Ebike Power Delivery Explained

Cadence vs Torque, Hub vs Mid Drive Ebikes

When you buy an ebike today, you generally get one of 3 options…

  1. Hub + Cadence
  2. Hub + Torque
  3. Mid-Drive + Torque
  4. Some ebikes can have both cadence/torque (you can switch)

The main difference between cadence sensor ebikes and torque sensor ebikes is how they determine how much assistance to provide to the rider.

Ebike Power Explained

Cadence sensors simply detect whether or not the rider is pedaling. As soon as the rider starts pedaling, the motor turns on and provides assistance at a predetermined level. The harder the rider pedals, the faster the bike goes, but the motor does not provide more assistance.

Torque sensors measure how hard the rider is pedaling and adjust the amount of assistance accordingly. The harder the rider pedals, the more assistance the motor provides. This creates a more natural riding experience, as the rider feels like they are in control of the bike.

Key differences between cadence sensor and torque sensor ebikes:

FeatureCadence sensor ebikeTorque sensor ebike
How it worksDetects whether or not the rider is pedalingMeasures how hard the rider is pedaling
Ride feelCan feel jerky and artificialMore natural and responsive ride
Battery efficiencyLess efficient, as the motor is always providing assistance at the same levelMore efficient, as the motor only provides assistance as needed
CostLess expensiveMore expensive

Mid Drive vs hub motor

Mid-drive motors are located in the center of the bike, between the pedals. They power the bike through the drivetrain, just like you do while you’re pedaling. They apply torque to the cranks, which turns the chain and the rear wheel.

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Hub motors are built into one of the wheels, typically the rear wheel. They provide power directly to the wheel they’re built into. They apply torque to the wheel itself.

Here is a table summarizing the key differences between mid-drive and hub motors:

FeatureMid-drive motorHub motor
LocationCenter of the bikeWheel
Power deliveryThrough the drivetrainDirectly to the wheel
TorqueHigherLower
EfficiencyMore efficientLess efficient
CostMore expensiveLess expensive
WeightHeavierLighter
MaintenanceMore maintenance requiredLess maintenance required

Mid-drive motors are generally considered to be the better type of electric bike motor. They offer a number of advantages over hub motors, including:

  • Higher torque: Mid-drive motors produce more torque than hub motors, which makes them better for climbing hills and carrying heavy loads.
  • More efficient: Mid-drive motors are more efficient than hub motors, which means that you can ride longer distances on a single battery charge.
  • More natural ride feel: Mid-drive motors deliver power in a more natural way than hub motors, which makes for a more enjoyable riding experience.

Hub motors also have some advantages over mid-drive motors, including:

  • Lower cost: Hub motors are less expensive than mid-drive motors.
  • Less maintenance: Hub motors require less maintenance than mid-drive motors.
  • Lighter weight: Hub motors are lighter than mid-drive motors, which makes them easier to carry and maneuver.

Which type of electric bike motor is right for you depends on your riding needs and budget. If you are looking for an ebike with the best performance and ride quality, then a mid-drive motor is the better choice. However, if you are looking for a more affordable and low-maintenance ebike, then a hub motor ebike may be a better option for you.