Hub Motor Vs Mid Drive

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Updated March 2, 2023

If you are in the market for electric bikes or even conversion kits for your regular bicycle, you may be comparing electric bike mid-drive vs wheel-hub motors. The best electric bikes will have to feature one of these types of motors, after all, so it is a good idea to learn the differences. Keep reading to learn more.


  • Mid-drive motors tend to offer more power and a more nuanced control, as hub motors can feel as if you are being pushed or pulled by the motor.
  • Hub motors offer better integration with e-bike conversion kits, as mid-drive motors cannot typically be affixed to a pre-existing traditional bicycle.
  • Hub motors tend to be cheaper and lighter, which are factors to consider before purchasing.

Differences Between Mid-Drive Motors and Hub Motors

The primary difference here is where the motor is placed on the frame of an electric bike. As the name suggests, a mid-drive motor is located squarely in the middle of the bike frame. A hub motor, on the other hand, is affixed to either the front or rear of the bike. There are many more differences that kick in, however, once you begin riding your e-bike or trying to build one from a conversion kit.

Insider Tip

No matter which motor type you choose, be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear when riding an e-bike.

Maneuvering and Control

Most riders agree that mid-drive ebikes offer a more nuanced and natural control for electric bikes due to the placement of the motor in the center of the frame. If the motor is affixed to a wheel hub in the front or rear of the bike, it could result in a feeling of being pushed or pulled by the motor rather than offering natural movement. This is primarily a concern with those who are seasoned e-bike riders, however, as new riders are likely to not notice much of a difference in your ride experience.

Power and Speed

Mid-drive motors tend to offer more power and speed than hub motors due to the fact that they are primarily designed with serious e-bike riders in mind. So if you have a desperate need for speed, go with a mid-drive motor. Of course, many other factors contribute to a bike’s maximum speed, if you are comparing a direct-drive vs a geared motor with electric bikes, for instance. It should also be noted that a higher speed typically translates to a lower maximum range, as the battery will be taxed by the motor.

Weight Distribution and Safety

Mid-drive motors offer even weight distribution, while hub motors can lead to uneven distribution, as the motor is heavy and is attached to one wheel or the other. What does this mean in real-world applications? If you have both the battery and the motor attached to the same end of the bike, it could become top or bottom-heavy. Rear-wheel motors, for instance, can accidentally pop wheelies, while front-wheel motors can struggle on steep hills.

Conversion Kit Integration

Generally speaking, conversion kits include a hub motor, with a mid-drive system being reserved for purpose-built electric bikes. So if you are looking to compare dedicated electric bikes vs conversion kits, electric motor placement should be on your mind. Additionally, you will need to decide if you want the motor to be brushed or brushless. If you aren’t sure of which one is better for your needs, check out our guide on electric bike conversion kit brush vs brushless motor. However, if you don’t want to convert a normal bike and want to buy something that won’t take up much room, check out the comparison between folding bikes and electric scooters. There are even conversion kits for avid mountain bikers to help get the most out of their bike performance on the mountains. These may include a higher motor power, more torque, better throttle, more battery power, and the ability to carry additional weight. 

STAT: Electronics giant Yamaha built one of the early prototypes of e-bike back in 1989 and invented the pedal-assist system in 1993. (source)


Why are hub motors less expensive than mid-drives?

Hub motors are the less expensive type of motor because the build is less complex.

How long do mid-drive motors last?

This will depend on how often you maintain both the motor and the battery pack. A mid-drive motor should last several years with proper maintenance, as mid-drives are pretty sturdy and reliable.

How long do hub motors last?

When it comes to electric bicycles and their motors, hub variants should last several years as long as you perform the required maintenance routines. A rear hub motor and a front hub motor should last around the same time.

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