Front or rear hub motor?

Woosh

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May 19, 2012
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wooshbikes.co.uk
the split for us, on hub bikes (BPM/SWX02) and on hub kits (XF07/XF08), are roughly 40% front, 60% rear.
There is an issue with the powerful Bafang BPM when mounted on the front wheel, that a minimum 15st rider weight is needed to put enough pressure/weight on the front.
Since Marwood Hill pointed that out about 3 years ago, the information was added to the web page. Before that, we assumed that only heavy riders were interested in the Big Bear. Marwood Hill had a trailer and needed the BPM for its pulling ability. By the way, we always fitted chunkier tyres the the Big Bear.
 
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vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
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On me old Honda CB500 I had only front wheel punctures (6 of them!), but that might be kinda Murphy law related. What I read in another E-Bike forum was that one should pay real good attention to the tires, because they are far more used due to the higher average speed and therefore more prone to punctures. A 50 % wear increases puncture risk by tenfold. Unlike motorbikes or cars the objects are not centrifuged out right away at high speed, so the chances that they work their way through is much higher. Indeed, that was also what the dealers said to me, to have a good eye on the tires, should be quality kind. I gues there is a thread about this here also somewhere.. Have not found it yet though
When we fit Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, we don't have punctures anymore, so it's a non-issue. These tyres last most likely beyond the life of the ebike unless you do exceptionally high mileage;however, on a bike with front wheel drive, they might not last so well, especially if you have lits of steep hills, due to slipping and spinning when the wheel loses traction.
 
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Bonzo Banana

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 29, 2019
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Oh dear, all those adverse comments about front hub motors - did anyone mention this to SWYTCH BIKES - their business model is all about front hub motors - and of course, our estimeed forumite @Woosh sells front hub motors too - I can't imagine he'd knowingly sell something 'dangerous' or 'hazardous'.

They do get used successfully on some tandem DIY conversions it seems :cool: ?

Anyone else prepared to raise their head above the parapet in support of front hub motors?
Front hubs are better in lots of circumstances but basically they make more sense the heavier the load to help apply more downward force. The weight distribution of bikes is something like 60:40 or 70:30 to the back depending on how the rider positions himself. Front hub motors are simpler compared to rear hub motors where you either have a threaded hub to use only low grade freewheels or you have a freehub where you have added a failure point in the motor hub if the freehub mechanism fails or wears out. The front hub motor has none of that it is purely a motor in fact with a front direct drive motor hub there are no moving parts except the bearings next to the axle they are incredibly simple.

As a heavy rider I get far more punctures in the rear wheel because of my greater weight there also as a heavy rider I need a freehub based gear system and if the rear wheel fails it's fairly cheap to replace.

Also on a front hub motor you can more easily swop it temporarily back to a normal bike, remove the battery and front wheel and refit a standard front wheel and you can use it as a normal bike, this is more useful for direct drive hub motors.

By fitting a hub motor to the front as a heavy rider you get less broken spokes, less bearing issues, less faults with the motor hub itself and the issue of slipping tyres isn't really applicable in fact the fact both wheels are powered can give traction advantages because there is still ample weight at the front, i.e. going through a puddle. You do need to make sure you use rigid steel forks with a torque arm for safety though. If you do get a puncture on the front wheel it is easier to deal with at the front compared to the rear.

My perspective is as a heavy rider though, well over 100kg. If I was a 80kg rider or less I'd definitely have gone for a rear wheel geared hub motor. You can also make a strong case for tandems to have a front hub motor. Also I'm not talking with the perspective of a very powerful setup purely motors providing sustained power around 250-400W not these super powerful sustained 1500W motors etc I have absolutely no idea what they are like as front hub motors.

I'm not hearing complaints about front wheel motor hubs, you get a huge amount of basic ebikes especially folding ebikes with front hub motors, the Brompton ebike has a front hub motor and the Swytch kits are front hub and they get excellent reviews. The negative viewpoints seem to come in with the DIY kits where someone has fitted a very powerful hub motor to the front and has issues of traction. It reminds me of BMW's where they slip and slide in the winter and people even end up putting bags of sand in the boot to improve traction but that is because they are powerful vehicles that have low weight at the back and rear wheel drive. The weight of the cyclist and lower power are both solutions to losing traction on a front hub motor. Realistically like most things its not black and white there are many variables. I mean no one says front wheel drive cars are unsafe because they are inherently safer than rear wheel drive because they have greater traction because the weight of the engine is directly above those wheels. It's pretty much all about how the weight is distributed and having sufficient weight at the front for the power output.

Always remember the tyre pressure at the front should be less than the rear. I see people who inflate to the tyre pressure stated on the tyre side wall for both tyres that is completely wrong, tyre pressure is related to the weight of the rider and should always be less on the front wheel unless you are running different tyres and the front tyre has less volume so requires a higher pressure. You are looking for a similar deflection front and back of the tyre sidewalls. A random figure off the top of my head is 90 psi rear would be something like 60-65 psi at the front. I'm only writing that as I wonder if over-inflation is also a factor with front wheel hub motors as its a very common issue with normal bicycles.

 

Bikes4two

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 21, 2020
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When we fit Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, we don't have punctures anymore
A gave all my Marathon Plus tyres away -why? Firstly the ride feel is not great and because on the rare occasion that I did get a puncture, I found them an absolute sod to remove/replace.

Yes, I know there are techniques to getting tight tyres on/off and I've used them all but on my rims those tyres were meanies.

So I got rid of them and accepted lesser puncture resistant tyres knowing that I would be able to repair them on the roadside without freezing my nuts off phaffing with the Marathon Plus.

Having said that, others in my club swear by them but they are not for me. If you do go for the M+, I'd recommend the carrying of a tool like the VAR to help tyre removal. I've lost count of the number of recommendations/takeup of the VAR amongst my club mates. The VAR is good (there are other such tools but I haven't tried them) but I still wouldn't go back to M+ though!

Each to their own of course.

37785
 

Nosweat

Pedelecer
Sep 2, 2019
81
29
Very happy with my Woosh XF07 front conversion. Hub gear meant rear motor was out for me. Ride is certainly firm though I put my that down at least as much to my Marathon Pluses. I want a low maintenance commuter and crank motors sounded like too much maintenance.

Another big plus for the Woosh front hub is the option of a torque sensor crank. It feels just like a crank motor and I have the lovely bionic leg feel and long battery life of a torque sensor with the reliability of a front hub. Seriously, what's not to like?

(And a question for Woosh - when the torque sensor that goes with the XF07 is so good, why is it possible to specify a torque sensor for mid and front motors but not for rear motors?)
 
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Bikes4two

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Feb 21, 2020
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Ride is certainly firm though I put my that down at least as much to my Marathon Pluses
The wider the tyres and the lower the pressure, the more comfort can be had.

Finding the right lower pressure that doesn't result in 'pinch punctures' is different for each rider weight etc.

Many, many riders put the highest pressure into their tyres in the belief that rolling resistance is reduced , which it may be, but so marginal and at the cost of comfort.
 
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Bonzo Banana

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 29, 2019
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The wider the tyres and the lower the pressure, the more comfort can be had.

Finding the right lower pressure that doesn't result in 'pinch punctures' is different for each rider weight etc.

Many, many riders put the highest pressure into their tyres in the belief that rolling resistance is reduced , which it may be, but so marginal and at the cost of comfort.
Also at the cost of grip and uneven tyre wear.

Action cameras that mirror the image to your phone are a good way of finding the right deflection for your weight. You can place them on the ground facing the tyre closely then sit on the bike viewing your mobile and start testing each tyre pressure until you get the correct deflection of the sidewall front and back. Remember to move your weight around towards the front and back and try bouncing slightly to see the resulting deflection. You should be able to find the perfect pressures front and back then write then down on a card you can carry with you making sure you note the bike they are applicable to and which tyres are fitted plus what your weight is at the time. Unfortunately with low profile tyres it becomes more difficult to get a good suspension position for the tyres simply because there is such low air volume in the tyres but you can still get it right with regards grip. It's easier to get it right with city or mountain bike tyres in my experience because I think the greater air volume means the tolerance is less critical. In my experience perhaps not everyone else's experience if I get road tyres just right for my weight in grip terms they will pretty much ground when I hit a bump in the road but then I am a heavy rider.
 

Charliefox

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 11, 2015
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I have a rear hub with rack mounted battery, the bike rides fine but is very tail heavy especially with shopping in the panniers.
The rear tyre carries a lot of weight, rear punctures are common but never had a front puncture.

I'd expect a down tube battery to give better weigh distribution but then it would be obvious it's an e-bike, with panniers mine just looks like a normal bike.

I have used a town bike with 24v 250w front motor / rear rack battery. Balance and handling were just like a normal bike. This might not be the case for a high powered bike.
Does it matter if the world sees one more ebike?
 

WallyM

Pedelecer
Aug 10, 2020
39
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A gave all my Marathon Plus tyres away -why? Firstly the ride feel is not great and because on the rare occasion that I did get a puncture, I found them an absolute sod to remove/replace.

Yes, I know there are techniques to getting tight tyres on/off and I've used them all but on my rims those tyres were meanies.

So I got rid of them and accepted lesser puncture resistant tyres knowing that I would be able to repair them on the roadside without freezing my nuts off phaffing with the Marathon Plus.

Having said that, others in my club swear by them but they are not for me. If you do go for the M+, I'd recommend the carrying of a tool like the VAR to help tyre removal. I've lost count of the number of recommendations/takeup of the VAR amongst my club mates. The VAR is good (there are other such tools but I haven't tried them) but I still wouldn't go back to M+ though!

Each to their own of course.

View attachment 37785
Yes, tire discussions are as old as tires.
But since the thread went that way, does anyone has experiences with KENDA tires for our e-bikes? I have read that its used OEM tires in one of the bike manufacturers, so I am curious.
 
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Bonzo Banana

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 29, 2019
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Yes, tire discussions are as old as tires.
But since the thread went that way, does anyone has experiences with KENDA tires for our e-bikes? I have read that its used OEM tires in one of the bike manufacturers, so I am curious.
Kenda are a huge manufacturer who also sell under their own brand. Lots of bike brand tyres are made by Kenda. I don't think they are as big as CST though and own brands like Maxxis and make tyres for brands like WTB. There is also PT Hung-A who are a big player but nowhere near the size of CST or Kenda with regard bicycle tyres at least.

Kenda are great tyres in my opinion and often fantastic value. I'm saying that from a long life and lack of punctures perspective rather than performance as none of the Kenda tyres I have had have been low weight.

I've bought a few pairs of Kenda Kwests from Planet X where I've upgraded 700x23 or 700x25 tyres to 700x28mm on road bikes for additional comfort and grip. They used to be £3 each but currently £4 each using a code.


Also have Kenda BMX tyres on a folding bike and some mountain bike tyres on a older mountain bike. Also have some Kenda's from Planet X for 26" wheels that were sometimes as low as £2.50 each. Cruising style but not sure of the name. K130 Cruisers but to be honest I bought them as spares and have never used them. I'm planning to build a gravel bike based on a old GT frame and was planning to use them on the bike.

I have to say I buy tyres pretty much on price while still avoiding the low end generic unbranded tyres. If its cheap and looks decent that is pretty much my criteria. Often I might buy unpopular colours just to get a lower price, i.e. if the black version is £8 and the brown version is £5 I'll have brown tyres on my bike.
 

WallyM

Pedelecer
Aug 10, 2020
39
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Kenda are a huge manufacturer who also sell under their own brand. Lots of bike brand tyres are made by Kenda. I don't think they are as big as CST though and own brands like Maxxis and make tyres for brands like WTB. There is also PT Hung-A who are a big player but nowhere near the size of CST or Kenda with regard bicycle tyres at least.

Kenda are great tyres in my opinion and often fantastic value. I'm saying that from a long life and lack of punctures perspective rather than performance as none of the Kenda tyres I have had have been low weight.

I've bought a few pairs of Kenda Kwests from Planet X where I've upgraded 700x23 or 700x25 tyres to 700x28mm on road bikes for additional comfort and grip. They used to be £3 each but currently £4 each using a code.


Also have Kenda BMX tyres on a folding bike and some mountain bike tyres on a older mountain bike. Also have some Kenda's from Planet X for 26" wheels that were sometimes as low as £2.50 each. Cruising style but not sure of the name. K130 Cruisers but to be honest I bought them as spares and have never used them. I'm planning to build a gravel bike based on a old GT frame and was planning to use them on the bike.

I have to say I buy tyres pretty much on price while still avoiding the low end generic unbranded tyres. If its cheap and looks decent that is pretty much my criteria. Often I might buy unpopular colours just to get a lower price, i.e. if the black version is £8 and the brown version is £5 I'll have brown tyres on my bike.
Thank you so much for those great information. 2Brown" tires make me smile, I haven't seen them for a long long time, but hey used to be pretty standard back in my childhood days.
 
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Michael0987987

Just Joined
Aug 16, 2020
3
0
Have recently bought a conversion kit 1500w an after set up forgot to put pas sensor on and connect it all up so after I done that I had put the magnet on backwards which caused the pedal assist to activate when I peddled in reverse when I took it off to change I noticed my battery indication on led had dropped to nothing an the battery was full and then tried throttle an no response hasn’t worked since I have checked fuse in battery an still nothing any help would be much apeciated
 

WallyM

Pedelecer
Aug 10, 2020
39
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I have recently bought a conversion kit 1500w.
After I have set it up, I noticed that I have forgotten to put "pas sensor" (?) on.
Then I connected it all up, and after I have done that I noticed that I had put the magnet on backwards. This caused the pedal assist to activate when I peddled in reverse.
When I took it off to change I noticed my LED battery indication had dropped to nothing.
Although the battery was full.
I then tried to throttle but no response.
It hasn’t worked since.
I have checked the fuse and the battery, but still nothing happened. Any help would be much appreciated
Hi mate, I have changed your post a bit and hope you aren't angry but I needed that to understand what you mean.
Still there are a few open questions...
a. what is meant by "pas sensor"
b. Did you already changed them magnet from backwards to the right position?
c. The LED indicator - did it ever work or just frequently seized?
 

Bonzo Banana

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 29, 2019
274
129
Thank you so much for those great information. 2Brown" tires make me smile, I haven't seen them for a long long time, but hey used to be pretty standard back in my childhood days.
I've got both Schwalbe Big Ben's and Fat Franks in brown, the Fat Franks have white sidewalls. I actually really like the colour and the more bland black versions were considerably more expensive.
 
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UrbanPuma

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 11, 2007
433
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From personal experience of riding both types, I'm in favour of rear hubs as they feel very much like a normal bike. However, with the front hub bike it was easier to control in snowy weather.