Geared Rear Hub Motor Durability

Jeffrios

Member
I'm new to the electric bike scene and am very interested in purchasing one for my commute to work. I plan to commute to work 1-2 times per week. My commute one way is 12 miles, it will be on road or on paved trails.

I know the durability for regular components but my question comes down to the electric motor.

Direct Drive motors are the must durable long term, I figured that out, but the bike I am interested in is the Juiced CrossCurrent S, this has a rear-hub geared Bafang motor.

What kind of durability should I expect? I asked Juiced and they said it should last a couple of years?!?

What is the general thoughts on how long it will generally last? 2000 miles, 3000 miles?

I don't plan on biking in the rain or snow, so lets assume normal wear and tear.

Finally, is replacing a rear-hub motor cheaper and easier to replace than a mid-drive unit?

Thanks for the insight!
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
A geared hub should last at least 20,000 miles with proper maintenance i.e., truing the wheels every 3-4 months.

I had easy motion bikes with geared hubs that were going strong even after 5000 miles. I sold the bike for different reasons.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
The only experience I have is with a geared Bafang on a Sondors fat bike. Originally, many people had magnets come loose, but mine are okay. I have mine tore apart now because a Hall sensor has failed. 1,690 miles on the bike. Replacement can be pretty easy if you can find a direct replacement. In fact, many Sondors owners do an upgrade when the motor fails. They pull the guts out of a 750 watt motor and it plugs right into the housing of the 500 watt. No lacing required.
 

Jeffrios

Member
Interesting. 1700 miles is far lower than what I expected. As said earlier, 5000 miles or close to is what I was expecting.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Interesting. 1700 miles is far lower than what I expected. As said earlier, 5000 miles or close to is what I was expecting.
Yup, and I have a bag full of dead cheap Chinese compact florescent bulbs that were supposed to last for decades. You're not going to get a supreme product in that price range. The first Sondors bikes sold for $499 plus $200 shipping. That was a complete ebike. I'm not disappointed with the 1700 miles. A lot of folks had magnets come loose with far less mileage.
 

Chris Hammond

Well-Known Member
I've read hundreds of posts and review of Juiced bikes on this forum and others. I don't recall anyone mentioning a failed motor. Ravi has far more experience on ebikes than most of us ever will. Electric motors are notoriously long life and reliable. My guess is the motor will outlast many of the bikes they are on.
Also FWIW, if a hub motor fails you can replace it directly if you know how to re-lace spokes on a wheel. If not most decent bike shops can do it for $50-$100. You can also just order a motor with the wheel already built on it. Worst case it'd be a few hundred bucks. It is near the bottom of my list of expected maintenance costs. Expect to replace brake pads and tires multiple times, chain, cassette, and battery before the motor.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
I've read hundreds of posts and review of Juiced bikes on this forum and others. I don't recall anyone mentioning a failed motor. Ravi has far more experience on ebikes than most of us ever will. Electric motors are notoriously long life and reliable. My guess is the motor will outlast many of the bikes they are on.
How many riding miles do you have on your geared hub motor? Curious statement about electric motors, are you referring to all electric motors including the one on your furnace? I had the feeling from your post that you were discounting my personal experience of motor failure by comparison to your reading, until you go on to tell people how to replace a failed motor. Interesting contradiction. I have replaced no other parts on my bike, just the motor failure.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
It cost me about $140 to have a bare hub motor (Bafang) shipped from China, and $60 of that was for the shipping. It would be over $250 with a wheel, so I just buy better spokes and a rim and lace them myself. Unless it's proprietary like Bionx, hub motors are interchangeable.

A reseller/importer like Juiced can get those replacements for far less, but they gotta make their margins, and so does a bike shop, so a replacement could be spendy.

Bosch and Yamaha mid drives ...I would expect to be double spendy.

I might have around 2200 miles on my ebikes in 2.5 years of ownership. Three bafang motors, and several unknown names. I don't abuse them, and haven't any failures with the motor or electronics. More importantly, the batteries seem to behave.
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
I have two Radrovers since Sept/16 with 2000 miles on one and 2100 miles on the other. I do a combo or work commuting and trail riding on both at 50-75 miles per week (depending on weather and how I feel after work). I'm 6'3" and +270 lbs with my ebikes coming in at +70 lbs with rack+bag+gear+accessories. My geared hub has always performed perfectly on speed runs of 15-22 mph, steep inclines, and trail riding (can be very sandy in spots). I went with the Radrover because the gear rear hub had 2X the torque compared to the directdrive Radcity ebikes.

I've only been on this forum since the purchase of my Radrover; but, I've haven't heard of any Rad Power Bikes having failures of the rear hub motors.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
I have two Radrovers since Sept/16 with 2000 miles on one and 2100 miles on the other. I do a combo or work commuting and trail riding on both at 50-75 miles per week (depending on weather and how I feel after work). I'm 6'3" and +270 lbs with my ebikes coming in at +70 lbs with rack+bag+gear+accessories. My geared hub has always performed perfectly on speed runs of 15-22 mph, steep inclines, and trail riding (can be very sandy in spots). I went with the Radrover because the gear rear hub had 2X the torque compared to the directdrive Radcity ebikes.

I've only been on this forum since the purchase of my Radrover; but, I've haven't heard of any Rad Power Bikes having failures of the rear hub motors.
Here's a video to help you recognize a failure should it happen to you.

 

rich c

Well-Known Member
10-days old bike.
Though in Youtube comments they also talk about loose connections outside, not in the motor.
If I recall correctly, RadRover code for loose connection is 23, hall sensor is 24. On Sondors, either problem presents the same code, 03 info. You always try the connections first. No help on mine, also plugged it into a 2nd Sondors bike to eliminate the chance of connection or controller. Shot an 03 code on the display of the 2nd bike. When you get a hall sensor failure on a geared hub motor, throttle won't help a lick. You get to pedal a 60+ pound single speed Sondors fat bike home. Luckily I only had 3 miles home, and only 1 hill. Still had a sweat up in December.
 

Alex M

Active Member
Throttle on geared hub would help when mechanical drivetrain fails - chain etc. With mid you're out of luck in this case.

When motor fails, you have to pedal that beast ;)
 

Mike's E-Bikes

Well-Known Member
I'm new to the electric bike scene and am very interested in purchasing one for my commute to work. I plan to commute to work 1-2 times per week. My commute one way is 12 miles, it will be on road or on paved trails.

I know the durability for regular components but my question comes down to the electric motor.

Direct Drive motors are the must durable long term, I figured that out, but the bike I am interested in is the Juiced CrossCurrent S, this has a rear-hub geared Bafang motor.

What kind of durability should I expect? I asked Juiced and they said it should last a couple of years?!?

What is the general thoughts on how long it will generally last? 2000 miles, 3000 miles?

I don't plan on biking in the rain or snow, so lets assume normal wear and tear.

Finally, is replacing a rear-hub motor cheaper and easier to replace than a mid-drive unit?

Thanks for the insight!
Generally speaking, geared hub motors are fairly reliable. They are also not too hard to replace some of the inner components if you have a shop that you bought the ebike from that is local, and has someone that can do it. But not knowing rider weight, conditions you are riding in, and the price point that this Juiced Bike is at, coupled with all of the features they are attempting to pack into it at that price point, I would suggest a little bit of caution and put the overall ebike in the potential 'too good to be true category.' Its very hard to get any manufacturer in Asia to put together a quality build in an ebike that has the combination of components this ebike has (i.e. hydraulic brakes, a 650 watt motor - odd size given that most are either 500 watts or 750 watts, torque sensing, but not only torque but torque and cadence, integrated front and rear lights, capable of 28 mph, suspension fork, 12.8AH battery at 48 volts, included rear rack).

So what would have me concerned if I were in your shoes as a commuter is a) at this price point, are all of the critical items going to be long life and virtually maintenance free since this is being bought on-line and not through a dealer who can and would most likely help me out on trouble-shooting and keeping this maintained b) with it not being from a dealer, am I buying from an entity that has a good chance of being around a long time, since this obviously being sold at very thin margins to get all of these features at this price point which is way lower than many ebikes that have less features, and c) will the company be responsive and have the time to help me on the phone, when or if something does happen, since again I didn't buy this from a dealer, or if I did that dealer made next to nothing on the ebike.

In otherwords, there are no free lunches so to speak. To get reliability you need quality components, not just great combinations of features, so you have to ask where are the trade offs that were made to get so much for such a low price ?

You're asking about the motor, is actually the last thing I would ask about with any ebike, but your gut is telling you something here, otherwise you would not be likely asking that question. Really the more important question is what is the quality of the battery (not just the cells, but the management system) and how well designed and robust is the controller, given a 650 watt motor that can draw up to 900 watts according to their specs, that is going to be asking a lot of the battery management and controller over time, so both had better be able to handle the 'heat' that will be generated, or designed really well to actually keep that heat down. The battery is by far the most expensive single component on just about any ebike, and again its not just about whether the cells are Panasonic or Samsung, but how the entire battery is built, and the components and circuitry within it.

My best estimate is, that if you were only buying this particular ebike with occasional recreational use, and not regular commuting where you really need an ebike that is reliable, and with really good components in the critical areas such as battery, controller, the drive train including derailleur, the brakes (not necessarily hydraulic but higher end brakes), and something that you can buy from a local shop who will be there for you when time is important, and timing, and you are more apt to take it in to take good care of it for things that are not an easy DIY, you would be ok. Otherwise, I would suggest focusing on an ebike with better components in critical areas, if possible buying from a shop that is local, and also probably thinking of budgeting $400 to $600 more to get what will be a more appropriate solution for commuting.

They have some really 'seductive' marketing going on here too, and not saying that is a negative in of itself, but calling it a 'sport-commuter' and all the other things they emphasize that borders on hype, again at such a low price point that even larger and more financially sound ebike OEM's can't produce, you have to have a bit more skepticism and ask a lot more questions.

P.S. One thing on the motor. Since it is a 'unique' design, and so few are likely being made, what is the prognosis for that motor being easily replaced if and when you need to do it a few years down the road, and then also what is the real replacement cost ? And if you have to buy something else, even if its from Bafang, will it actually fit and be compatible with the controller and drivetrain. These features and so many of them are indeed seductive. And again, there is no 'free lunch' so what trade offs were made here to get such a bargain ?
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
As a mechanical engineer and an owner a multiple ebikes, I'm going to throw in my 2 cents on this debate. I have a Polaris Diesel that was made by Power In Motion that has a direct drive hub motor. The benefits of this design should be obvious to everyone - no contact points / gears to wear out and motor power does not go thru the drive train causing extra wear and tear as a mid-drive does. The down side is less torque (the geared hub motor are a smaller diameter buy typically benefit from a 5:1 gear ratio that amplifies the torque) but unless your commute is very hilly that may not be as much of an issue as you would think. Mid drives definitely benefit from the drive train when going say less than about 15mph but in higher gears torque to the rear wheel is dramatically reduced (no one talk about the fact that this is the equivalent of inefficiency). Mid-drive benefit the most from the regulations that tend to want to set low top assist speeds on eBikes which in the US limits their appeal to commuters that really need faster average speeds for typically longer commutes. At speeds over 20mph is where a direct drive hub motor really shines - the efficiency hits it's high values and the motor is likely providing as much torque to the rear wheel as either a mid drive or geared hub motor (well maybe not as much as a gear hub motor but it may not be relevant to the performance demands of the commute).

A geared hub motor almost always has acetyl or nylon gears which do soften a bit when the motor heats up. There will be wear and eventually the gears will need to be replaced. I would think at a 3,000-10,000 mile interval which sounds OK but could mean a minimum of several replacements over the life of a commuter bike that is actually being used on a regular basis. This should matter to anyone considering an eBike as a serious commuter / transportation solution as it's a life cycle cost factor.

I would recommend always going with a direct drive hub motor for a serious commuter bike unless you simply find that the torque/assist power simply does not meet your needs due to a significant elevation level changing commute (most rural area commutes don't tend to be that hilly so my guess is that most of the time the direct drive motor will make more sense). They can be a bit heavier so if you have to bring them up stairs or load on bike racks frequently that could be an issue and the increased weight impacts rear suspension performance if you have a rear suspension (most commute bikes don't justify a rear suspension)

I recommend going with the simplicity of a direct drive hub motor on a commute bike when the meet the performance needs of your commute (the PIM hubs are 750W nominal 900W peak direct drive motors that have very good torque and performance, more than the direct drives motors on the Radcity products I believe).
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
I know I sometimes get caught up in what is the "best" compared to "what is best for me for my situation". My Radrover is far from being the best ebike on the market; but, it is really the best for me. It checks a lot of boxes for me like price, comfort, ease of riding, warranty, dealer support, power, hill climbing, ability to mod/upgrade, max weight capabilities, jack of all trades in every terrain/weather, low maintenance cost, etc.... The overall score comes out pretty high compared to similar or ebikes costing hundreds or thousands more for the way I like to ride.


I would expand my check list to see if that might influence your final choice. My initial reaction was to just go with the Radrover for a year or two and upgrade to a mid-drive for more specialized riding. I like the overall flexibility and "jack-of-all-trades" of my Rad so much and I've stopped looking into an upgrade to other ebikes.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Rad Power interestingly has ebikes with both geared and direct drive hub motors - maybe the only company that has both which allows for a unique comparison opportunity. I do believe that the result of a comparison will come down to how hilly the environment is where most of the riding / commuting will take place. A geared hub motor will be a bit better on hills (assuming somewhat similar wattage ratings) but the simplicity of a direct drive hub in my mind is preferable when the performance is adequate for where it's going to be used.

I ride about 13 miles each way to work 2-3 days a week in the Denver area (some hills but not really significant), I'm 56 years old, and I really like the performance of the Polaris Diesel (Power in Motion) eBike with the direct drive 750W nominal (900W peak) motor. I have a Haibike Trekking model with a Yamaha PW that is great if I just like to cruise in at slower speeds (the assist thru the drive train just falls off fast due to the gear ratio at higher speeds - the Bosch is less succeptable to this because of the 2.5 X front smaller sprocket speed but still is impacted).

Jeffrios...where are you located? If in the Denver area maybe we should try to hook up and you can take my bikes for a spin. I don't want to plug sales on EBR but I'm working with PIM on an urban commute model eBike with carbon forks, integrated bars/stem, and suspension seat post (like the Canyon / Ergon flexible carbon seatpost - actually very effective at absorbing most road vibrations and smaller impacts). This model will be available last April but I have a prototype in Denver.
 

Bruce Arnold

Well-Known Member
Let me suggest two videos that are very informative. One is directly related to how well a geared hub motor performs. Being in Europe, it's limited to 250 watts nominal. You can see it here.

The other is a demonstration of how well the Crosscurrent S performs in hilly terrain. Longish video; the hilly part starts about halfway through. It can be seen here.

Draw your own conclusions. I think you'll find these more useful than another long post.