The BBSHD is the Best: Mid Drive
2 min read | September 3 2023
I don’t want to delve into the “mid drive vs. hub drive” discussion for very long here, but my opinion is that for the type of small, 1Kw-or-less, brushless DC motors used in e-bike applications, a transmission is worth having. If you have a hub motor that’s capable of outputting 2,3, or 4,000+ watts and direct drive (no planetary gearing), then sure, I might go that route instead. But then you have a moped more than a bike and you certainly don’t need to pedal with the motor (nor could you, with most chainring / cassette combinations) — we’re talking about 40-80mph capable vehicles.
Mid-drives help bikes stay bikes. Low-power (1Kw-or-less) hub motors won’t stop a bike from still working and feeling like a bike, but without a transmission their power isn’t optimized across the entire wheel RPM band. I don’t think they’re bad, I just think a mid-drive is better 😁. And whether that’s torque-sensing mid-drive or cadence-sensing mid-drive, I think they both serve different purposes really well.
So, since we’re talking about bikes, and bike-speeds, my opinion is that a direct-drive hub motor isn’t the right choice RPM-wise, a geared hub-motor isn’t the best choice torque-wise, and a mid-drive motor, since it utilizes a bike’s multi-geared transmission, offers the best solution.