Apex Jump Drive

APEX Jump Drive:

A generational leap in esk8 gearbox design.

The Jump Drive was designed around three core principles:
Performance, Reliability and Maintainability.

Performance

  • Incredibly thin and light weight, at only 585g (including all hardware and gears)
  • Exceptional ground clearance
  • Two ratios available ~5.5:1 and ~4.4:1
  • Optimized thermal design to keep motors running cooler for longer
  • Close motor position giving more rear clearance

Reliability

  • Blackened steel helical gears with hardened pinions.
  • Thrust bearings to protect motors from sideloads
  • No lock-tight, fully retained motor pinion (when using Apex Motors)
  • Dual gear bearings to support wheel gears
  • Proper shaft seals to keep grease in and water out

Maintainability

  • No hardware wheel adaptors, which allows quick switching between 3 different wheels (MBS Rockstar 2, Fivestar and Trampa Twatlads)
  • One common tool to completely strip the drive down (3mm Allen)
  • Revolutionary fractional difference mount pattern giving angle adjustment in 6° increments
  • External backlash adjustment.
  • All bolts and grubs accessible externally without opening the drive

 
 
 


History and design

The initial brief was simple: create our own gear drive. We started this journey in June 2021 by designing a straight cut spur gear drive. We called this design P1, or Prototype1.

We had a few sets made and, by August, Queron and Ben were covertly testing them on their boards. We showed the design to our chief test rider Beiran Martlew at eeb.it and he was really blown away by how compact the drive was. A privacy cover was designed and installed so that we could stealthily get some miles on them and test performance and durability. Queron was riding the drives at our Apex Weekender in September 2021 and on some big group rides but, thanks to the privacy covers, no one noticed what we were up to.

The P1 was a great first attempt and performed well, but we saw many opportunities for improvements. After this testing we realized that by switching to helical gears the drives could be even lighter, more compact and quieter.

Back to the drawing board

By the end of 2021, the design had seriously evolved. We switched to helical gears and integrated thrust bearings. We went through many iterations of layout, visuals and thermal simulation. By the end of this process, we had landed on a design that we believe is very different from what has come before.

We made a small batch of these P2 drives, which arrived in January 2022, and promptly got them out to our hand-picked test team, who immediately got them out testing in all manner of conditions. One of our testers repeatedly took them up and down Welsh mountains, while
Ben took a trip to the French Alps, and got to work putting them through their paces in the snow!
One of our other riders commutes long distances so has amassed a huge number of miles.
And of course Beiran has been absolutely smashing them off everything he can find in Cornwall.
All this testing was done through a harsh British winter, which we find is the best time to really see if any issues crop up.

This long and expensive test period allowed us to gather lots of data: What worked? What needed changing? And what tolerances needed to be adjusted? No major issues were discovered in testing and most of these drives are still in use today. Our testers are as hyped about this release as we are, and I’m sure they will be very happy that they can finally group ride with their drives on show.

Some final tweaks on tolerance were made and this design is what we are now offering to the community.

 
 
 


Detailed Features

This drive is seriously compact. It’s only 16mm thin, and sits close to the wheel ensuring a better ground clearance angle than any other drive. This reduced size also means we have managed to get the drive down to 585g all in, including the wheel mounting and all hardware. This is lighter than most POM gear drives with similar ratios.

They look so tiny on 9 inch wheels! :smiley:

The gears themselves are as thin and light as we could get them without compromising the strength. These are blackened so they won’t rust, and hardened where necessary to survive heavy-duty abuse.

They are also incredibly easy to remove and clean/re-grease, or even replace.

The motor pinion assembly also includes a thrust bearing to deal with the axial load.
Additionally, we also use ‘high-quality symmetric left/right gears to ensure that axial loads during heavy acceleration are always supported by the thrust bearings. From what we have seen, other designs have the same helical gears on both sides, meaning that one drive pushes the shaft into the motor whilst the other pulls away. We believe that the Jump Drive is the only steel helical gearbox on the market to fix this issue.

Additionally, in competitor drives, we have seen these side loads cause the drive gear to break free from its lock tight.

However when using Jump Drives with Apex motors the motor pinion can be retained by circlip only, meaning no retaining compound or glue is required, and no heat is needed to get the gear back off. Swapping pinions or motors becomes a ten-second job! As far as we know our motor/drive combo is the only DIY drive with this feature.

The wheel adapter is a true Push Fit design; you do not need to make any changes to your wheel at all to fit it to the drive. You can easily swap a wheel for a fully-inflated spare by just removing the axle nut: the wheel simply slides off the drive.

This allows not only quick puncture changes, but also very fast wheel rotation allowing you to keep swapping your tyres front to back as they wear down. Imagine swapping all four corners from Shit Slingers to Street Slicks in less than four minutes!

The adaptor fits three common wheels. You could have a 6” track setup on Rockstar II’s, 8” street tires on Fivestars, and some 9” offroad tyres on Fatlads. You would be able to swap between them quickly without buying a collection of different wheel adapters for each set.

The Fractional Difference Mount is a revolutionary design that allows many different angles to be achieved. Adjustment steps are merely six degrees apart meaning there’s 60 different angles you can mount these drives at. That’s 15 different adjustments between Vertical and Horizontal.

For improved maintenance, all adjustments are made externally, including backlash adjustment, with a 3mm Allen key. In fact you can fully disassemble the drive with that one tool, making field adjustments quick and easy.

 
 
 


Compatibility

Wheel Hubs:

Our Push Fit adapters don’t require any additional hardware fitted to the wheel and work with:

  • MBS Rockstar II
  • MBS Fivestar
  • Trampa Fatlads (are slightly narrower so require extra spacers on longer axles)

It may be possible for us to make adapters for other common wheels if there is sufficient demand – let us know what you want to see. Alternatively, in testing we have seen that it’s possible to create printed adapters for almost any wheel, which work reliably if well designed and printed at high infill.

Tyres:

Obviously Apex Shit Slingers are the perfect companion and have been tested on all hubs but most 8” or 9” tyres should work. For particularly wide street tyres or wide 9” tyres, we would recommend using Trampa Fatlads due to the additional width and offset of this hub. We have successfully tested some 9” tyres with the Fivestars but cannot guarantee compatibility for all 9” on this hub.

Trucks:

The JUMP DRIVE has been designed with Apex Air and Trampa CNC hangers in mind. We currently offer two different truck adapters:

  • The AIR adapter which has been extensively tested with APEX AIRS, but may also work with other trucks supporting a similar 22mmR6 profile
  • The Trampa CNC adapter, which fits current 19.5mm CNC trampa hangers. Trampa hangers have slightly shorter axles. This means you can only use Trampa Fatlads with these hangers.

We know people will ask, but unfortunately the MBS Matrix II is not compatible with the Jump Drive. This is due to the stepped axles which are not compatible with our bearing layout. Hopefully this is changed for Matrix 3.

Again if there are any other adapters that people want then let us know and we will see what we can do.

 
 
 


Jump Drive Porn

 
 
 


Where/When can I get them?

The Jump Drives are available to purchase now for £350 per set.

All the drives are at Apex HQ, we’re just waiting on some packaging so shipping will start on the week of the 18th.

We also know that our Jump Drives work best when paired with other Apex tech, so we are offering a whole selection of combo deals on the website. That means better prices when ordered with trucks, motors, or both.

48 Likes

Very cool - do you see you guys making it compatible with other wheels like Newbee or GT3 naturally or would it require specific requests?

The new design for wheel interface is interesting and I understand why it was designed this way but obviously requires a unique part per wheel, versus competitors, who use the wheel bolts.

2 Likes

We are planning on making a generic cookie type affair for other wheels in the future but our concentration at the moment is on the wheels that we and our customer use on eMTB.

That adaptor fits 3 different rims as it stands

5 Likes

Yeah I mean I think the most common one besides MBS is Newbee

If we’re talking about CNC rims anyway

Ive only ever seen one set here and that’s the set in my garage but yeah we can make some generic wheel adaptors to use bolts but we wanted to launch with the push fit for now

2 Likes

That makes sense - maybe more people have them stateside

So Nice !

I have 2 questions :

  • what is the maximum diameter possible for the motor on apex air truck ?
  • do you offer 8mm and 10mm bore pinion ?
1 Like

It’s here! First!!!

Time to read about it now

Edit: This looks sick. What a cool option, and especially at the price point

2 Likes

These look awesome. Id like to see a video of freeroll as well as the sound these make when loaded. I am also curious how you have the external backlash setting done. How do you ensure that the backlash doesn’t drift over time?

Congrats on the launch of what seems like a very epic product!

8 Likes

Looks awesome

Quick questions

Did you by any chance have any issues with the circlips as in the past they seemed a little dodgy to be holding the motor to the pinion just using that

Also how wide are the gears
They look super thing which I guess is good as long as they can stand the abuse

M4, thx :slight_smile:

5 Likes

We have tested up to 63100mm motors. larger may be possible but we have not tested those configs.

Only 8mm for now…

freeroll is way better than other gear drives due to our use of rotary shaft seal rather than the standard v seal found in other dirves.

5 Likes

Not in the 1000+ miles of abusive testing done by our team of test riders.

Proper use of thrust bearings and symmetric gearsets keeps forces pointing where it should be, reducing strain on the motor bearings and circlips.

They can handle the abuse. one of our testers was selected as he was a serial moon drive gear smasher. He did some proper abusive things that made us shudder. full throttle landings, powered curb hops. He recorded a lot of video and im sure he will be posting it when he has the time.

9 Likes

How about a step down shaft (10 to 8mm) any issue there with the thrust bearing?

Are these mod 1 gears?

How is compatibility with other motors without the circlip?

1 Like

This is excellent gents, nice.

4 Likes

What length motor shaft is necessary to run these drives? My motor shafts are already slightly cut.

Step down shafts will depend on the step length from the motor face. but most should work if your forgo the thrust bearing.

Fine with standard 24mm shaft length like moon drives, you just got to lock-tight like you would with any other drive.

5 Likes

Now that is quite the feat of design and engineering, that. You’ve gone and knocked it out of the fucking park haven’t you, you bastards? When it’s your products doing the talking, there’s no arguments. Fair play, respect due.

7 Likes

Yeah hopefully the work here talks for its self.

We think these are truly the next step in drives.
Smaller and lighter than anything else right now.
Robust but easy to maintain.
Already heavily tested.
Amazing thermal performance.
All with an original and distinctly APEX style.

Id be willing to bet any other drive manufacturer is currently rethinking what they are working and it wont be long before we start seeing people adopting the concepts we have use here.

8 Likes