Hub motor industry dying?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
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rbrak29   10 µW

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Hub motor industry dying?

Post by rbrak29 » Aug 04 2019 9:00am

With the demise of BionX and now GoSwiss, is the hub motor industry dying. Are mid-drives the way of the future? I have two BionX systems purchased six months before they went out of business. Batteries and other parts are becoming very scarce. I do enjoy DIY projects, I also like the security of having warranty service and support (did purchase the 3 year BionX warranty..now worthless).

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by furcifer » Aug 04 2019 9:51am

rbrak29 wrote:
Aug 04 2019 9:00am
With the demise of BionX and now GoSwiss, is the hub motor industry dying. Are mid-drives the way of the future? I have two BionX systems purchased six months before they went out of business. Batteries and other parts are becoming very scarce. I do enjoy DIY projects, I also like the security of having warranty service and support (did purchase the 3 year BionX warranty..now worthless).
I don't think hub motors will disappear, they seem well suited to applications <750W, which is the "legal" limit in most places. When you get +1000W, hub motors are kind of heavy for most bicycle wheels and frames. The "sweet spot", in my opinion, is around 1000-2500W, which seems to be better suited to mid drives.
I think it depends on the law more than anything. If legislators pull their heads out of their butts and open up the roads to 2000 or 3000W machines I think mid drives will swamp the market. If they start enforcing the law more strictly they could wipe out the mid drive market pretty quick.

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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by MadRhino » Aug 04 2019 10:04am

I think some still forget about Asia
Where most of the ebikes are riding this planet
and where most of them are hub powered

Hub motor industry in the west world can only be hi tech development, for the mass production is Chinese and can’t be beat.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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sleepy_tired   10 W

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by sleepy_tired » Aug 04 2019 10:44am

Hub motors are not going anywhere. What is needed really boils down to geared hub motors that don't suffer from overheating issues at higher power. This way you get your single speed reduction gear to keep the motor lightweight while still being able to package it nicely into a bicycle form factor.

The Mac motor comes closest to that now.
in my opinion, is around 1000-2500W, which seems to be better suited to mid drives.
Not the way mid-drives are done on bicycles. Once you get into decent power levels routing that through the derailleur or IGH is insane. It's just really poor design. The way mid-drives are done on bicycles only makes sense in under powered bikes were you need to change gears to make up for the lack of torque. And the only reason anybody needs this is because of limitations imposed by government.

The ideal drivetrain for bicycles is the same as every other successful EV in existance: Single speed reduction. And it needs to be engineered to handle the torque of a BLDC motor. Which means on a mid-drive bicycle you can still pedal you need a left hand drive just for the motor. Just like they did on early motorcycles that were still transitioning away from "bicycles with motors".

But since nobody is actually doing that outside of motorcycles then hub motors are your best bet if you want reliable long-term transportation out of a 750w or greater ebike.

Bionx sucked because they locked you into proprietary controllers and batteries. For a 'DIY conversion kit' it was extremely hostile approach towards their customers. Bionx made nice motors, but there was no way in hell I would buy one because of this. I don't know much about GoSwiss, but from what I can see they were screwed from the get-go by being based out of EU as well as being hostile to their own customers in the same way that Bionx was.

I understand how important it is for these companies to maintain a dealer network and make sure that dealers make money from them in order to get the dealers to push their products onto the buying public... but you can't be hostile towards your customers and expect to stay in business long term. Especially when your audience is of the more technical DIY-type people.

Especially not when those customers can buy a 200 dollar kit off of Ebay or Amazon that does pretty much the same thing. Even if it's crappy quality and weighs too much it's still 1/10th the price.
Hub motor industry in the west world can only be hi tech development, for the mass production is Chinese and can’t be beat.
The idea that 'West is High Tech' may have been true 10 years ago, but nowadays everything is done in China. Not just manufacturing, but also design. If you want to do electronics development at scale you really need to go to China.

Doing it in USA is just like trying to run a marathon with one leg tied behind your back. In the EU it's even worse.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by MadRhino » Aug 04 2019 11:09am

There is a lot to improve in hub motors. Anybody, anywhere in the world, can make a prototype and get patents. This might hold and make profit for a while, but sooner or later China will make it cheaper. Even if you develop in China, some other Chinese co. will copy it.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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rbrak29   10 µW

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by rbrak29 » Aug 04 2019 11:27am

sleepy_tired wrote:
Aug 04 2019 10:44am

Bionx sucked because they locked you into proprietary controllers and batteries. For a 'DIY conversion kit' it was extremely hostile approach towards their customers. Bionx made nice motors, but there was no way in hell I would buy one because of this. I don't know much about GoSwiss, but from what I can see they were screwed from the get-go by being based out of EU as well as being hostile to their own customers in the same way that Bionx was.

I understand how important it is for these companies to maintain a dealer network and make sure that dealers make money from them in order to get the dealers to push their products onto the buying public... but you can't be hostile towards your customers and expect to stay in business long term. Especially when your audience is of the more technical DIY-type people.
I was well aware that BionX was a closed system, but a closed system with a good quality product and a company that has been around for 15 years. It did not help that GM sued them over a failed attempt to develop a GM branded e-bike, which I believe was a mid-drive. I will need to stick with hub drives as I have a Pinion drive in the front on a ICE trike. I have too much invested in my trikes to jump to mid-drives. Mid-drives place too much stress on the drive train and I cannot brake and regen with mid-drives.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by furcifer » Aug 04 2019 11:39am

sleepy_tired wrote:
Aug 04 2019 10:44am
Not the way mid-drives are done on bicycles. Once you get into decent power levels routing that through the derailleur or IGH is insane. It's just really poor design. The way mid-drives are done on bicycles only makes sense in under powered bikes were you need to change gears to make up for the lack of torque. And the only reason anybody needs this is because of limitations imposed by government.

The ideal drivetrain for bicycles is the same as every other successful EV in existance: Single speed reduction.
That's a good point.

I think some of the problem right now is manufacturers seem to be trying to service both the commuting market, and the cyclist market. (Which is in part because of legislation regarding PAS) The cyclist market seems to want a range of low gears while the commuters probably need fewer high gears.

I think if they removed some of the restrictions the market would open up to commuters and something like a mid drive with a good CVT or CVP would put an end to bigger hub motors. Right now though it's hard to rationalize putting money into R&D for what essentially amounts to an "illegal" product. The whole "off road use only" is only going to last for so long.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by donn » Aug 04 2019 11:42am

sleepy_tired wrote:
Aug 04 2019 10:44am
The ideal drivetrain for bicycles is the same as every other successful EV in existance: Single speed reduction. And it needs to be engineered to handle the torque of a BLDC motor. Which means on a mid-drive bicycle you can still pedal you need a left hand drive just for the motor.
I'm weak on EV design - isn't "single speed reduction" what we have in the "geared hub"?

What's the advantage in moving that motor out of the hub, and then connecting it with its own drive? Better heat dissipation? "Mid drive" means to me that you have the bicycle's multi-speed gear reduction in the motor drive train. If the motor's on a different drive train, what's it doing in the "mid" (i.e., bottom bracket, which is on the front on my bicycle but at any rate is certainly in the bicycle drive train.) I'm confused.
But since nobody is actually doing that outside of motorcycles then hub motors are your best bet if you want reliable long-term transportation out of a 750w or greater ebike.
It seems to me from the occasional tale of woe here, where someone tries to come up with an efficient ride that can go up hills and not melt down, contrary to popular belief in the EV world, we need multi speed transmission. That's why "mid drives", and that solution's tendency to fail in a more powerful setup doesn't resolve the need behind it.
Bionx sucked because they locked you into proprietary controllers and batteries.
Especially the batteries, batteries need to be generic. Just like they are in electric cars ... or, will be someday, if electric cars ever catch on. But controllers? the market segment that's going to want to swap controllers has to be pretty small.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by Grantmac » Aug 04 2019 12:28pm

There are now 3 different manufacturers doing a LHD setup on their factory bikes, plus Lightning Rods doing a DIY setup.
At least one is freewheeling the rear. Boxxbike and Lightning Rods are replacing the rear brake with regen. The last bike has a rear rotor but may also regen, it's new so details are scarce.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by John in CR » Aug 04 2019 3:11pm

rbrak29 wrote:
Aug 04 2019 9:00am
With the demise of BionX and now GoSwiss, is the hub motor industry dying. Are mid-drives the way of the future? I have two BionX systems purchased six months before they went out of business. Batteries and other parts are becoming very scarce. I do enjoy DIY projects, I also like the security of having warranty service and support (did purchase the 3 year BionX warranty..now worthless).
Of course the makers of over-priced items go out of business, as they should. Hubmotors are produced and sold by the tens of millions of units in China each year, and they power the vast majority of ebikes made, so no the hub motor industry isn't dying. That's the funniest thread title I've seen on ES in a very long time. Thanks for the laugh.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by flat tire » Aug 04 2019 3:44pm

Hub motor industry is dominated by China. This is so overwhelmingly obvious that you should do some kind of penance just for wondering.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by furcifer » Aug 04 2019 4:05pm

John in CR wrote:
Aug 04 2019 3:11pm
That's the funniest thread title I've seen on ES in a very long time. Thanks for the laugh.
Ouch, too harsh.

All the indications are there. Bosch and Yamaha don't seem interested in hub motors and it would take 100's of Chinese manufacturers to have the same market influence as they do.

Even by your own admission, the Chinese don't seem to drive trends so much as copy them.

Plus hub motors are old tech. Even on a leveling play field this might mean they're facing obsolescence.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by rbrak29 » Aug 04 2019 4:51pm

John in CR wrote:
Aug 04 2019 3:11pm
Of course the makers of over-priced items go out of business, as they should. Hubmotors are produced and sold by the tens of millions of units in China each year, and they power the vast majority of ebikes made, so no the hub motor industry isn't dying. That's the funniest thread title I've seen on ES in a very long time. Thanks for the laugh.
Perhaps the thread should be titled "Non-Chinese hub motor industry dying". I guess there is still Neodrive. HP Velotechnik just went with Neodrive over now dead GoSwiss.

Oh, I forgot, and Specialized dropped hub motors for mid-drives awhile ago.

I am glad I can make someone laugh.

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efMX Trials Electric Freeride   100 kW

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by efMX Trials Electric Freeride » Aug 04 2019 5:03pm

hub motors are definitely dying out .. for pedal bikes;).. but many here are not riding pedal bikes, but scooter motors mounted to bicycles.. :shock:
some ride & sk8 videos:
metacafe.com/channels/NATAS666DAMIEN
http://www.youtube.com/natas666damien
i have nothing for sale.. :)

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by flat tire » Aug 04 2019 5:12pm

furcifer wrote:
Aug 04 2019 4:05pm
I have no clue that china's ebike market completely and totally dominates the rest of the world by well over an order of magnitude
lol...

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by furcifer » Aug 04 2019 5:35pm

flat tire wrote:
Aug 04 2019 5:12pm
furcifer wrote:
Aug 04 2019 4:05pm
I have no clue that china's ebike market completely and totally dominates the rest of the world by well over an order of magnitude
lol...
Don't misquote me. It's libelous. If you use my username to fabricate quotes I'll have you banned.

I don't know what the Chinese market is. I doubt you can produce numbers and are talking out of your ass. They can sell 1000000 times as many hub motors internally and it won't influence the NA and EU markets.
For the most part hub motors are garbage. Any legitimate company is doing mid drives for a reason.


eta: just for reference, I would guess the Chinese running shoe market is several orders of magnitude larger than what Nike sells. I doubt the Chinese running shoe market can influence the market anywhere near what Nike can. The same goes for any other market, they're followers not leaders, even if they have the numbers.
Last edited by furcifer on Aug 04 2019 5:43pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by MJSfoto1956 » Aug 04 2019 5:39pm

rbrak29 wrote:
Aug 04 2019 9:00am
With the demise of BionX and now GoSwiss, is the hub motor industry dying.
Well, QSmotor is selling a shitload of hub motors in particular for scooter/mopeds and small motorcycles.
So no, the hub industry is not dying by a long shot. It is just evolving.

M
Only a few more days to vote: viewtopic.php?f=26&t=102697

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by flat tire » Aug 04 2019 5:54pm

furcifer wrote:
Aug 04 2019 5:35pm
flat tire wrote:
Aug 04 2019 5:12pm
furcifer wrote:
Aug 04 2019 4:05pm
I have no clue that china's ebike market completely and totally dominates the rest of the world by well over an order of magnitude
lol...
Don't misquote me. It's libelous. If you use my username to fabricate quotes I'll have you banned.
Requoting for continued comedy.

Lighten up Francis. You're the one who made yourself look silly and my modification was an obviously humorous reflection of you not doing basic research. Go ahead, look up the market sizes on your favorite search engine. China's is GIGANTIC and hub heavy.

Also, never make threats you can't carry out.

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MadRhino   100 GW

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by MadRhino » Aug 04 2019 6:13pm

Yamaha, Bosh, Specialized... they are one drop of mid drives in an ocean of hub motors. This idea that hubs are disappearing is biased by the EU market of mandatory pedelecs. Reality is telling otherwise. 8000$ low power ebikes are fancy toys, and even cheaper ones made in China will never come close to 0.01% of the world market. You can see more ebikes on one street of Beijing any morning, than in all Europe in a week; and all of them are hubs.

Even here in Montreal where ebikes are getting popular, the market is dominated by hub motors. We see one mid drive for one hundred hubs. That is because we don’t have the pedelec laws.

There is a logical reason for all the mid drives that exist today to disapear soon: they don’t last and no one wants to fix them. If ebikes ever become commonly used in the western world as they are in Asia, they will be hubs, because hubs are cheap and reliable.
Make it fool-proof, and I will make a better fool.
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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by spinningmagnets » Aug 04 2019 6:46pm

Anyone who believes that hubmotors are dying, I have to ask...what is the most common battery type in the world today? It's lead-acid, by a large margin. And I am not talking about starter batteries for cars. I'm talking about 48V scooters in China/India. Same with hubmotors.

You may be willing to pay a little more to get a much better-performing vehicle with a mid-drive that uses a lithium based battery pack. That being said, I wish I owned an ebike business that sold the current sales of all the global manufacturers of lead-acid hubmotored vehicles.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by furcifer » Aug 04 2019 6:53pm

MadRhino wrote:
Aug 04 2019 6:13pm
There is a logical reason for all the mid drives that exist today to disapear soon: they don’t last and no one wants to fix them. If ebikes ever become commonly used in the western world as they are in Asia, they will be hubs, because hubs are cheap and reliable.
There's probably 2 threads in this forum for every hub motor sold regarding hall sensors, corrosion loose spokes, warped wheels and shorting.

Hubs are cheap, but not reliable. As more mid drives enter the market the price will drop.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by furcifer » Aug 04 2019 6:59pm

spinningmagnets wrote:
Aug 04 2019 6:46pm
Anyone who believes that hubmotors are dying, I have to ask...what is the most common battery type in the world today? It's lead-acid,
I would suggest you look around your house. Count the number of lead acid batteries you find and the number of lithium.

I guarantee lithium outnumbers lead acid by 5:1, if not 10:1 (and much higher)

All I have is my car battery that's lead acid. The other 20 battery powered devices in my house run on lithium if you include alkaline batteries that have been replaced by lithium.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by spinningmagnets » Aug 04 2019 7:10pm

I have three cars with lead-acid starter batteries, a jump-starter pack with LTO, and three ebike batteries with 18650 Li-NCA. Several flashlights with 18650 Li-NCA/Li-NCM, along with five cordless 18650 tools.

This next part will sound like I am lying, but I'm OK with that. My job has been in quite a flux. I am currently working at a shooting range where the targets "pop up" and then drop. The "target lifters" are 12V motors run by lead-acid deep-cycle batteries, charged by a solar panel (pics to be posted soon). There are over 1,000 targets where I work. The powers that be absolutely refuse to consider anything other than lead-acid.

Back to vehicles...China and India comprise over 3/5ths of the worlds population. I suspect you do not live in China/India. Rural roads are so bad (poor tax base) that they do not allow high speeds. Even if a mid-drive would work "better", the prospect of saving only a couple renminbi/rupees is all it takes to keep lead-acid and hubmotors surviving...

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by furcifer » Aug 04 2019 7:28pm

flat tire wrote:
Aug 04 2019 5:54pm
Requoting for continued comedy.

Lighten up Francis. You're the one who made yourself look silly and my modification was an obviously humorous reflection of you not doing basic research. Go ahead, look up the market sizes on your favorite search engine. China's is GIGANTIC and hub heavy.

Also, never make threats you can't carry out.
Listen goof, I never said they were.

You don't need a search engine to know the number of mid drives has increased drastically over the last few years. And continues to grow because... they're better.

Hub drives are for broke idiots that can't figure out how to mount a mid drive. It's a crap design born out of necessity. If Tesla starts making hub motors I might reconsider.

If you use my username to post false information I will have you banned. You can use quotes just fine but trying to attribute words to me I never said is libelous. Just don't do it.

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Re: Hub motor industry dying?

Post by furcifer » Aug 04 2019 7:45pm

spinningmagnets wrote:
Aug 04 2019 7:10pm
Back to vehicles...China and India comprise over 3/5ths of the worlds population. I suspect you do not live in China/India. Rural roads are so bad (poor tax base) that they do not allow high speeds. Even if a mid-drive would work "better", the prospect of saving only a couple renminbi/rupees is all it takes to keep lead-acid and hubmotors surviving...
I see what you are saying.

Do you think this is what drives the market though? I kinda of think like this is akin to Kia and Buick. There's no doubt Kia is sufficient and cheaper, but they still seem to follow suit with the big boys. I don't care how many they sell, they still don't seem to lead the pack, only follow.

I'd say the only reason hubs are popular is because they lend themselves to normal bicycles. If the market moves to a more standardized mid drive and those frames become more popular that advantage is gone.

Are you familiar with the Honda Cub? I can see a mid drive electric replacing, and surpassing the Honda Cub if done right.

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