Ashland Electric Bikes

Hub Motor Awareness

This month I want to talk about rear hub motors, and a common issue we see with these systems when they’re misused: overheating.

Most hub motor bikes come with a throttle. While these can be very fun it is important to remember that your e-bike is first and foremost a bike. It is not a moped, and you’re expected to pedal. If pedaling isn’t your thing, then maybe neither is an e-bike. 

If you are drawn to the e-bike for the exercise and pedaling experience, you may still overheat the system in certain circumstances. So how do you avoid this?

First, use your throttle as intended for assistance only. Throttles are great when you’re starting out from an intersection or from a stop going uphill. It saves you from having to climb on your pedals to get moving, especially if you forgot to downshift first. Once the motor has started moving then it’s time for you to take over pedaling.

When climbing hills, it’s easy to feel like you’re moving at a snail’s pace, when you’ve been doing 20mph on the flats and suddenly find yourself climbing a hill at 5mph. In these circumstances plenty of people find themselves increasing their pedal assists to level 5 or trying to throttle their way up the hill. Best course of action is to lay off the throttle, and make sure that you’ve properly down shifted gears to make the pedaling as easy on you as possible. If you’ve jumped your pedal assist up to level 5 and are only going 4-5mph, then bump it down to a level 3. If you have a solid bike with the right motor (usually a 500w on a hub motor), then you should still be able to climb at the 4-5mph pace. 

Your motor can only receive so much energy and drive you up the hill so fast. In these scenarios it doesn’t matter if you’re at a level 3 or a level 5, you’re only going to go up the hill at about the same rate. Where it does matter is in the physics of the energy realm. The wiring and the system inside your bike are engineered to certain specifications, so when your motor gets flooded with too much power from the bike’s battery, the motor cannot keep up with heat dissipation. This is when overheating of wires and internal components happens, causing you an expensive repair.

Here at Ashland Electric Bikes, we want to help you avoid this sort of costly repair. If this article has prompted some questions, please call or email us. We’re happy to help walk you through any concerns and go into further details. 

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