E-Cargo Bike Motors: Mid-Drive vs E-Hub

If you are researching the purchase of an electric bike, you probably have come across the following kind of electric motors: mid-drive and e-hub. What’s the difference between e-bikes? What’s the best e-bike? This article will discuss the differences between the two main kind of bike electrification and the best application for e-cargo bikes; if you have yet to ride an eBike to see how it feels to ride one, you’ll love it: all the fun with hardly any of the work associated with cycling.

A Word on Efficiency

In the context of cargo bikes, efficiency can mean different things to different people. It can mean traveling time (speed). It can mean traveling distance (range). It can mean the total cargo capacity (payload). And it can also mean the cost (value) of the e-cargo bike. It should also noted that peak performance is very hard sustain. For practical real world use, such as when traveling on flat terrain vs. climbing hills, a manufacturer must balance design, weight, power autonomy with the expectations: families with children want to carry kids and their pets safely and reliably without having to worry about range, weight limits and torque.

Hopefully this article will help you figure out what you want from an e-cargo bike; including how efficient individual mobility can be when traveling on a bike to pick up the kids, do groceries or run errands. 

Mid-drive cargo bike

Hub Motors (i.e. e-hubs)

On e-hubs, the motor is usually laced to the rear wheel and operates independently of the pedals or gears. The bike will move along using the combination of electrified hub (throttle input at the handlebar) and pedaling by the rider. This is the main benefit of wheels with e-hubs; the choice of whether to pedal or not (use the throttle). This is so practical, especially when starting from a dead stop. People love the assistance, having that manual control even more.

Mid-Drives. What Are They?

Mid-drives are centered between the right and left pedals at the base of the frame where the bottom bracket shell would typically be located. 

The mid-drive motor essentially functions as the bottom bracket bearing and crank arms. These are combined and housed in a single component referred to as “the motor.” 

Mid-drive electric bikes

Mid-drives are the newest and most compact implementation of electrification on eBikes. The cycling industry will probably adopt them broadly in the coming years.

Benefits of Mid-Drives

Mid-Drive e-bikes are an upgraded version of the e-hub for a number of reasons, which include:

  • Serviceability: Minor mechanical issues such as a thrown spoke are easier to deal with than on a hub which relies on all spokes in the wheel staying “true.”
  • Battery Longevity: mid-drives are able to consistently travel longer distances than bikes with e-hub.
  • Power: mid-drives are better equipped to evenly distribute torque throughout the drivetrain.
  • Ride: mid-drives feel most similar to that of bikes without electric power systems (i.e. low-tech no-tech analog bicycles). 

This is also why the mid-drive is a wonderful innovative choice for family cargo ebikes.   

Cargo bikes by Ferla

Mid-Drive on a Cargo Bike

Mid-drives are a superb option for people who demand more from their cargo bike; more distance, more power, more cargo. Also, mid-drive cargo bikes are able to accommodate internally geared hubs like Rohloff and Sturmey Archer.

Internally geared hubs are more reliable and require less maintenance than external cassette gears; which is what most e-hubs have.

Shifting gears on a mid-drive cargo bike is exactly the same as on a bike without an electric power system. This can make the transition to riding e-cargo bikes even easier for people who enjoy different styles of cycling. 

The experience of pedaling a mid-drive cargo bike is more natural and balanced than feeling the mass of the rear hub.

E-Bikes with Mid-Drives

​​Mid-drives are able to have a rear, internally geared hub that makes shifting as easy as breathing. The use of electronic components assists the shifting process to ease the wear on the gearing parts.

With an internally geared hub you can shift gears even while stopped! And because the gears are internally housed, they are protected from the elements. 

External cassette gears on bikes with e-hub need constant attention; especially after riding in wet weather conditions or near the beach where sand can cling to the exposed components such as the derailleur and chain. 

If not properly maintained, external conditions can cause undue wear on the gears which in turn may require more frequent replacement of parts. 

What to Choose

It’s important to think about where and how you will use your new bike.

And no form is better matched to function than Ferla’s New Royce Mid-Drive Electric Bike. This show-stopping bike is equipped with a muscular 350W Bafang motor and smooth-as-butter shifting of the internally geared Sturmey Archer five speed rear hub.

Mid-drive motors bike

With an incredible range of up to 75+ miles per charge and 400 pound cargo capacity and an additional 300 lbs for the rider, the Royce Mid-Drive is for those cargo bike fans who want to venture, travel a bit further and share special moments with their loved ones.

FAQs with Ferla Bikes

How does the Ferla Cargo Bikes feel when riding?

Stable and safe. They also offer a safe parking function when stopped so that the passenger can get in and out. At speed, with the comfy memory-foam cushion seats, the cargo area is fun and offers 360 degrees views to enjoy the ride and feel the wind.


Can a mid-drive cargo bike really replace a car?

Cargo bikes are a great alternative to driving short trips. They are more nimble, allow you compress the time it takes to reach your destination, the gas monthly expenses and it is a great way to teach children about environmentally-conscious choices.


Is the mid-drive cargo bike by Ferla reliable?

Ferla was recognized as the #1 cargo bike on the market. Design evolves to make the best use of technology at affordable prices. And Ferla Family Cargo bikes owners love the iconic design.