Belt Drive vs Hub Electric Skateboards (Simple Breakdown)

By Billy | Updated: December 28, 2022 | Electric Skateboards

When I first got into electric skateboards, the motor types confused me.

What’s the difference, and how do you pick? I’ve tested each type and will share my experience.

Let’s start with…

Hub Motors

Hub motor electric skateboards have their motors built into the back wheels. Because the motor takes up most of the wheel, there’s a minimal amount of urethane compared to a normal wheel. This results in a harsher riding experience on rough terrain because there’s less urethane to absorb impacts.

They come in two forms – single or double. The single motor will have less torque and is most common on cheap, entry-level setups.

My first electric setup had a single hub motor and, although not the best, was an affordable way to see if I enjoyed riding electric skateboards. If you’re just looking for a cheap beginner setup, hub motors are a solid option.

How to make your hub drive more comfortable?

What if you already have a hub motor and want to make riding on rougher terrain more comfortable? Here are some things you can do.

hub motor electric skateboard
Unlimited x Loaded Kit

Direct-Drive

direct drive electric skateboard
Revel Boards Kit

Direct drive is similar to hub, however, the motors are on the inside of the wheels on the truck hangars. This allows you to use a variety of regular wheels.

The main drawback of direct drive is how low the motors sit off the ground.

As you can see in the photo above, they’re pretty banged up. That’s because they sit about ½” off the ground, so any larger bumps/ rocks scrape the motors.

If you’re riding in a hilly environment or off-road, direct drive isn’t the best since they don’t have the torque belt-drive offer.

Belt-Drive

belt drive electric skateboard
Onsra Challenger

Belt-drive is the best option if you want the most amount of power. The gear

The main drawback is the noise they make. While they’re not terribly loud, they’re much louder compared to hub or direct drive. Personally, I won’t ride my belt-drive setup when I’m in a neighborhood because of how annoying they sound.

Bottom Line

If you want something quiet and don’t need a lot of torque, go for hub or direct.

Hub motor if you want more clearance from the road. Direct if you want to the freedom to use different wheels.

If you want a lot torque or want to do any offroading, go for belt-drive.

Billy

I've been skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding since a young age. My shredding style is surf-inspired. The mission is to publish educational content for board sports.

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