One of the most frequently asked questions we get about the MOKE Urban E-Bike is why we use a hub-drive motor instead of a mid-drive setup like the Super 73 or Buzzraw e-bikes.
So why did we choose a hub-drive motor?
The answer to that is actually quite simple: Because it makes a lot of sense on our particular e-bike!
Every e-bike drive train consists of basically two heavy main parts: The battery, which weighs usually between 6-9 pounds and the engine, which in case of our 500 W engine weighs around 5 pounds. Both components not only add to the total weight of the bike, they also affect the center of gravity and balance of the design quite drastically.
Typical mid-drive layout with battery high up in the rear rack
Some claim that mid-drives offer a better and centered weight distribution, which only is true if you need to mount the battery on a rear rack, in which case a hub-motor actually would add up even more to the weight on the rear. If you are a designer and you have the choice, the rear is actually the last place you would consider mounting a 300 USD plus battery to…
MOKE battery pack (here double pack) low-center mounted and well protected
On the MOKE, we mounted the battery in the center of the frame and the lighter motor in the rear. This in combination with the general layout of the MOKES design actually puts the CG right where it belongs. And it is a good choice if you want to have a long live for your battery pack…
This is especially true when using our big-block 27 Ah double battery pack or when riding double seated.
E-Bike Batteries are expensive and sensitive- We want to protect them
The battery is the most expensive singular part of your bike. Mounting it low in the center of your bike will help to dramatically extend battery livetime and also to keep center of gravity low. Rear mounted batteries move the CG up and rear, a pretty bad combination, even worse when cargo or childseats are added to your bike.
Rack-mounted batteries have another very clear disadvantage when it comes to utility or offroad driving: If you have ever ridden on the rack of a bicycle, you may have noticed that roadbumps transfer hard and heaviliy into vertical movements above the wheel. On bumpy roads, a rack mounted battery is therefore exposed to constant and extensive hits, shaking and bouncing.
As most battery systems are removable and sit in slide-in mechanisms and connectors, these wear out very rapidly under these conditions and the livetime of your battery will not benefit from beeing the most beaten part of your bicycle.
Also, rack-mounted batteries add a lot of weight high on the bike, making it less stable when parked. In case your bike falls, the battery will be coming down to the pavement from average 70 cm of height in a radial motion.
On the MOKE, we therefore decided to give the most expensive part of our bike the best and most protected place. Replacing a motor is 80-180 USD, replacing your battery and the mount will put you back by 300-400 USD.
Tuning and customisation
A lot of MOKE buyers like to tune and customize their machine, which is very easily done with hub-drive systems. Basically, drop in a stronger wheel-motor unit and controller, connect the cables and you are done. On a mid-drive motor setup this is not as simple, as the manufactures of these systems make them highly integrated and need special mounts/ frame counterparts on the frame side, making it hard to replace them with other systems.
Even worse, if the manufacturer of your mid-drive goes out of business or if that engine goes out of production, you are probably into a more serious problem.
Offering Variants of the same bike
E-Bikes face different legal situations in every country and beeing able to easily change power-output/ battery combinations keep us flexible and allows us to offer many different configurations which is a lot harder when your frame needs special mounts frameside to fit a particular mid-drive.
So using hub-drive motors, we can offer anything from sluggish 250 W all the up to 5000 W (if ever needed) without even changing one part on the frame.