Hub-Drive Vs. Mid-Drive eBikes: What's the Difference?
Now that eBikes are a common sight on British roads, you may be wondering what the options are between the available models.
The most popular types of eBike in Britain are hub-drive and mid-drive eBikes - the difference being the motor action they are paired with.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages and, while it is generally assumed that mid-drive eBikes are more desirable, you can get a highly sophisticated hub-drive eBike which will incorporate the same ride benefits.
Hub-drives describe those eBikes where the motor is integrated into the front or rear wheel. In these, the hub motor applies torque directly to the wheel. Mid-drives meanwhile have their motor installed in the chainring, which they apply power to as your pedal.
Since hub-drives are either in the front or rear wheel, they may give the sensation of being pulled or pushed along, while a mid-drive, with its weight balanced in the middle of the bike, will tend to give a more natural feel.
Mid-drives are usually more complex, and so hub-drives are typically more common and cheaper.
Technological differences include the fact that most hub-drive eBikes will only be fitted with a cadence meter. This measures if and how fast you are pedalling. Meanwhile mid-drives will be fitted with a torque sensor too, which measures how hard you are pedalling.
Torque sensors are a much better method of gauging when motor assistance is needed, and so mid-drives have a more intuitive ride action. That said, there are hub-drive eBikes available which are fitted with a torque sensor, such as the ARCC System (you can also get mid-drives with a poorly-implemented torque sensor or none at all).
An advantage of a mid-drive eBike is that, with power applied in the drivetrain, it can take advantage of the bike's gears in its action - this improves motor efficiency which increases range and improves ride experience. That said, hub-drives with a torque sensor will have a good range too, as they can more intuitively determine when the motor should be working.
Hub motors are on the whole more durable than mid-drives. While mid-drives can be convenient when it comes to maintenance and repair of tyres, the power delivery is more likely to fail due to its more complex construction - with torque directly applied to the chain, these can easily snap.
The ARCC System
The advantages of a mid-drive eBike are largely offset by the sophistication of the torque sensor in the ARCC system - your power tailors your ride experience with no sense of being pulled along, combining the intelligence of a mid-drive with the durability of a hub-drive.
The ARCC System is also fitted with unique features, like launch mode, Bluetooth control on-the-go and hill detection.
Additionally, with the ARCC motor installed in the front wheel, the back wheel is free to be fitted with components like hub gears.
You can find out more about the ARCC system here.