One of the reasons these electric bikes are becoming so popular is the maintenance-free hub motor. What is it that makes this type of motor better than others? There are good reasons why most electric bikes on the market are using hub motors as well as most electric bike motor kits. Here's the lowdown on electric bike hub motors.
Older electric bikes had motors that stuck out almost a 12 inches from the side of the wheel. These were attached to the wheel with a small chain that tended to wear out over time, and it added a significant amount of weight to one side of the bike. Needless to say, the hub motor was a big improvement on the electric bike. Contained inside the wheel, the hub motor rotates with the wheel, so there aren't any balance issues. There are no external parts, so there is very minimal maintenance, and it's a lot lighter than the older, chain-driven motor. You can count on a hub motor to power an electric bike for many years without a problem.
People are hesitant to convert a bike to an electric bike because they believe the installation process is too technical or time-consuming. With a hub motor, installation is as easy as changing a flat tire. Just take the old wheel off and pop the new motor wheel on. The hub motor will usually work with any derailleur or gear set, so you even get to shift gears like a standard bike. Plus, it's only about 8 lbs more on the bike, so it's not terribly heavy. Though you can swap your motor wheel and regular wheel, we usually recommend leaving the motor wheel on. Why? I'm getting to that...
A big question we always get is "can you still pedal this like a bike, or is it hard to move with the system turned off?" There is a common misconception of electric bikes that they will not move when they are turned off, because the motor has no power. This is just plain wrong! The hub motor spins freely when the power is off, and despite a bit of added weight, the bike can function exactly like it did without the hub motor. This is a big reason why people love electric bikes in the first place! A popular method of travel is to power the bike to work using the hub motor, so you don't sweat in the morning, then pedal it home with the power off for a daily dose of exercise.
So now that you know how a hub motor works, what is the best hub motor out there? I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't enjoy the BionX electric motor kit, which uses a hub motor to convert a regular bike to an electric bike. Many would say it's the best electric bike kit around. Of course, there are other alternatives like the eZee Bike Conversion kit, which also utilizes a hub motor. Just watch out for super cheap deals on electric bike motor kits because they may not be using good batteries or hub motors.
Check out our line of electric bike hub motor kits!