Comparing e-bike motor types

by Michael Shrewsbury September 16, 2016

Comparing e-bike motor types

When shopping for an e-bike, the drive (or motor) type is one of the primary considerations. Populo offers two drive types in our family of e-bikes, each with different characteristics that make them ideal for different riders. 

Mid-Drive e-bikes

Mid-drive offers the highest efficiency and performance for e-bikes. They are more expensive than hub-drive e-bikes, but offer superior performance, especially in hilly terrain. Mid-drives incorporate the bicycle's transmission as the gears for the motor, allowing the electric motor to operate in the optimum RPM range. Because they are more efficient, the battery can last longer (which can also made the bike lighter, since a smaller battery can be used.) Mid-drive e-bikes also handle better than their rear wheel / hub drive cousins, because the weight of the motor is balanced in the middle of the bike.

Mid-drive has some downsides: they can be noisier than hub drive models, and are more complicated to service. Despite these downsides, they are usually the best choice for riding in hilly terrain, or off-road. 

Models offered with mid-drive motors include the Populo Peak, which also includes a suspension fork for uneven terrain.  

Rear Wheel (hub) drive e-bikes

Rear wheel (hub) e-bikes offer a more economical solution, as they are the simplest method of adding pedal assist to an e-bike. The design is less complicated and easier to manufacture as well, so rear wheel / hub drive e-bikes can be priced more competitively. 

Compared with mid-drive e-bikes, rear wheel (hub) motors are much more common, making up perhaps 90% of the e-bike market. 

Models offered with rear wheel drive motors include Populo Sport, Lift Comfort, Lift Diamond, and Curve. 

Which e-bike is right for me? 

As you can see, each e-bike variant has some specific strengths and weaknesses. Here are Populo we design and build both mid-drive and rear wheel (hub) drive, so we've got you covered with just the right bike for your riding style. Call, write, or chat anytime and we'll help you choose a model you'll love. 





Michael Shrewsbury
Michael Shrewsbury

Author



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