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Motor Systems of Electric Bikes – The Mystery Behind The Success

A motorised bicycle with an inbuilt electric motor used to help locomotion is an e-bike. There are different types of e-bikes available around the world. Still, they generally fall under two major categories: pedal-assist bikes (i.e. pedal electric cycles) and bikes that add a throttle, combining moped-style capabilities.

E-bikes are powered by rechargeable batteries and generally range from 40 to 150 km. By using electricity as a fueling mode, e-bikes save a lot on recurring expenditure. This factor, along with eco-friendliness, makes e-bikes quite popular in today’s world. Now, let’s look at some of the technical aspects of e-bikes.

What are some of the popular types of e-bikes?

E-bikes are generally classified into three categories:

  • Pedal Assist

    Pedal Assist is an electric bicycle that requires users to pedal to use the engine. It’s similar to a regular bicycle, except a motor detects pedalling and kicks in to assist with the effort. This e-bike class may or may not feature a throttle.

  • Throttle

    These e-bikes have a motor that is controlled by a throttle. Users don’t have to pedal to accelerate from the motor on these e-bikes. Instead, when usersneed more power, they can simply twist the throttle and go.

  • Faster variant (speed pedelec)

    With a greater speed limit, this variant is the quickest e-bike. It is still called a bicycle and might or might not require a driver’s licence, licence plate, or other documentation. This category is typically appropriate for someone who commutes by bicycle.

Types Of Motors Available For E-Bikes

Hub Motor/ Wheel Motor

The wheel drive of this motor is currently the most popular on the market, and it has several advantages and a lower price. This motor allows users to choose the power of the pedal they want because it powers the wheel rather than the crank (where the pedals connect), allowing the wheels to turn quickly.

The front hub motor is the most basic e-bike design and thus has the most limited capabilities. Front hub motors are often exclusively utilised with throttle systems since- assisting depending on rider input is more difficult when the motor is not part of the drivetrain. A rear hub motor can accept both throttle and pedelec, and many systems let users switch between the two with the help of a button.


  • It is the most popular motor type.
  • It is widely available.
  • Features acceleration that occurs instantly.
  • Capability to drive without the assistance of a motor


  • Rear-wheel load is greater.
  • Lower motor power dosage sensitivity (depending on the sensor used)
  • The engine noise is very loud.
  • At increasing loads, inefficient energy management (higher consumption compared to the centre motor)

Mid Drive / The centre drive system

A mid-drive e-bike system integrates the motor with the bottom bracket and cranks and positions it in the centre of the bike frame. A bike with a mid-drive system is always a pedelec because the motor is actuated by pedalling.

The mid-drive architecture outperforms hub motors in many ways, making it the system of choice for the most pedal assist manufacturing bikes. They are built for dependability and efficiency, and they are often more powerful than hub versions, with torque ratings ranging from 50Nm to 80Nm. However, the extra expense is offset by a longer engine lifespan; also, more expensive e-bikes typically feature better equipment.


  • Improved performance
  • Simple service
  • Motor operation is quiet and smooth.
  • Optimal weight distribution and balance
  • By selecting the proper gear, the user can regulate both the speed of the bike and the motor, allowing one to obtain the best speed while using the least amount of electricity.


  • It might create additional wear on the chain and cogs.
  • Increased adjustment sensitivity and shifting accuracy.
  • Gear motor resistance is possible when riding without battery assistance (according to type).

The motors, along with the battery and battery pack, are important considerations to be made before any e-bike purchase. With the growing demand and evolution of technology, features are getting redundant within a span of a few years, but benefits stay. As a consumer, it is never really possible to balance all the points to find the perfect one for years; rather, you need to be pragmatic about the approach- and choose the one that supports your needs.

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