Electric bikes have worked their way into the mainstream thanks to range and speed. However, there are two ways to install hub motors on an eBike.
You can place hub motors on the front wheel or the rear wheel. Another option is to buy ebikes in California with mid motors. They are usually more expensive with more design considerations. Here are the differences between front wheel and rear wheel ebikes.
Which Option is Superior?
Before we dig in, let’s be upfront about the answer – it’s very subjective. There is no one-size-fits-all, cut-and-dry answer. It depends on what your preferences are.
There are other factors that you should take into account before purchasing an ebike. Things such as battery size, type of gears, battery placement, frame material, and others.
Some people may opt to choose mid-motors because they are superior in nearly every aspect. Others are more concerned with the braking mechanism of an ebike in California.
In practice, the differences between front-wheel and rear-wheel ebikes are minor. Both ebikes share the same design restrictions and are efficient at using the battery.
They are very effective at scaling steep hills. This efficiency depends on the make and model of the ebike.
However, the placement of the motor can influence power, weight distribution, and aesthetics, among others.
Weight Distribution is a Major Concern with Hub Motors
Weight will have a significant impact on ebike performance. In an ideal world, you want to distribute the weight uniformly across the ebike.
You don’t want one side of the ebike to be heavier than the other. This would create a ‘lopsided’ effect that would affect performance at high speeds.
Optimal battery placement isn’t possible in an ideal world. You can either choose from the front wheel or the rear wheel.
It is common to place the battery at the rear wheel rather than the front. Mid motors are placed in the middle of the ebike.
A front hub motor distributes the weight towards the front of the ebike.
This effect becomes exacerbated with the weight of the rider. The ride can become unstable when the rider shifts their weight forward at high speeds.
A rear hub motor keeps the bulk of the weight on the rear. eBikes with heavier rear hub motors are prone to wheelies because of the acceleration.
This is more likely if the hub motor produces a high torque. Wheels with a smaller diameter can use more of this force for wheelies.
While this may sound exciting, it can get hazardous in high stake situations. You don’t want the ebike doing a wheelie every time you accelerate.
It can be dangerous when you least expect – and frankly, it could affect safety. For example, wheelies can be life-threatening on uphills.
You don’t want the ebike doing a wheelie after a red light or stop sign. If someone test rides your ebike and falls over, that’s not a good thing either.
Traction is responsible for the movement of your ebike on the tarmac. Without traction, your ebike would slip and fall without going anywhere.
The wheels play an essential role in connecting the road and ebike. This is where problems set in.
Front-wheel ebikes are especially prone to traction problems. This is because their wheels are small to accommodate the hub motor.
As a result, the traction for front-wheel ebikes is less than that of rear wheels. The problems become more pronounced at higher voltages and smaller wheels.
48-V hub motors with 26-inch wheels have superior traction than 52-V motors and 20-inch wheels.
In general, rear-wheel ebikes have better traction. The majority of your weight is already resting on the rear wheels. This is why rear wheels have more traction than front wheels.
Most cyclists choose rear-wheel ebikes for off-roading because the ground is already less firm.
With powerful ebikes with immense power, the rear wheel can end up spinning. This is especially true if you accelerate the rear wheel too harshly.
Most advanced ebikes have sensors installed on the wheels to prevent this. They check the wheel’s speed and traction at any point in time.
Pro tip: Buy ebikes with traction control if you plan more off-roading events. Traction control is usually available on all-wheel ebikes.
Traction control is a safety feature that helps you take full advantage of traction. It prevents drifting, slippage, and wheelies.
Traction control works by preventing over-spinning on slippery surfaces. They usually keep the electro motor torque distribution at 50/50 from front to treat.
Sensors constantly measure the speed of each wheel at any given moment in time. If a wheel loses traction, the motor reduces power and torque until it regains traction.
The major advantage of traction control is that it limits tire spin and tire slip. By reducing these two, the ebike gains superior traction and stability.
Traction control comes in handy when driving up the hill. It also prevents the loss of stability and momentum from slipping tires.
It carefully balances power in a controlled manager to keep your ebike stable. Traction control is well suited for challenging terrains, whether loose or slippery.
Problem with Flat Tires
Both front wheel and rear wheel ebikes are prone to flat tires. This is because you are more likely to puncture the delicate tiring.
Front-wheel tires are slightly more vulnerable to puncturing than rear wheel tires. This is because your front tires disturb objects to the back of the tire.
These objects are usually lying flat and don’t cause much damage to the front tire. However, they are more likely to damage your rear tire in a new position.
These can be nails, staples, shards, or other sharp objects. Flat tires are difficult to fix on hub motors compared to regular wheels.
Hub motor wheels are rarer than standard wheels. This means you will spend more time looking for a substitute wheel.
Here are a few tips to avoid flat tires on hub wheels.
Keep the Tire Pressure High
Tires that are not fully inflated are more vulnerable to a flat. Make sure to check your tires to determine the pressure.
Consult with the manufacturer to know about the ideal PSI range. Keep your tires in the mid and upper end of the range.
A quick test is to squeeze the tires between your forefingers and thumb. Tires should feel firm, but not rock solid. They should cave in just a bit.
Don’t Cycle with a Worn Out Rubber
Tires take a lot of beating and eventually give in. It is essential to look at the wear and tear on the rubber.
If you see cracks appear in the rubber, change the tires. Older, rigid, and thinner rubber is easier to break into than new, thick rubber.
This is a major safety issue. You should not ride around with a worn-out tire, especially on uphill.
Don’t Ride on the Side of the Road if You Can Help It
The side of the road is harsh and full of gravel and debris. You could easily puncture a tire if you catch a rock at the right angle.
If possible, ride the ebike in the lane with regular cars. You can probably do this in a city where your ebike can match city speeds.
Don’t do this on a road where cars travel much faster than ebikes. Remember, safety always takes priority.
And never ride in the dead center of the lane. This is because these areas accumulate a lot of road debris. This can lead to more tire punctures.
Use Tire Liners
A tire liner is a thin strip of plastic that fits between the tube and the tire. Always use soft, pliable rubber tire liners. Don’t go for the cheap ones because they will cause flat tires.
Finally, always have a few tools to repair a flat if you have to. Look up ebike emergency kits on Amazon for all the tools you will need.
Rear wheel ebikes often feature powerful motors compared to front motor ebikes. This is because the front fork of the
With very few exceptions, rear wheels deliver superior metrics compared to front wheels. This is because standard industry practice is to place weaker hub motors in front wheels.
The front fork of the ebikes does not have a solid structural platform. By contrast, rear-wheel ebikes have a more robust structure.
Larger motors are placed in the rear to take advantage of traction. As a result, rear-wheel ebikes are much faster with speedy acceleration.
In general, maintenance requirements for both forward and rear-wheel ebikes are the same. Rear wheel ebikes may require more maintenance.
This is because they are more likely to be driven on outdoor terrain. We see more of rear-wheel ebikes, so they are cheaper to service.
Rear wheel motors tend to be heavier with more moving parts. Their weight means that its only a matter of time before service is required.
In general, heavier motors require more maintenance. So if you want a more convenient option, go with front-wheel ebikes.
Use Scenarios for Front and Rear Wheel eBikes
Rear wheel ebikes are more suited to the performance side of the industry. If you want more speed, acceleration, and durability, go with rear-wheel ebikes.
If you’re fine hitting city speed limits, then front-wheel ebikes are an excellent choice.
Cyclists who are fond of off-road racing would prefer to buy rear-wheel ebikes. Higher traction and uniform weight distribution rear wheel ebike better suited to rougher terrain.
If only need ebikes for the daily commute and running errands, choose front-wheel ebooks.
Mid Drive Motors – A Superior Alternative?
Most ebikes these days have mid-drive motors. These motors provide a more even weight distribution throughout the ebike.
They provide the most comfortable and balanced ride. This is because the center of gravity is in the middle of the ebike.
Mid drive motors are usually more expensive because they require additional manufacturing steps.
Most ebikes in California use mid-motors from Shimano and Bosch. These motors are effectively geared and built to last a lifetime.
The low center of gravity is a major advantage of using mid drive motors. Driving these ebikes feels more natural because the weight is more uniformly distributed.
The stress on spokes is not very high either, compared to rear hub motors. This is because the motor’s weight is not on the front or the rear.
As a result, the wheel is unaffected by the weight of the mid-motor. Since mid motors are geared, going slow and steady uphill is possible.
The only disadvantage of mid motors is that they are expensive. It is more complicated to design mid motors and the ebike is more prone to failure.
The drive chain in mid motors is under increased duress. This is because it takes in power from both the cyclist and the motor.
This means that the chain, rear hub, and gear must be serviced more frequently. In the long run, this can drive up the cost of owning mid-drive ebikes.
Finally, the tires on mid-drive ebikes are easier to replace. You can swap them out with any standard tires and get on with your day.
Tires in front and rear wheel ebikes will require a bit longer to replace. This is because you’ll have to find an expert who can replace them.
You will also need to wait for parts to arrive. This could take any
Final Verdict – Front Wheel or Rear Wheel eBike?
If budget is not an issue, choose rear-wheel ebikes. They feel more natural compared to front-wheel ebikes. Front-wheel ebikes take a bit longer to get used to.
The weight is more evenly distributed, and they are faster. Maintenance requirements for rear-wheel drives are less hectic and cheaper.
The choice comes down to your preferences and experiences. Most people prefer to drive rear-wheel ebikes. This is because they feel more natural and are faster. Which ebike are you driving? Share your preferences with us.
You may like the following electric bike articles:
- Electric Bike Battery Types
- What Should I Look for in a Folding Electric Bike?
- Is Riding an Electric Bike Good for Your Health?
- How Electric Bike Engine Works
- Why Is My Electric Bike Not Working?
My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.