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The Best Ebike Hub Motors Of 2021 Helpful Guide

Electric Bikes are a great way to get around these days. They can be fast and exciting to ride. Hub motors are a great and easy way to convert most bikes into a fun and exciting ebike. There are many great high performance and affordable ebike hub motors out there. If this sounds like what you are looking for then keep reading for our recommendations and guide to the best ebike hub motors.

If you are in a hurry, our top choices for the best ebike hub motor are below. If you are interested in more detailed reviews of our top 5 ebike hub motors, a guide to ebike hub motors, and a FAQ please keep reading below.

Top Pick

Editor’s Choice

Best Value

Most Powerful

Best Value 1000 Watt

BAFANG 48V 500W Kit

EbikeBC KIT 500/800W Kit

Voilamart 26″ 48V 1000 Kit

EBIKELING 48V 1200W 700C Kit

AW 26″x1.75″ Rear Wheel Kit

  • Wide variety of wheel and hub options
  • Disc brake compatible
  • Good power and durability

  • Available with LG batteries
  • High torque motor
  • Canadian engineering and support
  • Good performing rear hub motor
  • Low price
  • Rim shape works with rim brakes
  • Very high power and top speed
  • Wheel size and throttle options
  • Easy installation
  • High power
  • Simple to install
  • Low cost

The Top 5 Best Ebike Hub Motors

Below are our top 5 picks for the best ebike hub motors on the market today. We considered features, performance, price, durability, customer service, and customer reviews in our recommendations.

1 – BAFANG 48V 500W Rear Hub Motor Kit

Top Pick

Summary

The Bafang 500 Watt Hub Motor Kit comes in a variety of options that can be used to convert many bikes into ebikes. Bafang Hub and Mid-drive motors are one of the most popular ebike motors available on Amazon.

This motor is rated for 500 watts of power and can produce up to 800 watts peak power. Class 1-3 ebikes are limited to 750 watts. Depending on your battery and wheel choice you may still fall below 750 watts into a class 3 ebike.

The motor is gear driven for better climbing torque. The max torque output of the motor is 50 N m which is about average for a 500 watt motor.

The max motor speed is 400 rpm at 48 volts. This would give you a max top speed of 34.4mph for a 29inch (700c) wheel or 30.9mph for a 26inch wheel.

This motor comes assembled in a variety of wheels. It can is available in 20, 26, 27.5, and 29inch (700c) sizes. This covers the most popular bike wheel sizes. They have the option of freewheel or cassette hubs for all 4 wheel sizes. They have a wide variety of options for displays. They have brake levers and switches to work with cable or hydraulic brakes. The hubs are set up for disc brakes and the rims have u-brake compatible rims. Users have had mixed results with rim brakes. The 700c or 29inch rims are double walled and should be okay for light duty mountain biking on a 29er bike.

They don’t have hub motors to work with thru-bolt mounted wheels or wheels with boost spacing. I’m not aware of any hub motor right now that is compatible with those wheel types.

The included assembly instructions don’t help a lot. Fortunately, this is a typical hub motor installation. There are many videos on YouTube showing in detail how to convert a bike into an ebike with a hub motor. The most challenging thing is removing a crank arm to install the pedal sensor.

The Bafang hub motor is a well made unit that can be mounted on a large variety of bikes. It has adequate power for most riders. This is our top pick for the best ebike hub motor available today.

There is also a front wheel version available. Click here to see the front hub motor conversion kit on Amazon.

Specifications

  • Motor Power – 500 watts
  • Direct Drive or Geared – Geared
  • Freewheel or Cassette – Can be ordered for a freewheel or cassette hub
  • Wheel size – 20inch, 26inch, 27.5inch, 700c/29inch
  • Voltage – 36/43/48 volts
  • Max Torque – 50 N m
  • Max RPM – 400 rpm at 48 volts

What we liked

  • Wide variety of wheel and hub options
  • Disc brake compatible
  • Good power and durability

What we didn’t like

  • Poor instructions
  • Rim shape doesn’t work great with rim brakes

2 – EbikeBC KIT 500/800W E Bike Complete Conversion Kit

Editor’s Choice

Summary

The EbikeBC KIT 500/800W Conversion Kit is a high quality hub motor and conversion system. It uses a geared brushless hub motor and can be combined with a battery pack using high quality branded cells. EbikeBC is a Canadian company. They do their own engineering for the motors and systems. They make a variety of ebike conversion kits as well as distributing complete ebikes.

The geared brushless motor produces 80 Nm of torque with 36 volts input. This is above average for a 36 volt motor so it should have excellent power for hill climbing.

This hub motor comes in 26inch, 27.5inch and 29inch (700c) wheel sizes. They also have a 26inch fatbike version. They only sell front wheel versions on Amazon. At www.ebikeBC.com they also have rear wheel versions for all the wheel sizes.

For versions with a battery pack, they only use high quality cells from LG, Panasonic and Samsung. They do not use generic battery cells. Branded cells have consistently shown that they out perform generic cells. They will have higher voltage under load with less voltage sag. They are worth the extra expense if you want higher performance from your ebike.

Installation is straight forward. The conversion kit includes all necessary items. They have good customer service if you need help with installation. They also have installation services if you are near their office in Vancouver, BC.

This is a high quality package with good performance. It is my top pick for best ebike hub motor.

Specifications

  • Motor Power – 500 watt
  • Direct Drive or Geared – Geared
  • Freewheel or Cassette – N/A Front wheel conversion only
  • Wheel size – 26, 27.5, 700c (29) inches
  • Voltage – 36 volt
  • Max Torque – 80 Nm
  • Max RPM – 24mph

What we liked

  • Available with LG batteries
  • High torque motor
  • Canadian engineering and customer support

What we didn’t like

  • High price
  • No cassette rear hub option

3 – Voilamart 26″ Rear Wheel 48V 1000W E-Bike Conversion Kit

Best Value

Summary

The Voilamart 26″ Rear Wheel 48V 1000W Hub Motor is a good cheap basic reliable motor. It only comes in 26 inch versions. It is available in regular 26 inch wheel and fat bike wheel versions.

This hub motor has a direct drive motor rated for 1000 watts. It is limited to 750 watts and 19.88mph from the factory. That can be inhibitor can be turned off allowing it to go up to 30mph at 1000 watts output.

The rear hub motor comes with a 7 speed freewheel. Almost all low end bikes come with 7 speed shifters and derailleurs. It should work with almost any bike with a 7 speed rear driveline.

The hub motor has disc brake mounts on it. The rim shape also work very well with v-brakes if your bike doesn’t have discs.

The instructions that come with this motor are very poor. If this is your first ebike conversion you will need to find some videos online to help. The conversion is typical of any hub motor. This conversion kit does not include a battery. You will have to find a compatible battery to use with it. Almost any 36, 43, or 48 volt battery will work.

Overall the Voilamart ebike rear hub motor is a good basic high value motor. A few things such as the instructions could be improved. This makes it our best value pick for best ebike hub motor.

Specifications

  • Motor Power – Restricted to 750 watts
  • Direct Drive or Geared – direct drive
  • Freewheel or Cassette – freewheel
  • Wheel size – 26inch
  • Voltage – 48 volt
  • Max RPM – Max speed restricted to 19.88 mph. 30mph with inhibitor removed

What we liked

  • Good performing rear hub motor
  • Low price
  • Rim shape works well with rim brakes

What we didn’t like

  • Very vague instructions
  • The controller doesn’t fit in the included bag

4 – EBIKELING 48V 1200W 700C Direct Drive Waterproof Electric Bike Kit

Best Most Powerful Ebike Hub Motor

Summary

The EBIKELING 48V 1200W Ebike Conversion Kit is for people wanting a fast bike. This ebike conversion has well above 750 watts so it does not comply as a Class 1-3 ebike. This means it is not street legal in many places.
They make versions of this motor for 700c (29inch), 26 inch and 26inch fatbike wheels. They offer front and rear wheel versions with a couple options for the display. They do not have a version that works with a cassette rear hub limiting you to mid to low end bikes.

Top speeds with a 48 volt battery are around 30mph. Some people have used 52 volt batteries and gotten speeds around 32mph. On most pedal bikes this feels really really fast. It’s faster than the brakes, tires and geometry of most bikes were designed for.

The rear wheel conversion can only go on bikes that use freewheels. This means it is limited to bikes that are $400 and below. The brake levers are for cable brakes which again are not found on bikes above that price point.

The included instructions are really poor. You will need to find YouTube videos for installation help if you need any. The good thing is that all the wire connections are color coded making installation very easy. The only difficult thing about installation is installing the pedal sensor and torque arms. Do not attempt to ride this bike without torque arms. You may destroy the drop outs and bike frame without them.

This conversions will work without the pedal sensors and brake cutout switches. Pedal assist functionality will not work without a deal sensor. Leaving off break switches means that your motor will keep running if you hit the brakes.

This is a good ebike hub for those wishing to make a very fast electric bike. It uses quality components that are easy to install and a variety of wheel and control options.

Specifications

  • Motor Power – 1450 watts
  • Direct Drive or Geared – Direct drive
  • Freewheel or Cassette – freewheel
  • Wheel size – 700c (29inch), 26inch and 26inch fatbike
  • Voltage – 48 volt
  • Max Torque – 30 Nm
  • Max RPM – 430 RPM

What we liked

  • Very high power and top speed
  • Wheel size, throttle, and display options
  • Easy installation despite the really poor instructions

What we didn’t like

  • No cassette wheel option
  • Poor instructions and customer support

5 – AW 26″x1.75″ Rear Wheel Electric Bicycle Motor Kit

Best Value 1000 Watt Ebike Hub Motor

Summary

The AW 26inch Rear Hub Motor Conversion Kit only comes as a rear wheel hub motor with a 7 speed freewheel on a 26 inch wheel. This limits the bikes that can be converted with it. The ideal candidate will be a $400 mountain bike with 26 inch wheels and cable pull disc brakes.

The specified top speed is 28mph. Users said they have been able to get up to 35mph using 52 volt batteries. This may not be street legal where you are. You should choose your bike carefully and work your way up to those kind of speeds to find out if the bike can handle it.

Installation is straight forward. The instructions are very poor. There are several good videos on YouTube showing how to install the AW rear hub drive wheel. The conversion kid does not include torque arms. You should seriously consider adding them anyways due to the motor power.

Performance is very good. It easily can hit 28mph or higher on flat ground even with heavier riders over 200 lbs. It does good for climbing hills for a direct drive motor. The one downside to its performance is that the motor does not freewheel well. As soon as you let off the throttle the motor has a lot of drag on the wheel.

The AW 26inch rear hub motor conversion is a great value for someone who wants a cheap fast ebike. It only fits a limited number of bikes. It gives a lot of performance for not that much cost.

Specifications

  • Motor Power – 1000 watts
  • Direct Drive or Geared – Direct drive
  • Freewheel or Cassette – Freewheel
  • Wheel size – 26 inch
  • Voltage – 48 volt
  • Max RPM – 28mph

What we liked

  • High power
  • Simple to install
  • Low cost

What we didn’t like

  • No torque arms included
  • Motor doesn’t freewheel when coasting

Ebike Hub Motor Guide

Hub motors make quick and easy ebike conversions. There are many good reasons why you should choose a hub motor for your ebike. Which motor is best for your ebike? Should you choose a front or rear wheel hub motor? Should you choose direct drive or a geared motor? Let’s explore all these ebike hub motor questions below.

Why choose a hub motor for an ebike?

Low Cost. Most are made in China for very low cost. They are simple. The motor can be geared or direct drive inside of the hub.

Easy to install. They replace the front or rear wheel with a new wheel. That is all there is to it. Rear wheel hub motors will have a freewheel or freehub (cassette) built into them. Freewheels are generally for 7 or 8 speed rear cogs on under $400 bikes. Freehubs and cassettes are found on 9 through 12 speed rear cogs on most bikes above $400.

Good for high speed riding. The motor directly drives the wheel so it is efficient without losses in the pedal driveline. They can make the bike feel more like a moped or motorcycle. In throttle only mode it makes the bike go quick. They can’t take advantage of the bikes gearing because they are directly driving the wheel. The motor must work much harder for climbing.

Reliable. They directly power the wheel so they don’t need the pedal driveline. If your chain brakes, you can still use throttle only mode to get home. Hub motors work if you break the rear derailleur or freewheel as well. This makes hub motors much more reliable than mid drive motors.

See our guide to hub motors vs mid drive motors for ebikes to learn more.

Front Hub vs Rear Hub motors

Front hub motors have the advantage that they are easier to install. Front hub motors need to be bolted into the fork. You lose your front wheel quick release. If you need to put your bike in your car or anywhere with the front wheel off, a front hub motor will make it difficult. When you are riding with a powered front wheel you can get a similar torque steering effect that you get with a front wheel drive car. Use caution when accelerating and turning with a front hub motor until you get used to it.

Rear hub motors get much better traction especially going up hills. As you go up a steep hill your weight is mostly over the rear wheel. Rear hub motors can be found that work with freewheels or cassettes.

Your bike must have normal spacing with quick release axles to use a hub motor. There are no hub motors for boost spacing or thru-bolted front or rear axles.

Direct Drive vs Geared Hub Motors

Geared motors have a reduction gear between the motor and the wheel. Geared motors are better for short steep climbs. The motor can spin faster making it easier to start and power up the climb. The motor can transmit more torque to the wheel thanks to the gear drive. The gears themselves are a potential failure point if they are not sized to handle the torque of the motor. The gear drive adds extra drag to the system when your trying to go fast.

Direct drive motors have no gearing. The motor spins at the RPM the wheel turns. When going slow and climbing hills the motor must be able to operate at low RPMS. Going slow up hills causes the motor to generate a lot of heat do to the load it is under. Direct drive motors work better for higher speed flat land usage.

Motor kv

All electric motors have something called a kv value. This is in units of RPM/volt. This dictates the maximum RPM of your motor for a given voltage input. The speed controller cannot make the motor go faster than this. You can learn more about motor constants here.

What this really means is, if you want a faster ebike you need to choose a motor that can go that fast. Adding more battery voltage is the only way to make a given motor spin faster.

See our article on making your ebike go faster to learn more about motor properties.

Ebike Hub Motor FAQ

Q: Which motor is best for an electric bike?

There are advantages and disadvantages to hub motors and mid-drive motors.

Front wheel hub motors are the very easiest to install but the worst for performance.

Rear wheel hub motors are the next easiest to install. They work great for high speed riding and okay for climbing. High powered rear drive hub motors can give the bike the feel of a motorcycle.

Mid-drive motors have the most natural feel with pedal assist. They can take advantage of the bikes gearing for both climbing and high speed riding. They suffer for reliability since they use the bikes chain and pedal driveline.

Q: Are hub motors reliable?

Hub motors simple are very reliable. They don’t rely on the bikes pedal driveline to operate. You can break the chain, front and rear derailleur and freewheel and the hub motor will still operate. Some hub motors are water resistant or waterproof so they can be ridden in the rain too. If you want a simple reliable ebike then a hub motor is your best choice.

Q: Are bafang Motors Good?

Bafang is a Chinese based company that makes hub and mid drive ebike motors. They do have a sales and service office in the USA. Their mid drive conversion motor is extremely popular with the DIY crowd. It can convert almost any bike out there into an ebike by replacing the bottom bracket. Bafang motors are as good and reliable as any other ebike motor manufacturer. They have proven themselves for years. There is a lot of information out there how to do ebike conversions using their system.

Q: How does an ebike hub motor work?

The hub motor works by bolting the motor shaft to the front or rear dropouts on your bike and driving the wheel. The body of the motor is built into the wheel hub. Hub motors can be either gear driven or direct drive. Gear driven hub motors have a planetary gearbox between the motor and the hub. Geared motors have better torque for going up hills than direct drive motors.

Q: How fast does a 1000w electric bike go?

The average 1000 watt ebike has a top speed somewhere between 25 and 35mph. There is no direct relationship between watts and top speed. Watts are a measure of power like the horsepower for your car. 1 horsepower is equal to 745.7 watts. See our article on ebike watts, amps, and volts to learn more.

Q: How long does an electric bike motor last?

A well made ebike hub motor can last for years. You will wear out many other parts on your bike first before the motor wears out. Tires, brakes, chains, freewheels or cassettes will all wear out first. A well made and properly maintained hub motor can last for 10,000 miles or more.

Q: Can you ride electric bikes in the rain?

It depends on the ebike. Some are made with water resistant or waterproof components. Some are not. You need to check the manual for your specific ebike or ebike drive system to find out. If your ebike was a conversion, you need to check both the drive system and the battery pack. Exposure to water can damage electronics and battery cells if they aren’t protected.

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About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.

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