Electric Motors: Choosing the right one for your needs

In order to figure out what motor will best suit your needs, there are a couple of questions to ask yourself:

1. The position of the motor: it can be placed either in the crankset, or in one of the bike's wheels.

2. The amount of torque needed: this will depend on the terrain/incline you plan to ride on and the loads (just yourself, your kids, your groceries, etc) you plan to carry.

Motor Position

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Aventon Aventure 1 #1 global

Rear wheel Bafang motor

Rear-Hub Motor (located in rear wheel)

The rear-hub motor, located in the center of the rear wheel, is generally found on bikes for smaller budgets. The motor is less expensive, more discreet, lighter (which is handy if you need to lift it frequently) and suitable for mostly flat roads.

On the other hand, assistance is often described as less natural. Wear and tear on the cassette, chain, and derailleur is also typically faster than if the motor were located in the mid-drive.

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Benno RemiDemi 9D #1 global

Mid-drive Bosch Performance Line motor

Mid-Drive Motor

About 80% of Upway's e-Bikes feature a mid-drive motor.

This type of motor is generally more premium and provides assistance proportional to the power of your pedaling. This can make the bike a bit heavier, but central position of mid-drive motors improves the bike's balance and stability.

To find out more about motors, read our article on how electric motors work.

Motor Torque

Torque describes a motor's propulsive force: the higher the torque, the more it will help you accelerate uphill. If your trips involve uneven terrain, or if you regularly carry heavy loads (child seat, trailer...), you'll need to choose an electric bike with sufficient motor torque.

Torque is expressed in newton meters (Nm) and is indicated on each bike's product page. As a guide, we recommend different amounts of torque depending on the slope of the terrain you'll ride on, as seen below. 

Two important exceptions:

1. If you regularly carry a heavy load (children, trailer, etc.), we advise you to select a higher category. For example, select a bike with at least 50 Nm if your route is flat, and 70 Nm if your route is hilly if you plan to bring your kids along on all your rides.

2. Conversely, for lighter bikes (under 45 lb), you can get away with a weaker torque.

Motor Brand

Other considerations may come into play in your choice: for example, you may prefer a motor from a well-known, reliable brand (such as Bosch, Specialized, Bafang or Brose). This will facilitate access to spare parts.

Updated on October 5, 2023