I'm looking for an electric bike. I see motors available on rear, center, and more cheaper, a wheel with a motor to adapt to front. Any experience to help me to make a decision?
I had a front hub motor in a retrofit kit.
PRO: Its really easy to fit, just leaves a lot of wires hanging on the frame.
CON: Any motor adds weight, and if your bike has suspension it could be unsuspended weight which is not ideal.
CON: The front wheel carries less weight than the rear, so it can slip easier. Powering through a corner is a bad idea, and I even got wheel slip by taking off from the lights with power on and pedalling hard.
My motor was a hard on/off switch, with no sensors or throttle, and was rated at 250W. So you could press the button and just glide with no pedalling.
My general knowledge of pedal assist bikes is that you have to be pedalling to get assistance. This can produce some interesting effects at low speed, when turning under power, and when pushing hard to take off.
A rear hub motor will have the most oomph for the same wattage, but it will add even more weight to the rear of the bike. This can contribute to rear punctures and rear wheel slips when cornering.
A center motor/BB motor distributes the weight evenly between wheels, and keeps the weight low down. However they generally need a special and custom frame.
Don't ignore batteries either - they're always too small in capacity and too big in weight. I had Sealed Lead Acid batteries, and lithium would have been much nicer.