E-bike Motor: What to Know About It

What e-bike motor would be right for me?

The e-bike motor is probably the most critical part as it is the heart of your bicycle. It is very important to know the classification, differences and capabilities of each motor.

Main e-bike Motor Brands

The right motor is essential when you are selecting the perfect e-bike for you, and I would always recommend that you shop for motors from major manufacturers such as Bosch, Shimano, and Yamaha.

This will ensure that you would have great customer service, genuine and reliable parts.

How much power does my e-bike need?

The power of the motor is a key consideration when choosing the right electric bike.

Generally speaking, the higher the wattage the more powerful your bike will be. If you plan on climbing steep hills, more power will be a plus (but is not the only factor to consider; see bellow).

Motor’s power varies from 250 watts to 750 watts. Higher than 750 watts will be jumping to the next category as a “power on demand” e-bike.

250w and 500w motors are commonly fitted for commuter and folding electric bikes and, 750 watts for mountain bike models. This is something that manufacturers are aware of so they accommodate the right e-bike motor.

How much torque do I need for to carry heavy weights and good acceleration?

Regarding the torque, this is an important factor if you need an instant push when taking off or carrying additional weight.

As an example, thing about a car that operates with gasoline or diesel. Gasoline vehicles tent to reach the desire speed in less time whilst diesel vehicles will take longer times. This is due to the torque characteristics of the motor. In other words, the higher the torque, the more time to reach your desire speed and at the same time the more energy/force applied to the tires to carry the overall weight.

In the case of your e-bike, it is important to consider whether you will be carrying additional cargo (such as a small trailer, similar to what the Phantom Santa Fe Classic features plus your body weight. A heavier total weight means a higher torque is required.

I cannot give you the exact number of what torque you need (not up to me) but consider what has been explained above so you get a motor with high or low torque characteristics.

In order to determine what power and torque you are likely to need, it is advisable that:

  • Think what would be your usual riding paths (flat or hilly areas).
  • How much weight are you likely to carry over your trip.
  • Discuss your options with your preferred bike shop dealer.
  • Lastly, take your e-bike out for a test run before you purchase it.

Try out different models, with various power and torque levels, to see what feels the more appealing for your needs.

E-bike Motor Classification

When making your choice, there are several points to consider including whether you choose a geared hub, direct drive or a mid-drive.

  • Mid-drive Models

Mid-drive Bafang motor
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A mid-drive motor sometimes referred to as crank drive, diverts the power directly to the chain itself, followed by the whole shifting system. They are excellent for hill climbing, like Cube Reaction Hybrid Pro 500, offer an improved center of gravity, better weight distribution and improved handling.

These ones are able to detect your pedaling cadence and some of them contain torque sensors. These sensors are able to respond according to the effort you are putting to push the pedals forward. They also respond according to how the pedals rotate.

The good thing about mid-drive motors is that they are usually more quiet than the hub drives. They also allow you to fix flat tires easily since they are not integrated with the wheels. They are battery efficient and are the best for hill climbing. However, they are more expensive as compared to the hub drives.

If you are thinking to do some mountain biking, this would be the motor for you.

  • Geared Hub Models

Geared hub motor
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As its name say, a geared hub motor has internal gears inside the case. In addition to this, this means you will have more torque so climbing hills are not a problem.

Having a geared system will help you travel freely when not using the motor (not resistance due to its internal parts) but also means that the motor will not help you to stop the e-bike when going downhill, so your brakes will work harder.

Lastly, geared motors were not designed to maintain high speed; this means, is you are cruising, you will have to pedal more and also, your battery will drain faster. Despite of this, geared ebike motors are more common that the direct drive itself.

  • Direct Drive (hub) Models

The hub is the more affordable choice and it is much easier to fit and maintain. This is mainly because of its internal design.

Direct Drive hub motor
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Often direct drive (hub) e-bikes are limited to full power at one speed like Hummingbird electric bike, and as a result, they are likely to struggle on hills (not much torque).

The positive points are:

  • Due to its big size, the motor will cool down faster.
  • Allows for regenerative braking, which charges up the battery when you are not pedaling (it is not much though).
  • Can maintain high speed better.

The flip side:

  • The wheel does not spin freely so there is a lot of resistance, translating that you may need to pedal harder if you run out of battery.
  • These are heavier than the other motor versions, which means you e-bike will be heavier.

If you live in a hot area and not much hills to tackle, then this is the right motor for you.

E-bike Motor Final Thoughts

Electric motors for bicycles have evolved over time, starting from brushed motors to brushless DC motors.

Having a motor capable of generating good speed and torque will likely to cost more. Usually, these type of motors are fitted in e-bikes from renowned brands like Giant or Trek.

Keeping in mind what you want to achieve (climbing hills, mountain biking, cruising) when buying an electric bicycle, will define the type of ride you want to have.

We hope you cleared your mind regarding an e-bike motor.

Looking for more motor kit options?

Ebike Conversion Kit (68MM-850C) including mid drive Bafang BBS03/BBSHD 1000W      Direct drive hub motor ebike front wheel kit     TongSheng TSDZ2 Mid Central engine ebike conversion kit     ebike conversion kit including mid drive BAFANG 750W and battery

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