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

opimax

Well-Known Member
Don’t always agree on that , did you notice the not reliable with the mention of expensive Stromer? I don’t think I got the quality I paid for....but on the other hand I wouldn’t expect it with it on a “cheap “ bike :)
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Don’t always agree on that , did you notice the not reliable with the mention of expensive Stromer? I don’t think I got the quality I paid for....but on the other hand I wouldn’t expect it with it on a “cheap “ bike :)
The quality of Mercedes Benz cars has dropped in recent years as well. That's why I mentioned Volvo :)
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Dorel Industries who own Schwinn and Cannondale launched a budget line of Class 2 ebikes in the US last year Charge Bikes the two cheaper models use Bafang 250w hub motors, and the stem rotates easily and pedals fold for storing in a hallway. I think they sell primarily direct to customer but will ship to a Dorel dealer for assembly if desired. It's nice to have a budget brand with local dealer support though their warranty terms are they will pay to replace parts but not the shop labor which I understand is the same for RadPower and other DTC brands.
 
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Gordon Lai

New Member
A point to consider is that many of the customers/target demographic of the big 4 are die-hard cyclists who appreciate a very smooth cycling experience, that is very similar to a standard bicycle. With that being said, it narrows down the options when you are then only considering torque sensing technology which the are primarily mid-drives.

Can you have a similar torque sensing experience with hub-drives? Yes, of course, but it is at the expense of historically unreliable technologies which will ultimately eat at their bottom line.
 

Asher

Well-Known Member
Can you have a similar torque sensing experience with hub-drives? Yes, of course, but it is at the expense of historically unreliable technologies which will ultimately eat at their bottom line.
Juiced has had reliable torque sensor and hub drive pairings in their bikes for years.

The big brands certainly cater to enthusiasts with their higher end offerings, say $1.5k+ for manual bikes, but they have plenty of casual customers at lower price tiers, esp. $500-$1k. They sell hybrids, fitness, lifestyle, leisure bikes, etc.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Can you have a similar torque sensing experience with hub-drives? Yes, of course, but it is at the expense of historically unreliable technologies which will ultimately eat at their bottom line.
From what I read on Endless Sphere the technology of field oriented controllers coupled with bottom bracket torque sensors appear to be great for smooth pedal assist on a hub motor.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
From what I read on Endless Sphere the technology of field oriented controllers coupled with bottom bracket torque sensors appear to be great for smooth pedal assist on a hub motor.
Regarding hub drives, I beleive that's where we really need the work. So close already, it won't be long at all until the controllers start maturing. No more of the jerky low speed, won't go less than 12mph comments/complaints.
 

Gordon Lai

New Member
Juiced has had reliable torque sensor and hub drive pairings in their bikes for years.

The big brands certainly cater to enthusiasts with their higher end offerings, say $1.5k+ for manual bikes, but they have plenty of casual customers at lower price tiers, esp. $500-$1k. They sell hybrids, fitness, lifestyle, leisure bikes, etc.

It depends on how you look at it, I have heard in the past from some friends in the industry that Juiced has had a very high failure rate. Previously having managing Surface 604, torque sensing related components (both bottom bracket and the same sensor as Juiced) have had a substantially higher failure rate compared to cadence sensors. We are talking at least 20% higher failure rates.

I'm not saying that they still have the same issues as in the past, however, if you were one of the executives in the big 4, it probably doesn't make all that much sense to take a leap of faith into something that historically hasn't had the best track record when you have very reliable systems in Bosch, Brose, Shimano, Yamaha with amazing brand recognition that comes with it.
 

Asher

Well-Known Member
It depends on how you look at it, I have heard in the past from some friends in the industry that Juiced has had a very high failure rate. Previously having managing Surface 604, torque sensing related components (both bottom bracket and the same sensor as Juiced) have had a substantially higher failure rate compared to cadence sensors. We are talking at least 20% higher failure rates.

I'm not saying that they still have the same issues as in the past, however, if you were one of the executives in the big 4, it probably doesn't make all that much sense to take a leap of faith into something that historically hasn't had the best track record when you have very reliable systems in Bosch, Brose, Shimano, Yamaha with amazing brand recognition that comes with it.
Ah I had not heard that about Juiced. Is there any more documentation of this?

AHicks point about the assist not working at low speeds sounds right, IME. most Juiced riders probably don't care, the assist is for going fast.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Ah I had not heard that about Juiced. Is there any more documentation of this?
Sounds plausible though doesn't it? Juiced use a rear axle strain gauge, and with torque applied to the sensor, or its position at the dropouts where it might be bashed when fixing a flat in the field, there's got to be a higher likelihood of damage over a simple cadence sensor where the points of failure are magnets being knocked out of place or (as I found out) accidentally getting the PAS sensor cable wrapped around a center kickstand and wrenching it out of the controller (ahem, oops...I quickly fitted a rear mounted Greenfield kickstand to prevent that happening again).
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Stefan , I have a Mercedes Metris (just for bike hauling) and my wife wants a CLK mini suv coupe! Lol
Opimax, I'm not very much into automotive world but friends of mine (who are) say that -- for instance -- Mercedes cars suffer from paint chips. That reminds me of a German manufacturer of expensive e-bikes suffering the same vice. I leave guessing the name of the e-bike maker to you :D
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I know Juiced had one issue that "upset" we'll say, a LOT of owners. That was their battery latching system breaking. There was a lot of noise here on that, but I don't know how widespread that issue was when looking at the sales numbers - failure percentage of those sold. I saw that Juiced didn't think it was a very big issue, early on at least. Not sure what the solution was, or if the is one.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Ah I had not heard that about Juiced. Is there any more documentation of this?

AHicks point about the assist not working at low speeds sounds right, IME. most Juiced riders probably don't care, the assist is for going fast.
To be clear, there are some, most notably in the least expensive range, that act that way. Not all of them have that issue. And assist is NOT just about going fast. All are capable of doing that. Most PAS systems are judged best regarding LOW speed performance. Control at speeds you would be running on a multi use trail with mixed traffic for instance. THAT'S what separate the men from the boys when it comes to hub controller performance. -Al
 

McCorby

Well-Known Member
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.
Chains and sprockets on hub motor ebikes and non-ebikes will also wear out prematurely with poor shifting practices. Yes, poor shifting practices are exasperated on a mid-drive for sure. I have over 2,500 miles on my mid-drive and the chain is still within specification. My girlfriend on the other hand has just over 1,500 miles on her Trek Verve+, and I’ll likely have to replace her chain this summer. She was never taught how to shift properly and old habits are hard to change.

Edit: I’ll happily replace my chain every few thousand miles, versus having to deal with repairing a flat tire out in the middle of nowhere on a hub motor bike!!
 
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opimax

Well-Known Member
So far my ebike riding I have been on mostly rails to trails with little debris and few flats, always buy the most puncture proof Scwalbe tire I can find. I have purchased a van to carry my bikes and have a wonderful, wonderful wife who also rides who will pick me up anytime, much happier in daylight and a valid address for a GPS though.

I have some bad experiences where changing a flat myself would be helpful. I have 1 incident on the mountains of on the C&O trail where I had little signal and little battery with my brother waiting 4 hour or so for me to take the bike he was riding , traveling back to the vehicle to meet him at a spot we had to walk to for over an hour with a flat and then drive home with my wife not hearing from us . Got home at 4 am should have been home at 10 pm and even with me taking my time midnight .didn’t call when we had signal cause I thought she would be in bed and heard me say what happened when we 1st had the flat at first but she had not :(

A couple of the Stromers have over 5G on chains and tires that ran bald never getting a flat. One Stromer got traded in with with 22,000 on the odometer...my joke is the Stromer ran great for 5,000 miles (which is impressive)..........................,the other 17,000 something was wrong with it of some kind!

Can’t pick up a bike and turn it over on many days anyway, too heavy for old person and my back
 
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EMGX

Well-Known Member
Chains and sprockets on hub motor ebikes and non-ebikes will also wear out prematurely with poor shifting practices. Yes, poor shifting practices are exasperated on a mid-drive for sure. I have over 2,500 miles on my mid-drive and the chain is still within specification. My girlfriend on the other hand has just over 1,500 miles on her Trek Verve+, and I’ll likely have to replace her chain this summer. She was never taught how to shift properly and old habits are hard to change.

Edit: I’ll happily replace my chain every few thousand miles, versus having to deal with repairing a flat tire out in the middle of nowhere on a hub motor bike!!

I have a bit less than 1500 miles in hilly to mountainous terrain on my Yamaha PW-SE mid drive gravel bike. No measurable chain stretch and the chainring and cassette show no wear yet. I ease up pedaling just like I do on a non-assist bike.
The flat tire issue is a big deal to me. I've had a couple flats, one in the middle of nowhere many miles from my destination and one several miles from home. The second flat came on a tire with flat protection, small shard of glass that I don't think any tire could have prevented. Take the battery off if you need to reduce the bike weight and you don't have to turn bike upside down to fix the tire. I might get a solid tire for the hub motor kit that I installed, that is if I can get it working properly and don't have to return it.

DSCF0743.JPG
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
I have a bit less than 1500 miles in hilly to mountainous terrain on my Yamaha PW-SE mid drive gravel bike. No measurable chain stretch and the chainring and cassette show no wear yet. I ease up pedaling just like I do on a non-assist bike.
The flat tire issue is a big deal to me. I've had a couple flats, one in the middle of nowhere many miles from my destination and one several miles from home. The second flat came on a tire with flat protection, small shard of glass that I don't think any tire could have prevented. Take the battery off if you need to reduce the bike weight and you don't have to turn bike upside down to fix the tire. I might get a solid tire for the hub motor kit that I installed, that is if I can get it working properly and don't have to return it.

View attachment 77757
Congrats on your BH Gravel-X with the Yamaha mid-drive... I have a riding buddy who loves his! 😉
You may want to consider adding Slime to your tubes for additional protection... works like a charm.