The Mid-Motor eBikeMarch 9, 2023 • By District Hardware
The decision to buy any electric-powered bicycle gets slightly complicated. The mid-motor eBike is just one of four motor configuration choices. Especially once you dive in and learn more about them, the level of electric motor assistance and the intended use will influence any final choices.
An e-bike’s electric motor configuration will depend largely on the e-bike’s classification, the intended use, and the buyer’s budget.
Electric Motor Position Choices
Efficiency, power output, and design depend on the positioning of the motor on the bike’s frame.
There are four choices on the market.
Front Hub-Mounted Motor
Front hub-fitted motors are the most affordable. This is due to their lower power rating of between 250 to 350W and the simplicity of their design. These motors have fewer magnets and less copper wiring, meaning lower cost.
The biggest drawback is power. Front hub-fitted motors tend to be less powerful with less torque. The riding experience can also feel unnatural. The rear human pedaling input and front hub-mounted motor can create an odd push-pull feeling.
Rear Hub-mounted Motor
They are more expensive than front hub motors. These rear hub-mounted motors are more complex to make the whole freewheel and pedaling, and motor assistance thing work.
Rear motors are best for riders wanting more power and for riders wanting throttle help.
All Wheel Drive
This sounds pretty much like your pickup, with the option of motors on both ends of an e-bike available.
The fitment of two motors means increased costs and weight. This design does get complicated. Getting the dual-motor system to work together is complex. These dual-motor e-bikes are best for heavily loaded cargo or delivery bikes.
Mid-motor eBikes (mid-drive) offers some advantages over the above three drive options. They are the best option when it comes to e-bike motor configuration.
Mid-mounted motors offer greater efficiency. They can give the cyclist a 75-plus miles range whilst riding in the lowest power mode.
Driving the e-bike crank is just like any normal human-powered pedal bike. The mid-motor electric motor gives the rider the most natural riding experience. The motor assistance is less noticeable when pedaling. This makes this a good choice for more performance-oriented e-bikes. The lighter weight of this design is also a performance advantage.
The mid-drive motor placement means that any full-suspension bikes aren’t disadvantaged by the added unsprung weight. This motor placement is typically found in downtube-mounted or frame-integrated batteries. It allows the extra weight to center on the bike’s frame.
This option allows the electric motor to amplify its effective torque by using the fitted cassette gears. Just think of a pedal-power bicycle and how riders frequently change gears to get the most torque or oomph to get moving.
Mid-motor offers the buyer more wheel options. This is because the in-hub motor assembly does not limit the choice. When it comes time to fix an annoying flat tire, the mid-mount design is just as easy as on a traditional bike.
Unfortunately, these e-bikes are the most pricey options. They also need more regular costly maintenance.
Mid-drive motor systems can also place extra mechanical stress on some components. Often, cyclists like to change gear ratios to suit their riding styles. Unfortunately, this is not always possible with the fitted mid-motor system.
Aside from the few downsides. The mid-motor option does tick most boxes when it comes to the needs of the avid e-bike rider. When it comes to performance mountain and road e-bikes, this is the go-to choice, but only if you’ve got the money.
The Top Three Mid-Motor eBikes
Mid-motor bikes offer the rider great climbing ability and efficiency. Fortunately for the performance e-bike fan, there is a wide range of desirable bikes available to buy.
Best Affordable Mid-Motor eBike – Ride1Up’s Prodigy
Affordable and good value for money. This e-bike is somewhat of a rarity as mid-drive bikes at this price point are scarce. Fitted with a premium, German-manufactured mid-drive Brose motor.
The bike also features a reasonably-sized 504Wh frame-integrated battery. There are dual-piston hydraulic brakes and 9-speed Shimano Alivio gears. The bike has front and rear LED lights as well as a sleek Brose full-color LED display. Don’t forget about the full-length mudguards and a kickstand. This all adds up to the best affordable package.
Being a class 3 e-bike, the rider can pedal up to 28 mph with motor assistance. There is no throttle. Yet it still makes for an excellent exercise bike. This mid-motor e-bike is great for extended rides with a stated range of 30-50 miles.
Best All-Terrain Mid-Motor eBike – QuietKat Jeep
One of the most powerful mid-motor ebikes available. This off-road is not street-legal. The QuietKat Jeep will give you all you need for all-terrain riding.
This throttle-assisted bike comes close to being an electric dirt bike with the added benefit of pedal power when needed for steep hills. This e-bike is off-road.
The specifications shout all-terrain with 4.8-inch wide fat tires and a load rating of 300 pounds. This e-bike comes with a 4-bar linkage full suspension. There are hydraulic disc brakes with huge 203mm rotors.
With a 1000W-rated Bafang mid-drive motor with 150 nm of torque, this bike will go as fast as you comfortably wish. It is not restricted to a 28 mph top speed like its legal road cousins.
Best Mid-Motor eBike, Compact Cargo – Tern HSD S11
This small bike is a cross between a small cargo bike and a high-speed commuter.
This bike has incredible cargo-carrying ability tested to a 374 lbs load capacity. In fact, the rear carry rack alone handles 132 lbs.
This mid-motor e-bike comes with a Bosch Performance Line Sport mid-drive. There is a pedal-assisted top speed of 28 mph, which places it in the Class 3 super commuter category.
This makes the bike a useful combination of compactness, cargo-carrying ability, and fast commuting. Hydraulic disc brakes and 11-speed wide-ratio derailleur gears add to the usability of this bike.
There is great versatility with this e-bike. Thanks to the adjustable bars and seatpost, meaning it will suit most sizes of riders. A wide range of helpful accessories is available. It can use baskets specifically for any carrying needs, even a dog basket. These options make this one of the best mid-drive electric bike choices on the market today.