Forum home Mountain biking forum Your mountain bikes

My hardtail builds

dudemanchoo72dudemanchoo72 Posts: 28
edited May 2018 in Your mountain bikes
I fancied building my own hardtail mtb for bombing down local canal tow paths and single track to keep my fitness up, so I purchased this cheap unloved Apollo Phaze as the basis of the project.
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Although the bike was rideable, it became apparent that most of the components had seen their best days. The cables and gears were completely worn. The mechanical disc brakes barely had any stopping power and the horrid revo gear shifters took an unbelievable amount of effort before they would even attemp to change gear. So it was stripped back to frame only. I was amazed at how little the frame weighed after all the bits were taken off.
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Then after trying a couple of useless paint stripping products, I attacked it with a grinder fitted with a wire brush.
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Then it was sprayed with a couple of coats of zinc primer. Then three light coats of Ford Nordic Blue. Then finally a couple of thin coats of clear lacquer (all rattle cans)
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Posts

  • Apart from a couple of cable guides from the original bike everything was replaced with new parts.
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    I'll post a full spec list shortly
  • How much did you pay for the bike and how much money did you put into it?
  • sam_anonsam_anon Posts: 165
    How much did you pay for the bike and how much money did you put into it?

    Is it wrong that I'm expecting your next post to be negative Bonzo?
  • Uber_PodUber_Pod Posts: 110
    It's quite a change from how it started. I'd never have thought of that colour, but it could grow on me.
    I like the white saddle with white bars and fork.
    Overall, good job - it looks really good.

    Have you ridden it yet?
    With the much shorter stem it looks like your weight would be much more over the back wheel than before. I'm genuinely curious as to whether that is at all noticeable when riding it.
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    I think it's great, bet you learnt a few things while doing it too. Doesn't matter how much it may have cost. It was fun to build, and you have something at the end of it. Good job. :)
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • sam anon wrote:
    How much did you pay for the bike and how much money did you put into it?

    Is it wrong that I'm expecting your next post to be negative Bonzo?

    Honestly just curious and not a bike brand snob. I guess I can be a bit negative about Apollo bikes at Halfords, its their entry level range but no reason to think the frame isn't as good as many more expensive bikes and Halfords have a great reputation for solid frames on their bikes although I'm thinking more of Carrera there than Apollo I guess.
  • I paid £50 for the bike and I think all the new parts stand me at approx £500. I bought it as I was curious that I saw a lot of these bikes being used as a commuter. I wanted something that I could leave at work then use at lunch times to get a few fitness miles in on the local trails and towpaths. Then after a couple of rides it became apparent most things had seen their best days so I decided I would use the frame only and build something specific to me as I’d never done it before and I’d been missing my old kona 26er that I’d sold a couple of years before. I don’t know how these various bike brands manage to put together a reasonably spec’d bike and sell them for what they do. Must be to do with buying components in bulk i reckon. I know I’d never make that money back selling it but I never did it for that reason. The only part of the build I was concerned with was measuring and cutting a new fork. The rest I found was pretty straight forward as have been tinkering with bikes on and off for 30 odd years. The colour is one they used on the mk1 and 2 Ford escorts I believe, I just picked it because it was different. I wanted a solid pastel colour instead of all these matt and candy colours you seem to get now. I finished the bike back in September and have probably ridden 100 miles or so. It’s definately better than my Kona was. It’s a very quick and responsive bike and I like it as much as my Voodoo Aizan 29er that replaced the Kona. The only thing I find is when on a steep climb there is an odd wobble from side to side whilst pedalling hard. Maybe the frame geometry or having a very short stem I think. Anyway, I’ve got something now I can tinker around with so I’ll carry on using it then maybe change the frame but for now I’m happy with it. I do agree that maybe the carrera frames are better. I just wanted to see if I could make something half decent from what some people would see as a cheap and nasty bike. There is quite a decent frame under all that rubbish that was bolted to it. It gives me the same buzz that all my other bikes have done no matter what I ride. Thanks for your comments.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,728
    It's not a bad looking bike for saying what it started out as. Surprised you didn't spray the forks to match and made it single chainset.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • oxoman wrote:
    It's not a bad looking bike for saying what it started out as. Surprised you didn't spray the forks to match and made it single chainset.

    Yeah I’m quite pleased with it for now. Did think about the single set up long and hard but couldn’t find anything priced as low as this triple at the time and the cost was mounting up. Maybe a change I will make in the future if finances allow but it does seem like the way forward and the current trend.

    Although you can never have too many bike parts.
  • I paid £50 for the bike and I think all the new parts stand me at approx £500. I bought it as I was curious that I saw a lot of these bikes being used as a commuter. I wanted something that I could leave at work then use at lunch times to get a few fitness miles in on the local trails and towpaths. Then after a couple of rides it became apparent most things had seen their best days so I decided I would use the frame only and build something specific to me as I’d never done it before and I’d been missing my old kona 26er that I’d sold a couple of years before. I don’t know how these various bike brands manage to put together a reasonably spec’d bike and sell them for what they do. Must be to do with buying components in bulk i reckon. I know I’d never make that money back selling it but I never did it for that reason. The only part of the build I was concerned with was measuring and cutting a new fork. The rest I found was pretty straight forward as have been tinkering with bikes on and off for 30 odd years. The colour is one they used on the mk1 and 2 Ford escorts I believe, I just picked it because it was different. I wanted a solid pastel colour instead of all these matt and candy colours you seem to get now. I finished the bike back in September and have probably ridden 100 miles or so. It’s definitely better than my Kona was. It’s a very quick and responsive bike and I like it as much as my Voodoo Aizan 29er that replaced the Kona. The only thing I find is when on a steep climb there is an odd wobble from side to side whilst pedalling hard. Maybe the frame geometry or having a very short stem I think. Anyway, I’ve got something now I can tinker around with so I’ll carry on using it then maybe change the frame but for now I’m happy with it. I do agree that maybe the carrera frames are better. I just wanted to see if I could make something half decent from what some people would see as a cheap and nasty bike. There is quite a decent frame under all that rubbish that was bolted to it. It gives me the same buzz that all my other bikes have done no matter what I ride. Thanks for your comments.

    Average cost of bikes bought from China is something like $50 or was back in 2014. Of course the majority are children's bikes and low end supermarket/entry level bikes but still its a very low price as an average. Average price paid for a bike sent to Africa was $30 and that was mainly adult bikes (again 2014). These are the factory door prices. Bikes like Bianchi that sell for £1000 over here could have the same frame as fuji-ta's own brand 'Battle' which sells for less than £100 in China with inferior components. No reason to think the same Apollo frame or a minor variation of it isn't used on a much more expensive hardtail bike.

    I remember buying a £30 bike from sterling house new. It was £29.99 but £8 postage on top but also included a free cycle computer which was worth an easy £5 at the time. Low end components but a solid strong frame.

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  • I agree. I’m always wary of bikes that cost more than any of the cars that I’ve owned. Just wondering what’s underneath. I have a specialized full susser I bought about 7 or 8 years ago which cost me about 1200 quid at the time, also a 26er that I haven’t ridden half as much as I should have done simply for the fact that it doesn’t ride anywhere near as good as other bikes I’ve had for half that money. I may give that some tlc as it’s been a bit neglected but I wouldn’t spend that much on a bike again. I’d sooner build my own bikes now I’ve been bitten by the bug.
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    I think learning how to put a bike together is a great thing. I don't know enough, but have found a Boardman Team 650b for £200 which I've pretty much decided on buying. I have guide brakes and a GX 1x11 drivechain I'm going to fit, which will teach me things I haven't done before. It's going to be my tinker bike and winter hardtail. The full suss will then be left to the professionals and kept in tip top shape.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • jamski wrote:
    I think learning how to put a bike together is a great thing. I don't know enough, but have found a Boardman Team 650b for £200 which I've pretty much decided on buying. I have guide brakes and a GX 1x11 drivechain I'm going to fit, which will teach me things I haven't done before. It's going to be my tinker bike and winter hardtail. The full suss will then be left to the professionals and kept in tip top shape.

    Id say go for it. While I was doing mine I couldn’t wait to get it finished. Then after a couple of rides I was stopping after 10 or 15 miles and thinking. “I built this and it’s took me all this way without even a hiccup”. The buzz and feeling of pride it gave me I can’t explain. I couldn’t smile wide enough. Felt like I had a coat hangar in my mouth. That sounds like a good base for a build and that drivetrain sounds good too. You’ll have to post it up and let us know how you get on. :D
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    jamski wrote:
    I think learning how to put a bike together is a great thing. I don't know enough, but have found a Boardman Team 650b for £200 which I've pretty much decided on buying. I have guide brakes and a GX 1x11 drivechain I'm going to fit, which will teach me things I haven't done before. It's going to be my tinker bike and winter hardtail. The full suss will then be left to the professionals and kept in tip top shape.

    Id say go for it. While I was doing mine I couldn’t wait to get it finished. Then after a couple of rides I was stopping after 10 or 15 miles and thinking. “I built this and it’s took me all this way without even a hiccup”. The buzz and feeling of pride it gave me I can’t explain. I couldn’t smile wide enough. Felt like I had a coat hangar in my mouth. That sounds like a good base for a build and that drivetrain sounds good too. You’ll have to post it up and let us know how you get on. :D

    Yeah I will, thanks mate. :) It has some cosmetic wear, looks like it's been well used, but I just need to get over that! Just some cable rub on the crown and heel rub on one of the chainstays, which will cover up with a protector. It's a 120mm air fork, and even the stock drivechain and brakes are decent in Sram x7 and Avid Elixir 3. So £200 even with signs of use is a good price. Seller seems like a decent guy and is going to give it a clean and once over before I pick up. Was meant to be tomorrow but we've had loads of snow now, so might be delayed.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • jamski wrote:
    Yeah I will, thanks mate. :) It has some cosmetic wear, looks like it's been well used, but I just need to get over that! Just some cable rub on the crown and heel rub on one of the chainstays, which will cover up with a protector. It's a 120mm air fork, and even the stock drivechain and brakes are decent in Sram x7 and Avid Elixir 3. So £200 even with signs of use is a good price. Seller seems like a decent guy and is going to give it a clean and once over before I pick up. Was meant to be tomorrow but we've had loads of snow now, so might be delayed.

    That is a lot of bike for that money. Some really decent parts on there. I bet that’s gonna be brilliant to ride when you have finished your tinkering. Yeah the snow has been a pain. This wind too. Almost makes me want a fat bike. Now there’s an idea :lol:
  • slc123slc123 Posts: 407
    I spent the winter building my first bike from ground up. Mainly bought second hand parts and managed to build what I feel is a pretty good bike for the money. Couldn’t have afforded it if it was brand new!

    It was a good learning curve and ultimately makes the maintenance aspect easier as you know how it all should work/fits together.

    If you have the time and the inclination I would strongly recommend doing it!

    I really like the bike you’ve put together here. Colour is great. I didn’t go down to that level of respraying the frame as I was happy with the colour already. Definitely worth going 1x if you can. I’ve already noticed a big difference!
    Cannondale Trail 27.5 | 2015
    Titus El Chulo 27.5 | 2017
    Trek Slash 9 27.5 | 2015 (building)
  • slc123 wrote:
    I spent the winter building my first bike from ground up. Mainly bought second hand parts and managed to build what I feel is a pretty good bike for the money. Couldn’t have afforded it if it was brand new!

    It was a good learning curve and ultimately makes the maintenance aspect easier as you know how it all should work/fits together.

    If you have the time and the inclination I would strongly recommend doing it!

    I really like the bike you’ve put together here. Colour is great. I didn’t go down to that level of respraying the frame as I was happy with the colour already. Definitely worth going 1x if you can. I’ve already noticed a big difference!

    Thanks for the nice comments. Yeah building a bike is definitely better as you can customise any way you want. Think I will go 1x within the next 6 months. Keep hearing so many good things about it. Plus gets rid of the front mech side of things. I’ve just found out they used this frame on a couple of Raleigh bikes aswell. I know they’re not the company they once were but it can’t be that bad a frame. Gonna start pricing a 1 x 11 then start filling the piggy bank :lol:
  • The biggest manufacturer of bikes and frames is fuji-ta. Not only do they make over 15 million complete bikes a year but they provide oem frames to assemblers around the far east, US and Europe. Because smaller bike companies can't make high quality aluminium frames or certify them these are often bought in even if they make steel frames themselves. So even if the bike is from Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh etc it can still be a fuji-ta frame from China. The reason they do this is the EU tariffs on bikes direct from China.

    Could be one of these or a small variation of it as fuji-ta will alter dimensions and prototype frames for customers, most they sell are their own stock designs though. Same firm makes Bianchi, Cannondale and many other top brands as well as low end brands.

    As you can see from the video they clearly state they make Raleigh bikes so if the Apollo shares the same frame your frame was made in one of the most advanced frame factories in the world with very high quality processes. Your unlikely to get anything too clever in the tubing, it may not be double or triple butted but still a damn fine frame.

    http://www.fuji-ta.com/mountain-bikes

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yn5kIpIrv0
  • The biggest manufacturer of bikes and frames is fuji-ta. Not only do they make over 15 million complete bikes a year but they provide oem frames to assemblers around the far east, US and Europe. Because smaller bike companies can't make high quality aluminium frames or certify them these are often bought in even if they make steel frames themselves. So even if the bike is from Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh etc it can still be a fuji-ta frame from China. The reason they do this is the EU tariffs on bikes direct from China.

    Could be one of these or a small variation of it as fuji-ta will alter dimensions and prototype frames for customers, most they sell are their own stock designs though. Same firm makes Bianchi, Cannondale and many other top brands as well as low end brands.

    As you can see from the video they clearly state they make Raleigh bikes so if the Apollo shares the same frame your frame was made in one of the most advanced frame factories in the world with very high quality processes. Your unlikely to get anything too clever in the tubing, it may not be double or triple butted but still a damn fine frame.

    http://www.fuji-ta.com/mountain-bikes

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yn5kIpIrv0

    That’s good to know. I always had it in the back of my mind that the the frame maybe junk and could fail at any time. But so far so good. I’ll get some more pictures up when I’m out on a ride soon.
  • Jimny14Jimny14 Posts: 54
    Hi, lovely looking bike. Interestingly that's the exact bike I've currently got as my commuter. It's working OK, I've put some schwalbe road cruisers (1.75) and given it a good service but apart from that it's currently as spec. I'm considering swapping some stuff on it and building it to more of a hybrid but not sure whether to use this frame or wait for a cheap roady to spec in the opposite direction and put flat bar and fatter tyres on etc. The problem I have with the phaze is the gears, I'm wondering if I could get away with swapping the front chainring (maybe to a bigger single) to get some faster gearing. What do you think?
  • Jimny14 wrote:
    Hi, lovely looking bike. Interestingly that's the exact bike I've currently got as my commuter. It's working OK, I've put some schwalbe road cruisers (1.75) and given it a good service but apart from that it's currently as spec. I'm considering swapping some stuff on it and building it to more of a hybrid but not sure whether to use this frame or wait for a cheap roady to spec in the opposite direction and put flat bar and fatter tyres on etc. The problem I have with the phaze is the gears, I'm wondering if I could get away with swapping the front chainring (maybe to a bigger single) to get some faster gearing. What do you think?

    Thanks, glad you like it. You could do that. Depends how hilly your commute is as you will be loosing a fair few climbing gears. Also it’s advisable to swap your rear derailleur for one with a clutch as your chain tension needs to be higher to stop your bike dropping the chain. I’m only just looking at going with a single chainring setup but these seem to be the common factors I keep seeing when reading up on it. I don’t think you will know until you try it. I don’t know if you could just swap your outer chainring for a larger one keeping the other two just to try it to see if it works well or not. I hope this helps, although I am by no means an expert. I’m still learning myself :D
  • Ok so found the list of parts that I fitted which are as follows:-

    Group set - Shimano Altus M370 3x9 27 speed

    Shimano Altus M370 shifters, front mech, rear mech (cables included)
    Shimano M371 crankset (22-32-44, 170mm)
    Shimano HG200 - 9 speed cassette 11-32t
    Shimano HG53 chain
    VP-BC73 bottom bracket
    Jag Wire cable housing

    Brakes - Clarks hydraulic front and rear

    Front End - SR Suntour XCR-LO disc 100mm travel 26” suspension fork with lockout
    FSA TH-No18 headset
    B’twin wide handlebar (already owned)
    DMR lock on bike grip - green
    Truativ Hussefelt short stem 0’ degrees 31.8 mm 1-1/8”

    censored End. - Halfords quick release seat clamp collar 31.8 mm
    System Ex suspension standard seatpost
    Charge Spoon saddle (white)

    Wheels. - 26” Sub Zero Quando disc 8/9 speed wheelset
    Continental Mountain King 26 x 2.2
  • Ok so found the list of parts that I fitted which are as follows:-

    Group set - Shimano Altus M370 3x9 27 speed

    Shimano Altus M370 shifters, front mech, rear mech (cables included)
    Shimano M371 crankset (22-32-44, 170mm)
    Shimano HG200 - 9 speed cassette 11-32t
    Shimano HG53 chain
    VP-BC73 bottom bracket
    Jag Wire cable housing

    Brakes - Clarks hydraulic front and rear

    Front End - SR Suntour XCR-LO disc 100mm travel 26” suspension fork with lockout
    FSA TH-No18 headset
    B’twin wide handlebar (already owned)
    DMR lock on bike grip - green
    Truativ Hussefelt short stem 0’ degrees 31.8 mm 1-1/8”

    ars* End. - Halfords quick release seat clamp collar 31.8 mm
    System Ex suspension standard seatpost
    Charge Spoon saddle (white)

    Wheels. - 26” Sub Zero Quando disc 8/9 speed wheelset
    Continental Mountain King 26 x 2.2

    Seems a nice bike with some decent components although the fork seems quite basic. I guess that is always the case with forks same as most retail bikes they have to go basic to get to a certain retail price. If the fork seems good to you then no problem. Saving that I have some Rockshox Revelations which has the lower legs disintegrating due to a poor formulation of the magnesium/aluminium alloy which corrode too easily and have some suntour forks that still fit for purpose and are much older. Performance forks aren't always the most durable especially if they focus on being lightweight.
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    You're going to be pretty limited on forks I woudl think needing short(ish) travel and a straight steerer.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • I have a very similar fork on my voodoo. It’s sufficient for my needs and it has lockout which I like. The fork that was on originally was seized up and really poor quality. I haven’t ruled out upgrading parts again as I use the bike. It is by no means a finished project. I just know this fork quite well so weighing up the cost along with buying all the other parts I knew it would be a decent fork for this bike to get me going at a relatively cheap price. I also considered a longer fork with more travel but didn’t want to increase the headtube angle and put more stress on the frame especially not knowing how strong the frame is yet.
  • I don't know the strength of the frame but normally on these lower end models the frames aren't any weaker they can actually be stronger sometimes. Where as a more expensive frame may get double butted or triple butted tubes the basic models tend to lose out on butting and end up heavier (only slightly). You get less hydroforming and any other processes that cost additional money in order to lower the price of the frame. So its more like a cruder frame with more simple manufacturing but the welds should still be good etc. The frame still has to pass all the strength tests of dearer frames and Halfords frames normally meet the full weight recommendations of the EN standard. Where as btwin bikes often have a maximum rider weight of 80-90kg, Calibre at go outdoors 100kg, Halfords are at 120kg, with 20kg luggage and a 160kg maximum load weight including the weight of the bike itself. Halfords frames are normally pretty good which is why I thought you went for a halfords frame they have similar weight capacities to the big US and taiwanese brands.
  • The colour and frame geometry reminds me a bit of the Kona Hoss.

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  • Jimny14Jimny14 Posts: 54
    It is indeed a very similar looking frame bonzo. Dude you by any chance didn't weigh the frame when you had it stripped down?
  • The colour and frame geometry reminds me a bit of the Kona Hoss.

    $_86.JPG

    I love Kona. One of the reasons I did the bike. I missed the one I sold a couple of years back.
  • Jimny14 wrote:
    It is indeed a very similar looking frame bonzo. Dude you by any chance didn't weigh the frame when you had it stripped down?

    It did cross my mind but because I did this at work I didn’t have any means to do it. It felt feather lite when I’d stripped it down but then everything does when you work on HGVs for a living :lol:
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