Farewell(?) to the JUMP e-bike
*** NEW INFORMATION AND ARTICLE, 5/22: 20,000 JUMP bikes are going to die. ***
Those who follow micromobility will know that Uber recently invested $170 million in Lime. As part of the deal, JUMP operations were also handed over to Lime.
Unfortunately, there’s one other wrinkle to this takeover:
There will be no more e-bikes.*
The JUMP bikes – like the New York Central’s streamlined Hudson locomotives and the unedited cut of the comedy epic It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World – are about to become extinct. According to a battery dealer handling the destruction contracts and cell recovery, bikes that haven’t already been disassembled will come in for their ultimate demise within the next 3 weeks.
Personally, this is immensely saddening. Not just because I run the Bike Share Museum, but because the JUMP (specifically, the original 5.0 model) was the second pedal-assist bike I’d ever ridden, and it left a joyful memory that will forever last with me.
Mind, this is from the POV of someone who has ridden hundreds of exceptionally exciting bicycles over the years, including road bikes with fancy-pants SRAM eTAP.
Unlike the boring Cannondale that was my first e-bike experience, the JUMP combined the fun experience of a pedelec, with the perfect upright riding position of an English (or Dutch) roadster, complete with the Sturmey-Archer 3-speed at the back.
More importantly, it just looks cool. I know the design is fairly polarizing, but what groundbreaking design isn’t? It achieved every vehicle stylists’ dream of taking the book of rules and chucking it out the window.
It’s a modern take on mid-century futurism that could have come straight off the desk of Bill Mitchell, the legendary (if socially flawed) designer at General Motors.
Heck, even the colors match.
Put simply, the JUMP e-bike is a wonderfully clean and well thought-out design, straight out of The Jetsons; just substitute the wheels for rockets. This made the experience of riding all the more exciting, in the same way some become giddy at the thought of driving a Lamborghini at 10 mph: It’s not that you’re doing anything extreme, it just feels special. (I may not have the V12 soundtrack, but I like to pepper my JUMP soundtrack with Jeremy Clarksonish phrases along the way, e.g.: “Speeeeeeeed! All the speeeeed!”)
But the time has come. All of these bright red machines are soon to become bright red chips of soon-to-be-molten aluminum.
In South Florida (and around the country, I believe) all JUMP personnel are being laid off in favor of Lime’s existing staff, while the aforementioned battery wholesaler is harvesting the individual cells out of the 36V battery packs.
On the note of the battery, one Scooter Talk member – who purchased a seized JUMP e-bike at a city auction – investigated the pack and found that the battery management system (BMS) boards on the JUMP battery packs are designed so they will not take a charge unless the GPS module connects to UBER’s network and verifies the bike is in their system. A smart move for theft prevention, but an issue for continued reuse. As such, cell recovery is probably the best future these batteries could have, all things considered.
But it remains a sad ending for such a spectacular bike, especially since the third incarnation of it – with a user-swappable battery available from JUMP kiosks – will be largely stillborn.
New JUMP bikes with swappable batteries and battery kiosks. JUMP CEO Ryan Rzepecki told me the kiosks will be strategically placed near residences and businesses. pic.twitter.com/gCQEVBFclz
— mrd (@meganrosedickey) September 26, 2019
That’s about all that there is to say – except that if anyone has legally acquired one of these at auction and is willing to part with it, I’m interested. Shipping costs, boxing, I’ll make it happen to get one example preserved in the Museum.
*UPDATE – 5/21:
Since we last published this article, Russell Murphy, East Coast Communications Manager for Lime, has informed us that the JUMP bicycles are not being retired.
This contradicts what we’ve been told by JUMP and the Battery Clearinghouse. Unfortunately, we really have no other sources to explain the conflicting information. We’ll let time tell.
They will not be retired!
More news to come!
Sorry if you hadn't received responses in the past, I don't know that I had received any inquiries from you but always feel free to reach out!
— Russell Murphy (@RussMurphNY) May 21, 2020