Author Topic: Apollo Transport E-bike  (Read 8330 times)

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Apollo Transport E-bike
« on: 02 August, 2021, 01:55:19 pm »
Anyone know anything about these?
https://www.halfords.com/bikes/folding-bikes/apollo-transport-electric-folding-bike---20in-wheel-750855.html

I'm very tempted, as a cheap alternative to a Brompton.

I doubt it folds anything like as well as a Brompton, but as long as it folds enough to be allowed on trains, that's my main concern. And I expect the components are largely made of cheese, but they can be upgraded as they wear out/disintegrate.

Very tempted indeed.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Apollo Transport E-bike
« Reply #1 on: 22 September, 2021, 07:58:31 pm »
Well, I decided to go for it, despite not being able to find any reviews. Have just come from picking it up.

First impression, after a quick few laps round Halfords car park, is that it’s going to be perfect for the commute. The e-assist has three power levels and there’s a noticeable difference between them. Full power has quite a kick (on the flat, at least). And the e-assist engages quickly enough that I’m going to have to get out of the habit of soft pedalling when I want to coast. It’s easy to adjust power level while riding.

Components are unsurprisingly low end but those can be upgraded as necessary. It has a six-speed block, which I’m guessing is a screw-on but haven’t investigated properly yet. Shifting is with a twist grip. Tbh, gears seem largely pointless on an e-bike that’s mostly going to be used in London. I might look into swapping for a three-speed hub gear in the long run, or even single speed (the motor is in the front hub). [ETA: yes, of course it's a screw-on - Shimano MF-TZ500-6, to be precise.]

Asked the chap in the shop about removing the front wheel, and his response was bring it in and let them do it… on me insisting on better information, he pointed out that there’s an inline connector in the power cable. But removing the front wheel will be a faff, so fingers crossed I don’t get too many punctures (seems like a good argument for upgrading to M+ at the earliest opportunity).

Tried folding it as well. On that score… let’s just say that it’s not a Brompton. But then it is a third of the price and my expectations were realistic, so I’m not concerned about that.

It doesn’t lock together when folded either, which could make carrying it awkward, especially as it weighs a flipping ton. But hopefully the need to actually fold it will not arise often - it merely needs to have the semblance of foldability so I can take it on the train. Just need to hope I don’t encounter any jobsworth staff at the barriers who insist on me folding it before letting me on the train.

I’m back in then office next week so will have a chance to use it for its intended purpose. Will post an updated review after I’ve been using it for a while.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Apollo Transport E-bike
« Reply #2 on: 22 September, 2021, 10:57:41 pm »
The battery is removable - it’s secured in place with a simple bolt (three keys supplied), though I wouldn’t ever leave the bike unattended with the battery in situ.

I took it out to charge. Fair to say it makes up a substantial chunk of the overall weight. It’s marked 8.7Ah/208.8Wh.

You can leave it in place to charge, but taking it out means I don’t need to bring the whole bike in the house.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

rogerzilla

  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: Apollo Transport E-bike
« Reply #3 on: 23 September, 2021, 07:40:25 am »
What's the battery technology?  Is it lithium of some kind?

Generally, Apollos have unsealed bearings and rust at the first sign of rain (in contrast, Carreras can be quite good, but they cheap out on things like spokes and bottom brackets).  It'll work ok when new but I would expect it to be ruined after a winter of all-weather commuting.  If you only use it in dry weather and in London (which doesn't use much road salt), it'll go for longer.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Apollo Transport E-bike
« Reply #4 on: 23 September, 2021, 08:57:58 am »
What's the battery technology?  Is it lithium of some kind?

Yes, Li-Ion

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It'll work ok when new but I would expect it to be ruined after a winter of all-weather commuting.  If you only use it in dry weather and in London (which doesn't use much road salt), it'll go for longer.

We'll see! The intention is to use it whatever the weather, but I guess that means I'll have to be careful about keeping it clean and drying it after use. Also regular prophylactic application of GT85 on exposed metal parts.

Most of my commute in London is on the cycleways, where they use Pathway KA instead of the usual road salt. Supposedly non-corrosive.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Apollo Transport E-bike
« Reply #5 on: 23 September, 2021, 09:09:32 am »
When I was in the shop yesterday, I noticed they also had the Carrera Crosscity-E, which I missed on the website. This is perhaps a more attractive bike, but also costs £200 more. Its battery is concealed in the top tube, which means you have to charge it in situ.
https://www.halfords.com/bikes/electric-bikes/carrera-crosscity-folding-electric-bike-750632.html

One interesting feature of the Crosscity-E is that the charging port also has a USB socket - so I'm guessing that means you can use the battery to charge devices like lights, Garmin etc. Always seems like a bit of a missed trick when e-bikes aimed at commuters don't have built-in lights powered by the main battery.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Apollo Transport E-bike
« Reply #6 on: 05 October, 2021, 01:41:05 pm »
Impressions after a couple of weeks of use...

Short version: it's fine. Just the job for what I need it for.

Longer version: I'm really enjoying having the electric assist on the commute, especially for the final leg home from the station in the evening, when I'm tired and it's cold and dark and I can't be bothered to make the effort to push up the hill. However, I did have an issue one day where I neglected to recharge the bike and so I had no choice but to do that final leg entirely under my own steam. And without the e-assist, it's a bit of a dog to ride uphill - mainly due to the weight. The Halfords website claims a range of about 20 miles, which sounds about right to me based on my experience so far. I have been using it quite heavily - partly through sheer novelty value. It's fun just zipping along at 25kmh on the flat with only the slightest of effort, but also lazy - I should be more sparing and save the battery for when I really need it, to avoid situations like the aforementioned. The other main benefit of the e-assist is getting going again eg at traffic lights - obviously commuting in central London is very stop-start at times.

One thing I've noticed is that the power doesn't always kick in when you want it - or so it has seemed a few times. I'll need to diagnose this properly. It might be to do with what gear you're in, the gradient, your speed, things like that. I'm not sure. Hopefully not a sign that the electronics are shonky.

I've had to fold it up a couple of times on the train, when it's been busy. And that has been less of a faff than I feared too. OK, so it's far from being as compact as a Brompton when folded, but it fits in the luggage racks on the HS1 Javelin trains, so that's fine. Folding and unfolding is pretty straightforward too. The only real criticism I have is that it doesn't stand up when folded, so you have to lean it against something to stop it falling over.

I had a phantom flat tyre the other day. Got the bike out of the garage and the front was a bit soft. I didn't dare try to remove the front wheel so attempted to repair it with the wheel in situ, which was a bit awkward given there's also a mudguard in the way. Only I couldn't find the puncture anyway, so it must be a very slow one.

As mentioned in t'other thread, I'm thinking of upgrading the tyres. I think the ones supplied are fine for now but they're probably contributing to sapping the power a lot more quickly than is strictly necessary. They're perfectly OK for riding around London streets though.

The only other thing I've had a problem with so far is the thick and squidgy saddle. It's horrible. I really will need to change that at some point. The discomfort is probably exacerbated by the very upright riding position.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: Apollo Transport E-bike
« Reply #7 on: 05 October, 2021, 05:30:58 pm »
M'Julie who lives a stone's throw from you, inherited £300.00 e-assist bike which she asked me to sort out so that she could use it on her commute along the C&W way between Whizzy Bell and Canterbury.
It is made mostly of cheese, and the fact that a replacement battery comes through the till at ~£280.00 should be a stark indicator of the quality of the remaining components.
But I checked it out, charged up the battery and took it down the road and confess to having had a big grin on my face when I requested that it deliver the beans :)

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Apollo Transport E-bike
« Reply #8 on: 05 October, 2021, 05:54:22 pm »
It's great that the e-bike market and technology are now mature enough that you can pick up an e-bike for a relatively affordable price, and know that it's actually going to work.

Obviously I'd much rather have an e-assist Hummingbird, but they're £4.5k, which is slightly out of my price range at the moment.

I've not been up the C&W on mine yet - was intending to come home that way the other day, but that was the day the battery died.

The battery is certainly the single most valuable component. It's locked in place, but I was looking at the battery housing earlier and contemplating how easy it would be to break it out... Let's just say I won't be leaving it unattended with the battery in situ anywhere that theft is likely to be a concern.

The other benefit I forgot to mention earlier is being able to get to work after a fairly brisk bike ride in civvies without being sweaty.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Apollo Transport E-bike
« Reply #9 on: 29 April, 2022, 02:51:01 pm »
Impressions after a couple of weeks of use...

Short version: it's fine. Just the job for what I need it for.

Update a few months later: it's still fine.

I've been using it for the commute two days a week throughout winter and the weather hasn't killed it. Also use it to ride to Parkrun at weekends, and occasional other local errands.

The battery doesn't have the greatest capacity - if I use it in lazy mode (full power, minimal pedalling), it lasts long enough for the four legs of my daily commute (home to station, station to office, and the reverse at the end of the day) which adds up to about 18km, but there isn't much left after that. I can easily eke it out if necessary by being more conservative in its use - eg by turning the battery off on the flat sections. As long as I have enough juice left to help me up the hill on the way home in the evening, that's all I really care about. I can then leave it to recharge overnight.

Quote
One thing I've noticed is that the power doesn't always kick in when you want it - or so it has seemed a few times. I'll need to diagnose this properly. It might be to do with what gear you're in, the gradient, your speed, things like that. I'm not sure. Hopefully not a sign that the electronics are shonky.

I'd forgotten about this - not something I notice any more, which I suspect is simply down to having got used to how it behaves.

Quote
As mentioned in t'other thread, I'm thinking of upgrading the tyres. I think the ones supplied are fine for now but they're probably contributing to sapping the power a lot more quickly than is strictly necessary. They're perfectly OK for riding around London streets though.

Having had a few punctures recently, I am starting to think this is a necessity. Given how much of a faff it is to take the front wheel off, Marathon Plus would seem to be a sensible option. But since I'm no longer going to be commuting after next week, it's become less of a priority, so I'll make do with the existing tyres for a bit longer.

Quote
The only other thing I've had a problem with so far is the thick and squidgy saddle. It's horrible. I really will need to change that at some point. The discomfort is probably exacerbated by the very upright riding position.

Another thing I've not noticed so much lately - probably just through getting used to it. And the fact that I'm not riding it long enough for it to ever be a real problem.

Overall, still very happy with the purchase. A really good bike for the price.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Apollo Transport E-bike
« Reply #10 on: 15 March, 2024, 06:25:51 pm »
If anyone is interested in an update...

I finally got round to upgrading the tyres last week. I ought to post a fess in the div thread because this is clearly something I should have done a long, long time ago.

The new tyres are Schwalbe Marathon Plus, which we all know are not famed for being fast-rolling tyres, but the difference with the shite Kenda tyres that came fitted to the bike is remarkable.

To highlight how much of a difference the tyres have made, I can now ride the bike comfortably at lowest power level and still make decent progress. This means I now get two commutes per charge rather than one. It's like riding a different bike.

After two and a half years of ownership, I'm still very happy indeed with the purchase. Just wish I'd upgraded the tyres sooner. The bike lives outdoors in all weathers a lot of the time (a hazard of being a commute bike that gets locked up at the station) and as a result the headset is completely shot, so the next job is to replace that, but it's lasting pretty well really.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."