Electric motorcycles utilize electric motors rather than gas engines to propel the vehicle. The type of motor used has an important impact on the bike's performance, weight distribution, and riding dynamics. The two most common types of motors used are hub motors and mid-drive motors.
Hub motors are the most frequently used motors in electric motorcycles, especially for lower power and affordable models. In a hub motor, the electric motor is incorporated directly into the center of the wheel hub. This eliminates the need for chains, belts, or gear transmissions.
Advantages of hub motors include mechanical simplicity, low maintenance, and the ability to independently control torque to each wheel. However, having the weight of the motor in the wheel can negatively impact handling and suspension performance. Unsprung weight is increased which reduces traction and ride comfort.
Mid-drive motors are centrally mounted on the frame of the motorcycle and directly drive the crankshaft or transmission. This gives better overall weight distribution compared to hub motors by keeping the mass centered on the bike.
Mid-drive motors provide a more natural riding feel since they act directly through the drivetrain. This allows for regenerative braking through the motor. However, mid-drives are mechanically more complex and maintenance is required.
In summary, hub motors are the simplest while mid-drive systems offer better handling and weight distribution. The choice depends on cost, complexity, and performance goals. Advancements in motor and battery technology will continue to improve electric motorcycles.