Although hub motor bikes are cheap and abundant, when it comes to electric bikes, its hard to beat the performance, torque and efficiency of a mid drive motor system. (read our complete article on mid drives here) Their best application is in mountain climbers and off road mountain bikes, although they have been used in some highly efficient commuters (like the Focus Jarifa) and on road speedsters (like the Dogati). To give you an idea, on many mid drive electric bikes it is hard to keep the front wheel on the ground if you take off in first gear. In this article we will display some of the best mid drive electric bike videos, which really accentuate the benefits of a mid drive system.
Climbing Stairs; mid drive at its best
You will have a hard time climbing stairs on a hub motor powered bike. The stairs would be jarring for a hub motor with all the non-suspended weight in the rear wheel. I challenge any hub motor fan to provide a video of a hub motor electric bike climbing any significant flight of stairs. The key to climbing stairs is to be able to gear the bike way down and climb at a slow speed. Since powerful hub motors reach their proper power band at high speeds they make poor stair climbers. The heavy weight of the hub motor jamming against those stairs is more than annoying. A powerful suspension mid drive can climb stairs easily as this video illustrates. The maker of this video makes affordable made in china mid drive kits and sells them on Eay: (read our story on mid drive kits here)
Cyclone offers a bolt on mid drive system which shows off its stair climbing prowess here:
The Joys of Home-built mid drive riding
In the next video there is a stair climbing sequence at 1:10 into the video. But also this video starts to illustrate the key feature to mid drive bikes which is pure off road fun. This video is great to see in its entirety to see how much fun an off road mid drive bike can be. It is one of my favorite electric bike videos ever because of its quality and energy. (read story about the guerrilla ebike film makers here)
Mid Drive; Light on its Feet
Here is a beautiful home built mid drive in action. (read more on our Supercharged Specialized story) Mid drive electric bikes are also very easy to wheelie and stoppie because of their perfect weight distribution. In the following video you see illustrations of the lightness of foot of a mid drive electric bike:
Mid Drive; Good for mountain climbing and jumping
The Ego Kit is one of the more exotic (and most expensive) bolt on mid drive kits available. For $3000 you get a complete system including a battery that is strapped to your back using a backpack made specifically for mountain biking. (Read our article on the Ego Kit here). In the following video instead of doing stair climbing, you see the Ego kit in its best element, mounted on a high end full suspension mountain bike and climbing very technical off road slopes. Remember its hard to capture the steepness of terrain in video, and the mountain the Ego Kit is scaling is steeper than it looks:
Mid Drive Fat Bike, Vs Hub Powered Fat Bike
In the next video you see a mid drive Hanebrink (read our review here) face off on some hills against a front drive hub motor fat bike. As you can see there is no contest. Also in a 3/4 mile hill climbing face off on these 2 bikes, the Hanebrink, even with its much wider tires, was nearly twice as efficient as the BMC powered Pugsley.
Mid Drive Wide Open on the Street
In this last video you see a high performance mid drive bike that is not designed for off road use, but rather high speed street use. 50mph top speed but still plenty of torque thanks to shifting through a NuVince drive system. You can hear this bike cranking through the gears and it sounds like a F1 car. This video is shot in the streets of Taiwan at night. (read our article about the Dogati here). The advantage of a mid drive on an e-bike like this is perfect weight distribution for cornering, and the ability to have acceleration and top speed because of the shiftable gears.
Mid drives do have their drawbacks when compared to hub motors. They are more expensive, more complex, and more noisy. Read our story on To Hub or Not to Hub for more info.