translates into a longer battery range).

2.  Safety

From the perspective of safety, it’s important to consider how the position of the motor on the bike affects handling and balance of the bike.

By their very nature, hub motors must be installed on either the front or the rear wheel. If installed on the rear wheel, the motor makes the bike very rear-heavy, affecting the balance. However, if the motor is installed in the front wheel, the bike will lack traction going up hills and the wheel might spin in wet weather.

A mid-drive motor solves these problems. Its positioning in the lowest possible point of the bicycle frame maintains a low center of gravity and reduces the effect of the additional weight on the bike’s handling.

3.  Maintenance

As you consider investing in an electric bike, it’s wise to think about the cost of maintenance down the road. The type of motor you choose will affect the ease or difficulty of future maintenance, whether it’s an electrical part needing replacement or a flat tire requiring the wheel to be removed.

For example, the otherwise simple task of fixing a flat tire can be a complicated task with a rear hub motor. Such a motor usually needs to be secured in the frame to prevent breakage, and a flat tire usually means removal of the wheel plus the motor to accomplish this. Hub motors can result in more flat tires overall, due to the extra weight which can decrease the shock-absorbing capability of the tire.

A mid-drive motor, on the other hand, is pretty much independent from all of the other bicycle components. Fixing a flat tire is just as easy as on a regular bike. Removing or swapping the electrical components can usually be done in a matter of minutes with no special electrical knowledge.


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