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