Hub drive or mid drive.

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I made this one yesterday. Mid-drive. Second battery option.
 

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FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
Sorry Flat6 but I made it about 4minutes into that and had to turn it off. I utilize both systems and couldn't agree less with his conclusions. First of all my hub bikes are much faster up to speed and at speed than my mid drives and hill climbing utilizing the bikes gears with a hub drive I have climbed just as steep of terrain albeit mostly on roads of varying surfaces. For trails I do prefer my mid drives but both as I have them setup will do either actually within reason.
Maybe I am being too provincial and need to buy a hub drive for the riding experience. ;)
 
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tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Committed DD hub users, especially higher-powered, over 1500W, can benefit from Statorade and cooling fins.

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JRA

Well-Known Member
Maybe I am being too provincial and need to buy a hub drive for the riding experience. ;)
You know what they say about variety.

Actually what I like about my hub drives is A: they are front hub drives that have no PAS. The throttles are set up so that they can be set to any watt output and then released giving a similar effect to having a trolling motor on a row boat sorta kinda. In other words the motor is always active enough to take up the dead spots in your spin and allow you to back off for shifting or the odd glide situation without losing much momentum.

Basically it allows for the rider to put as much effort in to the pedals as they want in whatever gear without having the "magic leg" feeling that even a good torque sensing PAS has which at the higher cadence I use on road just seems way more natural to me pedal feedback wise. In fact I would say that my spin quality has improved greatly since you can concentrate on it more easily.

I have used the two wheel drive, motor/human input at the cranks to very good effect many times and never had handling issues as many predict will occur. Due to the potential output of over 1000w they are capable of, direct drives btw, I have certainly given them plenty of chances to go funky and installation with proper torque arm(s) is key. Mostly, as through my CA3, I keep my upper watt limit at 500 and find that to be the best combo of power and range for my needs. I also find the regen feature to be nice for road use also and is the first stopping feature I reach for and makes a dandy drag brake on downhills.

My next DIY project I have in mind is to use a front Bafang 311 which is a smaller geared hub with a torque sensing bb/throttle combo on a hardtail mtb platform to explore the two wheel drive aspect for more serious off road use than my DD motors get due to their narrower tires and lack of any suspension. A torque sensing PAS instead of just the throttle is because at the erratic cadence I do while riding trails I feel a throttle alone would be too fiddly but still handy for certain situations like starting off and as a walk assist. As I already have batteries the cost of entry will be under $300 and building it into a rim I have. Big problem with hub motors is that most are drilled 36h and few are 32h which is pretty much the standard these days.

Personally I have 0 interest in rear hub motors and find that the balance of the hub weight in the front, battery in the triangle and my weight biased towards the rear works well handling wise.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
Yesterday afternoon I did a 30 mile ride in the Columbia Gorge on my old Schwinn mountain bike with an inexpensive 500w rear geared hub motor kit, 2400 ft total elevation gain per Google maps. I was stopped by road closures due to landslides but it was getting late and cold anyway. I've done this ride dozens of times with regular non-assist bikes as well as my Yamaha mid motor assist gravel bike. Some of the backroads are steep enough to make even walking a bike up difficult (I've had to do that sometimes with regular bikes). IMO the rear geared hub motor did fantastically well. I only had to briefly use my lowest gears and highest assist levels on the very steepest areas. I ride for exercise and fun so I put in as much effort as I feel I can but I don't scrimp on the assist when I feel the need. At the end of the ride the 48v 15ah cheap battery was at 48.3v indicating 60% remaining charge - presumably could go 60 miles with almost 5000ft elevation gain to drop to 20% on the battery, which is amazing. While not as refined as the two mid drives I have it was still a fun and pretty natural biking experience. Based on the riding I have done I don't think you can go wrong expensive mid vs cheap hub drive, depending on your expectations. Personally, I have fun just getting out and riding and don't need or expect the best of equipment to enjoy a ride. I sort of feel sorry for those who can't enjoy a day biking unless they have some top of the line bike with the best of everything components. I was just messing around with this kit on my old mountain bike, I bought it originally to put on a tandem bike so I can ride with my wife but now it is more likely to go on a Biria Easy Boarding bike that I just got for her. I'll be happy with my mid drive gravel bike but will still miss the fun of having it on my old mountain bike.

1615735448935.png
 
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Usmc hunter

New Member
Region
USA
that sounds like a great day.
my issue from the service has come back to haunt me the past five yrs have been very hard to except its very difficult to do the things I live for in the out doors after doing three months of research I am convinced this bike will help me to a point too enjoy once again hunting and being in the woods camping ext imagine going from doing everything. to coming to a halt.
that is a awesome view by the way lucky you.
 

mclewis1

Member
Region
Canada
City
Fredericton, NB
Yesterday afternoon I did a 30 mile ride in the Columbia Gorge on my old Schwinn mountain bike with an inexpensive 500w rear geared hub motor kit, 2400 ft total elevation gain per Google maps. I was stopped by road closures due to landslides but it was getting late and cold anyway. I've done this ride dozens of times with regular non-assist bikes as well as my Yamaha mid motor assist gravel bike. Some of the backroads are steep enough to make even walking a bike up difficult (I've had to do that sometimes with regular bikes). IMO the rear geared hub motor did fantastically well. I only had to briefly use my lowest gears and highest assist levels on the very steepest areas. I ride for exercise and fun so I put in as much effort as I feel I can but I don't scrimp on the assist when I feel the need. At the end of the ride the 48v 15ah cheap battery was at 48.3v indicating 60% remaining charge - presumably could go 60 miles with almost 5000ft elevation gain to drop to 20% on the battery, which is amazing. While not as refined as the two mid drives I have it was still a fun and pretty natural biking experience. Based on the riding I have done I don't think you can go wrong expensive mid vs cheap hub drive, depending on your expectations. Personally, I have fun just getting out and riding and don't need or expect the best of equipment to enjoy a ride. I sort of feel sorry for those who can't enjoy a day biking unless they have some top of the line bike with the best of everything components. I was just messing around with this kit on my old mountain bike, I bought it originally to put on a tandem bike so I can ride with my wife but now it is more likely to go on a Biria Easy Boarding bike that I just got for her. I'll be happy with my mid drive gravel bike but will still miss the fun of having it on my old mountain bike.

Great pic and write up. But oh boy, I hope all the "experts" around here don't read your post, you've broken a whole bunch of the "rules". ;)
- off road (ok rough roads) with no suspension (not even front suspension ... oh the horror!)
- lots of climbing with a hub motor
- fenders and non aggressively lugged tires
- no disc brakes

It's a wonder that you enjoyed or even survived your ride at all. 😆

Seriously, IMHO one real benefit of the gravel bike craze is less and less folks actually still think like this (but it does still seem to be a popular attitude with many ebike folks).

As you may have guessed I also break the rules. I ride a new Surly Bridge Club with a geared hub motor. Yeah, I don't regularly ride any serious off road trails but fire roads and such are just fine (however, most of my riding is now urban). For years I rode a cycle cross like setup (basically today's gravel bike) and really enjoyed keeping up with the serious MTB folks on everything but the more technical runs. Oh and I'm a further heretic, my geared hub motor is on the front (Grin kit with an SX motor, 52v battery, Baserunner controller, and the Cycle Analyst).

I'm glad there are still lots of folks enjoying assisted cycling.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
Prior to this I didn't have a great experience with a MXUS 36v 250w geared front hub motor. It ran fine on the flats or mild inclines where I didn't need assist but stalled out completely on the steep stuff and then it was just an anchor trying to ride a bike with the extra weight. It makes me wonder if the problem was more with the controller than the motor itself. The connectors are different otherwise I would try the MXUS with my current kit's controller. That and now I have the MXUS laced into a 16" wheel to try with a BOB type single wheel trailer. I didn't notice any problem with the MXUS in the front wheel like some people report not liking a pulling rather than pushing sensation - I didn't notice that at all.

Surly Bridge Club looks like a premium bike to me. I can see why you chose a front hub and not give up the solid drivetrain components like you would have with a mid drive or rear hub motor.
I would prefer being able to do my rides with a non-assist bike like I used to but that isn't happening much anymore, at least for where I usually ride.
 

mclewis1

Member
Region
Canada
City
Fredericton, NB
You raise a number of interesting points for this thread.

What has been really apparent to me (as a relatively new ebike owner, but not rider) is the value of the controller/motor combination (and the programming of the controller and display) on the experience of the assist. I think a good controller setup can make just about any type or motor configuration (hub or mid) work better, offering a better user experience (and reducing much of the ongoing debate about which is "better").

A couple of other physical characteristics did influence my particular choice. One was the efficiency of the Baserunner controller and a 52v battery to be able to get the most out of a 500w class motor (so my bike will climb as well as can be expected which seems to surprise others). The other is the temperature sensor to protect my motor from being damaged from abuse (extra long climbs, etc.).

Yes, in my case I wanted an assist capability that wouldn't alter the basic functionality or "rideability" of the Bridge Club. it wasn't an afterthought type of purchase, I chose the BC for a variety of reasons including it's suitability to having an assist capability added. Plus there were other requirements that led me specifically down the front hub path that I won't get into here (but would be willing to discuss if folks felt that might be useful).

" I would prefer being able to do my rides with a non-assist bike like I used to but that isn't happening much anymore, at least for where I usually ride."​

Well there's a statement that I strongly agree with. I have a feeling that while it's a popular point view we may not be the norm in the big cross section of ebike riders.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
Interesting reading... this blog was posted in another thread and discussed the build of a combination front hub and mid-drive bike.

Is this the best of both worlds... read the problem statement and brief introduction to link to the complete article below to find out? ;)


1617848456123.png


Hubs are Single Speed

Hub drives power an ebike via the axle. They don’t – and they can’t – use the gears of the bike. Forcing a single-speed hub motor up a hill makes it just as miserable as a human stuck with no gears. So even though I have very powerful hubs, and they were geared hubs that put down the most torque of any on the market… they still struggled. Even with two of them. I could hear the gears groaning inside the motor casings and I could tell that, while I could get up the hills, my motors were not happy about it. I did not want to lug them into an early grave. I had already gone to a lot of trouble to make the bike bulletproof and had no desire to ignore the problem and inevitably kill it. These twin 80Nm hub motor wheels were on The Colonel at the time of my first hill country ride (above). Now they are on the Great Pumpkin.
The solution?

I Need To Build a New Bike

Everybody knows mid-drives are the solution to the hill problem for an ebike. A hub motor is single speed and at least relatively weak on torque, but a mid-drive uses the gears in the drivetrain, plus it has double or more the torque output of a hub, and that's before you factor in the multiplier of the gears. Wonderful right? Except mid-drive motors – especially DIY builds – are notorious for putting drivetrains into an early grave. Why? Well because they pour a LOT more power through the chainring, chain, rear cluster, and cassette body (i.e. “the drivetrain”) than a bicycle was ever meant to withstand.
  • A normal cyclist can pump out maybe 300 watts for a minute or so, but typically normal sustained – strong – output is about 100 watts.
  • A professional sprinter/mutant is capable of pumping out almost 1000 watts, but only for about a minute or two. That's not enough power to make a slice of toast.
  • EU-market electric motors must peak at 250w of output to stay legal (pssst… they don’t).
  • A 25-amp BBS02 on a 48v system puts out in excess of 1250 watts peak
  • Your garden variety 30-amp BBSHD running under a 52v battery is peaking – and can sustain – about 1750 watts of output.
My rear rack trunk battery. The capped red wire is for charging. The black wire on the rack stay is power output to the front motor. This is the original dual-separate-battery config that gives some perspective on how much abuse is heaped upon a drivetrain with a mid-drive. Coming off the successful builds of The Colonel (v1.0) and the Purple Thing (v1.5), I knew AWD reduced load on the individual motors dramatically when they work together as a team.

Given that, I thought about how I could use a front hub to reduce or eliminate the shock that a mid-drive puts onto the ebike’s drivetrain. Not only would I gain the traction benefits of AWD, and the benefit of reduced load from the team effort – things I already knew were a big positive – the front hub would also, if used in a slightly different way, provide an important added benefit: eliminating all the extra wear and tear that goes with having a mid-drive. If it worked, it would give me a bike with all the original performance benefits, plus the ability to effortlessly climb walls, without tearing the bike up.


SPOILER ALERT: It worked unbelievably well.
 
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Catalyzt

Active Member
Region
USA
This: << Actually what I like about my hub drives is A: they are front hub drives that have no PAS >>

I'm only six months into this, and both my bikes are underpowered, so listen to everyone else first, but I have both a 40 pound throttle-only front hub drive and a 49 pound mid-drive, both 250W.

They are SO different, it's really hard to describe. Considering only speed and exertion, the mid drive is about the same for flat, about the same for mid uphill, *worse* for moderate climbs-- both harder to pedal and slower-- but better for 15% on asphalt-- slower, but less work.

But for me, the biggest difference is gravel and sandy dirt going uphill. Monday, I took the mid-drive through one section of very slippery dirt that was moderate to steep grade, and it just destroyed it-- no problems at all. The front hub drive can do it, but with a lot more wheel spinning (though that's partly thinner, gravel-bike type tires.) The mid-drive also shot up a steep section of gravel like it was nothing-- I wouldn't even have tried it on the front hub drive.

That said, front hub drives w/ no PAS are sexy as hell for cornering on asphalt-- enter the turn faster, lean the bike over further, use the throttle on the front wheel to pull the bike through the end of the turn just like you would on an FWD car. Great fun-- but probably not what you're looking for.
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
well after getting to getting to ride around on my buddies farm with his Grizzly the past few weeks im going to say the Grizz is a perfect farm bike! i normally ride a hub bike that peaks at 1000watts or Midrives that peak at 1500watts and this bike had much more torque and the cushiest ride i have felt on a bike! i love the suspension on this bike and it has all the power and speed you could ask for. i still cand get over the ride vs my hardtails! mind is blown! note this bike will throttle beyond 28mph and it looks like a mini bike so if you leave the farm and ride on the street be mindful.
speed test
ride quality review
 
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theemartymac

Active Member
I have a pair of very similar hub and mid bikes, and the Ultra mid drive would win hands down in stock form. BUT, when the warranty runs out on the hub bike, i am really leaning towards adding a 500W front hub kit to try out the AWD configuration. I really do like the functional simplicity and smooth operation of the hub, and it does get noticeable better range due to it's smaller size and baseline power draw. If I could have a front hub kit that could be turned on or off based on the terrain and use, I suspect it would climb like a goat, and since the power is split, it wouldn't be as prone to spin and slip in the mud and snow. We'll see what the future brings post pandemic, when the parts market cools off...
 

christob

Well-Known Member
Here's a Juiced CrossCurrent.

It came with a hub drive, but then converted to mid drive.

See the difference.

mid drive vs hub drive
😀 I stopped counting the list of "negatives" he gave, that I have personally not experienced with my hub drive. With different riders, different needs, different terrains, different riding styles, different riding objectives... as EGMX says, it simply is never going to be "one size fits all and that size is mid-drive for all."
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
😀 I stopped counting the list of "negatives" he gave, that I have personally not experienced with my hub drive. With different riders, different needs, different terrains, different riding styles, different riding objectives... as EGMX says, it simply is never going to be "one size fits all and that size is mid-drive for all."
Funny? I have a rear hub that climbs anything. You suppose that´s what gears are for? A rear hub can be a
pain to change a tire, but it´ll get ya home if you´re injured or pop a chain. I can fix a puncture or replace a
spoke without removing the wheel. You do need a dbl leg kickstand.
 

Headdamage

Member
Region
Canada
Having changed from a hub to a mid drive the climbing ability of the mid is dramatically better than the hub. Also a major unexpected bonus of the mid drive is the ability to use the power a lower speeds than a hub. Low gearing and a mid drive allow low speeds without risk of stalling/overloading the motor and this is surprisingly useful in some situations such as maneuvering around obstacles or pedestrian traffic.
 

Tom@WashDC

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Loudoun County, VA
Assuming you are not considering a 2,000-3,000 watt rear drive, I recommend a mid drive for your application.
I own a 750W "peak power" Aventon Level, and a DIY 1500W Bafang Mid-drive Fat Bike. The Mid drive will do it all, the rear hub will have some noticeable shortcomings for your application
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Having changed from a hub to a mid drive the climbing ability of the mid is dramatically better than the hub. Also a major unexpected bonus of the mid drive is the ability to use the power a lower speeds than a hub. Low gearing and a mid drive allow low speeds without risk of stalling/overloading the motor and this is surprisingly useful in some situations such as maneuvering around obstacles or pedestrian traffic.
What you say works for lower powered geared hub and mid drives, but my experience with 1000w+ geared hub and mid drives makes a lot of the hub vs. mid arguments a moot issue. I have one of each, and either will climb anything paved with my 300lb butt aboard.....

And either will work just as well powering the bike at speeds where you are barely able to keep your balance. FYI!

The biggest difference between my bikes is how easy they are to ride. The hub drive is WAY easier....
 
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m@Robertson

Member
Region
USA
Interesting reading... this blog was posted in another thread and discussed the build of a combination front hub and mid-drive bike.

Is this the best of both worlds... read the problem statement and brief introduction to link to the complete article below to find out? ;)

Hah thats my article and my bike. The pic that you showed was it being all cleaned up. Its all dirty again as of yesterday. Not as bad as it is here, but dirty is its native state.
IMG_20200911_153242.jpg

As I said in that article and the companions to it - from experience actually building bikes that are all more powerful than anything that can be bought retail:
  • Single (rear) geared hub drive is out of its league overland. Period. I am talking 80Nm bigfoot Bafang 750's with a 35a controller and a 52v battery. Reason being it is singlespeed and powers the bike thru the axle. You try riding with no gears up a hill and see how you like it. Motor may be powerful enough to get you by but it is by no means in its element. Want to upgrade that hub to 60v so it is running 2kw continuous (it can take it)? It will be good (40 mph) on the street but overland meeting resistance from muck and reeds etc... you'll peanut-butter the nylon gears.
  • Dual geared hub has all the wonderfulness of awd but is still saddled with the axle-powered singlespeed thing. I could get my 4kw+ 2wd geared hub bike to climb anything, but my ears told me the hub motors would not live forever and I want forever.
  • Mid drive alone is good enough for all overland conditions. There is a reason all quality eMTBs that are not the budget version are mid drives. It will not set the world afire with speed, and a conversion bike has to be built with more care, planning and experience than a hub bike, where all you have to do is mount the motor and run some wiring (kind of).
  • AWD Mid+hub is the best of the AWD concept. Its an absolute mountain goat. There is a learning curve associated with a powered wheel on serious singletrack but the article gets into that.
I think there is a misperception with regard to the motor delivering speed. If you need a mid drive in the first place, speed is a non issue. Chances are you are pedaling, and going 5-10 mph or less and thats plenty fast for conditions. At 5 mph, wending your way thru rocks, mud and crap... you don't want speed you want predictable torque at low speed.
A hub motor is not at its best doing that. But if you are riding on dirt roads (doubletrack) or wider trails, and you can open it up... the big, powerful direct drive hub will do that job better than a mid. The question then is are you stressing the internal gears too much on that hub motor, or if its a direct drive, have you loaded the bike up with so much weight in the rear wheel and the battery that its no longer a bike you would ever want to pedal and you are having fun hauling ass on a low cost motorcycle.

Both mid drive motors and hub motors are great. but determining which one is better for your job - depends on that job. There's no one right answer.
 
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