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Three 250 watt hub motors; Cute, Bafang, and Bionx

August 9, 2012
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250 watt hub motor are so cool and nifty looking, they made it on our  top 10 list of electric bike porn. Here we will look at  three of the better known types of mini 250 watt hub motors, although most electric bike builders and kit providers do not specify which motors they are using.   Most hub motors are made in China, including the 3 main types listed below. For more information regarding 250 watt hub motor, read our article 250 watt hub motors; Is it enough?

 

Bafang 250w Hub Motor

– a standard that has been made in the millions and sold all over china. Sometimes the motor has 8fun engraved on it making it easy to identify. As you can see this one weighs 6 pounds.

Find more photos and info about this motor here.
Bafang disassembled

 

Cute 250 watt hub motor

The Cute 250 watt motor is distinguishable by its ultra polished case. It is very similiar to the Bafang in construction. Both the Bafang and Cute are excellent and affordable geared 250 watt motors.

 

 

Bionx Pl-250 Hub Motor (kit)

The Bionx rear drive hub motor is different than the Bafang and the cute in that it is a direct drive motor and therefore larger and heavier at the same wattage. This motor has the unique quality of having the controller built into the motor.  If you have to buy this motor you have to buy the complete kit which comes with motor, controller, throttle, battery and dash board. This kit is extremely expensive…about  $1500.  Despite its ridiculous price and lackluster features, the Bionx 250 is one of the more popular hub motor kits available, and is the motor used on the new $3500 German made Smart Bike. (read our story on the Smart Bike). We are shocked that Smart not only chose a wimpy 250 watt motor, but also chose this Bionx. Maybe Bionx has a geared hub trick up their sleeve, but it looks like the Smart bike will come equipped with a big and heavy direct drive 250 watt motor.

The Bionx kit is all proprietary and expensive. Check out inside the Bionx motor you can see that the controller is built into the hub along with the motor:

 

Examples of 250 watt Electric Bikes

The finest examples of 250 watt hub bikes I have seen were built from a builder in Germany named Nader. You can see all his 250 watt hub powered mountain bikes in our story here. He uses 250 watt motor in all configurations: front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive, and mid drive.

Other Manufacturers

Other makers of 250 watt motors include Tongxin and Ezee. Both are geared hub  motors very similar in appearance and performance to the Cute and the Bafang.  The Tongxin is known for being ultra affordable ($100 for the entire kit!), quieter than any of the other 250 watt motors, but not as reliable as the other  hub motors in this article  especially when overvolting. The Ezee motor also  comes in a kit but is fairly expensive compared to other geared hub motors.

 Conclusion

The mini Cute and Bafang hub motors are almost a perfect piece of electric bike technology. They are affordable, reliable,  light weight, quiet and compact. The only question is…..is 250 watts enough?

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.

  • magic carpet

    After testing two production hubmotor bikes and a mid drive, I test rode the, locally made, BionX motor on a midrange road bike and was very impressed. My 350W BionX is in the process of being installed right now. Living so close to the factory, why would I buy a ‘foreign’ motor? I don’t know what you have against the Canadian made BionX system, or motors which have virtually no moving parts to wear or break, but I don’t think you’re giving them a fair shake, after all, Mercedes Benz isn’t known for making stupid decisions.

    • The author says clearly what he has against BionX – it’s heavy for it’s power output and expensive. I mostly agree with him. BTW, you’re doing BionX a disservice by comparing them to Mercedes Benz. They make pretty low reliability and expensive cars. I hope you like your BionX ride. Congrats!

      • ElectricBIke

        Also I don’t like that the bionx components are all proprietary so even if you want to replace a battery you need to go with an expensive bionx battery. They are not hotroddable without extensive modification. And they do not free wheel like the geared hub motors do. (i much prefer freewheeling to regenerative braking which is a over rated feature)

        • Mitch Gusat

          I’m thorn split here: I agree that Bionx is grossly overpriced, even though i’m Canadian and want to support my country (not the most efficient in business sometimes). I also had tech problems with their older P motor and NiMh batteries.

          The worst, however, is their reduced torque and climbing capability in real life – arguably excepting the D-series… vs. the Bosch/Panasonic/etc. middle motors.
          Hence i’d consider the Bionx design ca. 2-3x overpriced for the technology inside (i also have 2 electrical engineering degrees to judge with :-).

          But: Bionx’s EM brake is one of the best kept secrets, more valuable than the meager 8-15% recovery rate… on long steep inclines like my daily commute (1400-feet over 7 miles), this saves a lot hot discs and rims (my other 4 bikes are normal)! Finally i enjoy the downhill rides w/o wondering about risks, crash, heat etc.

          What i still dislike is BIONX’s low climbing torque and efficiency (no gears = low RPM = heat = miser performance uphill), forcing me to take the busy road up, in stead of my favorite other 2-3 trails, paved or not… these are too steep for Bionx, as i painfully learned. Not even 2-3x the torque and battery life of LiIon would suffice for my daily commute in confort.

      • jason wright

        Bionx is not just over priced it is ridiculously over priced.

  • De-Anarky

    Hello Smart Artists,
    Does anyone know who actually produces the CUTE motors?
    I’ve gurgled the name and nothing but apparent resellers come up.

  • miuy

    Bionx has unique quality?
    Finest ekits in the world has controller build into motors like TF or Eplus systems.
    Agree with magic carpet -why to buy foreign motor?
    radiculous price?
    It is right price to pay for the system which gives you wonderful riding experence, namely silent start ups -no China whine ‘here, very smooth assistance kick in, real battery meter , no China kit useless “battery 3 LEDs” meter.
    you pay for NAmerica design system

    • jason wright

      bionx is ridiculously over priced. and proprietor replacement parts as well. Id NEVER buy their stuff so that they could gouge me so badly.

  • miuy

    it is NOT heavy for the power at all.
    your conclusion is wrong
    you compare gearless noise with BIONX silence
    virtue of ebike is a silence of operation. whine is so annoying.

    • RC

      I’m not bothered by whine. I like mechanical things, so whine sounds cool to me.

  • Jim

    Bionix uses a direct drive hub! Not something you want on a bike that you want to actually ride.

    • jason wright

      huh? do you mean because it adds resistance when peddling?

      • Jim

        Yes.

  • JaySpark

    Hello all. So, where is this $100 Tongxin kit?

    • 144723

      Please let me know where when you find out?

  • alan king

    where would I be able to but the nylon gears. need a 42 teeth one

  • GazzW

    Hi my electric bike (Coyote Edge Electric Mountain Bike) has a 250 watt Bafang 8Fun motor with the code BFY1412H12490 on it. I would like to know if i could take a 36volt 15ah battery/ It came with a 24volt 8ah. I have search for many hours and can find no ifo about it. Any help would be great. Thanks.

  • 144723

    Can anyone please direct me to wherever I can find a front-hub Tongxin kit (especially for $100 like it says in the article!!!)?
    It’s for a 20″ wheel and needs to be 80mm to fit in the fork.
    Thank you!