How important is the location of the motor on an electric cargo bike?

Nothing is more important than the location of the electric motor! This is true for regular e-bikes, but especially for cargo bikes as they are quite heavy. The position of the motor affects its strength and drive. We distinguish three positions here: rear wheel, front wheel and centre (at the location of the bottom bracket).

Rear-wheel motor

With a rear-wheel drive, it feels like you're getting a big push. It gives you a feeling of 'having the wind in your sails'. However, a rear-wheel motor does have some drawbacks. It requires more maintenance and feels slightly less stable because the centre of gravity is not as low. Also, because of the derailleur, it is not possible to change gears when standing still. Ideal for: long distances or hilly landscape. 

Front wheel motor

The motor can also sit on the front wheel. When the motor is in this position, it gives you the feeling of being pulled forward. The biggest advantage of this motor is that it requires little maintenance. This is because the motor and drive are fully integrated in the hub (central axis of the wheel). However, you do sacrifice some power for this and it steers more heavily. Ideal for: short rides and flat landscape.

Middle motor

The most popular bike of the three, and with good reason, of course! The special thing about this motor is that, due to its placement and drive, it is better able to dose the support. When you start pedalling, the motor starts gently helping right away. In addition, the placement allows for better weight distribution, which in turn ensures better stability. Ideal for: long distances but also perfect for commuting. An all-rounder that performs perfectly on all terrains. 

The middle and rear wheel motors both also have the advantage that the motor can adjust the power to the pressure exerted on the pedals. The electric motor from Bosch (a mid-motor) adds to this by providing assistance when walking with the cargo bike, which we call walk-assist. 

Urban Arrow's cargo bikes are equipped with a Bosch mid-motor.