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A Comprehensive Guide to Electric Bike Motors

It’s no secret that electric bike motors have revolutionised the way we travel. These powerful battery bikes provide us with an eco-friendly means of transport while allowing us to exercise.

Whether you want to beat traffic with an e-bike or explore new places, understanding how electric bike motors work will help you make an informed decision. This electric bike motors guide will walk you through everything you need to know about electric bike motors.

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How Do Electric Bike Motors Work?

You can think of an electric bike motor as the heart of your e-bike. The motor provides the power to propel you forward even when you’re not cycling. Understanding how these motors work will help you understand the performance capabilities of your electric motorbike. Here’s what you need to know about your bike’s motor.

1. Torque (NM)

    Torque is the rotational force that the electric motor generates. It is measured in Newton Metres (NM) and determines your electric bike's acceleration and climbing ability. The higher the torque, the more capable your e-bike will be at conquering steep hills and challenging terrains. Torque sensors have been introduced before and you can examine the benefits and drawbacks of it.

    2. Speed (RPM)

      Speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), which dictates how fast your electric bike can go. If you love speed, consider investing in an e-bike with a high RPM. 

      However, different countries have regulations on how fast electric bikes can go. For example, in Australia and the UK, the limit is 15.5mph, while in the US, the limit ranges between 20 and 28mph.

      3. Power (W)

        The motor’s torque and speed are what determine your e-bike’s power. It is the overall measure of an electric bike motor's capability. When shopping for an e-bike, consider the power capability by selecting a bike that balances the torque and speed you’re comfortable with.

        If you love cruising empty roads and discovering new trails, a higher-power motor would be the best fit for you. On the other hand, if you need a bike for leisurely rides and commuting, you can go for a lower-power motor.

        4. Throttle vs. Pedal Assist (PAS)

          Electric bikes have throttle mode and pedal assist model of operation.

          When you engage the throttle mode, the motor takes over, and your e-bike starts moving forward without needing to pedal. You can stop pedaling or keep pedaling, but your e-bike will keep moving with the help of the motor.

          On the other hand, you activate the pedal assist mode by pedaling your bike. As you start pedaling, the motor senses your effort and provides additional power to make it easier for you to ride. The more you pedal, the more power the motor produces, making your ride smoother and effortless.

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          What Are the Different Electric Bike Classes?

          Electric bikes are classified according to their motor power and maximum speed. There are three main classes: classes 1,2 and 3.

          Class 1 

          These electric bikes have a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.  Although they don’t have a throttle, you can still use the pedal assist mode for a comfortable ride. They are great for beginners and older adults who need an e-bike for commuting or navigating the city.

          Class 2 

          Class 2 electric bikes, such as the Himiway Cruiser and Step-Thru,  are an upgrade of class 1 bikes. They feature the same speed of 20 miles per hour, but they come with a throttle to propel you forward when you’re tired of pedaling. These bikes are great for riders who cycle for physical fitness and want to cover long distances easily. 

          Class 3 

          Class 3 electric bikes are perfect for riders who want a bit more speed. The maximum speed of the bikes is 28 miles per hour, most of them come with speedometers, and some even come with lights.

          Types of Electric Bike Motors

          1. Mid-Drive Motor

            This type of motor is designed and located near the pedals in the middle of the bike's frame. Its central location enhances its balance and efficiency and gives e-bike lovers a natural riding experience. With a mid-drive motor, you'll have better control over your e-bike's speed and power. Bikes such as Himiway Cobra Pro motor ebike with mid-drive motors are perfect for off-road adventures or hilly terrains. The Cobra Pro has a 1000W mid-drive motor, 400 lb load capacity, and can go 80 miles on a single charge.

            2. Brushless Gear Hub Motor

              If you love going for quiet, smooth rides, consider investing in an e-bike with a brushless gear hub motor. This motor is located at the rear wheel, making your motor silent and smooth. It uses gears to enhance the power generated by the motor. This added feature lets riders effortlessly cruise through different terrains.

              3. Direct-Drive Hub Motors

                Direct-drive hub motors are located at the front or rear wheel hub and connect the motor and the wheel. With a direct-drive hub motor, you'll experience powerful acceleration and higher speeds. However, these motors are heavy, which may affect the overall weight of your electric bike.

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                What Do Power Ratings Mean When Choosing an Electric Bike Motor?

                When choosing an electric bike motor, you'll see power ratings written in watts (W). This power rating indicates how much electrical energy the bike’s motor can convert into mechanical power. 

                The higher the power rating, the more powerful the motor is, meaning it can handle different terrains and help you reach higher speeds.

                Remember to prioritise your needs as you research your aspiring e-bike’s power rating. For example, if you plan to use the e-bike to commute on flat terrains and smooth roads, you can go for a  motor with a lower power rating of around 250W. However, if you love off-road adventures and want an e-bike to help you climb steep hills, consider getting a powerful motor of 500W and above.

                FAQs About Electric Bike Motor

                1. Is It Normal for My Ebike Motor To Make Noise?

                It's normal for your motor to make some noise, but if you hear loud or unusual sounds, it could mean there's an issue with your motor. To start, check if your gears are properly greased. If the noise continues, have a professional examine your e-bike.

                2. Can I Upgrade My E-Bike’s Motor?

                You can upgrade your motor to make your electric bike faster and lighter. But before you do that, consult with the bike’s manufacturer or professional. They can help you choose a motor compatible with your bike's controller and battery.


                From the powerful torque of mid-drive motors to the smooth rides with hub motors, there is a motor type to suit every rider's needs.  Whether you're looking for a powerful e-bike motor for off-road adventures or a leisurely motor for your daily commute, there is an e-bike for everyone. With Himiway's diverse e-bikes, you can find the electric bike motor that suits your needs.