Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, have revolutionized the way we commute and explore our surroundings. Recently, a new player has emerged in the e-bike market in Singapore - the mid-drive e-bike. This innovative technology has sparked curiosity among cycling enthusiasts and commuters alike. In this blog, we will delve into the world of mid-drive e-bikes, exploring what they are and highlighting the key differences when compared to classic e-bikes.
What is a Mid-Drive E-Bike?
A mid-drive e-bike, also known as a central-drive or crank-drive e-bike, differs from traditional e-bikes not only in the location of its motor, but also in many other aspects which we discuss later. Unlike classic e-bikes, which typically house the motor in the wheel hub, mid-drive e-bikes feature a motor mounted near the bike's bottom bracket, where the pedals and crankset connect. This strategic positioning of the motor enables it to engage the bike's drivetrain directly, amplifying the power transfer to the wheels. The mid-drive motor comes with a built-in torque sensor that detects how hard the rider is pedaling. The mid-drive power output is proportional to the pedalling intensity from the rider, creating a sensation for riders as if the bike is part of their body. The controller, motor and torque sensor are seamlessly combined into a single unit with IP65 water-resistant rating, making the motor heavy-rain-proof.
In the following paragraphs, we will be explaining the pros and cons of a mid-drive ebike versus a traditional hub-motor ebike
Advantages of the Snapcycle Roadmaster Mid-Drive Ebikes as Compared with Traditional Ebikes with Hub Motors and Cadence Sensors:
Hill Climbing Prowess: The Snapcycle Roadmaster is significantly more power than a 48v hub motor when tackling steep slopes. In real-world testing scenarios, with a 60kg rider on an 8-degree incline, various e-bikes yielded the following outcomes:
- Equipped with a 36v 250w rear hub motor: 10 km/h
- With a 48v 250w rear hub motor: 17 km/hr
- Utilizing the Snapcycle Roadmaster Mid-drive e-bike: 23 km/hr
Faster Cruising Speed: The Snapcycle Roadmaster can effortlessly achieve speeds beyond 25 km/hr with pedalling on level terrain. The Roadmaster comes with a 7-speed Shimano gear. the Roadmaster's motor propels the rider to 25 km/hr, and subsequently, by shifting to the smallest cog with a gear ratio of 2.6, and with the largest 700C wheel on an e-bike in Singapore, the rider can easily attain speeds of 27-28 km/hr with minimal pedaling effort, aided by body inertia and their pedaling action.
Instantaneous Response: The Snapcle Roadmaster immediately powers the rider upon pedalling, while a traditional ebike with a hub motor and cadence sensor will need the rider to pedal one complete round before the motor power assistance can kick in. Particularly on uphill slopes, pedaling without motor assistance can be very challenging. With the Snapcycle Roadmaster, the motor instantaneously powers the rider upslope with ease.
No More Ghost Pedalling: The riders would feel as if they are pedalling in the air on a traditional ebike with a cadence sensor, which the industry typically calls it “ghost pedalling” as there is no pleasure of cycling at all. However, the Roadmaster mid-drive completely eliminates this phenomenon, enabling the rider to enjoy the pleasure of cycling with ease. This feature is especially beneficial for elderly cyclists who face challenges like arthritis, knee surgeries, or hip replacements, offering them a revitalizing experience.
Power Saving: The integration of the motor within the bike's drivetrain enables mid-drive e-bikes to optimize power consumption. By leveraging the bike's gears, the motor operates within its ideal RPM range in tandem with manual pedaling from the rider, boosting overall efficiency and range. With an equivalent battery capacity in watt-hours, the Roadmaster typically covers 50% more distance compared to traditional hub motor e-bikes.
- Rainproof Reliability: The Roadmaster's mid-drive motor boasts an IP65 rating, ensuring complete resistance to rainwater, even during heavy downpours. Worries about water-related damage during rainy rides now become a thing of the past.
In general, mid-drive e-bikes are typically more expensive than classic e-bikes due to the complexity of their design and the integration of advanced motor systems. However, the enhanced performance and features often justify the price for enthusiasts and frequent riders. We leave it to the riders to determine what suits their needs the best.
In conclusion, mid-drive e-bikes represent a significant leap forward in e-bike technology, with their central motor design providing numerous advantages over classic e-bikes. Improved handling, efficient power utilization, and exceptional hill-climbing abilities make mid-drive e-bikes a top choice for those seeking a high-performance and versatile electric biking experience.
While classic e-bikes continue to serve as excellent options for leisurely rides and city commuting, mid-drive e-bikes are redefining the boundaries of what's possible in the e-bike world. As the technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more exciting innovations in the realm of electric bicycles.