So, what’s the difference between SONDORS hub and mid-drive motors?
Hub motors—as seen in our original SONDORS lineup—which house the electric motor in the center of a bike wheel, are the most common form of e-bike motors.
Mid-drive motors—as seen in our new Elite Class SONDORS—which house the motor by the crankset, in the center of the bike, have become much more common over the last couple of years.
Choosing the right motor for you will mainly depend on your needs and which features suit you best, so let’s look at the advantages of both.
E-Bike Hub Motor Advantages
— HUB MOTOR SONDORS INCLUDE —
One of the biggest advantages of hub motors is that they are an entirely independent drive system that retains all of its components inside the motor casing, leaving nothing for you to have to maintain.
Since they don’t connect to the main pedal drive system, hub motors don’t add any extra stress to your chain or shifters, and don’t cause any of those parts to wear out more quickly. If anything, your chain will probably last longer than a non-electric bike because the hub motor will be doing more work, and your chain can take a break.
Since the hub motor and the pedal drive system are completely independent, you can lose one and still get home on the other. What if your chain breaks while you’re hitting it hard on a trail? Just toss the chain in your bag and ride home on just electric power. What if your hub motor somehow fails, or you deplete your battery? Just pedal back. Either way, you’ve got a backup. This can be huge if you’re far from home, especially for older riders or those who use e-biking as a form of rehabilitation.
E-Bike Mid-Drive Motor Advantages
— MID-DRIVE MOTOR SONDORS ELITE CLASS —
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The greatest advantage to a mid-drive motor is that they allow the rider to power the rear wheel via the same chain and gear set as the pedals, which means that a low gear can be used for powering up steep hills or accelerating from a stop. A mid-drive motor in low gear can climb a steeper hill than a hub motor of similar power, and can climb longer than a hub motor.
A mid-drive motor is also usually smaller and lighter than a hub motor of similar power. Smaller and lighter mid-drive motors are often stealthier, because they are typically built into the bike’s special frame. Mounting the motor within the frame has a minimal effect on the handling of the bicycle. This is different from a hub-motor, which can influence cornering at higher speeds, due to the higher rotating mass of the wheel.
Changing a tire on a mid-drive motor e-bike is much easier because it’s lighter. You just change it out like on a normal pedal bike. And since you can use normal bike wheels, you have the freedom to use any wheels, tires, or drivetrain parts which are compatible with your chosen frame.
Lastly, mid-drive motors allow the use of true torque sensors for pedal assist systems, which regulate the motor power based on how hard you push on the pedals. Hub motors often rely on cadence sensors for pedal assist, which only regulate motor speed based on pedal speed, and can cause jerky motor timing, especially when hill climbing or moving the bicycle around obstacles.
The main advantages of mid-drive include lower weight and better gear usage, which makes them more suitable for off-roading and hilly terrain.
Hub-motors, on the other hand, are fairly bulletproof and low maintenance, and thus are usually better for commuters, and those that want a simple, reliable e-bike with very little maintenance.
However, many off-roaders like the power and reliability of hub motors, and many commuters prefer lightweight and stealthy mid-drive motors.
Again, it really depends on which features fit you best.