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Belt vs. Hub Motors: Which One Should I Choose
Before we start the battle between belt and hub motors, it’s only fair to talk about the basics of the two systems from a fair standing.
As you already know, belt-driven boards have been around for decades now. These are propelled by a gear system, with the motor connected to a gear (drive pulley).
When you hit the throttle on your remote, power will be pulled from the battery into the electronic speed control (ESC) and your motors.
Belt is better as the motor turns, the belt spins, propelling your wheels. Your motor and wheel spin as 1 unit in a 1 to 1 ratio. But, hub motors tend to have less braking power and torque at similar power input levels.
On the other hand, hub motors do not enjoy the privilege of having been around for too long.
Fortunately, they are proving to be a force to reckon with in the e-skate world. Since the hub motor has all components are inside the wheel.
This is a motor with a skateboard sleeve wrapped around it. On hitting the accelerator, the entire wheel assembly is triggered into spinning.
This is unlike turning a gear, a belt, and a wheel. Consequently, you have a situation where your motor and wheel spin as 1 unit in a 1 to 1 ratio.
This means that 1 spin of the motor results in 1 spin of the wheel.
Hub Motor: Is It Worth It?
Yes, you can even expect a better ride comfort, although you won’t enjoy the standard long wheel and the accompanying urethane.
But hub motors tend to have less braking power and torque at similar power input levels. Luckily, the gears in hub motors are much better than the drivetrains.
But when it comes to the failure rate, you will see a higher failure rate in hub motors than belt drives since they are subject to a greater degree of heat and shock than belt drives.
Hub Vs. Belt: Which Is Better
While the debate and talk about wheels and belt drive skateboards continue spiraling.
Many agitators forget that the hub and the belt-driven skateboard(Amazon Link) are both dependent on the brushless motor.
These motors form part of the wheel for the hub drive while they are placed under the deck on belt drives.
But did you know that all-electric skateboards were belt-driven in the early days? It was not until early 2016 that the first hub-driven electric skateboard entered the market.
Although technology has ever since evolved, the belt drive system seems unrelenting and more mature.
So if you are wondering which is better between hub and belt, you are better off with the belt. But his will depend on other factors.
The belt drive comes as the most traditional powertrain connecting the wheels to the outer rotor motor using a belt and a gear belt system.
And as a proven powertrain, the belt drive is the most power train for e-skate builders. They also make up for a critical player in the world of electric skateboarding.
For instance, Evolve, Boosted, and Metro boards are all based on belt drives. But the belt drive system has its limitations.
One major issue with this type of drive is how hard or impossible it is to kick push.
Thanks to the pulley that makes it hard to push, free-rolling in belt drives are limited because of significant drag.
Again, Maintenance around the belt drive has never been easy for those who lack a mechanical inclination.
This includes wear and tear, belt alignment, and belt tension.
Generally, belt drives offer better torque than hub systems that are similarly priced.
Additionally, they allow the use of full-length plate wheels as opposed to thin PU sleeve hub motors. This also gives room for more wheel selection exchanges.
There is also the liberty you get when it comes to their settings and belt drives.
Mid-Drive Vs. Hub: Which Should I Choose?
Whether you want to decide between different EVELO models or are researching scores of electric bike configurations out there.
One of the first things you want to look into is the motor. So, what is the difference between these two types of motors found on electric bikes (hub motor and mid-drive motor).
While it does not necessarily imply that it’s any better, the most likely motor you will find in the market today is the hub motor.
The motor most commonly found on the market today is a hub motor. The hub is usually placed on the rear wheel, with some exceptions to find a few front hub configurations.
The hub motor lacks complexities, is relatively light, and is also inexpensive to manufacture.
There are key advantages that mid-drive motors have over hub motors. One of these is the area of performance.
Indeed, mid-drive motors are popular for their unmatched performance and torque compared to any similarly powered conventional hub motor.
The mid-drive motor drives the crank as opposed to the wheel. This results in multiplied power that allows it to take advantage of the bike’s gears.
On the other hand, mid-drive motors make maintenance and service interestingly easy.
It’s possible to remove and replace the entire motor assembly by removing two special bolts. What’s more, this will not affect any other aspect of the bike.
This makes it easy for any bike shop to perform troubleshooting and repairs.
But if you had a hub motor in the rear wheel, it’s not easy to perform basic maintenance tasks like taking off the wheel or changing a flat tire.
Do Hub-Driven Boards Accelerate Better Than Belt-Driven?
No, on the contrary, belt-driven boards enjoy a better acceleration than hub-driven boards.
My friend pulled pretty far ahead of me in a recent drag race while riding my hub drive.
And to be sure the operator did not have any influence on the results, we switched our boards, and still, the belt-driven board emerged as a winner each time.
However, I must point that the fast manner in which a belt-driven board gets to top speed comes with a cost.
Indeed, belt drives are rather rough despite enjoying a faster acceleration. This makes the board more dangerous to use, unlike hub drives.
Consider a situation where you have your set on sport mode and then hit the accelerator without a proper brace.
This will most likely throw you off the board, possibly hurting you.
Therefore, if you prefer to use a belt-driven board, remember that falls do happen. And you are better on your board if well-prepared.
Hub and Belt-Driven Boards: Which Brake Better?
Your hub-driven board will have friendlier braking than the belt drive. Indeed, this is not very different from the acceleration breakdown.
Still, breaking on both boards will depend on your mode. There will be a big difference between Eco and Sport modes.
If you are riding a belt drive on the Sport mode, you will have very strong braking. It’s even very easy to dive if you slam on the brake.
But you can slam on the brake without anything to worry about regarding skidding if you are riding a hub drive.
There is the advantage that these boards feature regenerative braking.
Consequently, as you brake, the energy generated will be put back into the batteries.
In regenerative braking, the board gets stopped by the motors rotating in the opposite direction. Consequently, a stronger gear-based drive train has stronger braking.
Overall, belt-driven boards have stronger braking, but hub drives have smoother brakes.
So, it’s up to you to decide if you prefer smoother but weaker brakes or stronger rough brakes. But I think stronger brakes are far safer than smoother brakes.
After all, what counts at the end of the day is how safe you are, not how comfortable you are.
Do Belt-Driven Skateboards Climb Better?
Yes, because the torque on the belt-driven boards is far better, you will get a better ability to climb hills.
Since belt-driven boards have gears, it’s easier for them, giving them an edge over the hub drives.
Although the advantage might not be crazy, it’s still something you cannot ignore. Still, technology progresses over time, and things might change in the future.
Will I Maintain My Belt Drive More?
It depends. But technically, belt-driven boards will always require additional maintenance than hub-driven boards.
Among the common piece of maintenance required for belt-drive is belt tension. This is a part of maintenance that needs to be done now and then.
Again, if the motors and screws loosen and probably shift slightly, there will be some loss of tension on the belt, occasioning decreased performance and some strange noises.
Still, peradventure some part of the belt-driven drive train malfunctions or breaks; you will easily replace that part only.
Unfortunately, this is a luxury you will not enjoy with hub-driven boards, at least not for now. Indeed, you might be forced to replace the whole system.
There is the advantage of protection from the elements with hub motors since key parts of the drive train are sealed inside the wheel.
Yes, belt-driven boards have their entire drivetrain exposed to dust, dirt, water, and any other elements so common on the open road.
Hub-Drive Vs. Belt Drive: Which Is More Efficient?
When it comes to efficiency, your hub-driven board will beat the belt-driven board every time. As I mentioned earlier, hub motors run on a 1 to 1 ratio.
In such ratios, the wheel and the motor spin together. Technically, this design offers a more efficient board.
Again, when you run out of juice, you will not have problems pushing this board. This means that a depleted battery is not a serious issue as for belt-drives.
If your belt-driven board gets its battery depleted, you are going to carry it home. And it’s not that light, so you might get it very rough.
With lesser friction and less torque, you will be expecting a longer range and battery life from hub-drives.
But one thing to remember, these factors are highly dependent on weather conditions and the rider’s weight.
So, if the same rider rode a belt-driven board and a hub-driven board.
It’s indisputable that the hub-driven board will have a longer range per ride and a longer overall battery life span.
Top 2 Best Hub Motor Electric Skateboards
Meepo V3(Amazon Link) is one of the best hub motor electric skateboards. This budget hub motor board retails at $379, an amazingly insane deal, considering what this board offers.
You will be able to enjoy a flexible ride from its maple deck, enjoying a range of up to 20 miles and a top speed of 29 mph. These are not small features by any standards.
On the other hand, I consider the Backfire Ranger X2 appropriate to list the best motor electric skateboards.
With the current discounts backfire has been offering, it’s not hard to get this board for about $1050.
You will be investing this type of money in getting a top speed of 22 MPH, supplemented by a range of 15-18 miles.
This means that you are not going wrong at this price point. The Ranger X2’s double kingpin trucks and a flexible deck will get you carving that “never-ending wave” days on end.
Best Belt Motor Electric Skateboards
Today, the market is flooded with skateboards of all kinds. One such type of board is belt-driven electric skateboards.
I have filtered through all-electric skateboards and selected only a few of the best for your convenience.
My criteria are company reputation, value for money, durability, general performance, and customer services. Read on to get a glimpse of what this consists of.
The first in this list is the Backfire Zealot. This is the best budget belt motor board that is retailing at only $699.
You are getting a lifetime deal for this amount since the board is comparable to the Boosted Board “Stealth” model.
And at how much- for almost half the price! Your Backfire Zealot offers a speed of 28 mph, supplemented by a range of around 20 miles.
Indeed, this is a board that will have you surfing the streets, stoked all the way.
The last that I cannot leave out in this category is the Lacroix Board. I consider this to be the best premium belt motor board.
If you look at the price tag, you will realize it’s easy to attest to that. With this board, you are signing yourself up for a range of up to 50 miles.
The manufacturer does not even list it on the website as it is insane when it comes to the top speed.
Depending on how you look at it, you might have difficulty deciding between the hub and belt.
However, most people will agree that the hub will beat the belt in many aspects. However, it all depends on what you are looking for.