If one motor helps move your bike, what would two motors do?
Well, it’s not as helpful as you may think; more does not always mean better, but it all depends on how it’s done.
A dual motor electric bike means that there are two motors, which can mean twice the power. When we look at the manufacturing regulations dictated by the federal government, we know that ebike motors cannot go over a certain power level or speed.
But if you slap two of the same motors into an electric bike, what does that do? Does it double your power, or are you stuck with the same level of power and more of a battery drain?
We wanted to take a look at all of that, so let’s see what the purpose of a dual motor bike is.
What is a Dual Motor Electric Bike?
It’s an electric bike with two motors. Traditionally, one motor will sit on one wheel of any standard ebike.
This can be the front or back wheel depending on the manufacturer and the intended use of the ebike.
With a dual motor bike, you get one motor over both the front and back wheel. There’s a reason for this, but most importantly, you should know that a dual motor electric bike isn’t going to give you more speed. Not directly, anyway.
Sure, you may be able to hit higher speeds faster than you would be able to with a single motor electric bike, but that’s only going to help you out for a few seconds. It’s not really the selling point of dual motor ebikes.
In fact, what is the selling point of dual motor ebikes? It’s not really designed for your average hobbyist, so let’s see who the target market of dual motor ebikes truly is.
What’s the Purpose of Dual Motor Electric Bikes?
Two motors, maybe still one battery, no major speed advantage—who’s actually going to buy these?
After all, two motors means an inflated cost, so what gives?
It turns out that you have two major markets for dual motor ebikes: commuters, and mountain bikers or all-terrain cyclists.
Commuters are trying to use ebikes to cut down on carbon emissions, and to make sure they’re not spending money on a gas guzzler that requires maintenance and frequent gas station costs.
That’s why a dual motor runs into some fantastic issues that you don’t realize when you get into the electric bike game in the first place.
More Power Uphill: Some commuters have routes that feel like they were handmade by an evil genius, and those routes usually include hills or at least an uphill incline. The thing is, most ebikes are designed to be pedal-assisted so that you can put in a ton of the working power. If this is just for commuting, you’re probably not trying to get all sweaty on your way to work; you just want to get there faster. Two motors means that your uphill climb is going to be easier and require little to no personal labor.
More Consistent Battery Life: Depending on the electric bike that you choose, you may have two batteries: one to support each motor. That being said, there are still plenty of single-battery ebikes out there, so watch what you get yourself into. Commuting can be stressful, especially if you can’t charge your ebike at your place of work. A second battery means more juice and more time on the road, but also, it means it evenly supports both motors. If both motors get you to a higher speed faster than a single-battery ebike, then you’re able to pull off the throttle and not use as much juice if you space out your bursts effectively. Less battery use, more battery power at your disposal—an electric commuter’s dream.
Failsafe: You can just operate with one motor if you absolutely have to. So if one motor is on the fritz or gets damaged, you’re not dead in the water. That being said, you want to make sure you have that dual battery setup as well, because if your battery dies, you just have two motors and no power to make them move. If you’re going to go double motor, you’d might as well double up on just about everything else.
But while dual motor ebikes are impressive and helpful for commuters, they’re not the main market; we would say that mountain bikers and all-terrain cyclists are the ones who really benefit the most.
For Mountain Bikers/All-Terrain Cyclists
You love the outdoors, but let’s face it—there are certain aspects that make you want to jump off your bike and kick it down a hill. Fortunately, two motors means twice the solutions (kind of).
Better Uphill Climb: Choose when to enact both of those motors in the middle of your ride. If you want to throw on the pedal assist when you’re at the bottom of a steep but necessary incline, that’s when you’re going to get the most use out of them. These are designed to help you equalize the playing field, especially after you’ve already been on the dirt road for a while and you’re not feeling 100% anymore with your energy levels.
Assistance After a Hard Workout: Mountain biking is strenuous, and that’s not even a harsh enough word to really describe the physical strain that it puts on your body. That being said, it’s all part of the game, but when you’re sore and underestimate a trail, it’s fantastic to have assistance at-the-ready for your ride back to your car. If you’re two miles away from where you parked, you can have a leisurely cruise back with pedal assistance on and enjoy the scenery.
Built Tough: If you’re housing a second motor on an ebike, then you have to fortify it. The bike’s going to be heavy enough as it is, but any manufacturer would have to make sure that everything is sitting pretty before it goes out for sale. You can be really rough on your mountain bike, but thanks to the enhanced, let’s call it armor, you don’t have to worry about your ebike enduring major damage. They’re built to last.
How Do They Work?
You have two main options for electric bicycles: pedal assist, and full throttle.
Essentially, you’re going to either have a bit of help when you’re pushing uphill thanks to the motor working with you while you pedal, or you’re going to have the option to make the motor work for you.
For the latter, you’ll have a throttle handle somewhere on your handlebars that allow you to kick the motor into full-gear. These are the types of motors that seriously need that federal regulation to ensure they’re not too powerful, and don’t emulate more powerful motors that could pose a danger to pedestrians and anyone else not driving on the road.
Pedal assist doesn’t run through your battery that quickly, but full throttle will eat into that battery when you use it. Some ebikes will come with both options: pedal assist and full throttle.
Pros and Cons
Faster Battery Use: If you only have one battery, you end up going through your stored energy faster with two motors running off of a single energy source. It’s all dependent on how you use your ebike, but it essentially gives you the option to burn through your energy faster.
Stronger Momentum: You can speed up faster with most dual motor ebikes, so you can pick up speed, then let go and let it cruise on its own, and save energy this way if you’re constantly trying. This is a good way to conserve the battery while enjoying your ride.
Fights Off Fatigue: A workout should not induce a ton of fatigue; you need to have the necessary energy to get yourself home after a workout, and if you get tired faster than expected, you can rely on the dual motors to help pick up the pace as you make your way back.
Increased Maintenance: You have two motors (and possibly two batteries) to worry about now; that’s a potential to run into more maintenance costs.
Higher Price Point: It’s no surprise, but you’ll find a large cost disparity between single motor and dual motor electric bikes.
Another Electric Biking Option
Electric bicycles are here to stay, and their popularity is only growing by the minute.
I see thousands of commuters choosing to go the electric bike route, but as it’s still gaining traction and popularity, there’s bound to be questions; that’s what we’re here for.
Double the motor power, double the battery life: that might be what you need once you assess your commuting or mountain biking requirements.
If you found this guide helpful on dual motor electric bikes, check out everything else we have related to electric vehicles and saying bye-bye to gas station trips.
Noel Joseph has been in the world of motor vehicles for a long period. Currently, he is enthusiastic about Electric & Hybrid Motors and is an independent researcher. He advocates for a clean and sustainable future and envisions utilizing his years of experience in mechanical engineering. His new venture here at CompactPower.com is to organize and simplify knowledge on Electric vehicles. He wants to build a space where people can talk about EVs and associated technologies with freedom.