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Electric Bike Rider

Electric Bike Motor Guide

There are many different types of e bike motor and each have unique characteristics. All the motors on our bikes are pedal assist and comply fully with the law, so you can ride our e bikes safely anywhere that you can ride a regular bike. You get a boost when you turn the pedals but not while you are coasting.


How is the power measured?

The power of e bike motors is measured in Newton Metres (Nm). This is a measurement of torque which is turning power. It is the torque of the wheel hub or crank drive that gives an e bike its power to move forward. Most brands give a maximum torque measurement for their motors, this will range from 30Nm for entry level hub drives up to over 100Nm for the most powerful crank drive units.

All the motors are limited to offers assistance only up to 15.5mph (25Kmh), as soon as you go faster than this you have to rely on your own pedal power. All the motors are 250 Watts or less but the power output varies quite a lot between different drive units.

Orbea Gain e bike riding up hill

Hub Drives vs Crank Drives

There are two basic types of pedal assist motor fitted to electric bikes; hub drive and crank drive. Positioned inside the wheel, hub drive e bike motors turn the wheel directly and allow for a more conventional frame design. Rear wheel hub drives tend to offer more assistance than those in the front wheel.

Crank drive e bike motors are positioned in the bottom bracket area of the frame. These add their power through the chainring and tend to be more powerful than hub drive motors.


Crank Drive Motors

Bosch Motors

Bosch are the most widely used electric bike drive units. They have four different motors designed for different types of e biking. Bosch e bike drives are well known for their reliability as well as their power output.

Active Line & Active Line Plus

Designed for city cycling the Active Line motors are found in many popular urban e bikes. Despite only offering a maximum torque of 40Nm we’ve been impressed with the hill climbing ability of these motors as well as the impressive range. The Active Line Plus delivers a more powerful 50Nm output.

Torque

40 – 50Nm

Battery capacity

300 – 500Wh

Support levels

4

App controlled

No

Walk Assist

Yes


Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Quiet
  • Less power than most
  • Lightweight
  • Slight drag over 25km/h
  • Reliable
Bosch active plus e bike motor


Bosch Performance Line CX

The Bosch CX is the motor that sets the benchmark for eMTB performance. Well known for its reliability the Bosch CX isn’t the most powerful motor on paper, but it delivers the power well at a wide range of pedalling speeds. The new fourth generation (MY20) Performance Line CX motor builds on the performance of the previous versions offering more usable power in a lighter weight The four support levels offer assistance that ranges from 60 – 340% of your natural pedalling power. A neat feature is the eMTB mode that varies the support levels depending on the amount of pressure that you put through the pedals.

The Bosch Performance Line CX is probably the most popular drive unit and is found on Cube, Scott, Lapierre, Haibike, Cannondale and Orbea e bikes.

Torque

75Nm

Battery capacity

300 – 625Wh

Support levels

4

App controlled

No

Walk Assist

Yes

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Proven Technology
  • Noisy
  • Good power delivery
  • Large size
  • Very good support levels
  • A little drag over 25km/h
Bosch performacn cx e bike motor

Shimano Motors

Shimano motors are making great strides into the electric bike market. The standout features of Shimano drive units are their small size and reliable performance. The E5000 and E6000 systems are designed for city cycling and trekking, while the E7000 and E8000 are for electric mountain bikes.Shimano motors are making great strides into the electric bike market. The standout features of Shimano drive units are their small size and reliable performance. The E5000 and E6000 systems are designed for city cycling and trekking, while the E7000 and E8000 are for electric mountain bikes.

Shimano Steps E5000, E6000, E61000

Designed for trekking and city cycling these crank drive motors have a smooth power delivery. The size and weight is less than most other brands and Shimano have a good reputation for reliability.

Torque

40/50/60Nm

Battery capacity

418/504Wh

Support levels

3

App controlled

Yes

Walk Assist

Yes

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Compact
  • Loud
  • Intuitive
  • Slight drag over 25 km/h
  • Reliable
Shimano Steps powered e bike

Shimano Steps E8000

Shimano is a relatively new player in the e MTB motor market but with the Steps E8000 they have hit the ground running. The power delivery is probably the most intuitive to use and it seems to match the amount of power you put through the pedals perfectly. This is also one of the smallest and lightest drive units which makes Shimano equipped e MTBs behave more like regular mountain bikes than most.

Shimano Steps E8000 drive units are found on Merida, Orbea, Orange, Mondraker and Scott e bikes

Torque

70Nm

Battery capacity

504Wh

Support levels

3

App controlled

Yes

Walk Assist

Yes

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Compact
  • Loud
  • Intuitive
  • Slight drag over 25 km/h
  • Reliable
Shimano Steps E8000 powered e bike

Brose

Brose are a Germany company that manufacture that power the Specialized Turbo bikes. With an internal belt drive these motors are particularly quiet. With a 90Nm maximum torque these are drive units are more powerful than most. The Brose works well at a wide range of pedalling speed which is good news if you have a high cadence style.

Brose drive units are found on all Specialized Turbo e bikes. The motors are continuingly being refined but the core performance characteristics of natural ride feel and quiet running remain consistent.

Torque

90Nm

Battery capacity

400 – 770Wh

Support levels

4

App controlled

Yes

Walk Assist

Yes

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Natural ride feel
  • Large size
  • Quiet
  • Only on Specialized e bikes
  • No drag over 25Km/h
Brose e bike motor cutaway

Yamaha PW-X

The Yamaha PW-X is another powerful drive unit that offers high torque, especially at low pedalling speeds (cadence). This is especially useful when starting off on steep gradients as the motor kicks in with full power straight away. The PW-X is less impressive at high cadences. While not as small as the Shimano it is narrower than most other motors. This means that the crank width (Q factor) is the same as on a regular bike.

The Yamaha PW-X motor is used on some Haibike models as well as Giant e bikes. When fitted to Giant bikes the custom tuned Yamaha PW-X is branded as SyncDrive.

Torque

80Nm

Battery capacity

400 - 500Wh

Support levels

5

App controlled

No

Walk Assist

Yes


Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Very powerful
  • Jolts when standing
  • Starts well on climbs
  • Power loss at high cadence
  • Narrow Q factor
yamaha giant sysndrive  e bike motor

Dyname Powerplay

Exclusive to Rocky Mountain the Dyname drive unit takes a different approach to all the other e bike motors. Instead of driving the cranks directly through the bottom bracket, the power boost is supplied from a secondary chain that connects to the crank. As well as allowing the cranks to spin on a regular, replaceable bottom bracket this system gives designers more freedom to put the motor in the ideal position within the bike frame.

Rocky Mountain Powerplay e bikes are the only e bikes that have exactly the same geometry as their mountain bike equivalents. This is because this motor can be positioned further forward so the bikes don’t have to have extended chainstays.

Torque

127Nm

Battery capacity

500 - 632Wh

Support levels

3

App controlled

Yes

Walk Assist

Yes


Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Very powerful
  • Extra chain required
  • Cranks spin on regular BB
  • Normal Geometry
dyname powerplay  e bike motor

Fazua Evation

The Fazua Evation is another e bike system that does things a little differently. Both the motor and the battery sit inside the downtube and both are removable, so you can ride a Fazua equipped e bike like a normal bike if you wish. The bottom bracket is geared to allow the motor to drive the chainring to give your pedalling power a boost.

While this system is less powerful than most other crank drive units its lightweight and offsets the need for more power. The Fazua Evation also allows for a much more conventional frame design, so performance is very similar to a regular bike.

Torque

60Nm

Battery capacity

250Wh

Support levels

3

App controlled

Yes

Walk Assist

No

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Lightweight
  • Less powerful than most
  • Removable motor & battery
  • Small battery capacity
  • Normal Geometry
Fazua Evation e bike motor and intube battery

Hub Drive Motors



Ebikemotion

This compact and innovative rear wheel hub drive system is found in the subtlest looking electric road and urban bikes like the Orbea Gain. With a very simple yet informative control unit and a battery pack that is neatly concealed in the downtube of the bike, you get a pedal assist without looking like you’re on an e bike.

Torque

40Nm

Battery capacity

250Wh

Support levels

3

App controlled

Yes

Walk Assist

No

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Very well integrated
  • Minimal display information
  • Innovative display button
  • Only one battery size option
  • Lightweight
ebikemotion hub drive e bike motor

E-Motion

Simple and affordable, the E-Motion front hub drive motor is used on the popular Raleigh Array electric urban bikes. The pedal assist power is enough to give you a noticeable boost but you get less help on the climbs compared to some other motors.

Torque

info not available

Battery capacity

300Wh

Support levels

5

App controlled

No

Walk Assist

No

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Quiet
  • Low power
  • Small
  • Minimal display information
  • Lightweight
e-motion hub drive e bike motor

Giant SyncDrive Silent Drive

Fitted to entry level Giant electric urban bikes, the SyncDrive Silent Drive is a front hub motor that offers a gentle assist to you natural pedalling power. The simple RideControl One button makes it easy to change modes and view the remaining battery capacity.

Torque

30Nm

Battery capacity

300Wh

Support levels

6

App controlled

Yes

Walk Assist

Yes

Strengths

Weaknesses

  • Quiet
  • Low power
  • Small
  • Minimal display information
  • Lightweight
Giant syncdrive silent hub drive e bike motor