The Continental mid drive.

27 Factory Mid Drives for Electric Bikes in 2017

January 21, 2014
22,804 Views

Mid drives were taking the electric bike world by storm in 2013, and they were the break-out story this year at the two biggest international bike shows. The big global bicycle manufacturers have added dozens of mid-drive models to their line-up, and…this was only about a year after many of them had first started adding electric hub-motored E-bikes to their catalog.

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1. Bosch

This is the big one that you need to know about. Bosch is huge in Europe, and 2014 is the year that North American E-bikers can finally buy one. Used by Cannondale, Trek, and Haibike. Also contracted with a dozen other bicycle manufacturers that are only in in Europe. See some of the companies that have contracted with Bosch in our article here.

 

The Bosch Mid drive.

The Bosch Mid drive.

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2. Daum / Kalkhoff

This drive is made by the German Daum company. The Kalkhoff Impulse is the most well-known model to use this, but it is also contracted by Hausmarken, Raleigh, and is also sold by Daum-bicycles themselves.

 

Kalkhoff Impulse.

The  Daum mid drive, mounted here on the 2013 Kalkhoff Impulse.

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3. eProdigy / Bofeili

eProdigy actually has quite a few dealers in North America, and you can buy any one of five of their 450W E-bike models right now (see our story here). Bofeili has an almost identical drive unit, and they are sold in Europe.

 

eProdigy

The eProdigy 450W mid drive.

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4. Optibike

These guys have been around for a while (see our story here). They have been promoting mid-drives for several years before Middies became a hot topic. Since mid drives really shine on steep hills, they tackled the Pikes Peak run in 2011 and 2012 for the advertising value. Several of Optibike’s 48V models were the first 2-wheelers to the top that were production E-bikes that are for sale to the public (only race trikes and a 111V private 2-wheeler beat them).

Their current drive is pictured on the left, and on the right is their new mid drive system for 2014, the SIMBB, which is capable of much more power. The SIMBB contains the battery pack inside the same aluminum BB housing as the motor.

 

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Optibikes’ current drive is on the left, and their new 2014 SIMBB mid drive is on the right.

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5. Brose / Benchmark

Continental is a huge company that is very famous for tires, so it was a surprise for me to stumble across these recently. The motor is made by Brose and drive system by Benchmark. It is currently contracted to be used on several models from the A2B company. They have also been contracted with the German off-road Rotwild [Red Deer] brand, the Sport Technik Magma, and Cube Bicycles.

In the spring of 2014, Conti was so impressed by the Benchmark drive that had been designed for them, they bought the company!

 

The Continental mid drive.

The Continental mid drive.

The Brose drive by Benchmark uses a low-Kv motor and a single quiet belted reduction.

The Brose mid drive by Benchmark uses a low-Kv motor and a single quiet belted reduction.

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6. R Martin / HiTek Bikes / Evelo / Aseako

I’m sure each one of these companies will be irritated at us lumping them together, but each sells several similar models that use a drive that appears to be identical. I am sure there is a factory near Shanghai, and a second factory near Shenzhen/Hong-Kong…and both of them are cranking these out by the thousands.

 

Several companies use this style of drive.

Several companies use this style of drive.

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7. Hanebrink

The Hanebrink story is very interesting. Clearly this is a purpose-built system that is made for extreme sand and snow operations (see our story here).

 

The Hanebrink fat tire sand and snow mid-drive.

The Hanebrink fat tire sand and snow mid-drive.

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8. Panasonic

This famous electronics firm is no newbie to E-bikes, and they were early-adopters of mid-drives in order to get the best performance from Japans 250W power limit on E-bikes back in 1975. They can be found as an option on BH eMotion bikes (see our story on these here). They are available in Panasonic-Bikes, BH eMotion, and Spencer-Ivy.

 

The Panasonic mid drive.

The Panasonic mid drive.

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9. MPF 5.0

One of the first E-bike companies to use the MPF-5.0 is 3rd Element. They stumbled badly when they originally contracted with Cleanmobile for their drive system (see our story on that here), but they are now back on their feet (see our story on the new 3rd element here). This drive is also used by LEAOS, Concept Cycle-Swiss ONEbike, e-LOM, Goccia-Benelli, the Visiobike prototype, Wilier Ambra, e-Xpress Price, Flitzbike Traveller, Concept Cycle eSwan. Thanks to cyclurba.fr forum member Gob33 for many of these links. Merci!

“MPF” means Matched Performance and Function.

 

The MPF-5.0 mid-drive

The MPF-5.0 mid-drive

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10. Electragil Acron

This was another rare find (from Switzerland), and it might only be available to European customers right now. It is used by Gobax and the TDS Impulse (see our story on this here).

 

The Acron mid-drive.

The Electragil Acron mid-drive.

 

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More mid drives?

This started out as another “top 10” story (they seem to be popular), but we keep getting sent links to add, so…here they are. Some are in production and some are not yet. Hard to get info on the drives listed below…

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11. Conway E-rider

Read our article on this extreme off-road E-bike here. It uses a triple reduction from the motor to the BB-spindle to allow ultra-high RPMs from the motor, and that provides more power from a smaller motor.

 

The Conway E-Rider.

The Conway E-Rider.

 

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12. Shimano STEPS

STEPS means: Shimano Total Electric Power System, and hopefully this system will be available for testing very soon.

The Shimano STEPS mid drive system.

The Shimano STEPS mid drive system.

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13. TranzX

There is not much information available right now for the TranzX system, but we will keep looking to find out whatever we can…so far it has been contracted as the mid drive for the Currie E3 Peak.

 

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The TranzX integrated motor, reduction, and controller. The “AGT” labeling is their self-shifting Automatic Gear Transmission system.

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14. Yamaha 

Yamaha has been into E-bikes since 1993, but they haven’t put much effort into exports outside of Japan, but they are a global company, and they definitely have deep pockets. So…we’re keeping our eyes open for whatever they develop. Their newest mid drive has been contracted so far to be used with Giant bicycles, and Giant is a very big player in the international bicycle market. Here is a history of Yamaha’s Ebike systems.

 

The Yamaha mid drive. their experience making quality motorcycle parts certainly shows.

The all new Yamaha mid drive. Their experience making quality motorcycle parts certainly shows.

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15. AEG

This mid drive is being marketed to bike manufacturers as an option that can be added to almost any frame (like the BBS02 kit from Bafang), but…they haven’t secured any contracts yet. Pic shown is from the 2012 Interbike with the drive mounted to an A2B bike.

 

The AEG mid drive "kit" that is only marketed to manufacturers.

The AEG mid drive “kit” that is only marketed to manufacturers.

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16. Cevedale

This German company named it’s hidden mid-drive the “Cevedale“, after a popular mountain resort in Italy. It is located inside the downtube of their frames, and is very similar to the Vivax/Gruber-Assist kit. By using the downtube instead of the seat-tube, the motor can be bigger than the Vivax unit.

 

The Cevedale mid-drive, with the motor hidden inside the downtube.

The Cevedale mid-drive, with the motor hidden inside the downtube.

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17. Evation

The Evation drive is from a German company that also hides their motor in the downtube. Click on this video link to see more detail.

 

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The Evation drive, which is also hidden in the downtube.

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18. Bionicon

This company is also from Germany (lots of innovation there!), and they have been making off-road bicycles for a while, and now they are developing their own mid drive. There is no word yet on whether this drive has a proprietary interface, or if it can be mounted to frames from other companies that were not necessarily designed for it.

 

The Bionicon mid drive.

The Bionicon mid drive.

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19. Green Trans

This company is from Taiwan, and they also have an office in Germany for their European operations. They sell E-scooters, and have recently added a 250W rear hub bicycle to their line up. At the most recent Taipei bicycle show, they announced that they have developed a mid-drive, and the interesting news is that it will run on 48V, although the stock battery only has 8.5-Ah.

 

The new 48V mid drive from Green Trans.

The new 48V mid drive from Green Trans.

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20. Protanium DIAVELO

This is a Dutch company that is making a road bike that combines a shaft-drive (no chain!) and a slender motor that is hidden inside the chain-stay of the frame.

the Protanium / DIAVELO

The Protanium DIAVELO. The motor and shaft drive are housed in the black tube that forms the chain-stay of the frame.

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21. Coax One, by Ressel Tech in Austria

This is new and there is not much information about it. The company released the information that it will be sold in power levels between 250W to 600W, and the factory spider will hold two chainrings. Thanks to electric bike forum member Fandez from www.cyclurba.fr for the link.

 

The Coax One from Ressel Tech.

The Coax One from Ressel Tech.

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22. Shengyi

This is a new mid drive from the April 2014 bicycle show in Shanghai, China. Pic thanks to endless-sphere.com member d8veh.

 

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The Shengyi mid drive

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23. Dapu

This is also a new mid drive from the 2014 Shanghai show, Thanks again to ES member d8veh.

 

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The new Dapu mid drive

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24. TDR Floxx

Thanks to cyclurba.fr forum member Gob33 for this link. The TDR electric bike company is from the Netherlands, and the motor is located in the downtube. Their frames use hydraulic disc brakes, and the gears are a NuVinci N360 IGH. The 250W motor uses 36V.

 

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The TDR Floxx 250W mid drive from the Netherlands.

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25. Nidel Copal

This new drive is from a Japanese company, and I’ve only been able to find a pic of the outside. It is likely a 250W unit, and it is being advertised as being used in a model of E-bike from Momentum Electric from the UK.

 

The Nidel Copal factory mid drive from japan.

The Nidel Copal factory mid drive from japan.

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26. Samsung

This company is a huge global corporation, and they are best known for their popular Galaxy line of smart phones. In the E-bike world, they are one of the top two manufacturers of safe high-current 18650 cells. I was excited to hear they decided to develop a quality mid-drive, because they will not risk damaging their hard-earned reputation by producing a low-quality design.

The new mid drive from Samsung. Pic taken at the Interbike 2014 convention in Las Vegas, USA.

The new mid drive from Samsung. Pic taken at the Interbike 2014 convention in Las Vegas, USA.

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27. Polini, from Italy

Here’s our article on the new Polini drive, which should be available on some models in 2017. I suspect it is a collaboration between Polini and Yamaha, but I have no hard evidence…yet.

 

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The logo says “Polini Motori”

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If you like the idea of a mid-drive, but you’d prefer to add a kit to a normal bicycle…check out our article on mid drive KITs here.

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Written by Ron/Spinningmagnets, January 2014 (updated over time, as more drive units were produced)

Grew up in Los Angeles California, US Navy submarine mechanic from 1977-81/SanDiego. Hydraulic mechanic in the 1980's/Los Angeles. Heavy equipment operator in the 1990's/traveled to various locations. Dump truck driver in the 2000's/SW Utah. Currently a water plant operator since 2010/NW Kansas

  • crossbreak

    thanks for the insight, really a great summarize of real 2014 newcomers here!

    • ElectricBIke

      Thanks for stopping by crossbreak, your work is legendary on the ES on development of the hub motor mid drive 🙂

  • Don Arnold

    Regarding the GreenTrans, it “only”has 8.5Ah because it has more voltage. Same KW-h as 17Ah@24v.

  • tinasdude

    Thanks for all the information on the mid drives!!

  • Joshua Cornell

    After reading or in my case of skimming through, You failed to mention ECOSpeed, they offer a Made in America/the USA rive system mounted either at the bottom bracket or other mounting methods while still remain as a mid drive system in which it was designed to be. and come as a dual wattage of 750 or 1300 (1hp/1.75hp respectively), or a single watt at 750. Not only can the mounted at the bottom bracket (BB) but in other positions where the geometry prohibits safe mounting at the BB, such as a real mid drive where it is between the cranks and drive cogs while maintaining the same performance, in the case of say a pedicab, cargo trike, delta (single wheel in front), or quadricycle (Rhoades Car or Surrey) its mounted mid way. In the case of say a tadpole or other, its mounted in the case of a tadpole at the front of the frame since mounting it where you pedal is prohibitive and would prevent proper pedaling, so it is mounted just forward of the bb and crank set and connected by a single cog on it via a chain to a custom made single or triple cog by an independent high quality manufacturer, which replaces your standard crank set. In the case of a mid drive bb mounting it also replaces your crank set in either single or triple cog from the same independent high quality manufacturer. And like the Bosch as some others also listed, this system does not require any frame customization for it to be added on except in the case where the bb may need some slight machining on the outsides for tappering (angle cut) for the crankset, ecept for when its mid mounted in which case it is simply just mounted in and only uses a single gear but utilizes every gear you use and unlike Bosch, it works with any internal drive gear system with NO Adjustment and you can even use it with a belt drive also with no adjusting except for a custom belt cogset.

  • zarah

    It is really amazing collections for electric bike.
    Zarah from Bizbilla

  • John Cuuningham

    never seen such development so fast except maybe the Automobile

  • John Cuuningham

    Too bad the average biker is so offended by this part of the market…

  • Franco

    Nevi of Italy still is the only example of a regenerative braking, mid-motor e-bike system. Their system was first shown at Eurobike in 2010. Unfortunately, as a very small company, they haven’t had the funds to take their very clever and innovative system beyond the proof-of-concept prototype stage.

    • roadkill612

      I am skeptical of the benefits of regen, unless you have storage that can take charge in big bursts. The norm for li-ion is .2c, which is about 70w on a 36v 10ah.

      also:

      Regen inevitably causes some drag when coasting.

      If you are riding smoothly, brakes are only for the unexpected.

      • Okc Dave

        On the contrary, a responsible rider does not cause a backup of traffic coasting from one traffic light to the next. They keep up with the person in front of them to the best of their ability and brake quite often. Bikes already make traffic slower, if we are to ignore the reduction in # of cars, the effect of that, so much much worse for them to be greedy about not having to brake like everyone else.

        It is the same as for ICE vehicles. They could also coast around and cause massive traffic backups but instead try to make the flow of traffic as effective as possible.

  • Felipe Ramos Caiado Rodrigues

    What about the SZ Bafang motors?? They are vey famous on youtube, and I also have one, the Max Drive 350W