Electric bikes

Electric bikes and how to choose the right one for you.

Hello. I’m Ian Gordon from Silver E Riders Limited

I would like to tell you about the differences between the 3 different types of drive mechanism on the modern day electric bikes.

  • First: The front wheel drive hub. The motor is mounted in the hub of the front wheel pulling the electric bike along. The disadvantage with this type of drive is that all the weight on the electric bike is at the rear of the bike, this being the riders weight and the weight of the battery that is usually mounted on the rear rack above the rear wheel. This means that there is minimum weight on the front wheel so when the throttle is applied or pedal assist cuts in there is a chance that the front wheel could loose its traction, especially on wet or sloppy roads causing the rider to loose control of the bike.
  • Second: The rear wheel drive hub. In this case the motor is mounted in the rear wheel hub and pushes the bike along. This is the most common type of motor on electric bikes today, it is cheap to produce and is reliable. Depending on the model of electric bike you purchase to remove the rear wheel to repair a puncture or replace the wheel is not an easy job as the wires from the hub motor go directly into the control unit of the bike. Some models have a waterproof connection that can be unplugged for ease of removal. As all the weight of the electric bike is now from the centre, to the rear of the bike the pressure on the rear wheel prevents the wheel from loosing traction giving a more stable ride. The disadvantage with this type of drive is the balance of the electric bike is wrong.
  • Mid drive: Electric bike design has changed over years with new technology. The latest design is a mid drive motor mounted within the pedal assembly with the battery mounted somewhere either concealed in the frame of fixed to the frame. This form of drive is considered to be the best as the power is through the pedals making the motor run at its optimum speed at all times. The centre of gravity is now correct as the weight of the electric bike plus the rider is now through the centre of the bike making handling and manouvering of the bike easier, mid drive bikes are also better for climbing hills. The battery for a mid drive bike can also be slightly smaller in power as the motor is more efficient. The disadvantage with this system is that it is more expensive to produce and increases the price of the electric bike. However, they are reliable and very efficient, so you could say its money well spent.

I hope this has explained the basic differences between the drive systems on todays electric bikes.

Please tell you electric bike supplier what you want your bike for, i.e. commuting, leisure or long distance riding as there are many bikes out there in the market place and you don’t want to buy the wrong one. Why not hire an electric of your choice first? That way you will know if feels right for you.  If it feels right. It is right. After all a new electric bike can cost a lot of money.

Enjoy you new electric bike and remember my motto:  Be seen. Be safe. You know it makes sense.

by Ian Gordon

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