Why do the big bike brands (almost) never use hub motors?

antboy

Well-Known Member
So your point boils down to big brands think hub drives are crappy, and who cares what they think.
Essentially :) ... but mainly "crappy" for THEIR purposes. A "prestige" brand bike designer probably isn't going to design an e-bike with a lightweight carbon FS frame, then strap a "sack of bricks" to the rear wheel in the form of a direct drive hub motor (while that same motor would be excellent in a commuter).
We should care because big brands control or greatly influence the vast majority of decent bikes that people are exposed to, from the big four/five down to even BikesDirect evidently. It's not like ignoring one gas station and going to the one next door.
I'd say the big brands DO have influence, but either due to price, or exposure to aggressive online ad targeting, companies like Rad (in particular) are getting their name out there. The sheer number of lower priced hub bikes on the road attest to that (at least here in Toronto where in-city, e-bikes with hub motors dominate).
My ultimate conclusion is not that far from what you're saying, that brands, dealers and suppliers converged on a high service, high cost solution for mutual benefit, to the discredit of the customer for whom hub drives are a good answer. This thread is about reaching that conclusion. It's just surprising there's very little defection from that seeming 'gentleman's agreement' to date.
I'd agree that they converged, but I think where we differ in opinion is that I don't see it as a discredit to the customer, so much as my above point regarding specific design parameters.

A customer already riding a StumpJumper MTB, shopping for an eMTB, isn't looking too closely at CostCo or Canadian Tire to upgrade, compared to someone else (or even the same person) shopping for an inexpensive commuter e-bike.

Whether this affects the bottom line of the "bike brands" in the long run, who knows? I think there's room for both in the market.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
what are you doing with the bike and how long did it take?
I am riding it.

When I push around 300-350W the motor is pretty much capped at tour or around %130-%150 on custom modes. Increasing the support level does nothing above that level(turbo feels the same as tour). I didn't time it precisely but when I keep this up for around 5-10 minutes the motor further reduces the output. I am pushing the same power myself yet the battery usage drops significantly (probably around nominal).
 
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Dave Rocks

Member
I have a hard tail EMTB Mid drive and a hybrid Ebike with a rack and fender and front shock.

I like the mid drive for bashing the trails because the bike feels right. I wouldn’t want the weight on the back wheel to bunny hop.

But the hybrid is fun to ride man. The hub drive delivers.

What grade is this steep hill ?
 

Asher

Well-Known Member
I'd agree that they converged, but I think where we differ in opinion is that I don't see it as a discredit to the customer, so much as my above point regarding specific design parameters.

A customer already riding a StumpJumper MTB, shopping for an eMTB, isn't looking too closely at CostCo or Canadian Tire to upgrade, compared to someone else (or even the same person) shopping for an inexpensive commuter e-bike.

There's more to the bike market than people spending $3k+ on eMTBs and spending $1k on crummy hub motor ebikes. Bike brands could do something interesting in the $1.5-3k range but don't.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
This thread is deservedly getting a lot of action! I have this motor sitting in my garage. It goes uphill much faster than any of our Bosch or Yamaha mid drives. It is strong like bull. So strong it kept breaking spokes. Now it is mothballed and I do not miss it one iota.
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fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
I am riding it.

When I push around 300-350W the motor is pretty much capped at tour or around %130-%150 on custom modes. Increasing the support level does nothing above that level(turbo feels the same as tour). I didn't time it precisely but when I keep this up for around 5-10 minutes the motor further reduces the output. I am pushing the same power myself yet the battery usage drops significantly (probably around nominal).
man I wish I could sustain that power but Get that on hills but they are short but I have not climbed any long hills with the power meter. but I have claimed 16% grades for several minutes with no changes but I don't think I was doing that much output. but I have a performance speed too so it may be different.
 

McCorby

Well-Known Member
There's more to the bike market than people spending $3k+ on eMTBs and spending $1k on crummy hub motor ebikes. Bike brands could do something interesting in the $1.5-3k range but don't.
I really don’t understand your obsession with insisting the major bike brands manufacture hub driven bikes. If it ever becomes advantageous for them and their customers, they’ll surely do it......plain and simple. There are plenty of other manufacturers that fill this niche.

Is your frustration because you wish your bike was badged by one of the major manufacturers? I don’t live too far from Trek headquarters....I could see if I can pick up some decals that you can stick on your bike? 😜

All kidding aside, doesn’t Electra, who’s owned by Trek, produce exactly what you’re asking for? It’s called the Townie Go! 7D. It has a hub motor and retails for $1,499 usd.

 
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JRA

Well-Known Member
Direct Drive or Mid Drive, just tools for the shred. Being totally committed to one or the other when they both have so much to offer is a personal matter I guess.

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The biggest difference that makes it work for my needs is torque PAS on the mtb and no PAS on the drop bar bike. At the higher cadence I like to ride ion the road I find PAS too fussy, so I just set the watts that complement my gearing and spin away. I don't have any issues with lower speed riding even up long steep hills because I find pedaling on top of the motor to keep things cool. My only goal when climbing is to feel like I'm going twice as fast as I would without assist. I usually just set at 300w and the right gear for that speed as well as range efficiency.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
man I wish I could sustain that power but Get that on hills but they are short but I have not climbed any long hills with the power meter. but I have claimed 16% grades for several minutes with no changes but I don't think I was doing that much output. but I have a performance speed too so it may be different.
You are a strong rider foofer. It is just that since I am not commuting all of my rides these days are for cardio. I am treating my bosch bike like an outdoor exercise bike :).

Also even when it goes back to nominal one can still climb %20+ comfortably so it is never an issue. It is just that people usually don't realize it because they are not pushing the bike.


@steve mercier Which bike was that ?
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
You are a strong rider foofer. It is just that since I am not commuting all of my rides these days are for cardio. I am treating my bosch bike like an outdoor exercise bike :).

Also even when it goes back to nominal one can still climb %20+ comfortably so it is never an issue. It is just that people usually don't realize it because they are not pushing the bike.


@steve mercier Which bike was that ?
I have to work my butt off to get up 20% I could only do a couple of blocks of that. my energy levels are all over the place. I try to get my heart rate up as much as I can but it takes a lot of work to get it up for me. its hard to get a workout in tour unless you keep your speed really high and eco it is a lot slower commute.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Bike brands could do something interesting in the $1.5-3k range but don't.
They do. US$2800.

Giant/Liv has introduced the Momentum brand with e-bikes priced US$2100-2850. All Momentum+ e-bikes are mid-drives.
I am riding it.

When I push around 300-350W the motor is pretty much capped at tour or around %130-%150 on custom modes. Increasing the support level does nothing above that level(turbo feels the same as tour). I didn't time it precisely but when I keep this up for around 5-10 minutes the motor further reduces the output. I am pushing the same power myself yet the battery usage drops significantly (probably around nominal).
It looks to me you're trying to negotiate dramatic hills at high speed as your own power input is at a competing athlete level itself. Yes, you cap the motor's power. The motor tends to overheat; thermal protection reduces the motor power as not to fry the motor (and/or the battery). As for myself, I was clearing 17-19% grade hills with my very weak legs without capping my Giant/Yamaha or Specialized/Brose motors by just riding in low gears and slower. My strong brother rides e-bikes on mountain roads at extremely low assistance levels (tuneable in the motors I mentioned), which results in improbable battery range in his case.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
You are a strong rider foofer. It is just that since I am not commuting all of my rides these days are for cardio. I am treating my bosch bike like an outdoor exercise bike :).

Also even when it goes back to nominal one can still climb %20+ comfortably so it is never an issue. It is just that people usually don't realize it because they are not pushing the bike.


@steve mercier Which bike was that ?
You mean the which bike the motor was from ? It was a Motorino brand. It had dual batteries on a goofy frame. I have seen the same frame on some older Jetson Ebikes. It looked like this https://electricbikereview.com/jetson/electric-mountain-bike/
 

McCorby

Well-Known Member
There's more to the bike market than people spending $3k+ on eMTBs and spending $1k on crummy hub motor ebikes. Bike brands could do something interesting in the $1.5-3k range but don't.
They do. US$2800.

Giant/Liv has introduced the Momentum brand with e-bikes priced US$2100-2850. All Momentum+ e-bikes are mid-drives.
Trek does as well!
.......but they are mid-drives...... 😮 🤫

Verve+ 2 @ US$2,499

Verve+ 3 @ US$2,999
 

antboy

Well-Known Member
There's more to the bike market than people spending $3k+ on eMTBs and spending $1k on crummy hub motor ebikes. Bike brands could do something interesting in the $1.5-3k range but don't.
Of course there is. The discussion of the extremes shouldn't preclude the existence of the middle, as some of the examples posted here demonstrate.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
For geared hub ebikes in the $2.5-3k price range a couple that recently caught my eye are the Cannondale Quick Neo SL 2 in the US market and Ribble Hybrid AL e in the EU market, both weigh about 33-35lb depending on frame size, and use the Mahle Ebikemotion X35 250w geared hub motor used on some road ebikes. @Court reviewed this motor in the Cannondale Treadwell but where that bike has commuter accessories and weighs 40lb, the two I mention are more lightweight fitness oriented flat handlebar ebikes. Once things calm down I'd be interested to take the Quick Neo for a test ride to see how a 35lb hub ebike handles the hills around here.
 

opimax

Well-Known Member
I hqve owned 5 or 6 Stromer expensive rear hub DD drive hubs , 1 BH with a Dapu geared rear hub, and most recently a Trek Allant 7s with a Bosh speed mid drive. My preference to ride on the trails to rails 75 to 100 mile rides is the in that order also.. the Trek is the slowest accelerating, hardest to keep up speed ,takes most effort and longest time to make the same distance with me riding . It has my biggest issue of mid drives of. wearing out a chain and gear cluster early and I still have to to stop pedaling to shift and lose momentum on hills. I can get the chain and cluster replaced (1250 miles) but nothing can be done to stop the the ”pause”...To myn50 plus years on a bike habbits I have no desire for a mid drive as of now. I am waiting (and waiting) for the new Watt wagons mid drive with a belt either a Kindernay IGH or electronic Rolhoff which may be acceptable. With the torque the motor will have much less shifting if the kindernay you can shift while pedaling kind of and if the the Rolhoff the timing is done eletronicallly but still pause some, either way better than the Trek.

if my Stromers had been reliable and the nearest dealer was in my state I would be on a St5 with a powerful smooth DD hub with natural feeling shifts (to me). My info seems to be what most are saying here for my style of riding.

My favorite Stromer , the ST2s, even has electronic shifting with a DI2 setup with no issues on that part
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I still have to to stop pedaling to shift and lose momentum on hills...I am waiting for the new Watt wagons mid drive with a belt either a Kindernay IGH or electronic Rolhoff which may be acceptable.
For sure a quality IGH shifter makes a big difference climbing hills, I switched to a Nexus 8 IGH after reading @Court's reviews of Gazelle ebikes and the advantages of shifting while stationary and it is helpful for my urban commuting, but my Nexus 8 with BBS01 mid-drive combo does not like to shift under torque on the flat let alone while riding up hill, it skips gears and makes a horrible crunching sound if I accidentally do that even with a gear sensor motor cut out fitted. Last year I rode one of our local bikeshare ebikes with a front hub motor and Enviolo CVT rear hub and found I could shift down fairly easily riding up hill without having to pause pedalling (shifting up was too difficult though) which was a very welcome revelation. I do wonder how the mid-drive + Enviolo combo would work, I'd like to test ride a Gazelle Ultimate, Serial 1, or Tern HSD with this combo.
 
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Asher

Well-Known Member
All kidding aside, doesn’t Electra, who’s owned by Trek, produce exactly what you’re asking for? It’s called the Townie Go! 7D. It has a hub motor and retails for $1,499 usd.

A beach cruiser.
They do. US$2800.

Giant/Liv has introduced the Momentum brand with e-bikes priced US$2100-2850. All Momentum+ e-bikes are mid-drives.

My mistake, I should have said under $2.5k, where the vast majority of ebike sales from brands like Rad, Juiced and Vanmoof occur (Juiced only has a double battery model above that price currently, and that's ignoring their black friday sales and such where sales are presumably much higher).

The Giant Momentum bikes are $2600+ for the Class 3 ones, the Lafree at $2100 is a class 1 with a rear rack style battery. So it is an exception but not a very appetizing one.

My main point was less about price, and more just the sheer lack of choice.