Difference Between Front-wheel and Rear-wheel Ebikes | KBO Bike

Difference Between Front-wheel and Rear-wheel Ebikes | KBO Bike

With the increasing number of electric bicycles on the market, we're seeing more examples of where a motor may be installed on a bicycle. On an electric bicycle, two primary motor positions will be discussed in this article. It is about 'full electric bicycles,' not traditional bikes that were converted with electric bike conversion kits, which have somewhat different criteria but arrive at the same result. To be honest, there is no single "absolute ideal" location for a motor, and this article contains no revolutionary new technical information. The battery placement, battery size, kind of gears, frame type, and other factors are usually taken into account by anybody contemplating purchasing an electric bike. Some folks concerned with the technical elements may be picky about the hub motor's location. Some folks are pickier about the braking mechanism on their electric bicycle.

KBO Breeze step-thru electric bike

Though others are positioning the motor on electric bikes, we will be discussing the front wheel and rear wheel.

In actuality, the difference between a front hub and a rear hub motor electric bicycle is little. Both behave similarly, have comparable design restrictions, and are highly efficient at moving the bicycle without the need of a drive chain (direct to the spokes). The major distinction between front and rear hub motors is where they are mounted on the electric bicycle. The positioning of these motors causes all of the other changes that affect power, energy, weight, safety, and other factors.

We will be discussing some of these other changes about their effects on the e-bike.


In practice, you want your electric bike's weight to be distributed as evenly as possible from front to rear. You don't want to put all of your weight on one spot. Most battery packs are positioned in the center or back of the electric bicycle, which implies that the front hub motor aids in weight distribution forward and can enhance the electric bicycle's weight distribution. It has been discovered that front-wheel drive has the weight distributed more evenly. With a rear-mounted battery (or, for that matter, a seat-tube-mounted battery), placing the engine on the front wheel makes the bike seem more stable. Not only when riding but also when walking. The rear wheel and spokes are put under a lot of strain - your weight, pedaling force, motor power, motor weight, and even the size of the motor make for a more challenging wheel to manufacture than a traditional bicycle hub. Electric bicycles with rear hub motors are notorious for breaking spokes on a regular basis. In this term, compared to the rear-wheel drive, the front-drive has a better weight distribution.


Front-wheel drives require relatively little maintenance because the front wheel (motor power) and rear-wheel share the load on the bike (human power and rider weight). It also physically isolates the motor system from the other bicycle components, making maintenance easier and spare parts more aligned with standard bike parts. Allows for any sort of rear-wheel gearings, such as internal hub gears. You'll end up with a well-balanced and highly stable bike regardless of where the battery goes.


Some riders want their electric bicycle to look like a regular bicycle. A front hub motor stands out on the commuter bike; however, a rear motor may be mistaken for a regular bike. The rear motor is not that noticeable, as the brake disc plate could cover it. This may also dissuade burglars interested in stealing electric bikes. This is a benefit of a rear motor over a front motor.


Small bursts of force from the throttle have a remarkable stabilizing impact on very soft ground.

This stability comes from the fact that a motor-driven front wheel always "pulls" in the direction it is pointed, whereas "steering" the front wheel to maintain balance (as in a conventional bike or rear-wheel drive electric) can cause it to "plow" sideways instead of rolling in the direction it is pointed.


Due to the weight distribution problem, front hub motors are also marginally safer to use than rear hub motors. What is the cause of this? If all of your weight is centered on the back of the bike frame, you may inadvertently break your wheel when accelerating, perhaps resulting in a dangerous accident. Of course, some riders may like the ease with which rear hub motors may enter a wheelie, particularly if they want to do tricks or stunts.


Another factor to consider is traction. While moving, the front-wheel-drive fixes the weight distribution issue; it also introduces a new one: traction control. Because the front wheel of an electric bicycle is already light, the front hub motor's traction is less than that of the rear wheel.

The higher the voltage and the smaller the wheels, the more probable the front hub motor may "peel" during acceleration. 36V in-wheel motors on 26-inch in-wheel motors normally maintain adequate traction, while 20-inch front in-wheel motors and 48V in-wheel motors on any wheel size will most likely experience front tire spin. The back wheels of your bicycle carry the majority of your weight, which is why rear hub motors have higher traction than front hub motors. Almost all motors run on 48V or higher voltage.

The traction is a lot better with rear-wheel-drive bicycles than a front-wheel drive. This is particularly important for those who use an electric mountain bike as they are more likely to be going off-road when the ground is less firm and therefore requires a better grip.


A front-wheel-drive is suitable for 'Everyday riders' who ride to travel around the city with the odd rail trail and merely want a comfortable, safe, and dependable e-bike. They benefit from a low-maintenance, uncomplicated e-bike with decent balance and internal hub gears. Because they mostly ride on paved roads, these cyclists don't suffer as much from the drawbacks. Some of the downsides are positives for these cyclers; for example, the lack of a fast-release front wheel reduces the possibility of theft. And, on a bike with an 'upright' seating position, a heavy front wheel isn't a hindrance when riding and really adds to stability. Commercial and fleet use is another 'sweet spot' for these e-bikes, where predictable maintenance requirements and prices are critical to the fleet's performance. As a result, it's a popular choice for delivery e-bikes (such as those used by Dominos Pizza in New Zealand and Australia), post-e-bikes (such as those used by NZ Post and Australia Post).

A rear-wheel-drive is suitable for riders who frequently travel off-road on steep/slippery terrain. Also, city riders prefer the feel of the ride and are willing to pay for greater rear-wheel maintenance. It works best on high-end e-bikes with rear wheels made with high-quality components and high manufacturing standards. If you're on a tight budget, a front hub motor is a way to go.

In Summary:

  • Front hub motors can assist in balancing the weight better because greater weight is usually concentrated on the back wheel.
  • Front wheels also get fewer flats than rear wheels because they kick up road debris and prepare it for the rear wheels. The back wheel is unaffected by a front hub motor, allowing for simpler tube and tire changes.
  • However, because a bicycle's front wheel has less weight, it has less traction, and higher powerful front hub motors can produce burnouts when pegged on the throttle.
  • Because front forks aren't as strong as rear dropouts, a powerful front hub motor can harm the fork over time; however, this can be alleviated by using a torque arm. Strong hub motors with a power output of 750 W or more are best housed in the back of a bike.
  • Better traction and frame installation are two advantages of rear hub motors.
  • When steering at faster speeds, they also don't produce an unexpected gyroscopic effect.
  • Rear hub motors offer you a more motorcycle-like pushing sensation rather than the pulling sensation of front motors.

The differences between a front and rear hub motor are practically undetectable after establishing a constant pace and driving in a straight path.