5 Best Mid-Drive Electric Bikes and Kits in 2019 – Reviews and Ratings of the Top eBikes with Mid-Drive Motors

The world of electric bicycles is a fast-moving one. The technology is constantly being tweaked and upgraded, and it doesn’t take long for new gear to be introduced that fast revolutionises the industry.

A hub motor powers most early electric bike models. Positioned in the centre of the rear or front wheel, they are entirely independent of the workings of the pedals.

Recently, electric bikes powered by a mid-drive electric motors have become increasingly popular. These are positioned more centrally and the power is transported to the rear wheel through the chain.

In this article, we’ll review the best mid-drive ebikes and conversion kits.

Best Mid-Drive Electric Bike Comparison

ImageProduct
  • Offers excellent value for money, especially for a novice e-biker
  • Despite the price, it still has front suspension for a more comfortable ride
  • Comes in multiple frame sizes for a good fit
  • Offers excellent value for money, especially for a novice e-biker
  • Despite the price, it still has front suspension for a more comfortable ride
  • Comes in multiple frame sizes for a good fit
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • The extra powerful battery allows you to rack up the miles
  • Fast and super comfortable
  • The design is sleek and sexy
  • The extra powerful battery allows you to rack up the miles
  • Fast and super comfortable
  • The design is sleek and sexy
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • Raleigh are a well established brand with a solid reputation
  • Great for speed and tackling steep hills
  • A good all round practical work horse
  • Raleigh are a well established brand with a solid reputation
  • Great for speed and tackling steep hills
  • A good all round practical work horse
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • An affordable hybrid option
  • Despite the price, it has hydraulic brakes
  • Very lightweight
  • An affordable hybrid option
  • Despite the price, it has hydraulic brakes
  • Very lightweight
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • Designed to carry moderate loads but still compact
  • Fair price for a higher-end model
  • A wide range of load options
  • Designed to carry moderate loads but still compact
  • Fair price for a higher-end model
  • A wide range of load options
VIEW LATEST PRICE

Why Choose a Mid-Drive eBike?

Hub and Mid-Drive e-bike motors have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Hub motors are cheaper, and their independent, fully enclosed system doesn’t put extra strain on the chain or gear shifters. As a result, they are likely to last longer and require less maintenance too.

It also means if your pedals or motor fail, you can still rely on the other one to get you back. A bonus if you are a long trail lover or do a regular lengthy commute.

They tend to be heavier, though, and this can impact on the suspension and stability of the bike. Their position can also be more limiting in terms of the tires and other wheel parts that you can fit. Tire changes are even more of a challenge given the attachment of the motor to the wheel.

Benefits of a Mid-Drive e-bike

A mid-drive motor invariably offers a more natural, smooth and powerful cycling experience. Yes, they do tend to be more expensive, but for a serious rider, they are often the top choice.

Because the motor is connected to the pedal and gears, the bike will power up the hill in a low gear setting much more effectively than a traditional front or rear hub motor. It can go further and longer without having the risk of overheating.

They often use torque sensors for the pedal-assist mode. So the motor power is adjusted depending on the pedal power you are using, rather than just by the speed as it does with hub motors. You get a much less jerky motor action this way.

The central positioning on the mid-drive motor also means the bike tends to be that bit more balanced and stable.

For riders that enjoy long-distance, high speed and top performance, splashing out on a mid-drive motor could be a great investment. Do be prepared to have to do a bit more maintenance on the drivetrain though, especially the chain.

best mid drive electric bike with man riding it

Be Aware of the Electric Bike Classes

As always, we like to remind newbie e-bikers that there are three different classes of e-bike. The laws surrounding these vary depending on the country, and sometimes even the region or State you are in. It can get a bit bamboozling.

We recommend checking out the People For Bikes website, which is a handy resource for gaining a better understanding of these sometimes nuanced regulations.

In general, though, they are broken down as follows:

Class 1 e-bikes

These bikes only have pedal assist power rather than also having a throttle function. They don’t go above 20mph for assisted cycling, and their motor is never bigger than 250w.

There are not generally any restrictions on where these can be used.

Class 2 e-bikes

These bikes also have a throttle function alongside the pedal-assist mode. They still don’t go above 20mph on the motor assist mode and, in the United States, there are not generally restrictions on where they can be used.

Class 3 e-bikes

These bikes have a maximum motor assist level of 28mph and a motor up to 750w in power. There tend to be restrictions on where these bikes can be used. Always check your local laws to ensure that it can take you where you want to go.

Reviews of the Best Mid-Drive Electric Bikes

We have selected five different mid-drive motor electric bikes to review. Each has their own specific advantages in terms of features, usability and performance. Some of the key criteria we looked at when we were reviewing include:

  • Value for money – Electric Bikes can vary significantly in their pricing. Mid-Drive motors are usually more expensive than hub motor options. We look at a range of budgets and want to make sure that they are offering the best value for their price bracket
  • Motor efficiency – We compare the power, efficiency and level of smoothness of the motors.
  • Battery efficiency – We compare the batteries in terms of their efficiency, power and charging speeds
  • Overall performance – How do the bikes cope on the ascents and descents? How do they handle, what is their suspension like? What is their weight capacity?
  • Reputation – How does the brand stack up against its competitors. Are they known for producing robust, high performing e-bikes?
BEST BUDGET MID-DRIVE EBIKE

#1. IZIP E3 Edge

izip e3 edge step over

This bike is an extremely affordable option for a mid-drive e-bike. 

It will be a great option for folks that want a versatile bike suitable for hobby riding, commuting or a bit of light off-roading. 

Be aware that it has the shortest distance capacity of all the bikes we have reviewed, though, at a maximum of 35 miles. If you enjoy long-distance riding, it is probably not the best choice.

Having semi-adjustable front suspension on a bike at this price is a bonus. It means you will get a comfier ride when going over any lumps and bumps, especially at speed. It will also mean they will be less hard on your bike, helping to minimize any potential frame maintenance.

Again, for the price, it is pretty lightweight too, coming in at under 25kg. 

The suspension, fat tire size and Shimano gear details, mean the mainly road bike will handle some trail riding. If you are a seasoned mountain biker, though, you may want to opt for a higher specification model like the BESV or Raleigh models we reviewed.

You couldn’t expect hydraulic brakes for the price you are paying but, providing you aren’t pushing it to the limits on steep ascents, the mechanical brakes do the job. Just be aware you might need to pull harder and allow a little more stopping time.

Because the bike comes in 3 frame size and also the option for mid or high step, it means you can get a comfortable fit for your height.

Type of BikeClass 1, Pedal Assist
MotorTranzX M16 Center Mount, 350W
Battery418Wh Downtube Mounted
Max Speed20 mph
Max Distance35 miles
BrakesTektro MD208 disc brakes
Charging Time4.5 hours
Drive TrainShimano Altus 8 speed
Bike Weight53 lbs
Price$1,799

What We Loved

Despite the low price band, this bike features front suspension, a good mid-drive motor and decent dual use tires.

Why it Might Not Work For You

For serious trail riders or those looking to do longer rides, you would be better investing in a higher specification model with stronger battery capacity.

Verdict

In terms of value for money, this is right up there. It isn’t a totally basic specification, and with its front suspension and decent motor, it’s a worthy option for dual purpose trail and road biking.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on IZIPElectric.com <<

BEST LONG-DISTANCE MID-DRIVE EBIKE

#2. BESV TRB1 AM

BESV TRB1 AM

If you are an enthusiastic off-roader or long-distance trail or road rider, you likely won’t go wrong with the BESV TRB1 AM.

The bike has a unique design, and it will stand out in the crowd, but what sets it apart most is its battery and suspension.

The 750w battery is one of the most powerful around, and this means that you can travel up to 115 miles on just one charge.

The rest of the bike is just as high spec. It has super responsive hydraulic brakes, perfect for those hairy downhill descents.

It also has full suspension, which is rare on high-speed e-mtbs. You know you’re going to get a more comfortable and supported ride even on the roughest trails.

Of course, all of these top-end features mean it does come with a high price point too, but it still offers value for money if you are going to be putting the bike through its paces.

Remember that with this being a Class 3 high-speed pedelec there could be restrictions on where you can ride it, and you should check the local regulations in advance.

Specs

Type of BikeClass 3 (speed pedelec)
MotorBrose Mid Motor 250w
BatteryLithium-ion 36V, 21Ah; 756Wh
Max Speed28 mph
Max Distance115 miles
BrakesMagura MT4 203mm Hydraulic Disc
Charging Time6 hours
Drive TrainShimano Deore XT Derailleur, 11 speed
Bike Weight58.5 lbs
Price$4,999

What We Loved

Fast, powerful, comfortable and, with its impressive battery it will carry you for longer, even at high speeds.

Why it Might Not Work For You

If you’re on a limited budget, this may be a stretch. Plus, you probably don’t need all the high-end specification if you are just a road rider or a beginner. With its Class 3 status, it won’t be suitable for use everywhere.

Verdict 

Slick and powerful with excellent full suspension and reactive hydraulic brakes this is a perfect choice for serious trail riders that want speed and distance capabilities.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on BikeBerry.com <<

SPEEDY, RELIABLE WORKHORSE

#3. Raleigh Lore DS iE

Raleigh Lore DS iE

For a versatile all-round bike, that looks pretty slick and is from a well-respected brand you can’t go far wrong with the Raleigh Lore DS iE. They also provide a very comprehensive warranty.

This is a Class 3 pedal-assist bike though so you should check your local laws to ensure you’ll be able to ride this in the places that you want to.

If you live in a hilly region, this bike will serve you well. The powerful 350w Bosch motor carries you up steep ascents effortlessly, and it provides a very smooth and seamless ride when in pedal-assist mode.

The high air volume, plus-sized tires and dual suspension mean you are guaranteed a comfortable ride, even on rougher terrain. Having three frame size options assures you of a comfortable fit.

The battery pack is also pretty powerful, and this means that you get a decent distance capacity even when traveling at speed.

The quality hydraulic brake system is a bonus, especially when you are traveling at those top speeds.

Mid-drive motors are generally quieter than hub versions. This, however, is not the quietest motor, in part because of the power and speed it can get up to.

SPECS

Type of BikeClass 3, Pedal Assist
Motor350W Bosch Performance Line Speed motor
BatteryBosch Powerpack 500Wh
Max Speed28 mph
Max Distance65 miles
BrakesMagura hydraulic disc brakes
Charging Time4.5 hours
Drive TrainShimano Deore drivetrain with ten gears
Bike Weight57 lbs
Price$4,599

What We Loved

Top of the range motor, battery, suspension and brakes all help to provide a smooth, fast and versatile ride. It accelerates to high speed quickly, and it can go the distance too.

Why it Might Not Work For You

For a high-end spec, you can expect a pretty high-end price tag too. It’s not a bike to opt for if you don’t plan to put it to good use.

There can also be restrictions on the use of Class 3 speed pedelecs in certain States.

Verdict 

A versatile, fast and dynamic workhorse. It suits road or trail riding, and it will be sure to offer top performance and power, even on tough terrain. Perfect for intermediate riders that want more of a challenge and a smoother ride.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on RaleighUSA.com <<

BEST MID-RANGE OPTION

#4. Trek Verve + 2

Trek Verve plus 2
Type of BikeClass 1, Pedal Assist
Motor250-watt Bosch Active Line motor
BatteryBosch PowerPack 400
Max Speed20 mph
Max Distance80 miles
BrakesShimano MT200 hydraulic disc
Charging Time3.5 hours
Drive TrainShimano Alivio M4000, 9 speed
Bike Weight46 lbs
Price$2,499

What We Loved

This is another reasonably priced model, but it is a lot higher spec than the Izip, and it is very lightweight.

Why it Might Not Work For You

The lack of suspension and style of the frame lend themselves better to road riding, although it will manage on smoother trails.

Verdict 

Affordable, well made and with responsive hydraulic brakes. This could be a great introductory e-bike for beginner or intermediate riders.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on TrekBikes.com <<

BEST FOR TRANSPORTING LIGHT CARGO

#5. Benno Boost E 10D

Benno Boost E 10D

E-bikes are becoming a popular alternative and environmentally friendly option for courier deliveries. These long-tailed cargo-style bikes can sometimes be bulky and unwieldy. The Benno Boost is pretty unique in that it provides a more compact option that still allows plenty of options for transporting heavier loads.

The bike features a lot of top-end parts including responsive Shimano Hydraulic brakes. These are perfect for helping you have a smooth stop if you are carrying valuable cargo. The Bosh motor is also responsive and quiet, offering you a smooth transition through the speeds.

It has front and rear rack options, and there are a plethora of accessories that can be purchased, depending on what and how you want to transport things. The rear rack can impressively accommodate up to 40kg in load, and you can also add up to 10kg of weight at the front. The frame design means, even when loaded up, you still feel nice and stable.

There’s no suspension on this model so, for the sake of comfort and any delicate cargo, you’ll want to stick to well-maintained roads.

It also only comes in one frame size so, for an unusually tall rider, this may not be the most practical choice.

Type of BikeClass 1, Pedal Assist
MotorBosch Performance Line Drive 250w
BatteryBosch PowerPack 400 watt hour
Max Speed20 mph
Max Distance75 miles
BrakesShimano Hydraulic Disc
Charging Time
Drive TrainShimano Deore 10-Speed
Bike Weight58 lbs
Price$3,999

What We Loved

This is a versatile, compact cargo e-bike with good brakes, power and storage capability.

Why it Might Not Work For You

The one frame size could be impractical for taller cyclists, and the lack of suspension means it is not suited to rough roads.

Verdict 

If you want a nippy, neat and practical bike for carrying loads, then this could be a good option. The mid-price point offers good value for money with a powerful motor, battery and high-quality brakes.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on JensonUSA.com <<

Reviews of the Best Mid-Drive Motor Conversion Kits

If you already have a fantastic regular bike and you are very mechanically minded, you could save a bit of cash by using a conversion kit to turn it into an e-bike.

Of course, this will take time, patience and a lot of effort but, if you have a restricted budget, it may be the way to go. 

Types of E-Bike Conversion Kits

There are a wide variety of conversion kits out there. The front and rear wheel kits are generally less expensive and easier to install. Serious long-distance or off-road cyclists might want to opt for a mid-drive kit. 

Pros and Cons of a Mid-Drive Conversion Kit

Mid-drive systems are generally more expensive than front or rear kits and they don’t fit as many bike models as the others do.

Their most significant disadvantage is that they are much more challenging to install. You will likely have to invest in a few tools to help you with installation and maintenance too.

You could, of course, pay for an expert to install the kit for you if it seems daunting, and it will likely still work out cheaper than buying a new bike.

We already know that mid-drive motors cause more general wear and tear to the chain and gears. Also, the fit-out generally doesn’t look as polished as those on a factory bought model.

For intermediate and experienced riders they can be more popular as they offer better power efficiency, stability, handling and traction.

Bafang and Tongsheng are two of the most widely available brands of mid-drive conversion kits out there. So, if you are up for the challenge, below is a comparison between popular models from each brand.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

#1. BAFANG BBS02B

BAFANG BBS02B 48V 750W Mid-Drive Conversion Kit

Available for much less than a new mid-drive bike, this is why it could make sense to convert an existing bike over buying an entirely separate e-bike.

Like most kits, there are a lot of wires. Unless you sort out some cable management tools, it can look a little less tidy than on a factory fit model.

Both the motor and the battery are powerful, but you shouldn’t forget that a motor of this power is not road legal in most of Europe. You would need to opt for one of Bafangs lower power options in that instance.

The Bafang kits all use an internal cadence sensor which provides motor assistance based on the pedaling RPM.

Although it comes with a thumb throttle, you should be mindful that these can burn out if used too much, especially on the inclines. For fewer problems with longevity, it is best used on pedal assist mode.

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

TongSheng TSDZ2 Mid Central Motor Conversion ebike Kit

This is another readily available mid-drive conversion kit. It is slightly less expensive than the BAFANG 750w option, but it still has a powerful 500w motor. Again, with this being over 250w, it is not suitable for use in Europe. TongSheng, do also produce 250w motors which would comply with European regulations.

This kit comes with a spanner for installation, unlike the Bafang one.

The Tongsheng motors work using an internal torque sensor, so instead of being powered by the pedaling rpm, it relates to the amount of pedal force that is applied by the rider.

So, it is better suited to those that like to work that little bit harder. Go for the Bafang model if you want to put in less effort!

>> Tap Here to Read More Reviews and See Today’s Price on Amazon.com <<

ImageProduct
  • Offers excellent value for money, especially for a novice e-biker
  • Despite the price, it still has front suspension for a more comfortable ride
  • Comes in multiple frame sizes for a good fit
  • Offers excellent value for money, especially for a novice e-biker
  • Despite the price, it still has front suspension for a more comfortable ride
  • Comes in multiple frame sizes for a good fit
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • The extra powerful battery allows you to rack up the miles
  • Fast and super comfortable
  • The design is sleek and sexy
  • The extra powerful battery allows you to rack up the miles
  • Fast and super comfortable
  • The design is sleek and sexy
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • Raleigh are a well established brand with a solid reputation
  • Great for speed and tackling steep hills
  • A good all round practical work horse
  • Raleigh are a well established brand with a solid reputation
  • Great for speed and tackling steep hills
  • A good all round practical work horse
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • An affordable hybrid option
  • Despite the price, it has hydraulic brakes
  • Very lightweight
  • An affordable hybrid option
  • Despite the price, it has hydraulic brakes
  • Very lightweight
VIEW LATEST PRICE
  • Designed to carry moderate loads but still compact
  • Fair price for a higher-end model
  • A wide range of load options
  • Designed to carry moderate loads but still compact
  • Fair price for a higher-end model
  • A wide range of load options
VIEW LATEST PRICE
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