How to Select A Motor For An Electric Bike

how to select motor for electric bike

There is no doubt that the motor is one of the most crucial components of the electric bike. An e-bike’s performance depends on its engine. Because of this, electric bike owners need to be deliberate when selecting the right motor for their bikes. In this article, we will teach you how to choose the perfect motor for your electric bike.

If you’re trying to understand how to select a motor for an electric bike, consider the following factors: the location of the motor, the bike’s battery compatibility, voltage and power capacity, and the price. These factors combine to determine how well a motor will suit the bike for which you want it.

Motor Location

There are three places that a motor can be situated on an electric bike. The positions are the front wheel, the bottom bracket, and the rear wheel. There are also specific motor types for each of these locations.

The first step in selecting a motor is to determine which battery is compatible with the placement location of your current electric bike.

Battery Compatibility

When selecting a motor for your electric bike you should also measure its compatibility with your battery. Check the manuals for both your e-bike and your existing battery for a list of compatible motor types.  

Voltage and Power Capacity

The voltage and power capacity is another essential consideration to make when selecting a motor for your electric bike. Depending on the purpose of the e-bike and the location where you are riding it, you may choose a lower or higher range capacity e-bike motor. The smaller range capacity motors are usually suitable for riding around flat areas while higher range capacity motors are best suited for hilly rides, and for carrying loads.  

Price Range

Of course, you should have a budget for your electric bike motor. The price of a motor should be considered against its features, efficiency, and budget before you decide to buy it.

By considering all of the factors above, you can choose the best motor for your electric bike.

E-bike Motor Types

There are various e-bike motor types on the market today. Understanding the differences between these motors will help you choose the best motor for your bike.

There are four major e-bike motor types on the market: the Geared Hub Motor, the Shaft Drive Motor, the Mid Drive Motor, and the Gearless Hub Motor. Good knowledge of these motor types will help you to understand which is best suited for your e-bike to assure a better riding experience.

Geared Hub Motor

The geared hub motor offers a mechanical advantage to the rider. This type of motor is a little more complex, but they are lighter and smaller. It’s a highly efficient motor that helps the rider move forward. However, when compared to the gearless hub motor, it wears out faster and produces more noise, obviously because it creates more friction.

Shaft Drive Motor

The shaft drive motor is designed to drive the back wheels of the electric bike, just like in most automobiles. It is positioned somewhere in the middle of the bike and uses a shaft to drive the bike’s rear wheels.

Mid-Drive Motor

The mid-drive motor is usually used for electric bikes that are meant for climbing hills. It is often positioned near the bike pedals, in the bottom bracket. The engine is designed to drive the bike chain instead of the wheel, using the motor gear technology to help the bike adjust speed, and climb hills.

Gearless Hub Drive

The gearless hub drive is a simply designed gearless bike motor that offers quite smooth and seamless performance to an e-bike using the technology of electromagnets. It is also referred to as direct drive systems, and it functions to allow electricity regeneration from repelling magnets in the motor to help drive the bike.

how to select motor for electric bike 2

Which Motor is Best for Electric Bike?

Now that you have more knowledge of e-bike motors, you might be asking yourself which motor is best for your electric bike.

Determining the best motor for electric bikes often depends mostly on individual choices and preferences. So, results may vary from person to person. However, to make an informed decision for yourself, you must learn more about e-bike motor types. Here is what you need to know:

All e-bike motor types today are categorized into two broad categories, which are the Wheel Motor (also referred to as hub motor), and the Center Drive Motor (also referred to as mid-drive motor).

While there is no clear definition of which is better than the other, both categories of e-bike motor have advantages and disadvantages. A knowledge of these pros and cons will leave you better informed and equipped to make the perfect choice for your bike.

Wheel/Hub Motor

The wheel motor is any motor that drives the wheel of an e-bike instead of its chains. It is currently the most popular category of e-bike motor in the market, and it has its merits, as well as its demerits.


  • It is the most popular bike motor category in the market today
  • It allows for faster acceleration
  • It is largely available in the market
  • It can drive easily even without any help from the bicycle engine.


  • It produces more engine noise
  • It does not manage high loads as efficiently as the mid-drive motor.

Center/Mid Drive Motor:

This e-bike motor category is located in the middle of an e-bike frame, just near the cranks, and it drives the bike chains instead of the wheels.


  • It provides a higher and more seamless performance
  • Its engine noise is very minimal
  • It allows for better control of bike and engine speed
  • It provides optimal weight balance and distribution
  • It allows for lower consumption of e-bike power.


  • It causes the bike chain to wear faster
  • Its gearshift and adjustment sensitivity is high.

Just as earlier mentioned, choosing the best motor for an e-bike depends on individual choices and preferences. However, the information that has been provided here will help you to make a more informed decision.

How To Care For An Electric Bike Motor

It goes without saying that adequate care for your electric bike motor helps to improve its efficiency and durability. Here are some tips to help you provide the best care for your e-bike motor:

Caring for your e-bike motor can be achieved through concealing it from too much dust and dirt, keeping it properly lubricated, cleaning it when due, promptly taking it for repairs and maintenance when you begin to notice signs of fault in it, trying not to overwork it, and following general safety rules for e-bike motors.

Keeping your bike in good condition by giving it adequate maintenance treatments such as regular cleaning, lubrication, maintaining standard tire pressure, good battery care, etc. will contribute significantly to the state of your motor. This is because the condition of your bike when you are riding affects the motor in it. If you handle your bike roughly, then your e-bike motor is bound to develop faults easily, but if you handle your bike with care, your e-bike motor will stand a chance to last longer and serve you more efficiently.

Finally, and most importantly, make sure you take your bike to certified professionals when you notice issues with it. Allowing just anyone to work on your bike puts it at risk of further damage, and, ultimately, will cost you more time and money in the long run.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have highlighted and discussed a number of tips that will help you to make just the perfect choice for your bike when shopping for an e-bike motor. We have also shared a few tips on its usage and general maintenance, such that after reading, you would be more educated on the technology of e-bike motors, how to care for it, and how to choose the one that is best suited for your bike.

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