When it comes to electric bikes, the choice of motor plays a pivotal role in determining performance and functionality. Two popular options, the mid-drive motor and the hub motor, often spark debates among cycling enthusiasts. This blog gives a comprehensive comparison by leading you into the world of mid-drive vs hub motor technology, and dissecting their strengths and weaknesses. From the exceptional torque and efficiency of mid-drive ebikes to the simplicity and sleekness of hub motor ebikes, we can discover the pros and cons of each system. Therefore, whether you are an urban commuter or an off-road adventurer, explore this blog to unveil the key differences and make an informed decision for your ebike journey.

A man is riding a Mars 2.0 folding fat tire e-bike downhill apace

The Relationship Between Motors and Sensors

Motors are responsible for generating the power required to propel the bike forward, while sensors provide essential information to control and optimize the motor's performance. The two most common types of motors in electric bikes are hub motors and mid-drive motors, each with its own set of advantages and shortcomings. Sensors, including torque sensors, cadence sensors, and speed sensors, work in tandem with the motor to provide feedback and control the power delivery. They ensure smooth acceleration, accurate assistance levels, and efficient energy management.

    What is a Mid-drive Motor Electric Bike?

    A mid-drive motor electric bike houses the motor near the bike's bottom bracket, which is the central area where the pedals and crankset are located. This positioning allows the motor to transfer power directly to the drivetrain, resulting in a higher power delivery efficiency. One of the significant advantages of mid-drive motors is their ability to leverage the bike's existing gears. By utilizing the bike's gears, the motor can operate at its optimal RPM range, leading to improved torque and efficiency. This makes mid-drive motor electric bikes well-suited for hilly terrains and off-road trails.

    Pros of Mid-Drive Motor E-bikes

    • Exceptional torque: Mid-drive motors offer higher torque compared to hub motors, making them ideal for tackling steep hills.
    • Balanced weight distribution: With the motor positioned near the bike's center of gravity, mid-drive motor electric bikes provide a more balanced and stable riding experience.
    • Efficient power utilization: By leveraging the bike's gears, mid-drive motors operate at the optimal RPM with efficient power utilization and extended battery life.

    Cons of Mid-Drive Motor E-bikes

    • Higher maintenance: Mid-drive motors require more frequent maintenance compared to hub motors due to their complex design and additional components.
    • Cost: Mid-drive motor electric bikes are generally more expensive than hub motor ebikes, mainly owing to their advanced technology and performance capabilities.
    • Installation complexity: Retrofitting a mid-drive motor to an existing bike can be more challenging and may involve professional assistance.

    What is a Hub Motor Electric Bike?

    A hub motor electric bike houses the motor directly in the wheel hub, either in the front or rear wheel. This design provides a clean and streamlined look, as the motor is seamlessly integrated into the bike's structure. Hub motors come in two main types: geared hub motors and direct drive hub motors. Geared hub motors utilize a system of gears to increase torque and improve efficiency. They are generally lighter, smaller, and offer a higher top speed. Direct drive hub motors, on the other hand, have a larger diameter and operate without gears, providing a smoother and quieter ride.


    Pros of Hub Motor E-bikes

    • Simplicity: Hub motors have a straightforward design with fewer moving parts, requiring less maintenance.
    • Cost-effective: Hub motor electric bikes are often more affordable compared to mid-drive motor ebikes.
    • Easy installation: Retrofitting a hub motor to a traditional bike is relatively simple, making it a popular choice for bike conversions.

    Cons of Hub Motor E-bikes

    • Weight distribution: The weight of the motor in the wheel hub can affect the bike's balance, potentially leading to reduced maneuverability.
    • Limited torque: Hub motors generally offer less torque compared to mid-drive motors, which can impact performance on steep inclines or off-road terrain.
    • Reduced efficiency: Due to the motor's position in the wheel hub, hub motor electric bikes may have a slightly lower energy efficiency compared to mid-drive ebikes.

      Mid-Drive VS Hub Motor: Which Type of Ebike is Best for You?

      It requires some deliberation to choose between a hub motor ebike and a mid-drive one. There are 6 factors for you to consider to make an informed decision.


      Mid-drive motor ebikes have a greater range than hub motor ebikes because they directly transfer power through the bike's gears, creating a more efficient use of energy. Mid-drive motors can also make better use of the energy generated by regenerative braking, helping to increase the e-bike's range. Hub motor ebikes, on the other hand, may have a lesser range because the motor is positioned within the wheel, resulting in energy waste due to friction. Hero electric bike, the Heybike new carbon fiber ebike, is crafted with a powerful mid-drive motor and it can run up to 60 miles. Try it and you are bound to experience an exciting riding!

      Ride Quality

      Hub motors provide a more pushing ride since they are directly integrated into the wheel hub. They offer a more aggressive and rougher riding experience, with stronger power and faster acceleration. This makes hub motor electric bikes a great choice for conquering steep inclines and for those who prioritize the excitement of riding trips. Mid-drive motors provide a balanced and stable riding experience as the motor's power is transferred through the bike's drivetrain. This brings riders a responsive and agile ride, especially helpful to city commuters living in crowded cities. Its ability to leverage the bike's gears allows for better control and adaptability to different riding conditions.


      Hub motors do not require a traditional gear system since the motor powers the wheel directly. This can limit the gear options available on the bike. Hub motor electric bikes typically have a single-speed or limited gear range, which may be sufficient for riders who primarily ride on flat surfaces or prefer a simpler gear setup. Mid-drive motors work in conjunction with the bike's existing gear system, allowing for a wide range of gear options. This is particularly advantageous for maintaining a consistent cadence and keeping the motor running at its optimal RPM. Mid-drive motor electric bikes provide riders with the ability to fine-tune their gear selection, making them suitable for riders who encounter varied terrain or prefer more control over their riding experience.

      Motor Size and Weight

      Hub motors tend to be larger and heavier, which can impact the overall weight distribution of the bike, and lead to a rear-heavy feel. On the contrary, mid-drive motors are generally smaller and lighter as they are mounted near the bike's bottom bracket. This positioning keeps the weight centered and improves overall balance. The compact size and centralized weight distribution of mid-drive motors also contribute to a more natural and balanced riding experience.


      Hub motors excel in providing smooth acceleration and maintaining consistent speeds on flat terrain. They are a reliable option for effortless and comfortable rides. Mid-drive motors deliver a dynamic and exhilarating riding experience by offering exceptional torque and power. They are a top choice for riders who seek high-performance capabilities. In general, mid-drive motors perform better than hub ones on most grounds.


      Hub motors have a simpler design with fewer moving parts. They need fewer maintenance requirements and require minimal adjustments. Hub motor electric bikes are ideal for riders who prefer a low-maintenance and hassle-free ownership experience. Mid-drive motors involve more complex components, such as the drivetrain and additional gears, which may require periodic maintenance and adjustments. Riders should be prepared for more frequent maintenance tasks, such as chain and gear inspection, to ensure optimal performance. Mid-drive motor ebikes are suitable for riders who are willing to invest time and effort into maintaining their bikes.

      Final Thoughts

      It’s suggested to collect information and consider your preferences when you are choosing an e-bike with a mid-drive or hub motor. The pros and cons of these two motors are respectively explained above. Remember to carefully consider 6 aspects: range, ride quality, gears, motor size and weight, performance, and maintenance. After reading this blog, you will clearly know the ideal electric bike motor system that aligns with your riding goals and enhances your overall biking experience.

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