Crank VS Rear Hub Motor Ebikes

Myth-Busting Facts

The VOLT Pulse featuring the SpinTech motor system and VOLT Infinity featuring Shimano STEPS

If you’ve been a follower of VOLT™ over the years, you will have noticed not only the leaps in the technology of our electric bikes but also the continued diversity in our range.

In recent years you may have been aware of the introduction and increased popularity of crank-powered e-bikes. This has led to great debate and many myths surrounding rear hub versus crank motors. As one of the most experienced manufacturers and brands in the UK we thought we’d help bring clarity to this discussion…

Hub Motors

 

 

 

These are traditionally the most popular mode for cycle power assistance. They have continued to evolve over the years, resulting in an extremely efficient, affordable and reliable option.

Hub Benefits

VOLT™ has created a revolutionary, global and award-winning hub motor technology called SpinTech™.

This system delivers a maintenance-free, intuitive and sophisticated riding experience.  SpinTech also provides the added benefit of a throttle that can propel the cycle (according to current EU regulations). This is particularly useful in going forward from a stationary position and isn’t currently available on our crank motor range.

In addition to the advanced evolution of the hub motor, it remains the most popular solution for many manufacturers. This is largely due to their reliability and more cost-effective pricing.

 Breaking Boundaries with Rear Hub Motors on the VOLT™ Bigfoot

 

Maybe the best example of advanced hub engineering can be found on our exciting and eye-catching Bigfoot.   

The motor is so reliable that it will handle all terrain without a hitch. Designed for extra power and super high torque, there is no hill or climb it can’t handle. What’s more this rear-hub bike is immensely fun to cycle!

Things to Consider with Hub Motors

Because of the great success of hub motors, there’s been a number of low-quality, unbranded copy versions seen on cheaper imported e-bikes. That’s why it is important to research before purchase and always buy from a reputable company. Good, reliable manufacturers should always offer a guarantee on your bike and motor. For example, VOLT™’s rear hub motors are covered with a 2-year peace of mind warranty.  

Crank Drive Motor

As advertised, these motors sit at the central gears (crank) of the cycle and directly power you as soon as you rotate and put pressure on the pedals. It usually works in tandem with the bikes gears, delivering power according to your output. Crank motors offer power assistance that is tailored to the rider’s unique cycling style. Focusing on smooth and efficient performance rather than raw power.

Benefits of a Crank Power

Torque sensors in the motor record information on the pressure exerted on the pedals by the rider in addition to sensing when the crank is operating. This allows for a very natural acceleration. While both motors are fully equipped to tackle any hill with ease this type of motor is best suited for steep hills. That is due to the fact that the motor can operate at optimal efficiency across the bikes whole range of gears. This allows full power to be provided even when climbing a 30% incline at speeds as low as 4 mph. Featured in our Infinity, Infinity LS and Axis is Shimano’s DI2 electric gear system which will automatically change gears depending on your output. They even change down to a low gear when you slow to a halt!

So the distinct advantage of this particular type of motor is that it can do well with low levels of power due to the efficiency of the crank motor. Also, the positioning of the motor provides a low centre of weight distribution resulting in great handling and being easier to lift onto a car rack or carry up stairs.

Speeding through with the VOLT™ Axis

This cutting-edge technology is especially evident in e-bikes like the VOLT™ Axis with its automatic gear shifting and pressure sensors to monitor pedalling. It is also the first folding e-bike with a crank drive Shimano STEPS motor, opening up a whole new range of electric bikes.

Things to Consider with Crank Drive Motors

Most crank drives offer unrivalled sophistication and efficiency in riding experience. Yet, if you are looking for thrills and spills maybe a rear hub powered bike will work better for you.

Crank powered cycles are comparatively newer than rear hub technology. They require more engineering and cost more to produce, which means they are usually more expensive than rear hub models.

The Verdict

In conclusion, since both motor systems have their unique style and rideability it is important to do the research so that you can decide on the ideal ebike for you. Naturally, the best way to find the best model for you is to book a test ride!

For more information on our own motors and pedelec systems please take a look at our SpinTech™ technology page and our Shimano STEPS page.