Geared Hub Motors for E-Bikes: A Comprehensive Guide

All you need to do is browse our inventory at Hovsco, and you’ll quickly find that our go-to motor of choice is the geared hub motor. Yes, there are other types of motors out there positioned differently in the frame, but there are several good reasons why we chose this type of motor, and these reasons are why we believe you should too.

Are you searching for an electric motor that can provide you with versatility, ample torque, and is easy to maintain? If so, then you should consider a geared hub motor. With a geared hub motor, you can expect to have a reliable and efficient mode of transportation that can handle uphill climbs and varying terrains with ease.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the working mechanism of these motors and explain why they’re an exceptional choice for eBikes.


What is a Geared Hub eBike Motor?

A geared hub motor is a specific type of electric motor installed within a bicycle wheel’s hub. It is designed to operate with a planetary gear system that enables it to decrease the motor’s speed, thereby increasing its torque output.

This feature makes it a highly suitable option for eBikes driven to navigate steep inclines and other difficult terrains. With its impressive capabilities, a geared hub motor is an excellent choice for riders who need a reliable and efficient means of transportation that can handle tough conditions.

How does a geared hub eBike motor work?

The motor that powers the system is known as a permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM). This type of motor is highly efficient and capable of generating significant torque, making it an ideal choice for this application.

The planetary gear system, which is a crucial component of the system, consists of a series of gears that are arranged in a circular fashion. The motor shaft is connected to the sun gear, which is the central gear in the system.

The wheel axle, on the other hand, is connected to the ring gear, which is the outermost gear in the system. The planet gears, which are sandwiched between the sun gear and the ring gear, play a critical role in transmitting the rotational force from the motor to the wheels.

When the motor is activated, it begins to spin, causing the sun gear to rotate as well. The planet gears, which are in contact with both the sun and the ring gear, begin to rotate around the sun gear, causing the ring gear and the wheel axle to rotate as well. This rotational motion is responsible for propelling the vehicle forward.

One of the key advantages of the planetary gear system is its ability to reduce the speed of the motor while increasing its torque output. This is accomplished by increasing the number of planet gears in the system.

For example, if the system has three planet gears, the motor’s speed will be reduced by a factor of three, resulting in a threefold increase in torque output. This feature is particularly useful in conditions where a vehicle needs to generate a significant amount of torque to move heavy loads or climb steep inclines.

Components of a Geared Hub Motor

The geared hub motor has four main components: the motor, gearset, freewheel, and sensors. The motor is the heart of the hub motor and is a three-phase brushless DC motor that spins at high speed.

The gearset is made up of a series of gears that mesh together to create a planetary geartrain and reduce the motor’s speed. The freewheel is a mechanism that allows the wheel to coast when the motor is not engaged. Finally, the sensors monitor the motor’s speed and torque, and the controller uses this information to control the motor’s power output.

Apart from the primary components, a geared hub motor may include several other components significantly affecting how it’s set to function. These additional components include a brake magnet, which helps stop the motor when required, a temperature sensor that detects the motor’s temperature and prevents it from overheating, and a water seal that prevents water from penetrating into the motor and causing damage. These components work in tandem with the primary bits to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the geared hub motor.

The hub motor’s most crucial part is the motor itself, as it produces the power that propels the wheel. To increase torque, the gearset lowers the motor’s speed.

When the motor isn’t active, the freewheel permits the wheel to continue rolling. The sensors monitor the motor’s speed and torque, and the controller utilizes this data to manage the motor’s power output.

What’s the Difference Between a Geared Hub Motor and a Direct-Drive Hub Motor?

When it comes to hub motors, there are two types: geared and direct-drive.

Geared hub motors have gears inside the hub that slow down the motor and increase torque. This makes it easier for the motor to climb hills and accelerate. However, the gears add a little bit of weight and complexity to the motor and can wear out over time.

The direct-drive hub motors don’t have gears and connect the motor shaft directly to the wheel. This makes them more efficient and lighter, but it means they have less torque and are not as good at climbing hills or accelerating.

Brief History of the Geared Hub Motor- eBike Specific

Over the course of the past decade, technology has played a significant role in bolstering the capabilities of the eBike industry. However, it is important to note that the concept of hub drives has been in existence for quite some time, possibly even longer than most people are aware of. This technology has been around for a while, and its significance has only grown with the advent of modern eBikes.

Thomas M. McDonald, an inventor, filed a patent in 1938 for a geared hub motor specifically designed for bicycles. The motor utilized a series of planetary gears that helped to lower the motor’s revolutions per minute (RPM) and increase its torque output. This innovation proved to be a significant improvement over previous hub motors and eventually paved the way for the development of modern eBikes.

In the 1970s, geared hub motors began to be used more widely in eBikes, mostly across Europe and throughout China, but they never reached any true prominence in the United States till the 1990s. This can be attributed partly to the development of more efficient and powerful motors. As a result, these types of motors became a more viable option for eBike manufacturers. Additionally, geared hub motors became more affordable, which made them even more appealing to consumers looking for a reliable and cost-effective substitute to traditional bicycles.

The Geared Hub Motors Used on Hovsco eBikes

Our eBikes are equipped with top-of-the-line geared hub motors from the reputable SUTTO brand, a Bafang sub-brand. These motors are widely known for their exceptional efficiency, durability, and quiet operation, making them the perfect choice for eBike enthusiasts.

One of the most significant advantages of the geared hub motors on Hovsco eBikes is their ease of maintenance, which is a significant plus for eBike owners. Unlike other types of eBike motors, these motors require minimal maintenance, ensuring that riders can enjoy their rides without worrying about the hassle of upkeep.

Another significant advantage of these motors is their impressive efficiency. Compared to direct-drive hub motors, geared hub motors are more efficient, resulting in greater energy savings and longer battery life. Additionally, these motors are quieter than mid-drive motors, making them ideal for riders who value a discreet and versatile riding experience.

The Hovsco eBikes geared hub motors come in various power outputs ranging from 500W to 750W, ensuring there is a motor option for riders of all levels of experience. The high torque output of these motors is perfect for hill climbing and other demanding riding conditions, making them ideal for avid eBike riders, and the planetary gear system allows the motors to operate efficiently at various speeds, making them the perfect choice for commuting and recreation.

Durability is another characteristic that sets these motors apart. Made from high-quality materials, these motors can withstand the rigors of everyday use, ensuring that riders can enjoy their eBikes for years to come.


If you are searching for an eBike motor that you can rely on, is energy-efficient, and can last for a long time, then you should consider getting a Hovsco eBike that comes stock with a geared hub motor system. These exceptional motors require minimal maintenance, which makes them an intelligent investment for an effortless and stress-free eBike experience.

Each motor type comes with its share of pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, and fans and detractors. However, the choice selected as the focal point of this article is the most even-keeled, smoothing out any cons with various pros. A geared hub motor is the ideal choice if you are looking for a motor built to last and meet all the expectations you may have in the muscle department of an eBike.


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