Why front-wheel drive?
Our bikes are all motor assisted at the front wheel, as opposed to the rear wheel or at the crank. A front wheel motor (1) facilitates even weight distribution and (2) allows us to use internally geared hubs (low maintenance and ease of use) in place of derailleur gearing at the rear.
For good weight distribution and bike handling, having the motor on the front wheel makes the bike feel more stable…not only when you are riding it, but also when you are walking along beside it.
Many e-bikes are designed with the motor driving the rear, and not the front wheel. Some of these have the motor incorporated within the rear wheel hub, while others have the motor installed within the bottom bracket (“mid-drive” arrangement), driving the rear wheel through the chain. Mid-drives have the advantage (over front or rear hub motors) that the motor gets to take advantage of the bike’s conventional gear system. This motor placement improves a bike’s ability to climb steep hills, so there is a good argument in its favor… but mid-drives add complexity and significant weight. We have not included a bike of this type in our product line, largely because our design focus is on light weight and most of our customers would get no benefit from a mid-drive because the hills they face are easily handled by a front drive.
A little-known plus to front drive is that it can enhance bicycle stability. This is inherent and is particularly apparent when negotiating soft or loose ground. On very soft ground the stabilizing effect of small bursts of power from the throttle is quite amazing. This stability stems from the fact that a motor- driven front wheel always “pulls” in the direction it is pointing, whereas, driven by force from a rear wheel (as in conventional bike or rear wheel drive electric), when the rider steers the bike by moving the front wheel to maintain balance it can plow sideways instead of being pulled in the direction it is pointed. With judicious use of the throttle a rider can literally “float” his bike over loose ground (sand, snow, mud). “Coaxing” your bike this way over extremely loose ground is not for everyone, but it sure is fun!