Reader Interactions


  1. I recommend that you actually measure watts when you test 250 watt rated motors. It was reported in the 2020 Ebike Future Conference that 95% of the 250 watt motors tested exceeded the 250 watt rating.

  2. Not to blur the lines of this article but manufacturers are known to under rate their motors to compete with European regulations or over rate them to compete with higher powered motors available to U.S. customers for example. In fact several even advertise that they are happy to provide you with a sticker stating your desired wattage needed to comply with your countries regulations.

  3. Thanks for explaining the difference in power, torque and wattage, had been looking for this info for a while

    I’m 200lbs and I’ve been satisfied with a 250 Watt ebike for last 5 years, only use the power as a backup when I hit hills. If your riding primarily for exercise a lower wattage isn’t a bad thing. My bike won’t push me up a hill without my effort

  4. Nothing wrong with 250 W motor. I use a 750 w motor with 42x 11/36 for gears. Rode Crater Lake rim road 22 miles in and out at level 1 about 150 w. 750 w with a big battery = more fun. 250 W is cheaper, that’s about it.

  5. It comes down to the controller. It is easy enough to go into the settings to increase the peak wattage. For example, ebikes rated as 750 watts sold in the US and ones sold in Canada rated as 500 watts due to the different legal limits of each country, have the same motor size.

  6. I have an R Martin E-bike that came with a 250 watt and 36 volt battery setup with mid-drive, and this it is just right if you intend to provide plenty of pedaling during your ride. If you intend to ride it more like an electric scooter, it probably would be disappointing. For how I intend to ride, it’s a perfect ratio. It does limit power to around 18-20 mph and then the motor kicks out.

  7. A good quality mid drive 250W motor is definitely ample for most uses – from urban commuting to country cycle touring. It also generally ensures safer riding and interactions on shared paths and bikeways. If riders are tempted to hit higher speeds they do not belong on paths that are there to protect people moving at lower speeds. I support the European and Australian pedelec restriction to 250W. Thanks for your dissection of this issue.

  8. Thanks for the interesting and useful information in this article. I recommend that you run a grammar check before publishing to prevent needless distractions.

  9. My 250 watt front-hub motor is adequate for my needs, but if cargo bikes need more power (not speed) then I feel the regulations should be changed. Big lorries have big engines so they are able to carry things around. A 2 litre engine wouldn’t be much use to them. Just as an aside, my brother sent me a link to the Electrom bike/vehicle. That is impressive.

  10. Most premium 250W mtb have at least 80nm of torque. That is comparable to a 500-750W bafang geared hub. peak wattage is 600-800W depending on the bike. Possibly more? When you add in the ability to have the gearing you want, a lightweight 250W mid drive should do anything you want.

  11. I think you have it exactly backwards when you say “Nominal wattage is what the motor will feel like.”

    It’s exactly like driving a car. Almost all the time the engine will be putting out maybe 50 HP, but will put out far more when you punch the pedal. The nominal power on an eBike is what it can continuously dissipate but this limit only is met if you are fast cruising at 25+mph or going up a hill that takes 10 minutes.

    Instead, it’s the peak output that you feel when you need full effort.

    My Lectric hub motor is rated at 500W but easily puts out 850W for five minutes when I climb the steep hill nearby. No issues for that short a time.

  12. I had a 500w front nongeared hub motor running off a 48v battery, with no sensor,just a straight throttle, and an engine controller unit which could adjust the output depending on whether you needed torque for a hill climb or speed on a flat run. It had a range of about 60km at high speed, with me pedaling hard thru 21 gears, or a lot further at lower speeds . It was immensely powerful, with wheel spin acceleration from a standing start, and I did carry 2 × 20kg bags of cement in the saddlebags up our steep driveway, with me pedaling of course. Even better, it had an efficient regeneration capacity at the push of a button when downhilling or braking. It did everything I wanted and lasted ten years, before battery death, I still haven’t ridden a better ebike.

    • Hi Jeremy,

      Really interested in finding out about the motor you had. I’m building a eTouring bike and am scratching my head on the best motor(wattage) to use.


  13. Considering electric motors can have a full torque from zero rpm I’m a little unsure about how using the bikes gears dramatically improves performance as suggested above

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