Looking for a fun, around-town blaster? Then this little bobber may be just the bike for you! Selling for about $19,000 as you see it, the Apollo is a nice-handling, dependable machine that won’t break your wallet.
Let’s start with my favorite part of a bike, the powertrain. An 88″ RevTech engine (three-year warranty) moved my test Apollo down the road easily, since the bike is so light. Other engine options include various S&S Cycle and TP Engineering offerings, as well as a Crazy Horse Bottlecap 100″ motor. My RevTech was fitted with a Mikuni carb that worked great. The engine fired on first spin when hot, two spins when cold with just one primer twist of throttle. Being easy on said throttle got me 72 miles down the road on 2.4 gallons of gas, which is when I hit reserve on the 2.5-gallon tank.
My bike was also fitted with a RevTech five-speed transmission (five-year warranty). Tranny options are either a BAKER or JIMS, five- or six-speed. As for the RevTech in my test bike, it didn’t always go into gear right away when downshifting. It was also impossible to get the tranny into neutral with the bike stopped and the motor running, even using my hand. The only way I could get into neutral — other than stopping the engine — was when downshifting from second as I was rolling to a stop. And, no, it wasn’t a clutch adjustment; we tried that. The RevTech five-speed cruised okay at 70 in fifth, but the comfortable maximum was 75, since the engine was revving at about 3000 or so rpm at that speed. The bike didn’t have a tach, so that’s my best guess.
Connecting engine to transmission was a 3″ BDL belt drive system, which is a nice setup. The BDL clutch’s action was smooth and predictable, but the clutch pull was a bit too stiff with nine springs in the pressure plate. When I mentioned this to the builder, he agreed and said he would be using only six springs from now on. This would eliminate the pull issue and still provide plenty of clamping force for this size engine.
As for the exhaust, it sounded great, but it’s definitely not EPA approved! The system in my test bike was a set of Big Growl Short Shooters, but all new bikes of this model will have Snub Nose pipes. They are the same setup except for the ends, which are straight instead of turned down as on this set. Regarding right side turning clearance, the turned down end of the lower pipe hits the ground about the same time a Heritage Softail floorboard would in a right turn. Going to the straight-end pipes will definitely fix this issue.
Moving on to the chassis, the Apollo’s Kraft Tech frame geometry is right on, and the bike handles well. In fact, it’s easy to maneuver at both highway and parking lot speeds. The turning radius is small but adequate. The DNA springer front end feels light, but not too light, and is a little bouncy on big bumps, as you would expect with a springer. With a 29″ inseam, my legs were about 1″ too short to reach the Excel forward control’s footpegs fully, but I still had no problem keeping my feet on the pegs or working any of the foot controls. While we’re on the subject of my short stalks, the Apollo is low to the ground, so being flat-footed at stops was never an issue. However, the leather-covered seat does start punishing your butt after 100 or so miles. This is definitely a blast-around-town seat.
The chrome 40-spoke wheels, both front and rear, are DNA units. Both are wrapped with Metzeler ME 880 rubber, a 90/90-21″ up front and a 150/70-18″ out back. My test bike’s brakes were chrome, four-piston Ultima units that worked fine. Disc and brake pad material, as well as master cylinder sizes, were perfectly matched. However, all future bikes will have chrome, four-piston JayBrake calipers front and rear, which are excellent units. The chrome hand control switches are standard for H-Ds, and they worked well, as usual. The smooth, chrome DNA handgrips added a nice touch to the Flanders handlebars. The chrome Drag Specialties speedo is located on top of the rear rocker box, right by the right side of the seat. It’s easy to read the speed when moving, but you can’t read the mileage unless you’re stopped. Lastly, the paint work was flawlessly done by Nub Grafix in New York. I’ve seen quite a bit of Nub’s work, and it’s always excellent!
Bottom line: the Apollo is a lot of bike for the money, but I would definitely go for the extra bucks and get a BAKER or JIMS six-speed tranny. Let the blasting begin! AIM
NEW BIKE REVIEW: By Chris Maida