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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:49 am 
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When I got to play with the new Hobie inflatable back in August, there were some subtle changes with the Mirage Drive that came with it. As a big pedaling fan, this caught my attention and I was able to "borrow" it for an extended use.

I found some significant changes. The drums and chains have been redesigned to provide several improvements.

This first picture shows the difference between the old (left) and new drums:
Image

There are more differences here than meet the eye. Let's take a look at some of the features.

Improved crank arm support: Notice the larger pockets. These support the crank arms much better than the old drums. Together with the newer crank arms, virtually all flexing is eliminated.

Redesigned cable ramps: Looking closely at the picture above, notice that there is no angular change at the cable swedges (where the cable connects to the end piece) on the new drums. This relieves uneven stress on the cables at their weakest point. Excellent design change!

"Waffled" back sides: The current drums are vulnerable to warping due to uneven cooling as they are popped out of their molds. This waffle pattern allows more even cooling for minimal warping. Structurally, this pattern supports excellent rigidity with light weight. Here's what it looks like:
Image

Narrower profile: The new drums reduce overall pedal width by about 1/2". Whereas most users wouldn't notice the difference, long legged owners in some Hobie kayak models will find that, with the new drums, the Drive no longer rubs against the side of the cockpit in the #7 hole. Coincidentally, this narrower width is very similar to that of the venerable old stainless and aluminum drives. The following pic. shows the difference in pedal width between current (left) and new drum drives:
Image

Slotted holes (not shown). The cable holes are now slotted instead of round to work with the new cables. See below.

Longer cables with clipped threads: The new cable ends are shaved on opposite sides in order to fit through the narrow drum slots. As a result, they can no longer twist. For anyone who has tried adjusting their cable tension, this simple change makes the process much quicker and easier! There is no longer a need to use pliers or vise grips. With just a wrench, you can now make quick and easy one handed adjustments. Nut locations have also been moved for easier access. All three cables can easily be adjusted in less than a minute. Here's what the clipped threads look like:
Image

As was briefly mentioned above, crank arms were redesigned earlier this year to provide more rigidity, improve the pedal shaft and secure the top caps. Used with the new drums and chains, the possibility of pedal flex or pedal adjustment pins popping out is virtually eliminated. In three months of heavy pedaling, I have experienced no pedal flexing and negligable adjustment pin wear on the drums. Reliability has been 100%. When the dealer wants his "demo" unit back I plan to make sure both my "modern" drives are updated.

My understanding is that these new drums and cables are standard on the inflatables only and are not yet available in the parts system. This is apparently due to limited cable availability. When they reach full production, perhaps Hobie will offer upgrade kits, as these will make a significant improvement! 8)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:28 am 
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Wow RR--nice job and thanks for the update! Wonder if this design will become the "standard" over time?
Best,
Dick

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:45 am 
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Location: Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Great report and great photos. Thank you for your effort in keeping us informaed.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:43 pm 
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thats neat. my adj pins keep popping out of holes.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:55 pm 
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Another outstanding report RR. I too am interested when these improvements may become "standard" as I plan on getting my first Hobie in the spring.

Paging Mr. Miller.....


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 2:48 am 
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Hi RR,

many thanks for the post.

Its great to see Hobie taking aboard their customer feedback and continously improving the mirage drive.

Regards
Grant


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:05 am 
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Location: 315 N. Hwy 79 Panama City Beach, FL 32413 850-235-2281
I am pretty sure it is being implemented into production as we speak.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:09 am 
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Location: Pirates Beach, Texas
Excellent report. One small comment though, I use hole #7, and it did rub the against the sides. My solution was to cut tab off of each pedal. I am very pleased with the Hobie.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:55 am 
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Location: Florida
Roadrunner wrote:
When they reach full production, perhaps Hobie will offer upgrade kits, as these will make a significant improvement! 8)


As I commented over at KFS - Wonderful news!

Hobie Mirage Upgrade Kits - Put me down for 2 kits

2 of my 1 year old unused drives gather dust as I'm addicted to using turbo fins and prefer not to chance breaking those drives.

Hobie has always taking the practical approach.
Like making the Mirage Spare Parts Kit #80013201
And the new Island re-fit rudder line up/down kit -#81391002

So if users get a vote - I vote YES to mirage upgrade kits!
:D

Yakaholic


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 1:47 pm 
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
I second that vote!!
Thanks RR for your report- you managed to keep quiet on the upgrades for quite a while :wink:
Hobie will need to work out just how to handle the upgrades. We have two drives -one with Turbo and one with ST's and both have suffered the elongated adjustment holes. One drum has been replaced under warranty but Hobie Australasia are waiting on more drums. Obviously I would like the upgraded drum but then the cables need replacing as well.
I wonder how Hobie will handle this??


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:54 pm 
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stringy wrote:
you managed to keep quiet on the upgrades for quite a while :wink:
It was difficult to conceal my excitement, but on the other hand, I was reluctant to say anything before giving it a thorough test. It takes time to ovalize holes!

To give an indication of how well these are working, here's what the new Drum holes look like after about 250 Miles +/- of hard pedaling (typically about 5 MPH with sprints mixed in (Adventure w/ Turbofins), not including sailing, etc). The #5 (middle hole showing) gets the heaviest use, with #6 (second from left) a distant second (slightly shorter Oasis cockpit):
Image

By way of contrast, here's a recent drum I broke earlier this year accelerating for a boat wake ride, due to a combination of flexing and ovalizing:
Image

The engineers have done a great job this new design -- there is really no comparison! 8)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:37 pm 
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Location: sacramento california
Hey Roadie..
Thanks for the excellent update. My drives are still hanging together but I will get the upgrade when avail if things breakdown. Have they closed your waterhole for the year or are you still able to go out and float the boats?
Have a good one.keep up the great reviews and have fun :wink:
Kepnutz


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:17 pm 
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Roadrunner,
I wonder if now, after all your testing of these upgrades, you would agree that the drives are approaching bullet-proof or dare I say "rnykster-proof"
status?? :)
http://www.hobiecat.com/community/viewt ... 0162#40162


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:40 pm 
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Location: Escondido
kepnutz wrote:
Have they closed your waterhole for the year or are you still able to go out and float the boats?

It's closed till next year, so I've been out harvesting sea grass over at Mission Bay in San Diego. There seems to be an unlimited supply this time of year! Anyone for some Seaweed Salad?8)
Image

stringy wrote:
Roadrunner,
I wonder if now, after all your testing of these upgrades, you would agree that the drives are approaching bullet-proof or dare I say "rnykster-proof"
status?? :)

There is one element remaining -- plastic sprockets. The sprockets themselves are great -- I like them better than the Stainless versions: the chain doesn't skip if too loose, and the chain locks in at the master cog, making several procedures much easier. They wear impressively well and are cheap to replace if necessary.

Hobie has had some problems with the other vital function performed by the sprockets though -- the mast retention system. These problems centered around 1) Allenhead mast retention screws backing out; 2)Turbofin masts not being fully seated; and 3) improper installation of Turbofins by (some) customers. Hobie has addressed all of these issues with some success. Sprockets are now prepped differently so that the mast retention screws stay in place better; Turbomasts have had their slots re-worked for more positive seating, and customer installation has been simplified somewhat making it harder to screw up. Still, the plastic sprocket remains a weak link if one were to have the "bullet-proof" Drive. Potential problems can be avoided by inspecting often for early signs of "wallowing" or any mast looseness, especially with Turbofins.

I feel bad for Rnykster, the ultimate Mirage Drive destruction machine. He's been a catalyst for improvement on the forum and I'm sorry he's not here to see some of the fruits of his labor. I'm not sure if Hobie can build a Drive that's truly "Rnykster-proof", but this latest version is getting pretty darned close! 8)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:03 pm 
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
Roadrunner,
Thanks for your comments- I always find them valuable. It's interesting that in my experience the sprockets haven't been troublesome. Once I learnt from your posts about maintaining the set screw we have had no sprocket failures in 9 months of regular kayaking. The original sprockets have had standard, ST and Turbo fins, have been banged up enough to bend masts and once I stupidly ran over my turbos with the trolley wheel when I forgot to secure them with the bungee! (The turbos work well as a brake when wheeling the kayak but I wouldn't recommend it! :wink: )
The problem we have had has been with the adjustment holes and it looks like this has now been addressed :D.
I look forward to getting a kit when it is available.

PS- I was at my dealers recently as he was unwrapping a new Oasis manufactured earlier this year. I was interested to see how much play there was in the adjustment pins on a brand new drive. I was shocked that both drives had excessive play on the right side yet the left side showed no play. I think that Hobie need to improve their quality control as drives like that should not be going out.


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