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Electric Skateboard: Belt Motor VS Hub Motor

The motor of an electric skateboard is the main determinant of your speed and torque. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right motor. For now, there are two mainstream types of motors: belt driven motors and hub motors. First of all to get the wording straight: both hub and belt driven skateboards rely on brushless electric motors. These two types of motors have their perspective on the pros and cons. We’re going to make a comparison between these two motors so that you will have a full understanding of them and make the right choice.

Electric Skateboard hub motor VS belt motor

Belt Motor Skateboard

Belt driven motors are motors that are mounted to a skateboard that runs a belt between two pulleys (One on the motor and one on the wheel). At the beginning, all electric skateboards were belt-driven. For the longest time, belt driven setups have been the prevalent option for electric skateboards. They’re efficient, easy to set up, and easy to maintain. However, many new e-skaters are turned away from belt drives due to noise concerns, limited free-rolling ability, and the need for regular maintenance. Since hub motors entered into the skateboard market, the status of belt motors has been challenged. That being said, there are still many people are loyal to belt drives.

Pros:

  • More torque: Accelerate faster when starting from a standstill. Great for experienced riders, but it would be wise to start with a push.
  • Protected motors: Belt drive motors are lifted off the ground a few inches. As a result, they come in less contact with larger rocks, road debris and small puddles of water.
  • Easy to climb hills: Because of the extra torque, belt drives tend to push your electric skateboard uphill a bit easier.
  • Faster heat dissipation: During extended rides on your electric skateboard, your motors will heat up. Since the motors aren’t directly inside the urethane wheels, they won’t trap as much heat.

Cons:

  • Heavyweight: Exterior belt drive motors usually are bigger, clunkier and weigh a couple of pounds more than electric skateboards with in-wheel hub motors. It’s inconvenient to carry around.
  • Hard kick pushing: Belts and pulley systems have a ton of resistance without power from the batteries. It’s hard to kick push the skateboard.
  • Belt replacement: If you commute or regularly use your board, the belts will wear out over time. There’s always the possibility of getting stranded during the ride if your belts break.
  • Loud noise: Belts and pulley systems make a loud noise.

Hub Motor Skateboard

Hub motors have motors built right into the wheels. No belts, no pulleys, just hidden motors inside the wheels. Compared to belt motors, hub motors came into the limelight, not for a long time. The first electric skateboards with hub motors entered the market in early 2016,  but it soon gained popular among skateboarders with its clean and simple implementation and relatively lower parts cost. Since then, hub-technology has advanced but still, the belt-driven systems seem to be more mature. Just like belt motors, hub motors also have downsides. Hub motors tend to not have as much torque or braking power at similar power input levels. Also, poor heat dissipation is another big concern for e-skaters who don’t choose hub motors. At present, hub motors are preferred by many people for its price advantage.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and durable: In-wheel hub motors are compact by design. There are no pulleys, gears, clutches or motor mounts, so hub motors are lightweight. Tucked safely away in the wheel hub, motors are protected from water and dust.
  • Less noise: In-wheel hub motors are quiet. There are no moving external belts, and the wheel enclosures muffle some of the noise.
  • Easy kick pushing: There’s very little resistance when kick pushing. This gives you the freedom to ride it like a normal skateboard if your battery suddenly dies.
  • Quicker braking: It doesn’t have to fight against the kinetic energy of rotating belts. This gives you a slightly faster response time with your braking system.
  • Less maintenance: Less moving parts require less maintenance. You may have to occasionally replace the urethane wheel sleeves after heavy use.

Cons:

  • Less torque: Without the extra torque from the rotating belts, it solely depends on watts from the battery to spin faster.
  • Slower heat dissipation: The windings inside the in-wheel hub motor generate heat quickly. The motors could overheat during extremely long rides.
  • Limited wheel customization: You can use your favorite brand of wheels for your front trucks. But your rear wheels will need to be whatever stock in-wheel hub motors come with your electric skateboard.

Belt Motor VS Hub Motor

After a brief introduction of belt motors and hub motors, the following table will show you a detailed comparison between these two motor types from thirteen perspectives.

Comnparison Table between hub motor and belt motor for electric skateboards

After reading the whole passage, I believe you have already had a through comprehension about belt motors and hub motors. Both of them have their own pros and cons. It’s believed that with technology advancement, their disadvantages will be further improved so as to offer skateboarders better riding journey. Actually, there are exceptions too and the pros and cons of different motors depend very much on the specific board. Whether your decision goes to which type of motors, it’s your personal preference. If you can hardly make the choice, it’s recommended to check both motors yourself. A lot of people post their views about which motor is best for an electric skateboard on the websites. Sometimes it’s just too much and you have no idea what to believe. Therefore, to achieve the best riding experience, you’d better try it personally since you know what you need.

 

 

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