Hub-Drive vs. Mid-Drive eBikes: What to Know Before Buying
Electric bikes – or eBikes – are one of the fastest growing categories in the cycling industry. They help riders go faster, further and longer without tiring, and buyers are turning to eBikes for everything from vehicle replacements to pure enjoyment. There are also a wide range of styles, motor sizes and price points from which riders can choose to suit their needs.
But there might also be a little confusion by some of the specs, especially when it comes to motor positioning. It’s important to know the differences between the two main types: hub-drive and mid-drive.
Hub-Drive and Mid-Drive
For a hub-drive eBike, the motor is positioned on the front or rear wheel, with the motor placed handily in the wheel hub. The motor provides propulsion by spinning the tire on which it is mounted. Some riders find a hub motor eBike does not maneuver naturally; depending on whether the hub motor is on the front or rear wheel, the eBike either feels like it is being pushed or pulled along. That can create issues for an inexperienced rider, either because the additional weight in the back wheel makes it harder to balance, or because the additional weight in the front creates steering challenges.
For a mid-drive eBike, picture here, the motor is positioned directly in between the pedals at the bike’s bottom bracket. This ensures a low and central center of gravity, providing load balancing and creating the feeling of riding a traditional bike. Riders don’t feel the additional weight of the motor because of where it is positioned, giving a mid-drive eBike solid directional and tracking stability. A difference riders can’t see, but will experience on a long ride – especially on hills – is that a bike with a mid-drive motor works synergistically with the bike’s gears for higher efficiency, which translates into longer riding range per charge. Like a car’s engine, electric motors like to spin fast not slow. When the rider shifts gears to pedal at a natural bike-riding cadence (typically 50-100 rpm), the motor in between the pedals is churning at an efficient rpm as well. For these reasons, Bosch uses only mid-drive motors. Learn more here.
With a hub-drive eBike, the motor drives the wheel, which can spin very slow on a steep hill. When a motor is spinning slow and the rider is requesting lots of help from the hub motor, it can sometimes overheat, leading to a temporary shut-off (best-case), or permanent damage to the magnets inside (worst-case).
Flat tires – a periodic occurrence when riding as often and far as eBikers do. is a quick fix with a mid-drive just like it would be with a regular bike; the wheels can be taken off without affecting the motor. With a hub motor, the motor is actually on the wheel itself, so even a minor hiccup like a flat tire can turn into a lengthy procedure and is not ideal for riders inexperienced with in-depth eBike maintenance. Fixing a bent or broken rim on a hub-drive eBike can be even more problematic and expensive, which requires detaching the motor from the rim and re-spoking.
To Retrofit or Not to Retrofit?
The hub-drive motor positioning causes no change to the basic design of the bike, which means a motor can be retrofitted to almost any traditional bicycle using a conversion kit with a hub motor and battery pack. While retrofits are possible with some mid-drives, most higher-quality mid-drives require a specially designed bike frame built around the motor.
Retrofitting a traditional bike with a hub motor gives flexibility to users who already own a traditional bike, and is more wallet-friendly, but it actually can negatively impact bike performance and cause safety issues. A traditional bike is not designed for motorized use, and adding a conversion kit adds weight and strain on the bike’s frame, chain, gears, and brakes which were not designed for the higher loads and speed of an eBike.
Education is Key
The eBike market has changed a lot in the last decade, when hub motors used to dominate the industry and Bosch was one of the only suppliers to offer a mid-drive. Now, the majority of North American and European bicycle manufacturers have shifted from hub-drive to mid-drives due to many of the inherent advantages described above. Over the next decade, we expect the shift from hub to mid-drive to accelerate, especially as these miracle machines get smaller, lighter, quieter, and more seamlessly integrated into the bike frame. These improvements will help eBikes, one of the world’s most sustainable transportation tools, appeal to an increasingly expanding demographic.
With an understanding of the basic differences between the motor types as well as other specifications, consumers can educate themselves on the eBike that will work best for their needs. To learn more about where electric bikes can be ridden in the United States visit People for Bikes.
Best Electric Mini Bike – For Kids And Adults
Electric mini bikes mark a recurring epoch of bike experience. They are stylish, stealthy, and pleasant to ride.
There are as many models of electric mini mini bikes as there are different types of riders, but they all have in common one thing. the ability to avoid manual engagements with regular bikes.
Do you want the best electric mini bike for casual cruising, a mountain, or a dirt bike?
No matter whether you’re looking for a adult e-bike or one for your kid, you will find what you need in our roundup of the best electric mini bikes.
Best Electric Mini Bikes
Quick Comparison Table
Best All-Around Pick
Rad Power Expand 5
The RadExpand 5 is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a bike they could use for daily commuting and very short off-road adventures.
Our Top Pick Juiced Bikes Scrambler
The Scrambler is a versatile choice for every occasion because it can stand it all. be it steep hills or daily commuting.
Budget Pick Addmotor Motan
Addmotor used a number of tweaks to create a solid mini bike at an affordable price.
Before we start: What is An Electric Mini Bike, and How Does It Differ from a Regular Mini Bike?
The electric mini bike is also known as a battery-powered moped or a pedal-assist bike.
While it has all the favorable characteristics of a regular mini bike (compactness, lightweight, excellent dynamics, etc.), it makes the ride even easier because it has the pedal-assist function.
When it comes to the minibikes’ design, they can be more described as mini motorized vehicles than a bicycle. Perhaps something as a “scooter sibling” could do.
There are two main differences between electric and regular mini bikes.
Firstly, electric mini bikes have a motor that provides excellent power and torque so that you don’t get tired during long rides.
Secondly, they come with a battery, and that’s the only thing you need to worry about. charging. The larger the capacity of the battery, the longer the electric bike will run.
Why go the electric route?
Their motor and battery will give you some of the best power levels and assist you can get. Riding one of these is so addictive you’ll find yourself barely using other forms of transportation!
Plus, they are fast and will get you anywhere quickly. There’s no fuel, no mess, and no additional cost.
A common misconception is that electric mini bikes are loud. Quite the contrary. there’s just a bit of noise due to the chain and motor spinning, but it’s nothing compared to other motorized vehicles.
Schwinn Coston DX ebike review: solid electric cycling
The Coston DX is a solid ebike from cycling’s most well-known brand that will remind most users why it was so fun to ride a bike as a kid. It’s not as agile or as quick off the mark as some models but it feels solid and safe to ride.
- – Handling felt a bit clunky
- – The throttle is slow to get up to speed and felt a bit extraneous
Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
All the best features, news, tips and great deals to help you live a better life through technology
Thank you for signing up to T3. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
Like millions of other people, my very first bike was a Schwinn. For years I’ve ridden a Schwinn single-speed cruiser as my “hop on to run errands or grab a beer” bike. The company has probably the best name recognition of any American cycling manufacturer among the general population, so it makes perfect sense that with so many people buying their first ebike, Schwinn is diving headfirst into that hot market.
For decades, Schwinn primarily traded on value and nostalgia, and while they always put out a decent bike, few considered it a true performance brand. But that could change with its new Coston DX ebike? Could it be in the running for the best electric bike in the US?
The Coston DX is Schwinn’s flagship electric model, priced at 2,099.99 (roughly £1,550 / AU2,900). Sitting above its Coston CE, Marshall and Mendocino cruiser electric models, it also benefits from the largest battery of all models, giving it the greatest range.
Schwinn Coston DX review: design and features
The Coston DX shares a lot of similarities with many of the other hybrid/commuter ebikes. The 360-watt battery is integrated into the aluminum frame, making it much more aesthetically pleasing than earlier ebikes that just bolted the battery to a standard bike frame.
Buyers have a choice between two sizes – S/M for riders between 5ft 2 inches and 5ft 7 inches and L/XL for taller riders up to about 6ft 4 inches – as well as a step-thru or top-tube frame. The streamlined frame itself isn’t svelte by any means, but rather solid, with nice welds. People returning to riding after many years won’t be intimidated by this bike or feel that it’s going to break underneath them. That stability is reinforced by the wide 2.6-inch-wide tires mounted to 27.5-inch wheels.
The 250-watt pedal-assist motor built into the rear hub has five levels of assist, with a maximum assist of 20 mph. The battery has a purported 45-mile range; fully depleted, it should recharge in about five hours using a standard electrical outlet.
The Microshift 7-speed drive train and Jak mechanical disc brakes were great choices to help keep the overall cost of the bike down. A shock underneath the wide saddle provides some relief from bumpy roads. Fenders, lights and rear rack all come standard on the Coston DX. I love the light strips that run the length of the battery, serving as a secondary light. Not only does it add to the rider safety, but it also just looks cool.
Schwinn Coston DX review: performance and versatility
Cycling through the lower pedal-assist modes, I never felt as if I was struggling to pedal the stocky Coston DX. Going up to the mid- and higher-assist range, I had zero problems maintaining 20 mph on the flats, and the motor didn’t struggle with hills either. I maintained a solid 17 to 18 mph going up most inclines with just a little extra effort pedaling. If you don’t live in a hilly area or max out the pedal-assist every ride, you should get at least 35-40 miles each charge.
The Coston DX’s motor was smooth to engage at every assist level. I never felt as if I was being hurled forward like some bikes I’ve tested. However, the throttle was sluggish and was slow getting up to speed. Schwinn engineers should consider forgoing it when it comes time to refresh the bike in the coming years.
Given its weight and wide base, the handling on the Coston DX wasn’t as responsive as several other ebikes that I’ve tested in recent years. Luckily, I don’t think Schwinn’s core audience will be diving into corners or riding shoulder-to-shoulder at speed.
With Schwinn being a major mass-market player, the Coston DX is available both from retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Dick’s Sporting Goods as well as direct from its website. The bike shipped mostly assembled, and I was able to complete the build in about 20 minutes or so. If you don’t consider yourself very handy, you may want to buy a pre-assembled bike in store.
Schwinn Colston DX review: verdict
When I originally saw the Coston DX’s list price, I thought Schwinn might have overshot its mark. But, compared to similarly equipped bikes from other manufacturers, it actually offers a decent all-around value. The Coston DX would make an ideal commuter or general-purpose ebike for most people. In fact, it might be time to retire my old Schwinn single-speed in favor of this new model.
Schwinn Colston DX review: also consider
The Charge XC is a similar e-bike option that’s both more versatile and more expensive. Likewise, the Priority Current offers a faster top speed (28 mph after some tinkering with the computer) and a more responsive ride, but it also costs 1,200 more than the Schwinn Coston DX.
Everything you love about road riding, with an added boost of pedal power. Whether you’re riding over a mountain pass or simply down to the corner market, now you can ride farther and faster than you ever thought possible with an electric road bike from Giant.
Not sure what the day has in store, and want to be ready for anything? Giant’s Adventure electric bikes offer a smooth and comfortable riding experience—even as you head off paved roads. So go ahead, see where that trail leads to and still make it home on time.
Climb steep trails, conquer high peaks, and extend your singletrack adventures. Our collection of electric mountain bikes includes everything from XC hardtails to full-suspension fun machines for more technical terrain.
Momentum E-bikes represent a Smart transportation solution that’s way more fun than a train or a bus. Our easy-to-operate electric bikes give you a seamless boost of pedaling power so you can ride farther and faster with less effort.
Riding E-Bikes With Action Sport Legends
“Grabbing all the E-bikes, we took off as a group. It was so awesome to see everyone riding together. Riding up trails that would normally take hours only took a fraction of the time on E-bikes. Riding down we found so many awesome little hits and jumps. Travis Pastrana wanted to do a backflip and followed me into a jump he had never hit before. His backflip ended up missing my head by only three feet, but somehow he landed it. Typical Travis.”
Gran Fondo On An E-Bike
“ Gran Fondo organizers are welcoming E-bikes to their events, and I was curious to see what the experience would be like – especially on this daunting course with more than 9,000 feet of climbing. Would it be super easy with the help of pedal assist? importantly, how would participants manage battery life?”
TOO MUCH FUN
“The ultimate outdoor experience. The pedal assist is very intuitive. I even forgot to notice it after the first few minutes. I put it on a medium setting and just enjoyed the trail. I was surprised at how well the bike handles technical terrain as well as sharp turns where I thought the extra weight would be a factor. I think the bigger tires and extra weight actually contribute to a more planted feel on the trail. Fun no matter what skill level!” – Brad from Texas on the Trance E 1 Pro
“I do use it nearly every day for commutes, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve put a fair amount of mileage on the bike, so I feel like I have a good grip on things. The motor’s torque is great, and really makes accelerating fun. Honestly, I feel like I would be completely comfortable with more speed, but 28 mph is as good as it gets for road legal e-bikes. The bike just feels solid, and having the powerful motor allows me to get to my destinations without getting sweaty.” – CG from Greensboro, North Carolina reviews the Fastroad E EX Pro.
AWESOME. IN JUST ABOUT EVERY WAY
“Great handling and performance from a ride standpoint. Descents exceeding 40 mph on paved roads were completed without concern and was extremely stable. no shimming or issues with cornering. On gravel the 45c tires and frame absorbed bumps and rough surfaces, resulting in a smooth ride. The greatest feature was the pedal assistance provided by the SyncDrive motor which offered as much assist as you need.”—Chuck from Red Wing, Minnesota reviews the Revolt E Pro
Join In The Fun!
Get on board an electric bicycle today
The Best Electric Dirt Bikes of 2023
Remarkably, only one of them went for the “Dirt-E” joke.
The motoring world is going electric. And it’s not just fancy, 1,000-horsepower, six-figure electric trucks. Electric motorcycle options have been increasing over the past few years. And even the relatively humble and underpowered dirt bike segment now offers a proliferation of emissions-free options — and we’re here to help you separate the battery-powered wheat from the chaff.
Why You Should Get an Electric Dirt Bike
Helps Save the Planet: Smaller motorcycles are far from the most fuel-thirsty vehicles. But electric dirt bikes still reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and every little bit helps.
Less Maintenance: Electric motors require far fewer moving parts. That means more time riding and less time (and money) replacing parts. You also don’t need to buy things like oil.
Less Noise: Electric dirt bikes do make some noise, but they make less than internal-combustion dirt bikes — noise that can diminish the enjoyment of being in nature for riders and those nearby.
Accessible to New Riders: Like electric cars, electric dirt bikes do not need a manual transmission. This may disappoint some riders looking for a traditional feel. But it’s also way easier to manage while off-road.
Torque: Electric dirt bikes tend to have a lot of torque, and it comes on instantly. This helps them accelerate rapidly and feel quick in everyday riding.
What to Look For
Street Legality: Like combustion dirt bikes, many of them will not be street-legal. And you may live in a municipality that will confiscate and crush them if you try to use them for that — electric or not. There are dual-sport electric dirt bikes (lighter than adventure motorcycles), which can also be used as commuter bikes. But make sure you clarify that before buying.
Battery Range: Range is a significant drawback to any electric vehicle. You want to ensure you have enough range to do the amount of riding you’re planning. expensive electric dirt bikes will have range that can exceed what most drives can handle physically. But that may be costly.
Battery Charging: A nother important factor beyond range is how long it takes to charge the battery. Shorter is better. Manufacturers may offer accessories that improve charging speed. Some dirt bikes can instantly swap in a newly charged battery and return to the trail.
How We Tested
Gear Patrol writers and editors are continually testing the best electric dirt bikes on a variety of terrains to update this guide looking at features like comfort, ease of use and riding characteristics. Our testers have spent time riding the Zero XF and the Cake Kalk INK so far; however, we’ll be updating this guide as we continue to test more models.
Zero’s FX isn’t a one-trick pony; it’s good at a little bit of everything. It’s fast but torque-heavy up front. For comparison, it’s nimble but still about 50 pounds heavier than KTM’s 350EXC-F. And it’s quiet, which anyone who’s ridden a dual sport before knows has distinct advantages and downsides. (Upsides include not disturbing nature as you ride through and saving your eardrums; cons include being unable to announce yourself to other riders on the trail or cars on the street.)
The FX’s ride is very smooth — from city streets to rutted-out trails and even completely off-road in the ungroomed wild. The tires grip well on city streets, even after a light rain. The FX can reach a top speed of 85, but I rarely found myself pushing it above 65 — this is a great cruising bike built for the trails as much as it is for the road. The acceleration feels torque-y until you get the hang of the feeling; I’d recommend starting in Eco until you get a feel for how the bike handles, experienced rider or not.
The profile is lean and mean, just as advertised. Your tester is 5’4” and weigh 110 pounds, and she could handle and maneuver this bike with relative ease, although she did make sure to get comfortable on the bike on uncrowded trails before taking it to the streets. Zero says the charging time is 1.3 hours, but I found it to be much longer than that. the bike was delivered to me with an 80 percent charge, and it took more than two hours to get it full. The range is 91 miles which is a solid day’s ride, but unless you have the means to give the bike a good overnight charge, you’ll be SOL the next day. And that 91-mile range is in the city — if you’re riding on the highway at 70 mph without starting and stopping, it drops to 39 miles per charge.
We’ve been fans of Swedish manufacturer Cake — and Stefan Ytterborn’s helmet/eyewear/apparel brand, POC — for years. Founded in 2016, Cake has consistently put out smooth, innovative electric bikes that offer both gorgeous looks and purpose-built function.
The Kalk class of offroaders, however, is much more about play than work. The street-legal Kalk INK picks up quick thanks to 252Nm of electric torque, while reliable suspension (200mm of travel) and beefy dual-sport motorcycle tires help you keep the shiny side up from the road to the trails.
- Removable battery charges from 0 to 80 percent in two hours, 0 to 100 percent in three
- Three ride modes and three braking modes adapt to your style and environment
- Not exactly the cushiest seat on the planet (or this page)
- You must come to a full stop to adjust ride and braking modes