Hub Motors

Discussion in 'Electric Bicycles' started by motorbikemike45, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Can anyone compare geared hub motors to direct drive hub motors; weight, power, torque, power draw, speed, hill climbing, longevity, reliability, etc? Does one have any specific advantage(s) over the other?

    I'm ready to order an electric motor/controller kit for my Schwinn from and this is my last decision to make. I have already decided on Ping LiFePo4 batteries, but I can't afford to order a battery pack 'till later, in the Spring. This will be my first E-bike after building 4 gas engined motored bikes and I know little about the motors. I like the simplicity of the hub motor, but geared or direct.......?

    Most of my riding is on fairly flat bike paths and streets, with only a few steep hills. I generally pedal a little from dead stops and on hills to assist.

    This, my first electric set-up, will be a front hub motor with 36V, 20 Amp-hour battery. After I get some experience with electric, in a year or two or three, I'd like to try a rear hub motor with a 7 speed derailleur cassette and a 48V, 20 Amp-hour battery set-up. At my age I'm not going to look any farther ahead than that. :cool2::eek:
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010

  2. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    From what I have read...
    Direct drive motors are quieter and less expensive, but there is a slight drag when under pedal power alone.
    A geared hub motor can use a smaller motor, because it operates at a higher, more efficient rpm. Geared hubs are a bit noisier, but completely freewheel when under pedal power alone.
    I don't own either. I would probably go with a direct drive hub unless you think your commute will deplete your batteries and require you to pedal the last few miles.
  3. Ypedal

    Ypedal Member

    Pretty much what he ^^ said.

    The geared motors tend to be a bit lighter, but being geared they have moving internal parts that do eventually wear out.

    Direct Drive hubs are brushless, and have no internal moving parts so unless you crash, should last for ever.. ( A pair of bearings, but they last a long long long time ) only way to kill them is either if water gets inside, or if you over-heat them and mess up the hall sensors.

    Geared motors have a mechanical advantage, at slower wheel speeds the motor inside is spinning faster so it's more efficient in some situations, they also freewheel internally so no resistance when not using throttle.. * ( but honestly, you will be using throttle 99% of the time lol.. so not a big factor unless you run out of juice )

    I suggest going with the Direct Drive, it will take over-volting without as much risk of frying..

    The geared motors are ok as long as they remain cool ( plastic gears and heat dont mix ) and you don't jump curbs.. ..