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A CANBERRA ELECTRIC BIKES GUIDE TO MOTORS

All electric bikes have a motor. You will find them in three different possible positions on frame.

You will find either a  front hub, mid drive or rear hub. We won't go into too much detail about the relative merits of these designs as we have already done that with our Hub Motor vs Middrive article which you can find on this link.

All ebike motors have two key attributes. It's nominal and peak power. Nominal is best thought of as an average power output and what the motor will be generating on a flat service up to 25km per hour of electric assist. It's peak output is what the motor will output on steeper inclines and is far more then its nominal rating of 250w. 250w of power is actually not that much and with the added weight of the motor and battery found on ebikes it is insufficient to climb steep gradients. The peak output of a motor will vary from 350 to 500w depending on the brand and design. This peak power output is what gives us the two key Ebike categories, Standard Torque and High Torque. Click on the links if you would like to browse either Standard or High Torque models.

One of the most important differences is the overall weight of the motor. As it gets more powerful it tends to get heavier. It's a similar reality with batteries. As they get larger in cell capacity they get heavier. As a prospective buyer you have to way up the benefits of more electric assist vs overall weight of the ebike. You need to buy a bike that is suitable for your needs. Purchasing an ebike that is not powerful enough for your commute or weekend rides is going to disappoint. Similarly buying a high torque ebike with a long range battery when you have undulating hills and a short commute is overkill. Also where you store the bike will affect your decision. If you need to carry it up a flight of stairs or regularly put it on a car rack you might be better to select a standard torque ebike.

So here is a summary of the different motor brands and their relative power. We have split the motors into the two main designs, Hub and Middrive.

Hub Motors.

Front Hub Bafang, Dapu or generic Standard Torque. Nominal 250w. Peak of 350w.

These motors have been around for a long time and you will still find them on a stack of ebikes. They were once the most common design but in recent times have become less common but you'll still find them on a lot of our entry level ebikes. They are affordable and not too heavy. For entry level bikes that use internal hub gears in the rear wheel this is the go to motor design.

Brands that use this type of motor.

Dyson, Smartmotion, Velectrix Folding, Various entry level conversion kits, Gocycle (24v proprietary), Lekker and Grin Tech Ncm ( for Brompton conversions).

Ezee Front hub. High torque. 250w nominal. Peak of 500w

This motor is manufactured by eZee themselves in their factory and have been around for a long time. They are very well built and use high quality components. They are also very easy to service which we like. The eZee motor has some serious climbing torque and is ideal for those riders that have to tackle big hills and are planning to carry panniers full to the brim with work gear or shopping for example. The eZee motor works beautifully hauling kids on its very own cargo bike, the Expedir.

Bafang high torque front hub. Nominal 250w. Peak of 500w

Similar in spec to the ezee front hub motor you'll find his motor on many of the Dominoes pizza delivery ebikes that use the Juiced brand of short tail delivery cargo bike. These bikes need to carry heavy loads so a high torque motor is appropriate. These ebikes are HEAVY however and need relatively strong riders to manage the weight. 

Bafang or Dapu standard torque rear hub motor.  

Nominal 250w. Peak of 350w.

Similar spec to the classic 250w front hub motor, this one is better suited for traction and matched with a derailleur and cassette gears. Overall weight of the ebike is kept down and it's an affordable motor option.

Brands that use this type of motor. Velectrix Urban range, Solar bike rear kit, Velectrix Ascent emtb, Dyson ebikes, Greaser standard torque, Vallkree Scrambler standard torque, Focus Groove rear hub range.

Bafang or Dapu high torque rear hub motor.

Nominal 250w. Peak of 500w.

Similar spec to the ezee front hub motor this one is better suited for traction and matched with a derailleur and cassette gears. Overall weight of the ebike is on the heavier side but a great big hill killer.

Brands that use this type of motor. BH Evo, Smartmotion rear hub range, NCM emtb, Earth emtb, Greaser high torque, Vallkree Drifter high torque, Ante fat bike.

 

Mid drive motors.

Increasingly popular and more suited to the experienced bike rider who will maintain a consistent pedal effort and use appropriate gears these motors have varying levels of power rated in Newton Metres. NM. In case you didn't know... The newton metre is a unit of torque in the SI system. One newton metre is equal to the torque resulting from a force of one newton applied perpendicularly to the end of a moment arm that is one metre long. There you go.

Impulse

Impulse 2.  60nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 400w.

Impulse Evo.  80nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 500w.

The Impulse motor comes in two flavours, the Impulse 2 and the Impluse Evo. Used exclusively by the Pon Group on select Kalkhoff, Gazelle and Focus Ebikes. They are both very impressive with high torque as standard and generally fitted with a battery on the frame or under the seat for optimum weight distribution. Both motors have shift sensors built into them which unlike the Bosch range can be tweeked by the user for personal preference. With higher powered Middrive motors it's crucial the rider uses the full range of the gears and backs off the pedal pressure to avoid damaging internal hub gears. 

BOSCH

Bosch Active line.  45nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 300w.

One of the first Bosch motors released on the market. Found on a large number of lower priced commuter and women's Stepthrough ebikes. The lightest of the Bosch motors but with very smooth output and surprising torqy given its low peak output. Often partnered with hub geared ebikes to minimise wear and tear on the gears. With higher powered Middrive motors it's crucial the rider uses the full range of the gears and backs off the pedal pressure to avoid damaging internal hub gears. Generally matched with the smaller 400wh (11.6ah) Battery pack. Not the most powerful Middrive motor but surprisingly light and fitted with a shift sensor for smoother gear shifting. Has begun to be superseded by the Bosch Active plus motor.

Brands that use this type of motor. Orbea, Corratec, Merida, Focus, Kalkhoff, Gazelle, Norco

Bosch Active Plus.  50nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 350w.

Very similar to the Active line but with a little more grunt. Fitted with a shift sensor for smoother gear shifting.

Brands that use this type of motor. Orbea, Corratec, Merida, Focus, Kalkhoff, Gazelle, Norco 

Bosch Performance Line. 60nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 400w.

You'll find this motor on a high number of urban commuters and electric mountain bikes. Ideally suited to customers living in very hilly areas or planning to hit the trails. Heavier than the lower torque Bosch motors but flattens the hills that's for sure. Fitted with a shift sensor for smoother gear shifting.

Brands that use this type of motor. Orbea, Corratec, Merida, Focus, Kalkhoff, Gazelle, Norco, Haibike 

Bosch Performance line CX.  75nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 500w.

The flagship Bosch motor with the most grunt. Found on more and more eMTB and Urban ebikes. The heaviest of the Bosch range and generally matched with the larger 500wh (13.6ah) battery pack. Fitted with a shift sensor for smoother gear shifting.

Brands that use this type of motor. Orbea, Corratec, Merida, Focus, Kalkhoff, Gazelle, Norco, Haibike.

Shimano

Shimano is now one of the major players in the ebike market after a later entry than Bosch. Found on a very large range of ebikes of all types of design.

Shimano e6000. 50nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 350w. 

The e6000 is found on many entry level ebikes and more basic commuter ebikes. Also fitted to a few hardtail ebikes for a leaner price point. Not the most powerful Middrive motor but surprisingly light and fitted with a shift sensor for smoother gear shifting.

Brands that use this type of motor. Merida, XDS, Apollo. 

Shimano e8000. 70nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 500w.

The flagship Shimano Middrive motor found on an increasing variety of ebikes especially in the high end mountain bike category. Lighter than the bosch performance motors by about 750 grams. It does not utilise a shift sensor so the rider will need to back off considerably before shifting gears. A bit of a learning curve but gives the rider more control over power output than a shift sensor which can be a little crude.

Brands that use this type of motor. Orbea, Corratec, Merida, Focus, Kalkhoff, Gazelle, Norco

Shimano e7000. 60nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 400w.

The most recent addition to the Shimano range. A slight specced down version of the e8000 with a 10nm reduction in Torque. Still a very impressive ride but slightly lighter and a leaner price point. It does not utilise a shift sensor so the rider will need to back off considerably before shifting gears. A bit of a learning curve but gives the rider more control over power output than a shift sensor which can be a little crude.

Brands that will we believe use this type of motor. Orbea, Corratec, Merida, Focus, Kalkhoff, Gazelle, Norco

Bafang Conversion Kit Motor.

BBS01 60nm. Nominal 250w.Peak of 350W.

BBS02 75nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 500w.

The Bafang motor is found on a lot of our Lekkie conversion kit projects as it's a popular add on. Their BBS01 and BBS02 have been around for years and are a very popular mid drive option.

Brands that use this type of motor. 95% of standard bikes can take this kit as a conversion.

The Bafang Max Drive. 60nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 350W

This system is designed for bicycle manufactures and like other mid drive systems fits into the frame as a factory fit. It is not a conversion. It has surprisingly good torque for such an affordable system and is more often than not fitted with a shift sensor.

Brands that use this type of motor. XDS, Velectrix, Skillion, Lekkie.

Brose Mid drive. 70nm. Nominal 250w. Peak of 450w.

One of the quietest motors on the market as they use an internal belt drive inside the motor instead of a chain. Very smooth output and nice torque but not as powerful as Brose claim from our experience. It does not utilise a shift sensor so the rider will need to back off considerably before shifting gears. A bit of a learning curve but gives the rider more control over power output than a shift sensor which can be a little crude.

Brands that use this type of motor. BH Revo, Specialized Levo, Scott eMTB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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