Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Bikes: '72 Schwinn Sports Tourer, '73 Schwinn Super Sport, '79 Schwinn Twinn Sport 10sp tandem
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Sounds to me like motors that drive the pedals are more efficient than motors that drive the hub directly. They let you use the bike's gears on hills, letting the motor turn up to its full power (or max efficiency, take your choice).
The bad news is, with motors that drive the pedals (or the bike chain) directly, the pedals are always turning as long as you want the motor to supply ANY power. You can't do long, medium-speed cruises on flat ground, unless your feet are always cranking away, even if you wanted the motor to do all the work. You can't coast and let the motor push the bike.
Only way to get around that, is to take the pedals and crank arms off the bike, and maybe put foot pegs on the frame. But in many states, such a bike would no longer be a bicycle under state or local law - it would become a motorcycle, and require lights, fenders, windshield, turn signals, brake lights etc., and have to be registered as a motorcycle.
For that reason, I've decided to go with a hubmotor instead of a crank motor like the Cyclone.