10 Point Hub Motor Break Down

March 21, 2012

Mass produced Hub motors out of China have made a huge impact on the electric bike market. There are a large number of E-bikes available on the market today because of the invention of the electric hub motor. Because of hub motors, E-bike manufacturers are able to use just about any bicycle frame to turn it into an electric bike. For better or worse, almost any company can choose to be an e-bike manufacturer thanks to the simplicity of hub motors.

You will find hub motor bikes of all shapes and sizes…cargo E-bikes, sand E-bikes, 3-wheeled E-bikes, pedicab E-bikes, folding E-bikes etc. Because hub motors were made in mass quantities, they are also very affordable and reliable. A hub powered bike may be the best solution for a commuter E-bike. Whether you’re  building or buying an E-bike, “to hub, or not to hub” should be  the question.

Although hub motored bikes are convenient and readily available, the most exciting electric bikes on the planet are not hub motor bikes. Look at the 10 most expensive e-bike list for some very good examples of mid-drive bikes…with a few overly priced hub bikes thrown in. Because of their simplicity, it’s just plain wrong when manufacturers charge big bucks for hub motor bikes. Remember, anyone can build a hub motor bike…even you in your very own  garage.

Check out our story on mid drives because there is another option.


10 advantages of hub motors

  1. Hub motors are produced in massive numbers in China, making them affordable.
  2. Hub motors are simple to install yourself.
  3. With a hub motor, you can easily convert almost any bike to an electric bike.
  4. Hub motors are easy to swap out if blown or worn out.
  5. Hub motors are easy to upgrade, and re-sell the old one.
  6. Hub motors are readily available.
  7. Hub motors have few moving parts.
  8. Hub motors are fairly reliable.
  9. Ride with a hub motor, and you’ll fit in perfectly with 90% of your E-bike friends
  10. Hub motors are fairly stealthy in their appearance and near-silent operation.

10 disadvantages of hub motors

  1. Hub motors are unsprung weight in the wheel.
  2. Hub motors can snap dropouts.
  3. Direct-Drive hub motors have drag when unpowered, making the bike feel sluggish to pedal.
  4. Hub motors are not as efficient as a non-hub.
  5. Hub motors are not great mountain climbers.
  6. Hub motors are not good trail blazers.
  7. Hub motors can be heavy.
  8. Hub motors make it much harder to change a flat tire.
  9. Hub motors disrupt the balance of a bike towards the front or back.
  10. Hub motors are easy and common.


To develop a new hub motor would cost over $500,000 in tooling costs for a factory in China. Thats why even though there are many hub motors around for E-bikes, most are the same types or clones of existing types. Here is a list of known acceptable qualty hub motors available as of March 2012.

10 name brand hub motors

Here we list the most reputable and most solid hub motors available on the market as of March 2012.

  1. BMC V2, V3, V4 – High end geared hub motors. 600w overvolting capacity to 2500 watts. The BMC is a larger (8lb) geared hub motor, designed to be more efficient and have a better power-to-weight ratio than a gearless (direct-drive) motor.  (Read our review here)
  2. MAC Motor (BMC clone) Very similar to the BMC but not as high quality, so cannot withstand high power and have the same reliability as the BMC.
  3. Dapu Hub Motor: a new hub motor used on production bikes such as the Neo Jumper and City Commuter. It is small, wide, and puts out a maximum of 750 watts.
  4. Crystalyte ( HS35 /  HT35)- A recently released direct drive motor weighing in at 16 pounds (Read our review here)
  5. Cute Motor- a small planetary geared motor. 5 lbs, and capable of running 800 watts. Figure around 20mph top speed on a cute powered E-bike. Very small nice looking motors, can barely tell bike has a motor.
  6. Bafang – A small planetary geared motor very similiar in size and performance to the Cute motor.
  7. 9-Continents (9C) – A gearless brushless motor weighing in around 15 pounds and capable of putting out serious power when over volted. A reliable and solid motor. (read our review here)
  8. BionX – A sleek  system, but expensive and made from all proprietary components, making it hard to upgrade controller or battery. Comes in 250, 350, and 500 watt configurations.
  9. BPM hub motor- a larger geared hub motor (about same size as bmc or mac) that puts out a maximum of 500 watts.
  10. Golden Motor (magic pie) – A heavy DD motor capable of putting out good power when over volted.

10 Examples of Commercially Available Hub Powered Bikes


Pedego Interceptor  (read review)

Pedego Interceptor-2825


Smart Electric Bike Bionx (read story)


Specialized Turbo (read story)

Currie Izip BPM

Stealth  Bomber Crystalyte (read review)

‘Stealth Fighter Crystalyte (read review)

Stromer St1 Direct drive hub

stromer st1 platinum


Neo Jumper–  (Dapu Geared)



Pedego City Commuter  (Dapu geared)



March, 2012

Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.

  • Liam

    Nice list, and nice clean web design +1. This is a great resource for the ebike novice looking to get a grasp of things…

  • bonnie

    Hi, I just built and electric bike with a kit I bought from ebay, glad I found this site, it’s really help me understand what I’ve done much better and will definitely help with my next bike a 29″ EBike! Thanks!

    • ElectricBIke

      glad we could help Bonnie, thanks for your support. Even commenting helps us to get our ball rolling.

  • Lucian Bolos

    I love your website !

  • Ripmobile

    How does eZee fit in to this line-up?? Major vendors such as NYCe wheels and both sell their conversion kit, which is supposed to be reliable, if not as powerful as BMC.

  • De-Anarky

    What a great rundown of ebike options. I currently use a Golden Motor MP3. The wiring is neat and it has enough power for me with a top speed of 45km/hr.
    I want to make a road legal ebike (200w max allowed in Oz). What geared motor is the standout performer? I want something that is ultra-reliable.
    Has anyone found a battery case maker that makes cases that will fit into the main triangle of a men’s mountain bike? I find having the hub motor and rack battery in the rear makes the bike feel awful to ride.

    • ElectricBIke

      Check out the falcon-ev triangle bag, and try to find a good lipo battery with bms which should fit easily in that bag. I have fit as much as 48v 20ah in one. Please read our story on geared hub motor 250 watts for the 2 hub motors i would recommend in this power configuration…either the Bafang or the Cute. Also there are 2 other stories on this site focused on 250 watt motors written recently. Good luck.

      • De-Anarky

        Thanks so much for the tip.
        Finding a good battery is my next mission. I’m off to Shanghai in 2 wks so will go to Ping and look at their production and testing processes.
        I must say this is the best ebike site in all of the interweb world!

        • ElectricBIke

          Ping batteries are great if you can handle their extra size and weight.

  • Danny

    I was just reading through this. There is some great information here. But there are some things that are not correct.

    “You could simply develop a new hub motor, it would cost over $500,000 in tooling costs for a factory in China. That’s why even though there are many hub motors around for E-bikes, most are the same types or clones of existing types. Here is a list of known acceptable quality hub motors available as of March 2012″

    A new hub motor can be made for $50-$60,000 depending on what you want to do. If you simply want to make it wider you would only need to make 1 sand casting $8k-$15k. Then the stator stamp Another $12k. If you wanted to make a completely new hub motor you would need to make 3 sand castings (rotor and 2 side covers), Design and machining of the axle. The axle cost is only design and CNC time. If you were making a new Geared motor add another $15k-$20k

    The whole cost plus or minus 15%: $62,000 ( This is a very high cost estimate. I always add 15-20%)

    Rotor: $15,000

    Side Covers $30,000

    Stator $12,000

    Design $6,000

    Total cost (again a high estimate) $62,000

    Axle $5,000

    Danny R


    • spinningmagnets

      Thanks for replying, Danny. It’s always good to get the most recent info, and we will try to be as accurate as possible in the future.

    • trevor

      hey you are only thinking of a single tooling, remember they are referring to as “factory” which means it is mass produced, ok? it is based on parts per hour or per minute.

  • Erik

    Does anyone know where to get the Cute Motor? I have been looking around and I cannot find it.


  • smith

    These are some lovely photos of some of the lovely bikes over there. I liked most of them, and thanks for sharing the important points here with us.

  • Pjews

    I have purchased a Bayside 26 inc.Tricycle. As I have vertigo, that comes an goes. Therefore I can’t ride a two wheeler anymore. I would like to know if reader has installed an el-hub on a trike.

    • Tony Stark

      i have, well still working on it. The first time i set it up is was working well. (48v 1000w) i was using 2 torque arms (one on each side of the wheel) but after about 2 months its started to tear apart the rear drop outs. so im currently getting some custom spacers and mounting plates made that will hold the motor better, I’m also going to use 2 nuts on each side of the wheel with lock-tight. With using reverse on my trike (recumbent) it was causing the nut to loosen off. it is possible but may take a bit more extra work than other bikes.

  • RBDynamo

    How hard or easy is to change a flat tire in a e-hub wheel?

    • Tony Stark

      if you carry the right tools its actually not that hard. doing it on the side of the road usually takes me about 20 minutes. it can vary from set up to set up, as you have to take apart the assembly off the bike and then pull out the tube, which can be difficult on some tires that have tough rubber treads. i would also suggest that someone care a head mount flashlight (my local dollar store sells them) as it will allow you to change them when its dark out.

  • bike shop rochester ny

    Great post thanks………….

  • Randy

    I am convertng my quadracycle to electric hub. I woud like to run two hubs with one controler. Does anyone have any experience on this subject?

    • Tony Stark

      running 2 hubs from one controller is possible, you must make sure that the motor controller can effectively power your hubs. for example if you had 2 hub motors that were 48v and 500w each you would need a motor controller that is able to output 48v 1000w. The hubs also have to be set for the same voltage, the wattage could differ from hubs but not recommended, its best to use 2 hubs that are the same. a good controller to use is the one offered by goldenmotor (canada), it works with 24,36,48v hubs and goes up to 1000w continuous or 1500w peak the controller is also programmable, also allows for regen. also make sure your battery can handle the current draw.

  • Gavin

    the better another model ebike like mid motor kit .it’s also easy to change to ebike

  • Naresh Nagineni

    I want build a e-bike with 45km/hr and 200km of run with one time charge. Please any one help me to how to choose parts like battery capacity and motor capacity
    Also which type of motor (hub motor or Middle fit) and companies of parts
    I just want to change my bicycle in to a E-bik in reasonable cost.