Hobie created the first MirageDrive pedal drive for kayaks in 1997 and has been innovating the concept ever since. With four core models and variants of each, it can be incredibly confusing when trying to order replacement or upgrade parts for your MirageDrive. We’ve created this post to help you (and us) make sense of replacement parts and upgrades for Hobie MirageDrives once and for all, based on our 26 years of combined experience selling Hobie kayaks and servicing MirageDrives.
Sometimes we still need to investigate to work out which parts you will need to keep your drive in service. If you have any doubt as to which parts you need or what drive you have be sure to get in touch with us.
Parts and Upgrades for The Original MirageDrive (V1)
Hobie pioneered pedal-powered kayaks with the introduction of the first MirageDrive in 1997. Often now referred to as a V1 MirageDrive, this drive can be identified by its shark fin shape “comfort fins”, black drums and metal sprockets.
This drive is quite similar in appearance to the newer V2 drives but can typically be identified by a more square drum shape. If in doubt, please send us a photo of your drive so we can identify it correctly.
Found on: All Hobie pedal kayaks produced between 1997 and 2008 and potentially some 2009 models
Parts Availability: Replacement parts are no longer available for the original MirageDrive. Customers with this drive can convert it to a GT MirageDrive by replacing the original components with the following;
Upgrade: The V1 MirageDrive can be completely replaced with any modern MirageDrive except the MD-360. However, a new drive will require the alignment pins to be cut off to suit the older-style drive well
Turbo Fins: If you’re looking to upgrade an original V1 drive with square-tip Turbo fins please get in touch with us.
Parts and Upgrades for MirageDrive V2
- No alignment pins
- With alignment pins
Hobie refined the original MirageDrive design to create the V2 MirageDrive. The V2 featured redesigned drums to reduce loading, more secure fin mast mounting using a threaded system and offered significantly better chain life along with other minor refinements.
Hobie began upgrading the original MirageDrives to V2 in mid-2008 and by 2009 the V2 drive was standard issue. In 2012 Hobie updated the V2 drive spine to include alignment pins to help prevent damage from misalignment. This update necessitated an update to the kayak drive well to accommodate the new alignment pins.
A V2 drive can typically be identified by the V2 stamped on the sprockets and its black drums with the Hobie H logo. Like its predecessor, the V2 came standard with shark fin shape “comfort fins” though some may have seen upgrades to square-tip fins over the years.
Found on: All Hobie pedal kayaks produced between 2009 and 2015 and potentially some 2008 models
Parts Availability: Replacement parts are still widely available for V2 MirageDrives with shared compatibility with many MD-GT components. If in doubt, please contact us for assistance.
- Hobie MirageDrive V2 Chain
- Hobie MirageDrive V2 Idler Cable
- Replacement MirageDrive Spine V2/GT
- Mast Replacement for MirageDrive V2
- Hobie Mirage GT Idler Pulley
- Glide Technology (GT) Sprocket for MirageDrive
- Drum for Hobie MirageDrive V2/GT
- Glide Technology (GT) Upgrade Kit for V2 MirageDrives
- MD180 ST Upgrade Kit for V2 MirageDrives
- MD180 Turbo Upgrade Kit for V2 MirageDrives
The V2 MirageDrive can be completely replaced with any modern MirageDrive except the MD-360. However, a new drive may require the alignment pins to be cut off in order to suit pre-2012 kayaks with the older-style drive well
Parts and Upgrades for MirageDrive GT (Glide Technology)
Hobie continued to perfect the MirageDrive with the release of the MirageDrive GT (MD-GT) in 2015. Featuring Hobie’s patented Glide Technology (GT) and patented square-tip (ST) fin design, the MD-GT offered increased power and 10% improved efficiency over the V2 drive.
In 2020, the GT drive was updated to carry Hobie’s patented Kick-Up fin technology. This welcome upgrade prevents damage to the drive and the drive well from groundings and allows worry-free access to shallow or obstacle-rich waterways. This updated version is called the MirageDrive GT Kick-Up (MD-GT-KU).
The MirageDrive GT is easy to identify as it is the only single-direction drive with grey drums and sprockets. To identify whether your drive has Kick-Up fins, press firmly on the front edge of the fin to see if it retracts. Be careful, If your drive is not Kick-Up, too much pressure may damage a standard GT drive.
- MD-GT was standard on all Hobie pedal kayaks produced between 2015 and 2017
- MD-GT was standard on all Hobie Compass kayaks between 2017 and 2019 except camo versions which came with the MD-180 drive.
- MD-GT was standard on some Hobie Passport models in 2020
- MD-GT-KU is standard for all 2021+ Hobie Passport models and some 2020 models
- MD-GT-KU is standard for all 2021+ iTrek series inflatable kayaks
- MD-GT-KU was standard on some Hobie Compass kayaks in 2020 except for camo versions which came with the MD-180 drive.
- MD180 ST Upgrade Kit for GT MirageDrives
- MD180 Turbo Upgrade Kit for GT MirageDrives
- MD180 Kick-Up Upgrade Kit for GT Kick-Up MirageDrives
The GT and GT Kick-Up MirageDrives can be completely replaced with any modern MirageDrive except the MD-360.
Parts Availability: Replacement parts are still widely available for GT and GT Kick-Up MirageDrives. Most V2 parts will also be compatible with GT drives. If parts aren’t listed we can likely get them for you, get in touch so we can assist.
Parts and Upgrades for MirageDrive 180
Hobie added forward and reverse functionality to the MirageDrive with the release of the MirageDrive 180 (MD-180) in 2017. However, things get a little messy here with multiple variants in short succession, so remember to contact us if you’re in doubt.
Early in the MD-180’s rollout, Hobie identified some design flaws with forward/reverse shifters and tendons that were prone to breaking. This led to the development of the MirageDrive 180 V2 (MD-180-V2) which was rolled out from mid-2017.
Along with rectifying the shifter and tendon issue, the MD-180-V2 incorporated a new fin boom/mast design to simplify attachment. This means in the unlikely event that you own an original or V1 MD-180 you will need to upgrade to V2 Booms to replace masts and fins. We have the Hobie MD180 V1 to V2 Upgrade Kit with Turbo Fins with all required parts (fins, masts & booms).
In 2018 Hobie again updated its 180 drive to include the new ARC Cranks which featured a curved design that allows for easier adjustment of the pedal position, reducing fatigue and improving comfort during long periods of use. While the cranks and drums changed, the bottom end is the same as the MD-180-V2 which allows the two drives to share the majority of spare parts.
Finally, in 2020 Hobie fitted their 180 drive with their patented Kick-Up fin technology. Kick-up fins prevent damage to the drive and the drive well from groundings and allow access to shallow or obstacle-rich waterways. This latest and current version of the drive is known as the MirageDrive 180 Kick-Up (MD-180-KU).
Hobie’s 180 drives are easily identified by the direction change tendons or shifters that are mounted on the back of the drive. Differentiating between ARC and Kick-Up models is fairly straightforward. However, differentiating between original MD-180s and MD-180-V2 is a little more difficult. Please send us photos of your drive so we can assist you in identifying which you own.
- MD-180 was standard on all early 2017 Hobie pedal kayaks except non-camo variants of the Compass
- MD-180-V2 was standard from late 2017 to 2018 on all Hobie pedal kayaks except for non-camo variants of the Compass
- MD-180-V2-ARC was standard from 2018 to 2019 on all Hobie pedal kayaks except for non-camo variants of the Compass
- MD-180-KU is standard for all 2020 + Hobie kayaks excluding Pro-Angler 360 series, Passport series and iTrek series
Parts Availability: Most replacement parts are still widely available for all variants of the 180 MirageDrives. There is mixed compatibility between variants which can make choosing the right part difficult. For replacement parts for MirageDrive 180 variants, we highly encourage you to get in touch with us.
The most advanced kayak pedal drive in the world, the Hobie MirageDrive 360 (MD-360) provides propulsion in any direction. This drive was released in 2020 with an updated version due in 2024 on all new 360 variants of the Pro-Angler with Turbo fins as standard. With the added functionality comes a big leap in technical complexity and a new drive-well design to accommodate it.
Found on: The MirageDrive 360 is only available on 360 variants of Hobie’s Pro Angler kayaks. It is not compatible with non-360 variant Pro-Angler model kayaks or any other Hobie kayak models.
The new MD-360-XR drive will be available on MY2024 Pro Angler 360 model kayaks expected to be available in Australia from March/April 2024. Hobie has updated the hull and drive well on MY2024 Pro Angler 360 kayaks to accommodate the enhanced XR drive and improve strength.
This means that updating a MY2023 or older model Pro Angler 360 kayak to have the features of the the new XR drive is not likely to be possible. We will aim to confirm this as soon as we can. If our assumptions are correct, it will mean the only way to get your hands on the improved XR drive will be to buy a MY2024 Pro Angler 360 kayak.
Parts Availability: Parts for the MD-360 are available, just not through the dealership network as yet. Given the complexity of the drives, Hobie has been handling all warranty repair work themselves. Whether this continues once the drives start to fall outside the three-year warranty coverage in 2024 remains to be seen, but we hope to be carrying spare parts for this drive in the not-too-distant future.
- The Original MirageDrive (V1) can be updated to a V2 drive to remain serviceable
- Replacement parts or upgrades are available to keep all other MirageDrives in service but understanding which drive you have and which parts are suited is crucial.
- The V2 and GT MirageDrives can be upgraded to GT or 180 variants with upgrade kits
- The GT Kick-Up MirageDrive can be upgraded to an MD-180 Kick-UP with an upgrade kit
- MirageDrive 180 with Arc cranks can be updated to a MirageDrive 180 Kick-Up with an upgrade kit
- Turbo fin kits are available for most MirageDrives but some older drives may require an upgrade kit for compatibility
- HWS is Australia’s leading Hobie MirageDrive parts and upgrades specialist with fast shipping Australia-wide.
If you’re uncertain about which MirageDrive version you have or need assistance with replacement parts or upgrades, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. With over 26 years of combined experience, we’ll give you the best advice to keep you on the water.
About the Author
James Kilpatrick founded Hunter Water Sports (HWS) in 2012 and has been its managing director ever since. With over 18 years in the marine and fishing industry and a passion for kayak fishing both recreational and competitive, James is an expert in all things Hobie kayaks.