Deep In Thought

Published: 20 Jun 2022

What should you look out for when buying an e-bike

A number of e-bike tests are now available. But what should you look out for when buying an e-bike? We will inform you about this below.

Type of drive, weight, range of the battery, or is it the price? In this guide, we explain which factors are ultimately important in an e-bike test before making a purchase decision.

In the meantime, there is not only a proud number of interesting e-bikes on the bicycle market. The search for an e-bike test also produces more and more search results. However, these are sometimes stored quite differently and pay attention to different details. But what are the important factors in an e-bike test? What should I look out for when buying an e-bike?

E-bike test: The differences in the drive

Already with the first consideration when buying a new e-bike, one important factor becomes clear, which is of enormous importance in the e-bike test: the type of drive. There are two different drive types on the market: the hub motor and the mid-motor

The hub motor can be integrated on both the front wheel and the rear wheel. The mid-engine, in turn, is installed directly on the bottom bracket of the hybrid bike. The driving behavior is already determined by the choice of drive type. Because depending on where the motor is installed, the new e-bike can have a different center of gravity and the riding experience can also be different. When it comes to the test e-bike, the question of where it will be used is sometimes decided as early as the unit.

The hub motor on an e-bike

When the first e-bikes were born, only hub motors were available. Because this is the classic drive for electric bicycles. These aggregates can still be found on new G-Force T42 e-bike today, even though their market share is falling significantly. With this motor, the driving force is transmitted directly to the wheel hub. This drive can drive the front wheel or the rear wheel. Accordingly, there are different advantages, but also disadvantages, which we summarize below.

The advantages of the hub motor

  • Installation and maintenance are usually easier than with a mid-engine.
  • When installed as a front-wheel drive, the e-bike can have a coaster brake.
  • When installed as a rear-wheel drive, some motors are well suited for steep inclines because of their high torque.
  • The engine is often quieter than the mid-engine, although newer mid-engines are catching up here.
  • Less strain on the chain, gears and shifting system than on a conventional bicycle.
  • All circuits – whether derailleur or hub gears – can be used as front-wheel drive when installed.
  • Some bicycles can be retrofitted with a hub motor.
  • Cheaper price.

The disadvantages of the hub motor

  • When installed as front-wheel drive: Traction problems possible on wet roads.
  • When installing as a rear-wheel drive: Removal for repairs can be time-consuming.
  • When installed as rear-wheel drive: Only one derailleur can be used.
  • On climbs, overheating of the unit is more likely.

The mid-motor on an e-bike

In the meantime, the mid-motors have long been established in pedelecs. According to estimates, around 80 percent of the pedelecs sold are equipped with them. These units are installed directly on the bottom bracket. The drive transfers its power directly to the bicycle chain.

The advantages of the mid-engine

  • Better balance than hub motor; In addition, the electric bike is usually more manoeuvrable with a central motor.
  • Removing the wheels is easier.
  • Climbing steep inclines is no problem – even at low speeds.
  • Optimum speed is possible here because the chainring is driven.

The disadvantages of the mid-engine

  • Usually no coaster brake available.
  • Often louder drive than the hub motor.
  • Higher chain and gear wear possible.
  • Since only one chain ring is installed with a middle motor, the e-bike usually has fewer gears.

In summary, the use of hub motors is best suited to flat to slightly hilly terrain. Some models for the rear wheel score with high torque, which is why they are used in particular in e-mountain bikes. Those who travel more in the mountains should opt for an e-bike with a mid-motor. Before buying an e-bike, a detailed look at the most common pedelecs in an e-bike test is not the only obligation. If possible, test drives with both types of drive bring better insights.


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