There are several advantages and disadvantages to both hub motors, and belt driven motors. At dot, we saw that the hub motors had substantially more advantages for what we wanted to design and build. We hope this list helps you make an informed choice when buying your first new board, or adding to your quiver.
Any board that uses belts and pulleys, adds significant rolling resistance. In practice, this means when rolling, the board can feel as though its braking or slows very quickly. The dot hub motors paired with high performance Abec X bearings, roll in a very similar way to a regular skateboard. Regardless of the top speed, the ability to exceed that is uncapped when hitting a large downhill. A belt driven board will always slow you down when rolling down a hill. Additionally, if you ever run out of battery, kick pushing is made much easier. Dot Boards are also low to the ground, unlike many electric boards and freewheel so well, they feel like a regular board.
Belts get worn and break and it can be a safety issue, but more than that, you have to make sure you always have a supply on hand to make repairs. Swapping out belts mid-ride, can take some time, and it does required tools. With hub motors, there is nothing to replace so they can be more reliable.
At dot we wanted to keep a very clean looking board as low to the ground as possible. This design allows the board to function as a regular skateboard would. For example, with the Cruiser and Compact, the boards are low to the ground and have a kicktail unencumbered by bulky motors and belts. In practice this means the board can be ollied like a regular board. This is not possible with a belt system, especially with rear mounted motors.
One disadvantage of a hub motor is that there is usually less urethane surrounding the motor, which can lead to a firmer, less shock resistant ride. For a belt driven board, you can use a wheel that has a regular amount of urethane giving a smoother ride. For riders of a regular skateboard the feel of a dot board is still smoother than a regular street skate wheel with a street or park formular wheel. For those wanting an even smoother ride, the dot Transporter converts to direct drive, which has the 120mm wheel sitting to the outside edge of the hub. The dot 120mm wheels provide an incredibly smooth ride and as a bonus increase top speed, significantly.
Skateboarding can be a risky endeavor at the best of times, however belt driven boards can be a greater safety risk. When riding on the street, you can often encounter debris in the form of rocks, wire, fabric, string, and plastic, all of which can get caught in the belt system. Once jammed, the belts can break leaving you with lessened or no brakes. In a worst case scenario, the wheels can lock up all together throwing you off. If your board ever loses power, for any reason, you will immediately feel the rolling resistance of belts, and in some cases this is enough to throw a rider off.
Many hub motors lack in this area. That’s why we designed and made our own dot motors to provide an amazing amount of torque and power. With two motors skaters can climb up to a 30% grade hill. The motor design is patent pending and will blow your mind. Don’t take our word for it, find one of our retail demo centers and try one out.