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What Is an Electric Bike Motor & Which Is The Best?

An electric bike is a new way of traveling in dense suburban and populated places.

You can reach your destination more conveniently as well as quickly with the help of these bikes. Electric bikes are similar to standard bikes.

The main difference is that electric bikes have an electric motor, battery, and a drive system. The motor in an e-bike is the essential component, along with the battery. An electric bike cannot function properly without an operational motor and battery.

The electric bike industry is currently booming, with a turnover of $250 million in 2019. Different types of electric bikes have other motors with varying capacities of power. Here, we shall discuss some of the most influential electric bike motors available.

What Is An Electric Bike Motor?

An electric bike motor is a machine that translates electrical power into mechanical power. The motor in an electric bike receives electric power from the battery. This power runs the engine. This motor then assists you in driving the bike forward without putting much effort into pedaling the bike.

There are different electric motors used in various electric bikes, but the most common engine installed in an electric bike is the hub drive motor.

Different Type Of Motors

There are different types of motors with a variety of power levels and construction design. Choosing the right kind of motor will depend upon your needs and demands from an electric bike. If you want to drive a fast bike, you’ll need a bike with high motor power, whereas if you want a bike just for occasional rides, you can go for the slower models. The most popular types of motors are

Mid-drive Motor

A Mid-drive motor is generally situated between the shaft and the crank of a regular bicycle. This motor assists the pedals in moving faster. It does not add a power source. This electric bike motor has one output attached to the chainring of the bike. When this motor runs, it also rotates the chainring. Due to this rotation, you get assistance in moving. Some of these motors also have gear sensors.

These sensors allow you to change the gears without breaking the power supply to the motor.


  • Mid-drive motors are better for climbing on steep terrains. This motor can take advantage of the existing gear system in the bike. You will get a higher gear reduction on low speed climbs.
  • The positioning of these motors is to the center of the cycle. A centered engine helps to create a more balanced riding experience. You are less likely to lose your balance and fall while riding a bike with this motor.
  • Changing the tires on an electric bike are also more comfortable with this motor. This motor does not have any wires between the shaft and the hub. You can use any wheelset on these bikes because of this feature.

Hub Motors

A hub motor has a pretty simple design. It is larger than a geared motor. You can fix these motors on the rear axle of the bike. It uses a shaft to propel the bike forward. When you pedal on an electric bike, the shaft starts to rotate, creating power that moves your forward. Another unique feature of these motors is regenerative braking. When you apply the brakes or throttle, the bike generates electrical energy, which helps run the motor.


  • These motors are mass-produced and are hence a lot cheaper than other types of motors.
  • As this motor is not attached to an electric bike’s chain drive systems, there will be less wear and tear on the chain, cogs, and so on.

Gear-Drive Motors

These motors are very similar to a hub motor, the shaft present in this motor is attached to several gears. The shaft in this type of motor rotates faster; faster rotation of the shaft results in more torque production. The size of a gear-drive motor is comparatively smaller than a hub motor. These motors also include a freewheel so that there is no regenerative braking in the motor.


  • This motor creates significantly less drag and resistance.
  • It is suitable for low speed and high torque applications.

Friction Motors

These types of motors are very old-school in front of these modern Mid-drive and hub motors. But they are a good option for users who want to convert their regular bicycle into an electric bike. The cost of buying this type of motor is not very high.

You can attach this motor just beneath the chainring. The rotation or the movement in the chainring will cause the flywheel in this motor to rotate. This flywheel is mostly attached to the rear wheel.

When it starts to spin, it also propels the bike forward. This type of motor causes extra wear in the tires. You might need to replace them more frequently. Another downside of this motor is that it offers a considerable amount of drag or resistance while riding.

Most Powerful Motor In An Electric Bike

Earlier bikes that had a 1000 watt motor were the most powerful and fastest.

These bikes can go up to 32 miles per hour at top speed. CYC, a small Hong Kong-based electric bike manufacturing company, makes an electric bike with a 5000 watts motor.

A 5000 watts motor sounds impractical and unnecessary, but it is the perfect ride for people who love speed and thrill. The X1-pro made by CYC is a lightweight electric bike that has a motor output 10-20 times more potent than a standard motor. It has a high power output of 5000 watts and a top speed of 50 miles per hour.

A couple of years ago, a British E-bike manufacturer called Swindon also released a 5000W motorbike called SWIND EB-01. This one can go even faster at 60mph.

Most of the regular electric bikes have a motor within the power range of 250-1000 watts. These electric motors have a low top speed and are not very pleasing to speed and adventure enthusiasts.

The price of the X1-pro is not very high as it’s manufacturers want this bike to be the best hot rod of electric bikes. They also encourage buyers to customize their bikes according to their needs.

Traditional electric bikes have a set range of motor Power as they are trying to resemble the experience of riding an actual bicycle closely. Riding at such a higher speed can sometimes be difficult for the riders as well. Not everybody can control or handle the bikes when they are moving at a breakneck speed.

The installation process of this motor is pretty simple and takes very little time.

You’ll get many videos and information online that will guide you through the whole installation process. This motor is not very heavy as it just weighs 7.7 pounds.

Frequently asked questions

What is the most powerful electric bike motor?

The Bafang Ultra Max bike has one of the most influential electric bike motors. It has a mid-drive motor that has a power output labeled as 1000 watts. It’s manufacturers believe that their motor is capable of achieving more power easily.

It has a large diameter with a lot of cranks and torque. This electric bike motor is also among the largest factories made motors for e-bikes globally.

What speed can a 1000 watt motor drive up to?

A 1000 watt motor is a super powerful and fast motor. You can conveniently achieve a top speed of 32 miles per hour.

Although driving at this speed is not legal for driving on roads. You can still drive these bikes at their maximum speed on private land and property.

A 1000 watt motor can also climb up steps and slopes at a faster pace. A 190-pound person can easily ride an electric bike with such a powerful motor.

What is the best motor for an electric bike?

A rear motor or a hub motor is considered the best type of motor for an electric bike. Riders that seek or want more power use these types of motors. They are among the most common motors that are used in an e-bike.

Hub motors have two types: the drive hub motor and the gear-drive motor. Both of these motors have different advantages and disadvantages.

You can choose the option which suits your requirements the best. The cost and specifications of these motors do vary. So you would have to keep them in mind as well when purchasing an electric bike.


With constant improvement in technology around the motor and the battery of an electric bike, we see many powerful bike models being released.

Currently, a 5000-watt motor is the most powerful electric bike motor. Hong Kong based company CYC makes the X1-Pro with a 5000W motor. It can travel at a breakneck speed of 50 miles per hour. Swindon, a British company, also has a 5000W motorbike called the SWIND-EB01, which can go even faster at 60 miles per hour.

People who like speed because of the thrill and excitement love these bikes.

There are other bikes available with a 1000 watt motor and can go at a speed of 32 miles per hour.

This speed is also above the legalized speed of 25 miles per hour.


Written by Lee Hill

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