Hub drive vs mid drive - which is best for me?

McAndy

New Member
Region
Canada
Dear members of this forum:
I am a newbie to it. I had already received a kind reply to a first new thread (please see further below) from an Ian (in Australia? New Zealand?) in another 'section', but cannot find it now to follow from there. My apologies to said Ian (by the way, Ian, if you come across this post: I live near Toronto, Ontario, Canada) .
My pressing question now is: Should I next buy another hub drive (as I have now), or a mid drive? I have never ridden the latter, but read 'it delivers a more natural feel' to the ride. I love the thumb throttle action on my hub drive when getting away from a stop, but have to be very careful navigating tight turns when releasing the brakes momentarily (motor power is applied strongly immediately). Perhaps a mid drive, if geared down in time, is more adequate? I understand that some mid drive models have a power inhibitor when changing gears (which I do a lot on my current bike). I do not ride up steep hills in the woods. I will really appreciate your thoughts on this choice of technology.

The text below describes my experience with my first ebike (as posted very recently) - now over one year long :
My ebike is a 2016 Urban Ryder, possibly designed by, and administered by Green Light Cycle in Burnaby, B.C. (with a very supportive staff), and probably built in Asia. Up to into the Covid-19 pandemic it was also sold by Costco.ca .
I bought it spontaneously second-hand at the end of July 2021, via Kijiji, with 3477 km on the Kingmeter display. It now reads 5933 km (early November 2021), ergo up to now I rode it 2456 km. I am a fair-weather rider, our season is say April to November (-6 deg. C this a.m.).
This bike with accessories now weighs about 59 lb. The accessories added by my very helpful local bike shop BicyclesPlus were: A rear bicycle rack with removable battery-operated flashing LED light, a CatEye Velo 9 'computer', and an improved rear fender support. I added a 'ding' (for lack of a better description) 'bell', and a Zacron coil spring saddle.
Since my big feet tend to slip off the pedals after about 35km (I am pushing 88), I added 1 1/4 inch (??) pedal extenders, and jury-rigged endplates to each pedal (wired-on tomato can tops, if you must know; but since improved with a more elegant and sturdier solution - the round tops for electric outlet boxes :)-) ).
I weigh 175 lb, have an only-30 inch inseam. My saddle is set to 31.5 inch above ground; a bit risky, but better for pedaling more effectively.
Other than a nail in the rear tire and an insecure rear fender I have had no problems at all (yes, I have fallen over about 4 times, fortunately all at a near standstill; you have heard of errant kids and dogs on trails, and those bl..dy tight gates..... )
I remove the nominally 48V, 13 A/hr Panasonic battery after each ride, leaving it charged below 80%/51V (actually typically around 55%/47V; yes, I am a data freak). Charging it up before a ride to only near-full, and, so far, perhaps 3 times a season, to 100%/54.3 V (the charger light shows green then). This is supposed to improve battery life.
I tend to use Assist 3/5 on shorter ides (20+ km), and Assist 2 on the out-leg of longer rides (say 52 km), on about my 5 typical routes (partly in subdivisions, partly on paved trails, partly into the country on less-traveled roads. Average speeds vary between 22 and 24+ km/hr (participating in the Tour De France is but a dream). Winds around here are typically light.
If you don't care to read the specs on this Urban Ryder: It employs a cadence-sensor-only geared rear hub 500W Bafang motor, used in combination with a much-used 7-speed Shimano derailleur.
Until last year, I rode a conventional hybrid bicycle. What I now really love about this ebike is that to a certain degree it now replaces my beloved 1990 candy-apple red Honda Pacific Coast 800 cc 630 lb touring motorcycle, which had become too heavy for me :)-( .
Well, so far, so good. Thanks for listening, McAndy.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I found the cadence assist dangerous, having too much speed even in the lowest level. I removed the pickup from the crank but cannot disconnect the pickup because the controller has an error without it. the pickup is rolled up and tied to the frame. I use throttle for assist only. If I let go there is no assist. Perhaps if you are going to make sharp turns you could turn your assist down to level 0?
It doesn't seem as if you have worn out your hub motor so I don't know why you want another. Yes, torque sensing of some mid-drives does make for a natural feeling ride. If you ever run down your battery, your current ride won't drag the motor with your feet on the way home. Most mid drives, except yamaha, brose, and shimano do drag the motor with your feet unpowered. The popular bafang mid drive and the 3 least expensive of the bosch mid drives do drag the motor with your feet. At your low milage, the tendency of mid-drives to wear out the chain 2 to 4 times as fast as a hub motor shouldn't be a problem. As the speed shifting of a hub motor bike is totally unrelated to the power of the motor, you can do it any way you like. Mid-drives pause the assist during shifting because they load the chain so heavily. 7 or 8 speed chains are barely adequate in strength for a mid-drive, and 9,10,11 speed chains are quite thin and wear out fast.
I charge my battery up to ~85-90% when it reaches below 50%, which is nearly every summer commute leg. As I ride out & back to my summer camp 2 times a week about 30 weeks a year, I have about 200 charges on my 3 year old battery. It still performs very well.
 

Scona

New Member
Region
Canada
Dear members of this forum:
I am a newbie to it. I had already received a kind reply to a first new thread (please see further below) from an Ian (in Australia? New Zealand?) in another 'section', but cannot find it now to follow from there. My apologies to said Ian (by the way, Ian, if you come across this post: I live near Toronto, Ontario, Canada) .
My pressing question now is: Should I next buy another hub drive (as I have now), or a mid drive? I have never ridden the latter, but read 'it delivers a more natural feel' to the ride. I love the thumb throttle action on my hub drive when getting away from a stop, but have to be very careful navigating tight turns when releasing the brakes momentarily (motor power is applied strongly immediately). Perhaps a mid drive, if geared down in time, is more adequate? I understand that some mid drive models have a power inhibitor when changing gears (which I do a lot on my current bike). I do not ride up steep hills in the woods. I will really appreciate your thoughts on this choice of technology.

The text below describes my experience with my first ebike (as posted very recently) - now over one year long :
My ebike is a 2016 Urban Ryder, possibly designed by, and administered by Green Light Cycle in Burnaby, B.C. (with a very supportive staff), and probably built in Asia. Up to into the Covid-19 pandemic it was also sold by Costco.ca .
I bought it spontaneously second-hand at the end of July 2021, via Kijiji, with 3477 km on the Kingmeter display. It now reads 5933 km (early November 2021), ergo up to now I rode it 2456 km. I am a fair-weather rider, our season is say April to November (-6 deg. C this a.m.).
This bike with accessories now weighs about 59 lb. The accessories added by my very helpful local bike shop BicyclesPlus were: A rear bicycle rack with removable battery-operated flashing LED light, a CatEye Velo 9 'computer', and an improved rear fender support. I added a 'ding' (for lack of a better description) 'bell', and a Zacron coil spring saddle.
Since my big feet tend to slip off the pedals after about 35km (I am pushing 88), I added 1 1/4 inch (??) pedal extenders, and jury-rigged endplates to each pedal (wired-on tomato can tops, if you must know; but since improved with a more elegant and sturdier solution - the round tops for electric outlet boxes :)-) ).
I weigh 175 lb, have an only-30 inch inseam. My saddle is set to 31.5 inch above ground; a bit risky, but better for pedaling more effectively.
Other than a nail in the rear tire and an insecure rear fender I have had no problems at all (yes, I have fallen over about 4 times, fortunately all at a near standstill; you have heard of errant kids and dogs on trails, and those bl..dy tight gates..... )
I remove the nominally 48V, 13 A/hr Panasonic battery after each ride, leaving it charged below 80%/51V (actually typically around 55%/47V; yes, I am a data freak). Charging it up before a ride to only near-full, and, so far, perhaps 3 times a season, to 100%/54.3 V (the charger light shows green then). This is supposed to improve battery life.
I tend to use Assist 3/5 on shorter ides (20+ km), and Assist 2 on the out-leg of longer rides (say 52 km), on about my 5 typical routes (partly in subdivisions, partly on paved trails, partly into the country on less-traveled roads. Average speeds vary between 22 and 24+ km/hr (participating in the Tour De France is but a dream). Winds around here are typically light.
If you don't care to read the specs on this Urban Ryder: It employs a cadence-sensor-only geared rear hub 500W Bafang motor, used in combination with a much-used 7-speed Shimano derailleur.
Until last year, I rode a conventional hybrid bicycle. What I now really love about this ebike is that to a certain degree it now replaces my beloved 1990 candy-apple red Honda Pacific Coast 800 cc 630 lb touring motorcycle, which had become too heavy for me :)-( .
Well, so far, so good. Thanks for listening, McAndy.
Greetings from soggy Vancouver Island. I too purchased a previously used hub drive
ebike to see what all the fuss was about. In a year I have ridden it about 3000k and am also looking to upgrade.
I have ridden several mid drives and find them quite different. The Bafang powered
units mostly still use cadence sensing which you will find familiar, and I quite enjoyed
them. Most of the others use torque sensing which is similar to riding your hybrid but, of course, easier to peddle.
It seems like a let down to invest a large amount of money just to revert to previous technology.
I would advise trying a few different types to get a feel on what is right for your situation.
Who could have imagined getting old would be such fun?
Good luck with your selection process. Scona
 

McAndy

New Member
Region
Canada
I found the cadence assist dangerous, having too much speed even in the lowest level. I removed the pickup from the crank but cannot disconnect the pickup because the controller has an error without it. the pickup is rolled up and tied to the frame. I use throttle for assist only. If I let go there is no assist. Perhaps if you are going to make sharp turns you could turn your assist down to level 0?
It doesn't seem as if you have worn out your hub motor so I don't know why you want another. Yes, torque sensing of some mid-drives does make for a natural feeling ride. If you ever run down your battery, your current ride won't drag the motor with your feet on the way home. Most mid drives, except yamaha, brose, and shimano do drag the motor with your feet unpowered. The popular bafang mid drive and the 3 least expensive of the bosch mid drives do drag the motor with your feet. At your low milage, the tendency of mid-drives to wear out the chain 2 to 4 times as fast as a hub motor shouldn't be a problem. As the speed shifting of a hub motor bike is totally unrelated to the power of the motor, you can do it any way you like. Mid-drives pause the assist during shifting because they load the chain so heavily. 7 or 8 speed chains are barely adequate in strength for a mid-drive, and 9,10,11 speed chains are quite thin and wear out fast.
I charge my battery up to ~85-90% when it reaches below 50%, which is nearly every summer commute leg. As I ride out & back to my summer camp 2 times a week about 30 weeks a year, I have about 200 charges on my 3 year old battery. It still performs very well.
Thank you for your comments, indianajoe. Not sure what you mean by 'dragging the motor'. I will assume friction of the no-longer electrically-contributing mid drive motor. Yes, I often go to Assist 0 and a low gear when, for example, negotiating a gate. I may want to buy another type of ebike if a mid drive one is generally deemed nicer to ride. Unfortunately, here, a mid drive one is considerably more expensive, possibly because only high-end brands like Trek and Specialized use Bosch and Shimano ones. On another issue: I often wonder whether, with the same power contributed by me, I will get as far with a mid drive as with a hub drive, given that, as far as I know, mid drive ebikes come with lower watt/hours batteries. Comments will be appreciated. McAndy.
 

McAndy

New Member
Region
Canada
Greetings from soggy Vancouver Island. I too purchased a previously used hub drive
ebike to see what all the fuss was about. In a year I have ridden it about 3000k and am also looking to upgrade.
I have ridden several mid drives and find them quite different. The Bafang powered
units mostly still use cadence sensing which you will find familiar, and I quite enjoyed
them. Most of the others use torque sensing which is similar to riding your hybrid but, of course, easier to peddle.
It seems like a let down to invest a large amount of money just to revert to previous technology.
I would advise trying a few different types to get a feel on what is right for your situation.
Who could have imagined getting old would be such fun?
Good luck with your selection process. Scona
Hello Scona, thank you also for your reply. When you mention 'older technology', should I assume hub drive ebikes? So are you suggesting a mid drive ebike, over and above 'being quite different', is the preferable option? Thanks for a reply. Take care, McAndy.
 

Scona

New Member
Region
Canada
Hello Scona, thank you also for your reply. When you mention 'older technology', should I assume hub drive ebikes? So are you suggesting a mid drive ebike, over and above 'being quite different', is the preferable option? Thanks for a reply. Take care, McAndy.
HI McAndy,
No, older technology was a poor selection of words. I think that the mid drive is another way to do the job, but not necessarily a better way. You really have to try some to see if
you like the way that they operate. Scona
 

Merle Nelson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
McAndy click on the A or your name by one of your posts, then click on similar again, then click on "postings" option to see all of your past forum postings - including with Ian.
 

McAndy

New Member
Region
Canada
HI McAndy,
No, older technology was a poor selection of words. I think that the mid drive is another way to do the job, but not necessarily a better way. You really have to try some to see if
you like the way that they operate. Scona
Thank you for that clarification, Scona. McAndy.
 

McAndy

New Member
Region
Canada
Dear members of this forum:
I am a newbie to it. I had already received a kind reply to a first new thread (please see further below) from an Ian (in Australia? New Zealand?) in another 'section', but cannot find it now to follow from there. My apologies to said Ian (by the way, Ian, if you come across this post: I live near Toronto, Ontario, Canada) .
My pressing question now is: Should I next buy another hub drive (as I have now), or a mid drive? I have never ridden the latter, but read 'it delivers a more natural feel' to the ride. I love the thumb throttle action on my hub drive when getting away from a stop, but have to be very careful navigating tight turns when releasing the brakes momentarily (motor power is applied strongly immediately). Perhaps a mid drive, if geared down in time, is more adequate? I understand that some mid drive models have a power inhibitor when changing gears (which I do a lot on my current bike). I do not ride up steep hills in the woods. I will really appreciate your thoughts on this choice of technology.

The text below describes my experience with my first ebike (as posted very recently) - now over one year long :
My ebike is a 2016 Urban Ryder, possibly designed by, and administered by Green Light Cycle in Burnaby, B.C. (with a very supportive staff), and probably built in Asia. Up to into the Covid-19 pandemic it was also sold by Costco.ca .
I bought it spontaneously second-hand at the end of July 2021, via Kijiji, with 3477 km on the Kingmeter display. It now reads 5933 km (early November 2021), ergo up to now I rode it 2456 km. I am a fair-weather rider, our season is say April to November (-6 deg. C this a.m.).
This bike with accessories now weighs about 59 lb. The accessories added by my very helpful local bike shop BicyclesPlus were: A rear bicycle rack with removable battery-operated flashing LED light, a CatEye Velo 9 'computer', and an improved rear fender support. I added a 'ding' (for lack of a better description) 'bell', and a Zacron coil spring saddle.
Since my big feet tend to slip off the pedals after about 35km (I am pushing 88), I added 1 1/4 inch (??) pedal extenders, and jury-rigged endplates to each pedal (wired-on tomato can tops, if you must know; but since improved with a more elegant and sturdier solution - the round tops for electric outlet boxes :)-) ).
I weigh 175 lb, have an only-30 inch inseam. My saddle is set to 31.5 inch above ground; a bit risky, but better for pedaling more effectively.
Other than a nail in the rear tire and an insecure rear fender I have had no problems at all (yes, I have fallen over about 4 times, fortunately all at a near standstill; you have heard of errant kids and dogs on trails, and those bl..dy tight gates..... )
I remove the nominally 48V, 13 A/hr Panasonic battery after each ride, leaving it charged below 80%/51V (actually typically around 55%/47V; yes, I am a data freak). Charging it up before a ride to only near-full, and, so far, perhaps 3 times a season, to 100%/54.3 V (the charger light shows green then). This is supposed to improve battery life.
I tend to use Assist 3/5 on shorter ides (20+ km), and Assist 2 on the out-leg of longer rides (say 52 km), on about my 5 typical routes (partly in subdivisions, partly on paved trails, partly into the country on less-traveled roads. Average speeds vary between 22 and 24+ km/hr (participating in the Tour De France is but a dream). Winds around here are typically light.
If you don't care to read the specs on this Urban Ryder: It employs a cadence-sensor-only geared rear hub 500W Bafang motor, used in combination with a much-used 7-speed Shimano derailleur.
Until last year, I rode a conventional hybrid bicycle. What I now really love about this ebike is that to a certain degree it now replaces my beloved 1990 candy-apple red Honda Pacific Coast 800 cc 630 lb touring motorcycle, which had become too heavy for me :)-( .
Well, so far, so good. Thanks for listening, McAndy.
@ian fisher
Ian, I will now attempt to also send the top part of this newer post of mine to you, per kind insructions by a Merle (the lower part you will mostly have had already).
Let's see what happens.
Bye, McAndy.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
McAndy, I have both a mid drive and a geared hub. I can share that the geared hubs are by far the easiest to ride. Get on and go. The mid drives should be entering the picture when there are hills involved. A lot of them, or big ones. The mid drives require the rider to pay a little more attention to what gear you are in. It's about cooling. The geared hub may be challenged a bit when climbing a steep hill, where the mid drive can gear down and climb that same hill without even breathing hard. I'm NOT saying that mid drives should not be considered for driving by flatlanders. I AM saying that all else being equal, the hub drives are easier to ride....

Another consideration, as a senior, and maybe not the fittest person in the world, I will say I would not own a bike without a throttle. I can swing a leg over a throttle equipped bike, tickle the throttle, and the bike will move far enough where I can collect my balance easily under just about any condition (uphill starts can be challenging). I may or may not use that throttle again for that ride. Too many people ASSume that because you bought a bike with a throttle, you have no intention of pedaling - which of course is complete nonsense. That throttle is also useful if something happens when you are out on a ride making it difficult to pedal all of a sudden. Having it can be a very valuable asset getting home or back to your car unassisted....
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I'm well into my senior years, not very fit, have medical conditions, but still don't need a throttle to get going on my ebike. I live in a very hilly area, but I never stop when going up a hill, so hill starts are not a problem.
If your bike is properly fitted, you don't need a throttle to get going.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
you don't need a throttle to get going.
Yup! I've seen a number of mid drive kits overheated and fried when riders didn't shift into a gear they would use to take off from a dead stop without a motor. A great way to kill a BBS01, BBS02, and other mid drive kits.

But lets not demean throttles AGAIN!. Without mine I wouldn't make it home from longer rides with fully able friends.
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Yup! I've seen a number of mid drive kits overheated and fried when riders didn't shift into a gear they would use to take off from a dead stop without a motor. A great way to kill a BBS01, BBS02, and other mid drive kits.

But lets not demean throttles AGAIN!. Without mine I wouldn't make it home from longer rides with fully able friends.
Yes, it's interesting to read on these boards about all the folks having trouble with Bafang kits of various kinds. You don't read much though, of folks with Brose, Bosch or other OEM DU. An ebike is like any other tool or machine. There are right ways and wrong ways to use one. For example, don't try to start pointing up a hill. Shift to a starting gear before you come to a stop. This is basic stuff. I'm surprised folks are even talking about it. Throttles? Why have a bike then? Get an electric scooter...
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Yes, it's interesting to read on these boards about all the folks having trouble with Bafang kits of various kinds. You don't read much though, of folks with Brose, Bosch or other OEM DU. An ebike is like any other tool or machine. There are right ways and wrong ways to use one. For example, don't try to start pointing up a hill. Shift to a starting gear before you come to a stop. This is basic stuff. I'm surprised folks are even talking about it. Throttles? Why have a bike then? Get an electric scooter...
Good land man, you have a narrow view. Kits installed by DIY riders will always appear to have more problems given the inexperience of first time builders reaching out to sort their builds. You're myopic when discussing options you don't like.
 

Merle Nelson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
It would be nice to allow room for......

We're just going for a bike ride man!!!!!!
😃

(Spoken jokingly - to all of us. As kids, nothing else mattered, just ride.)
 
Last edited:

McAndy

New Member
Region
Canada
McAndy, I have both a mid drive and a geared hub. I can share that the geared hubs are by far the easiest to ride. Get on and go. The mid drives should be entering the picture when there are hills involved. A lot of them, or big ones. The mid drives require the rider to pay a little more attention to what gear you are in. It's about cooling. The geared hub may be challenged a bit when climbing a steep hill, where the mid drive can gear down and climb that same hill without even breathing hard. I'm NOT saying that mid drives should not be considered for driving by flatlanders. I AM saying that all else being equal, the hub drives are easier to ride....

Another consideration, as a senior, and maybe not the fittest person in the world, I will say I would not own a bike without a throttle. I can swing a leg over a throttle equipped bike, tickle the throttle, and the bike will move far enough where I can collect my balance easily under just about any condition (uphill starts can be challenging). I may or may not use that throttle again for that ride. Too many people ASSume that because you bought a bike with a throttle, you have no intention of pedaling - which of course is complete nonsense. That throttle is also useful if something happens when you are out on a ride making it difficult to pedal all of a sudden. Having it can be a very valuable asset getting home or back to your car unassisted....
Thank you, AHicks, for that very clear, balanced presentation of the pros and cons of the two options.

I didn't realize that thumb/throttle action is frowned upon by a certain percentage of the ebike community. Reminded me that there is a certain percentage of conventional bike riders who frown upon ebikes. I think, to each his own.

Riding my hub drive I still change gears regularly, always trying to have my legs assist the set Assist level's contribution.

I do still wonder, though, about the efficiency of mid drive vs. hub drive, when applied (in my case) of not riding over any or lengthy steep terrain.

I herewith also thank the other contibutors to my earlier post, which followed AHicks' this morning. I soak it all up.
McAndy.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Thank you, AHicks, for that very clear, balanced presentation of the pros and cons of the two options.

I didn't realize that thumb/throttle action is frowned upon by a certain percentage of the ebike community. Reminded me that there is a certain percentage of conventional bike riders who frown upon ebikes. I think, to each his own.

Riding my hub drive I still change gears regularly, always trying to have my legs assist the set Assist level's contribution.

I do still wonder, though, about the efficiency of mid drive vs. hub drive, when applied (in my case) of not riding over any or lengthy steep terrain.

I herewith also thank the other contibutors to my earlier post, which followed AHicks' this morning. I soak it all up.
McAndy.
OK, regarding efficiency, all else being equal on flat ground, there's NO difference mid drive vs hub. If we take a value, 300 watts for instance, both bikes will be going pretty much the same speed, while running at about the same efficiency. As they are both drawing 300w, both will cover about the same distance on a charge. A watt is a watt. You can split hairs here of course, but that's never been of much interest here.

I did not say that I NEEDED the throttle to get me moving from a stop. That's nothing but an ASSsumption made by closed minded throttle naysayers. Kinda like buying a car without cruise control, wiper delay, or power windows. Spoiled there too. Am I saying I need those luxuries to drive? Certainly not. My comment was regarding my 'druthers. Because YOUR 'druthers may be different does not make mine wrong....

I like keeping the hub drive in the right gear as well. Been riding multi speed bikes most of my life. A newbie, or possibly a guest, may not have that experience, or be as adept/interested in the right gear. Having my choice of either type drive to offer a guest, I've found making that call pretty easy....

I have a game I enjoy while riding that challenges me to compare the miles driven from charge to charge any time I'm riding. This means monitoring the bike's watt meter frequently and using those readings to balance proper gear and proper PAS level, against the level of energy I'm up for at the moment, the surface I'm riding on, wind conditions, and whether up hill, level, or down hill. My experience has taught me even the best riders totally suck when they first get on an e-bike. It's not nearly as easy as it looks to ride efficiently. It took me a few hundred miles to really start getting good at it - making mileage numbers that were acceptable to me to the point they were tougher and tougher to beat on a regular basis.

Not being perfect, and a big beleiver in the "stuff happens" clause, I don't always arrive at a stopped condition in the right gear either.... -Al
 

Merle Nelson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Interesting thoughts Al. I would have thought that a mid drive putting its power through the gears would have had an efficiency advantage. One watt applied on a hub drive can only ever benefit forward motion x amount. One watt applied on a mid drive can benefit forward motion x amount in first gear x plus y in second gear etc, no?
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I'll ignore AHicks snide comments, and attribute it to thin skin and intolerant of other opinions. Instead, let's talk about efficiency, since the OP asked.
e...)
In theory, hub and mid motors can be comparable in efficiency, but it depends on a huge number of variables, from how a motor is made to how it's designed, whether for a broad torque band over a wide range of RPM or for a more narrow RPM range. That said, in practice, hub motors are better in flatter terrain. Most folks will be going slowly up a steep hill, unless they're one of the folks that put 1000+ watt hub motors on their bikes. This means a hub motor will be working at lower RPM, outside it's optimal speed (unless it's designed for such low RPM use). Mid drive motors can be designed for a much narrower RPM range since most folks pedal between 60 and 100 RPM, less than a 2 fold range. However, this is all theoretical. As I said, in practice there are a ton of variables that probably swamp any motor design issue.
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Interesting thoughts Al. I would have thought that a mid drive putting its power through the gears would have had an efficiency advantage. One watt applied on a hub drive can only ever benefit forward motion x amount. One watt applied on a mid drive can benefit forward motion x amount in first gear x plus y in second gear etc, no?
The real issue is torque. Gearing allows for the torque from the mid drive motor to be different from the torque at the wheel.