Field Test: Ghost Riot Trail Full Party - The Mixed Message Machine

Dec 15, 2021
by Mike Kazimer  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Ghost Riot Trail Full Party



Words by Mike Kazimer / photography by Tom Richards


What exactly constitutes an 'aggressive trail bike'? There's obviously no exact definition, but the Ghost Riot Trail sure looks like it fits the bill. This aluminum-framed machine has 29” wheels, 140mm of coil-sprung rear travel, and plenty of purple highlights to go along with its 'Full Party' model name.

That 140mm of travel is delivered via Ghost's Traction Link suspension design, where a one-piece swingarm is connected to the front of the bike via two co-rotating links. Rearward axle paths may be all the rage, but Ghost went with a more vertical path that's claimed to help preserve the bike's geometry throughout the travel.
Ghost Riot Trail Details

• Travel: 140mm rear / 140mm fork
• Aluminum frame
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head angle: 66°
• Effective seat tube angle: 77°
• Reach: 467mm (size M)
• Chainstay length: 450mm (size M)
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 36 lb / 16.3 kg
• Price: 3,699 Euro (not available in USA)
ghost-bikes.com

There's plenty of room for a water bottle inside the front triangle, although our test bike showed up with with a magnetic Fidlok mounting system that ended up being more of a hassle rather than an actual improvement over a traditional cage. The cables are externally routed along the downtube, with a plastic cover that makes them appear to be internally routed at first glance.

When it came time to decide which size to request, we decided to go stick with what Ghost's 'Superfit' online calculator suggested. After all, Ghost says they “utilize a specially developed algorithm to holistically calculate our so-called 'from-rider-to-bike-geometries.' That meant we ended up with a size medium, which has a 467mm reach, 450mm chainstays, a 77-degree seat tube angle, and a 66-degree head angle. Those numbers give the Riot trail the longest chainstay length, the shortest reach, and the steepest head angle out of of the six bikes that were in for testing.

It's worth noting that the seat tube lengths are on the longer side of things, measuring 441mm for a size medium, and 465mm for a size large.

Ghost Riot Trail review

Built Kit

The Full Party build kits highlights include Formula's Selva S fork, Mod coil shock, and Cura brakes. RockShox and Fox tend to show up on the vast majority of complete bikes these days, so it was nice to see something a little less common added into the mix. Both the fork and the shock have compression circuits that can be easily swapped out, part of Formula's CTS (Compression Tuning System).

There's also a Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain, Syntace V30 wheelset, and an Eightpins integrated dropper post. The concept of an integrated post makes a lot of sense, but it was a little frustrating to realize that the amount of travel was limited to 160mm, despite the fact that Eightpins offers options with more drop. In addition, the ergonomics of the remote lever were lacking compared the shifter-style options that have become the norm.

The Ghost Riot Trail isn't currently available in the US, but in parts of the world where it is available the price is 3699 Euro.





Ghost Riot Trail review
Ghost Riot Trail review

Climbing

With its chunky aluminum frame and coil shock I didn't expect the Ghost to be super light, but I also didn't think that it would weigh 36 pounds - that's a whole two pounds more than the steel Starling Murmur. Needless to say, that weight means the Riot Trail feels less energetic than the Propain Hugene or Scor 4060 ST, bikes that are almost five pounds lighter.

Weight aside, the Riot Trail is an active climber, with noticeable suspension movement, particularly during out of the saddle efforts. Yes, coil shocks typically bob a little more while pedaling compared to air shocks, but the Ghost had even more motion than expected. The Starling Murmur also had a coil shock, and it was a much more calm and composed than the Riot.

The Formula Mod shock does have a lockout lever that saw plenty of use on fire road grinds, although it takes a fair bit of effort to actually move the lever, and when it's locked out it's really locked out, which meant that position didn't work well for more techy climbs.

As far as the overall climbing position goes, the steep seat tube angle and short top tube length create a very upright position that felt a little cramped at times. It felt like I was perched above the bike, rather than being comfortably centered between the two wheels. The front end handling is quick, but the long chainstays keep the overall level of nimbleness in check.


Ghost Riot Trail review

Ghost Riot Trail review
Ghost Riot Trail review

Descending

The feeling of being perched above the bike persisted when the trail pointed downhill, which meant that descending on the Riot Trail was, umm, interesting, to put it nicely. There was plenty of traction from the Mod coil shock, and the Selva S was smooth and supportive, but the purple Italian suspension wasn't enough to hide the fact that the Riot Trail's geometry holds it back, especially on steeper, higher speed trails. The relatively long chainstays do help bring some stability to the table, but the low front end and steeper head angle make it hard to confidently charge in rough terrain.

It should be clear by now that the size medium wasn't the exactly the ideal fit. Would a large have been better? That's obviously tough to say without riding one, but I think bumping up a size would have brought in another set of potential fit issues.
Timed Testing

Our timed lap for the trail bikes was about three minutes long and was a mix of choppy, rooty sections and some fast flow. It started with an optional rock roll, a little drop, some fast corners, and a small double. As it serpentined its way down the hill, it included some steeps, a few root hops, and a few slight uphills. While none of the track was overly technical, the bikes that excelled on the test lap had to be capable on both fast, rough sections and in quick corners.

Don't forget that timing is just one of many ways to judge a bike, and fast doesn't always mean it's the best for everyone.


Mike Kazimer: "My timed lap on the Riot Trail was the slowest out of the six bikes on test, coming in just behind the Starling Murmur."

The large has a very long 465mm seat tube length, which could make running a longer dropper post impossible for some riders. It also has a very tall 140mm head tube, 40mm more than the size medium. The 487mm reach isn't out of the ordinary, but when that's paired with those 450mm chainstays it does make for a pretty roomy bike, especially if you're looking for a more lively trail machine.

Excess weight aside, the bike's geometry just doesn't give it the level of goof-off-ability that I want from a bike like this. With a slacker head angle and shorter chainstays I think it would be a different story, but as it is the Full Party feels more like a blast from the past rather than a fully modern trail bike. I'm a huge fan of the concept behind the Riot Trail – the idea of a tough, shorter travel trail bike with a coil shock is good one, which made it all the more frustrating when it didn't live up to its promise out on the trail. It's like having someone burst into the room at a New Year's Eve party fully of energy and ready to rage like there's no tomorrow, only to fall asleep in the corner at 9pm.

Who's the ideal candidate? I'd say it's a rider whose trails are rough but not overly steep, someone who's looking for a bike to take the edge off of bigger hits rather than riding fully pinned at every opportunity. And they should also really like purple.

Ghost Riot Trail review


Pros

+ Formula suspension and brakes help it stand out from the crowd.
+ Reasonable price considering the parts kit


Cons

- Heavy, especially for a 140mm trail bike
- Geometry holds it back in steeper terrain
- Noticeable suspension bob while climbing







The 2021 Fall Field Test is presented by Rapha and Bontrager. Thank you also to Maxxis, Schwalbe, and Garmin for control tires and equipment.






224 Comments

  • 457 3
 It may not be a great climber, but sometimes that's the trade-off you have to deal with to get a bike that's also mediocre at descending.
  • 153 0
 I did a bit of translating for the final paragraph: "Whose this bike for? Folks that live 1,000 miles from civilization, in a small town that has a Ghost-only bike shop, and who also has very flat but very rocky terrain." Smile
  • 6 0
 Hah, funniest comment I've read in a while!
  • 37 0
 @KJP1230: Ah yes. One might say it 'excels on the technical flats'.
  • 3 0
 And has a line on replacement zip ties
  • 4 0
 @KJP1230: For a rider who already has a -2 angle set waiting in their garage...
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: The exact same thing that was going through my mind as I watched the review.
  • 1 2
 What I learned from this article is light with good components = mountain bike good at descending. Does this mean my grandfather on his specialized Aethos is better at "technical flats?"
  • 160 0
 sounds more like "work party" than "full party"
  • 25 0
 Haha - perfect analogy. The "party" that may be cheap, but is more of an obligation than a delight.
  • 10 6
 never been to a teachers work party then.
  • 21 1
 Poor climber and poor descender. Ouch
  • 67 0
 The build kit on this bike is sick, especially for the price. This would almost justify buying the bike, selling the frame for scrap, then picking up a cheaper or used frame with better geometry.
  • 8 1
 If you sum all the parts, their retail price will be just a little bit less than €3k. So the price for the frame (without shock) is around €700.
  • 26 0
 or getting a -2 degree angleset and having modern geo for a pretty good price
  • 4 0
 Damn. That's pretty bad. It's even worse that I can't disagree with you. I didn't even know formula made suspension bits and their swappable cartridges. I'd love to see a write-up. So when you buy your ghost and strip it, LMK how the fork/shock are ;x
  • 14 0
 There´s the Enduro or the All Mountain version of this, both looks the same but have more travel and better geo
www.ghost-bikes.com/bikes/fully/bike/riot-en-full-party-2021

www.ghost-bikes.com/bikes/fully/bike/riot-am-full-party-2022
  • 3 0
 @rickybobby18: right?? The Essential model with an angleset would (potentially) be pretty good.
  • 12 0
 Yea I used to do that with YT before brexit. Buy a top of the range bike, sell it all off apart from the bits I want and get what you want for next to nothing. The best I did was a set of XMC1200 wheels with 180 hubs AND a whole X01 drive train cost me £1.1k. That would set you back around £2.5 in shops
  • 1 0
 @rickybobby18: although that would also reduce the reach further
  • 2 1
 @rickybobby18: still gonna have a short front triangle, which is pretty incurable.
It's a turd however you look at it, sos
  • 3 0
 Yeah it is an incredible build kit, super cheap and I really love the look of the bike!!

Formula brake, fork and coil shock (I have the same on my Titan), shimano xt, eightpins dropper.... that really looks like a custom bike a lot of people would dream of building, sold to you already build (and available lol) at a good price!! Kudos to Ghost!

Oh and don't forget the cable routing!! You have no idea how much I hate internal routing!
  • 1 0
 I was doing a build last year and I asked the UK Formula distributor the price on a Selva. It was £1300 or something ridiculous. People were selling them on Facebook for £450 but I really wanted a purple one.
Needless to say, I have a Zeb on my bike now. It was half the price of the Selva… but is it half as good?
  • 70 2
 Pros: cheap
Cons: shit
  • 3 0
 Made me LOL
  • 51 0
 This is gonna be awkward if it turns up in the advent calendar tomorrow *gets ready to click enter anyway*
  • 28 0
 AJW's armchair review
Pros: cable routing, integrated dropper, purple
Cons: weight, says "full party" on the side
  • 3 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou I second the cable routing, mostly. Love the concept of the routing being behind what is essentially full length down tube protector. Just not keen on cables going right under the BB. I'm not entirely sure that is what is going on with this bike though as I can't see, but I am presuming that is the case.
The integrated dropper is definitely a sweet concept.
  • 2 0
 @RBalicious: from the first front on shot of Kazimer it looks like the black protector thingy carries on around the underside of the BB.
I agree about exposed cables in that location - I know personally of two people who have flicked up rocks and cut their rear brake hose. Not mental DH either, just trail riding in rocky areas.
  • 1 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: Ah, I see! Thanks. I'll have to watch the video when I have some more time. Maybe they cover the cable routing in the video.
  • 1 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: That’s too bad, as apparently those are the areas this is best suited to ride in. (As long as they are flat-ish)
  • 23 1
 You forgot to add to the pros its purple.
  • 24 11
 As a non-engineer, I am confident that I could've engineered a better bike. Just reading the numbers in the first few paragraphs you can immediately skip the actual review - it rides exactly as you'd expect.

Weight = heavy-ish 170+mm bike
Geometry = 2008

I would actually be curious to see this bike ridden and compared directly to a "legacy" bike with similar weight, travel and geo numbers. This thing is basically a 2008 Specialized Enduro, with higher overall weight, longer chainstays, less travel and bigger wheels.
  • 11 0
 Honestly, it's a large from 4-5 years ago with a monster chain stay... I feel like that is really upsetting the bike, and the contrast vs fully modern peers is doubling down on the awkwardness of the result.
  • 15 39
flag trainboy17 (Dec 15, 2021 at 8:45) (Below Threshold)
 "As an engineer", I doubt you have the know-how to do so. The engineers at all their respective manufacturers have their reasoning, driven off specifications and marketing requests. When you do design it, let us know and post it up on here before the paywall gets all of us. Then we can review your bike design!
  • 5 1
 Totally! Everything on this bike reminds me of my 2006 Norco Six: heavy, awkward bobby climber even if sold as an all-mountain bike, average descender... That bike was a lot of fun, in 2006!
  • 21 1
 Not even remotely close to 2008 and while it may be a bit more conservative that some of the other in it's class, which if so, it's not by much.....a bike sim to this that popped in my head is the Banshee Prime V3, which is 135mm rear, geo numbers below (Ghost):

HTA = 65.5 - 66 (66)
Reach = 450 (467)
STA = ~77 deg (77)
CS = 450 (450)
ST Length = 430 (441)
  • 5 7
 @trainboy17: Great! The good news is that I work in tech business development, sales and marketing. So with my expertise in technical marketing, I would never submit a request to my engineering corp for a bike with this geometry and build weight.

Problem solved!
  • 1 10
flag KJP1230 (Dec 15, 2021 at 9:38) (Below Threshold)
 @RadBartTaylor: Very much close to a 2008 bike. The major "modern" frame geo differences in favor of the Ghost is the seat tube angle (+3.9 degrees) and chainstay length (+29mm).

Aside from that, the Ghost has many significantly less modern numbers than the 2008: -10mm suspension travel, +5 lbs of extra weight (compared to a bike with 3x9 drivetrain and dual crown fork), +52mm of standover height, and +100mm of seat tube length.

I'm not saying its a 1:1 comparison. But I purposefully used a preposterous example to highlight how scary bad the Ghost is.
  • 1 2
 @RadBartTaylor:
I have a prime, it’s ok, it’s not 36lbs even with dd tires and inserts. It also climbs amazingly, no pedal bob. About as capable as you’d expect for a 135 bike, but very playful despite the 450 chainstay. I wouldn’t compare it to this. This reminds me more of the the gen 1 hightower except it can’t pedal or an older Kona 134
  • 8 1
 @KJP1230: again, the Ghost is in line with other 'modern' 140mm (ish) bikes like the Prime, SB130, HIghtower, Stumpy Evo, etc.

For a M it actually has a very long Reach # of 467

Standover & seattube length may be sub-optimal since it has a straight TT, but well within workable dimensions.

Things like weight are meaningless between generations without looking at big pictures, tires, wheels (29 vs 26), coil shock vs air, etc....

It doesn't make sense to compare travel
  • 3 0
 @Maxwrbike: depends on the build (of course), I doubt frame weights are that different between the two if you factor in coil shock.

This bike is likely better on the descents, at least on paper....
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: the reason this descends poorly is the relatively long reach for a medium paired with a relatively steep HA. Puts alot of weight over front.
  • 12 0
 Dunno why @trainboy17 's comment is so unpopular. I wouldn't even trust an overwhelming majority of fresh BS-graduate Mech Engs to engineer a better full-suspension bike right off the bat. These things take an overwhelming amount of experience to not screw up the first few iterations.

Saying you wouldn't "submit a request" to your engineering corp for a bike with this geometry is kind of a cop out, because @KJP1230 specifically said "engineered a better bike." Speccing a weight and HTA is not exactly "engineering a bike."
  • 16 3
 2008 you for real?
467 reach on a medium. 66° HTA. 29" wheels. While not exactly long and slack by today's standard its an absolutely normal geo for a trailbike.

The og YT jeffsy which was loved by absolutely everyone has 460 reach (in XL size!) and 67° hta and came out around 2015. Look at the canyon spectral from 2015 (review on this site) and it has a 420 reach and 67° hta in 2016. We are talking about times when mindraker numbers were considered fully absurd.

The ghost is a bit weird because the seemingly very heavy frame and long chainstay and I am not saying it's the perfect bike. But 2008 come on, that's just over the top.
  • 2 0
 @ashmtb85: possibly, but it only has a slightly steeper HTA (half a degree) and a slightly longer Reach (~10mm) than the current trend and it's peers.
  • 6 10
flag KJP1230 (Dec 15, 2021 at 10:26) (Below Threshold)
 @bloodytesla: Look man, I'm not saying that I have the expertise to manage suspension kinematics. But the "engineering" features we are talking about are basic geometry numbers. Clearly, CLEARLY I was being purposefully hyperbolic - leave it to a bunch of engineers to dismiss the nuance and take it absolutely literally.
  • 3 7
flag KJP1230 (Dec 15, 2021 at 10:30) (Below Threshold)
 @daweil: I gave numbers for my comparison. It's pretty plain to see that the Ghost has a few modern tweaks (compared, absurdly, to a 2008 26" bike). But overall, this bike is a mess. That's the point of picking a purposefully preposterous counterpoint. I'm admitting its absurd...and in that absurdity, the Ghost looks like a dog.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I don't see what the stack is. But if it is low that could also contribute. I imagine they could have helped the bike with a shorter stem and more spacers under the stem.
  • 3 0
 @ashmtb85: stack is 615mm which is aligned to others:

Hightower = 610
SB130 = 615
Stumpy = ~620
Prime = 630 (Banshees have tall HT's for size M)
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: that’s a very understandable thought and I was surprised to find out the the banshee frames are actually much lighter than you’d think, even with that cast shock cage, without a shock it’s a ≈6.5lb frame, so it is quite light for what it is. I think maybe on paper the coil sprung 140 will be more compliant, than my 135 with a dpx2 (tho pinkbike said the ghost wasn’t very supportive and banshees are extremely supportive) but I can’t fathom why ghost uses such a short head tube with the long chain stay. I think the geo of the banshee alone makes it better on the descents. Higher front ends should always be paired with long chain stays, ghost bike designers are weird. But I also run a 160mm fork so yea, bike set up does play into a lot. The prime also sits around 65 degrees in this set up. Idk bikes are sick, the riot ain’t my cup of tea but I’m sure this bike is perfect for someone? Maybe…
  • 2 0
 @Maxwrbike: I currently have (3) Banshees, a Titan, a Phantom and a Paradox.....I'd love to try a Prime it's probably the best all-arounder. I just bought a SJ Evo but am slowly starting to realize I like bikes a bit less slack and a bit more conservative....I think the industry nailed it a few years ago, bikes are slowly starting to kinda pendulum swing to far in the other direction for how I ride these days, while my Phantom is cool, its too much bike 95% of the time even in some of the enduro races I've done.

I actually thought this Ghost was cool and a bit less extreme is some areas (HTA) while being a bit more in others (Reach)....not sure what to make of it, just different I guess?
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Independently of the other dimensions, that's fairly on point, but I think the 15mm rise bars on the Ghost are probably a little less than what comes on the others, so your 'effective stack' might come in on the low side.

When you combine that with the long chainstays and steep seat tube angle, you're being pushed pretty far toward the front of the bike when seated. Then when you're descending, those things make it harder to get your weight back, and the long-ish seat tube makes it so you can't put on a big dropper to get the saddle further out of the way.

Not every bike needs to have a short CS, high stack, and short seat tube so you can buzz your backside on every single bump. But the geo of this one seems to be hellbent on making sure you are as far in front of the rear axle as possible.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: the prime is cool but if I could do it again I would just get a titan. The reason I got the prime over a titan was I have a Wilson 29 and didn’t think I’d want such an aggressive pedal bikes so I was very drawn to the 66-66.5 hta in the prime, however where I ride (pisgah) has a lot of fast straight chunky stuff so all the changes I’ve made to the bike have been in the hopes of making it slacker.

Sj evo seems like one of the best all around nerd on the market at the moment.
  • 1 0
 @exastronaut: fair - I like the "effective" measurements a lot more, I really like Banshees "effective" seat angle at height X and like you point out, stack is really an effective measurement that is dynamic with rider setup vs static.

Not sure what stem they are running but may be able to put a shorter one on or run some bars with more sweep putting you into a more std. position, somewhat akin to Lee McCormack's RAD.

This honestly is a bit Geometron'ish, minus HTA, the G13 in size S vs this in M (Ghost):

HTA = 64.2 - 65.2 (66)
Stack = 601 (615)
Reach = 460 (467)
STA = ~76 (77)
CS = 445 (450)
ST Length = 420 (441)
Wheelbase = 1237 (1230)
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: haha if you really want to try a prime and you happen to be a size large I’ll swap frames with ya.
  • 1 0
 @Maxwrbike: My Titan has a 170 Lyric & Storia coil with big rotors & heavy tires & heavy wheels, mid 30 lbs easy....I've toyed with making it a bit sportier to get a better all around bike....but most my days here in the PNW require lots of climbing and the descents are not gnarly like you have. I built this to put in some days up at Whistler.....but, Covid had other ideas.
  • 1 0
 @Maxwrbike: Mine is a XL unfortunately....
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: covid messing riding plans up every where Frown . Paul Aston (you’ve probably heard of him) has a titan that he put a -2 HTA headset in, he runs the bb in high and I think goes back an fourth on chainstay. He has me very curious about an angle set in the prime, but it seems like an expensive experiment to me.
  • 1 0
 @Maxwrbike: yeah, but there is something to be said for over forking and slacking out a smaller frame. In races like the Trans Cascadia it works well where there are not a lot of gnarly (typically not at least) trails and lots of climbs and long days, big bikes can be a PITA.

A few years back Kabush was on a SB130 with a 160 fork enduro-ized
  • 18 2
 I'm wondering how this bike ended up in this field test
  • 7 20
flag islandforlife (Dec 15, 2021 at 8:30) (Below Threshold)
 Pay to play baby!
  • 50 2
 @islandforlife: nope, brands can't pay for reviews. The "includes paid promotion" tag on the videos is because this Field Test is sponsored by Rapha and Bontrager and we want to err on the side of transparency.

We chose the Ghost because we haven't had them on before, it's got the potential for great value, and the build is pretty interesting.
  • 5 0
 @brianpark: Their WC XC bike would be very interesting as well
  • 6 0
 @brianpark: Maybe they can learn from your feedback so a better Ghost can be born.
  • 6 1
 @brianpark: By that rationale, there will be an Evil in the next field test.
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: build is insane for this price bracket. -2 headset and lighter wheels might improve overall riding character, if not strip the parts you like and sell the rest.
  • 5 0
 The engendered suspension sistem is the best looking anti squat solution... So it bob.
linkagedesign.blogspot.com/search/label/Ghost%20Bikes?m=0
  • 3 2
 @GBlanco: wow, that's terrible! In a world where Starling suspension is deemed to be perfectly good, there is no excuse for suspension this bad.
  • 13 0
 Would be great to see a test for trail forks (140-160). How Formula and Ohlins compared to RS Pike/Lyric and Fox 34/36
  • 7 0
 And EXT,and Intend,DVO,Suntour...that would be awesome.
  • 17 5
 One thing that I don't think should go unnoted, and that is that this bike is completely hideous
  • 8 0
 All other geo numbers aside: kind of blown away by the reach being 467mm on a Medium! That is 17mm longer than a Medium 2021 Sentinel and the 2019 Medium Patrol that I have. That and it weights as much stock as my custom Patrol that also has Cushcore Pro front and rear. Kind of crazy for a "trail bike" I would say.
  • 5 0
 Slack the HTA by a full 2 deg, bring in reach by around 17mm, and ease up on the long stays and this bike would be fun if not a little heavy for its travel class.
  • 3 0
 I was thinking the same. 467mm reach on a size medium seems average or just over for a 2021 bike. I feel like they've recently tested other size medium bikes with slightly shorter reach numbers and had no complaints about front end length. Most the other geometry numbers seem a bit funky though.
  • 1 0
 @icraver23: at my height, I would need a size small then as 450 reach on mediums is super comfortable. Again, on 2021 Sentinel and a 2019 Patrol...
  • 9 1
 Definetly you choose a to small size.
I am 188cm and choose the Riot Enduro Full Party in XL. It‘s heavy, for sure, but it pedals quite well and is a blast in the downhill. 196mm dropper, long reach and chainstays, outdtanding supsension and a uniqe (discutable) look. Best bike I ever had, came from propain spindrift cf wich was very unsensible.
  • 1 0
 Seems like they chose M by the seat tube dimension.
  • 9 1
 Me after reviewing weight and geo. "This bike is useless at everything"

Next Week: Sam Pilgrim smashes double black tech and rides a full slopestyle course on new Ghost Riot.
  • 21 0
 Yes but as he's proven on his channel he can ride a literal bed frame better than a lot of people can ride a proper bike.
  • 17 10
 It sounds very much like the testers just didn't want to like this bike.
- unefficient climber: that's why there is a climb switch ...
- unbalanced: they even admit that suspension isn't balanced and clearly they didn't bother trying to fix it despite how easy it is to setup Formula suspensions with their cartridge inserts.
- low front: play around with spacers and/or handlebar. Same was true for the starling.
Reviewing bikes without taking a little bit of time to have tue bike setup properly is such a scam. We all do it when getting new bikes since stock setups rarely match our needs, putting the bike down before proper setup is just not fair nor professional. I always though PB was offering trustworthy reviews but I am doubting this now.
  • 5 9
flag Genewich (Dec 15, 2021 at 12:01) (Below Threshold)
 Or you could just not do all that stuff and get a bike that works for your riding out of the box. If this bike does that for you, great, but there are so many good bikes now, why bother with one that you have to buy extra parts for just to get it to work the way it should? Why should someone get a bike that's bad at climbing anything but fire roads (lock out, not climb switch) when you can get one that's good everywhere?

It is so unusual for these guys to actually dislike a bike that I believe that there has to be something here.
  • 10 1
 @Genewich: sure and also don't bother with tire pressure, setup tubeless, adjust your suspension pressure and clickers or any of this, the bike should be good out of the box right ? I will take a good suspension on the way down over a good climber anytime since a simple lever can solve that while a pedal efficient suspension is pretty much always compromising by reduced DH performance.
  • 9 0
 I think a lot of reviewers just don’t take the time they need to reviews the bikes, and I feel like they use “we rode it the way the manufacturer intended” as a cop out to not try to achieve a better setup. Realistically anyone who buys this bike is gonna fiddle with damper kits and the handlebar height. I’m convinced Paul Aston is the best and only real bike reviewer out there. I think there are some weird things about the ghost (long chainstay low stack and the highish stand over) but I think you’re right that they didn’t want to like this bike
  • 1 0
 @Balgaroth even if you're right, it's still a 36lb (!!) 140mm trail bike with bouncy coil layout... pretty chonky
  • 14 3
 @Balgaroth, a higher rise bar and more tinkering with the suspension wouldn't do much to change our impressions of this bike. It's still a 36 pound trail bike no matter how you slice it, one with kinematics that causes it to bob while climbing, and there's also the fact that it has a steeper head angle and longer chainstays than the other bikes we were comparing it too.

We mention the things that could possibly be done to improve the bike in the review, since most riders would be in the same position as us at first as they tried to get accustomed to the bike. I genuinely wanted to like the bike, and I say as much in the video - the concept of a tough 140mm bike is sound, it's just that in this case the execution is lacking.

If you're considering buying this bike I'd highly recommend trying to arrange a test ride if that's at all possible - who knows, maybe you'll still disagree with our findings, and that's totally fine. However, because we were lucky enough to ride a half dozen bikes on the same track back-to-back, I'm confident that our impressions of the Ghost are accurate.
  • 7 0
 @mikekazimer: wait didn’t you guys put out an article a few weeks ago where you talked about how weight didn’t really matter?… or am I making that up
  • 5 1
 @Maxwrbike, Seb's point was that it doesn't matter as much as some people think, and I agree. However, there's no denying that the difference between the Ghost and something like the Propain Hugene, which weighs 5 pounds less, is very noticeable. It's a point worth mentioning, even if light weight isn't that high on your priority list.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: you raise an excellent point….
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: out of curiosity, how many hours in the saddle do reviewers get to put in?
  • 2 0
 I've had a Ghost SL-AMR for 3 years. First 'showroom' bike I've ever bought, desperate purchase after breaking my El Salt. I wanted to hate the SL-AMR. It's heavy, not nimble, very "I'm just a passenger" feel. But...it just loves to bash through the rough, and I've mostly gotten used to the weight. Scary, though, having to commit to stuff I could gently pick through on the El Salt.
  • 2 0
 @thomasjkenney1024: yeah, I had a SL-AMR as a bike park rental bike for a full day. The tires and brakes were f*cked, as usual for a rental, but the bike was actually pretty fun. As you say, not very refined at all, but pretty hilarious to point and shoot through rough stuff.
  • 1 0
 @Genewich: no bike is going to work out of the box
  • 8 1
 Antonio at linkagedesign.blogspot posted the kinematics of this frame a while back and it is very odd kinematically to say the least. The increasing antisquat with the crazy leverage ratio may be why the reviewers felt this frame got stuck midway into the travel all the time

linkagedesign.blogspot.com/search/label/Ghost%20Bikes
  • 3 0
 those curves are really something else. Wildly different then every other design. Thanks for sharing
  • 6 0
 "the long chainstays keep the overall level of nimbleness in check"

In other words, it's not a nimble bike.

I suspect the long chainstays are a reflection of how the rear suspension functions, ie they needed more RC to have tire clearance, but to make the riding position upright and compact up front, then make the back end longer, yeah, kind of a fail.

Nice kit though.
  • 5 0
 It is unfortunate that PB's first outing (I think) on Formula products was on a lackluster bike. I've been running a Formula Selva R fork and Mod shock, but with the softest CTS valves available, on my Forbidden Druid for the past season. I absolutely love the feel of both, the CTS valves were super easy to change out making suspension tuning more accessible to the home mechanic. I do agree the Cura 4’s are loud in the wet, people in Creekside probably could’ve heard my brakes howling while I was slamming down Micro Climate. Some time I wish I would’ve gone with the purple lowers like on this Ghost, but the back lowers with purple decals comes pretty close.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. I have the Selva C on my Deviate Highlander running the same CTS valve. Excellent fork - I like it better than my Pushed Fox 36 Grip2. This fork is under-reviewed. Fit and finish is excellent and the valve swapping is such an amazing feature.
  • 9 0
 36lbs wow that's a pig!!
  • 3 0
 A short travel pig
  • 1 0
 Yeah my bottom spec Genius 960 came in at 34.14lbs stock with 2.6" tyres and tubes.
  • 4 0
 So, let me see if I get this... Vertical axle path to mimic the fork movement, but the front axle moves closer to the center of the bike under compression... Gotta love marketing speak..
  • 3 0
 That could be a cool Colorado bike park bike or aggressive trail bike. Our terrain is not overly steep compared to the Sea to Sky, but it is tricky and technical. Interesting bike. I am more interested in the components than the bike itself.
  • 6 0
 I am surprised by the comment on the Fidlock bottle being a hassle. I love Fidlocks on my mountain bikes.
  • 2 0
 Same! I'd be curious to learn more about why.
  • 3 0
 Stoked to finally see Formula Cura4 brakes get some recognition. Other than Paul Aston reviewing the 2 piston version years back (he still rides them on most of his bikes now actually) it seemed like Pinkbike didn’t even consider that they existed.
  • 4 0
 How is the pedaling so bad? The antisquat curve is crazy, 120% at sag and increasing to 165% deeper in the travel. Also the leverage ratio is crazy, 3 to 1.5 at bottom out, incompatible with an air shock.
  • 6 0
 as my British friends would say "seems a bit shit"
  • 6 0
 Anyone else just here to hear their thoughts on the brakes/squishy bits??
  • 4 1
 Most people that tried them (especially the brakes), seem to prefer them to the standard Shimano/SRAM brakes and Fox/Rock Shox suspension. Most mags seem to always prefer the latter...
  • 6 1
 Proving that you can still find a bad bike if you try hard enough. Even the paint job is substandard.
  • 2 0
 I'd like to know how you felt the fork performed relative to the the big brands? Did you try the other CTS modules or just stick the the stock (Gold) one?

I'm currently running this for on a Banshee and have been really impressed, which coming off a fox 38 elite says a lot, so I wanted find out how you think it compares. (AKA Please validate my feelings)
  • 6 1
 Ouch...that was brutal. It seemed fair, but it was still brutal.
  • 2 0
 Can someone explain to me what a longer head tube length does to a bike? I appreciate the explanation of chainstay, reach, head & seat angle numbers, but wanted to join the party dunking on this bike's head tube length.
  • 1 0
 Increase stack height.
  • 3 0
 If you buy a 170 mm fork for an XL frame or for a XS frame, the fork is the same size for both frames. If the head tube length stays the same then the handlebar height on the XL and the XS is the same height. The seat height for both bikes is radically different though. An XL may be 8 inches higher than the XS (200 mm seatpost sticking out 2 inch vs 100 mm seatpost at full insertion). Then to have a good seated height on the XL, you need 8 inch riser handlebar whereas the XS might be almost flat.

Increasing the head tube length makes this more sane so that a 25 mm riser bar may be appropriate for either of the bikes. The following link has some interesting pictures showing how tall seats can make the handlebars look really low.

m.pinkbike.com/news/importance-of-handlebar-height-mountain-bike.html
  • 4 0
 The size small has 120mm headtube, medium a 100mm, large a 140mm and xlarge 160mm. These guys are little nuts
  • 1 0
 It looks like a mistake in the documentation. But if this is the case then, they should hire new engineers as there is something very wrong with this bike.
  • 1 0
 @bobeca: No, makes sense given that S fits a 27,5 fork whereas M,L,XL are 29ers
  • 5 0
 Needs a 160mm fork and a 1* angleset
  • 4 1
 So in terms of radness for German brands, from Rad to Bad we have:
Propain
YT
Canyon
Cube
Focus
Ghost

Is Rose a thing? Anything else?
  • 7 1
 Right now I would place RAAW on the number 1 spot.
  • 4 0
 Rose is a thing, as is Radon. There are probably far more brands, but I believe these are the biggest ones.
  • 3 5
 raaw #1 for sure.
Also, I think the new Canyon Bikes (Spectral and Troque) beat everything YT and Propain has. At least thats what the geo charts suggest. The bikes with less travel in canyons Lineup are shit tho.
  • 3 0
 You forgot about Radon, which is value king
  • 1 0
 @prevail: @wyric:

Care to reproduce my list? I'm biased to YT because I ride a Jeffsy and I think it kind of rules and I like the geo, but Canyons have really come up big in the last couple years. But yeah, it's really interesting how Germany has really become a force in MTB world and primarily through the DTC model.
  • 5 0
 Your missing a couple of German greats:
Nicolai
Liteville
Actofive
Huhn Cycles
  • 3 2
 @withdignityifnotalacrity:
My „Hype“ list:
RAAW
Propain
YT
Nicolai
Radon
Rose
Canyon
Liteville
Cube, Focus, Ghost

The ones I actually rode/owned:
RAAW: for me the benchmark right now for my style of riding
Focus: I owned a JAM a few years back when the brand image was completely different. Can’t talk about the current bikes though…
Cube: Just shitty bikes…never owned one but worked with them for a few months and that was enough. They might look like a good deal at first glance and don’t ride bad (no bike does nowadays) but if you start looking at details it gets really bad
  • 4 0
 And don't forget Crossworx and Last who make pretty neat bikes!
  • 3 0
 @Olaal: and Alutech
  • 1 0
 @Olaal: also 77Design bike brand which Inforgot the name
  • 3 0
 @Balgaroth: their bike is the Kavenz VHP16 - which made it into Kaz's top 10. I own one myself and it's fantastic
  • 3 0
 Even better (especially in these times) is that there are quite a few truly made in Germany bikes, instead of made in Taiwan/China/Vietnam German brands:

Actofive
Huhn Cycles
Nicolai
Last
Kavenz
Crossworkx
  • 1 0
 @suravida: Currently owning a Crossworx and before that a Nicolai, I think i contribute to the German bike builders Smile Super solid bikes that ride great as well!
  • 1 0
 @suravida: In that list Nicolai really is the daddy ! I had a M-pire which was such an amazing bike and after that the very first batch of the Ion ST which is to date the bike I remember the most fondly of. If feels that they kind of lost they drive for gravity and innovation in the past few years tho which is a pitty.
  • 1 0
 @prevail: tied with Last!
  • 5 1
 I think you buy this as a second or third bike to make your other bikes feel amazing.
  • 1 0
 I've been able to swap between air and coil on my current bike and it makes quite a difference, with air it would do better in this format. The traction with coil is awesome on the downs, especially in winter but pedaling efficiency is for sure compromised. Overall with air I get back home again faster from a lap and feel like im pushing less bike around
  • 2 0
 Ghost has built a reputation on bikes at lower pricepoints, thats it.
I don't think anyone expected much more from a review.
When you budget goes into online marketing and SEO optimization, they're little left for R & D
  • 1 0
 Because of the scant MTB offerings during Covid short-supply times (Dec 2021), PB editors could say this bike rides either like flaming trash or is a gift from the heavens. Folks will walk into a bike store, everything will be cleaned out ... except that lonely purple Ghost in the corner.

SOLD
  • 1 0
 I really like the look of this bike, and personally, I a bike often rides good when I have a good feeling with it just looking at it, haha! BUT.... That cable guiding gives me worries. I owned a 2019 Canyon Spectral before, and it used to have that plate with the cables underneath it. Terrible design. The dropper cable was rubbing into my headtube. That's nineties problems my friends! I used to have that kind of trouble on my BMX bike in 1991..!! It looks like these cables are rubbing on the fork crown. poor design if you ask me. Rad bike for the rest!
  • 1 0
 @mike levy got to say it’s a shame you didn’t pick up on the fact that the fork can very easily be extended to 160mm with no other parts needed. This would also slacken the headangle by a degree, which was a negative about the bike, steep head angle. I would have found it interesting to hear how the bike would have felt in this set up.
  • 4 2
 I hope they've done their numbers on how many bikes they need to sell to break even. I hope that number is very small. They're not going to sell many of these.
  • 6 0
 There´s the Enduro or the All Mountain version of this, both looks the same but have more travel and better geo
www.ghost-bikes.com/bikes/fully/bike/riot-en-full-party-2021

www.ghost-bikes.com/bikes/fully/bike/riot-am-full-party-2022
  • 2 0
 "The front end handling is quick, but the long chainstays keep the overall level of nimbleness in check."

What does this mean?
  • 12 0
 It means it's a little twitchy and a little sluggish all at the same time.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: quite the achievement...
Too bad, because the alu frame, XT drivetrain, Formula fork, coil shock and brakes, and Eightpin dropper seem like great choices.
  • 2 0
 Ho my god, i am in shock, i didn't know it bob with it's beautiful anti squat graphics

linkagedesign.blogspot.com/search/label/Ghost%20Bikes?m=0
  • 5 1
 Ghost is like "we're never sending PB a bike again"
  • 2 0
 Any specific feedback on the Formula fork? How does it compare to Fox, RockShox etc. ? Really tough to find any reviews on it
  • 2 1
 Well that sounds like a fail. I had a Ghost SL AMR. It rode well but had really odd geo. I do wonder what a lot of companies do to get it so wrong.
  • 4 0
 so not a great bike?
  • 8 6
 Pivots moved in opposite directions at the moment he said they corotate in the same direction. hmm.
  • 3 5
 Nope. Check again. They both rotate clockwise (from driveside)
  • 4 1
 @freestyIAM: OK, checked again and it still isn't what I see.
  • 2 1
 @grampa: I've watched it a few times, including in slow-mo and @grampa is spot on: the upper link is clearly rotating the opposite direction from the lower link. The upper link clearly rotates towards the head-tube (counterclockwise from the camera view) while the lower link is rotating toward the back of the bike (clockwise from the camera viewpoint). This would create a scenario similar to the second half of the travel on a Yeti SI link where the lower pivot movement direction reverses and moves the VPP location closer to the axle behind the seat post. But on the Ghost, it's like this for the full stroke.

Edit: Levy goes on to say that Ghost intended for the axle path to be vertical instead of having a forward arc. That would also lend itself to the lower link rotating down and away from the bike as it starts pointing up and needs to rotating to point toward the back of the bike to keep from pulling in the axle as the upper link pulls the rear triangle forward.
  • 6 2
 @grampa: not sure how you're not seeing them rotate in the same direction, but they are.
  • 1 0
 To me it looked like the lower link barely moved at all.
  • 6 0
 They co-rotate, at least for the initial portion of the travel: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KvolqW4xN8
  • 3 1
 @mikekazimer: Agreed that the Ghost technical video shows co-rotation but the huck to flat looks like the bottom link moves in the opposite direction. It looks like at the initial portion of the stroke there is an instant of co-rotation but after that the rotation is opposite. It seems that point of inflection is when the line drawn through the upper link passes the pivot point of the bottom link attached to the front triangle.
  • 2 0
 @grampa: Just watched the huck to flat a few more times at 50% speed on youtube and am correcting my analysis. the upper link does look like it moves up a bit in the initial part of the stroke, just like the tech vid that @mikekazimer posted above. However, it definitely reverses shortly after and starts rotating down and back in the second half of the stroke. Going back to my Yeti comparison above, that's even more similar to the lower link movement on the SI link, which slides up then down through the stroke.
  • 4 0
 @big-red: You can even see the change in direction starting at about :33 in @mikekazimer 's linked video.
  • 2 0
 @Genewich: Yep, the lower link clearly reverses direction at about :33 after mid-travel. (the shock doesn't bottom out in the video)
That direction change is partly responsible for the linearity of the rear axle path.
  • 2 0
 So...Is the action of the lower link dependent on the spring rate?
I am no proper armchair engineer, but something seems a little odd.
  • 2 0
 @pyromaniac: Nope. Just depends on where the upper link is in its rotation path. The relationship between the movement of the links is what sets the lower link's path. The upper link moves mostly forward in the beginning of the stroke, which pulls the rear triangle up and forward, but as the upper link starts to rotate forward, it also rotates down enough that it starts pushing the triangle down as well, which pushing the lower link back down with it. The path would be identical if you removed the shock entirely. I can confirm this as I've had the chance to try it out on a Yeti with the shock removed a few times. The kinematics might be different, but the concept is just like the Yeti design, except the lower link is sliding. If you want to see it more clearly, I'm pretty sure Yeti has some really good graphics on their site that show the movement.
  • 2 0
 @big-red: Thanks!
  • 3 0
 I could get past the looks if the bike rode amazingly, but DAMN Ghost!!!!
  • 2 0
 Sometimes you just gotta go against the current trends. Longer rear and steeper, shorter front! In your face everyone else!
  • 1 0
 Looking forward to see how bad this bike was. Used to work on Ghost bikes a few years ago and wasn't impressed by the quality and craftsmanship
  • 1 0
 Did like the sensitivity of the AMR Plus 5900 I had. Seems like the suspension is still very sensitive, if not the most efficient.
  • 2 0
 I feel like this bike might have achieved its intentions with a 150 or 160mm fork.
  • 3 0
 Pros: everything that is not the frame
Cons: everything that is the frame
  • 3 1
 Maybe the German’s should stick to car not bike.
If MEC didn’t carry Ghost, nobody in Canada would know them.
  • 1 0
 Correct size plus a 160 coil sprung Selva and this thing probably does a bit better (on the downs). Hate the color scheme though.
  • 3 0
 Ghost is the Kia of the mtb market.
  • 2 0
 I was fully waiting for Alicia to say in the “cons” part…”this bike is trash”
  • 1 0
 The MOD Shock has a lock-out threshold and works wonders for the lockout lever, you just need a wrench and can feel the difference inmediatly
  • 1 0
 God, it looks weird too. The steep upright front end is obvious, and ugly, and the rear looks really far back and stretched, It looks like a tadpole, or a drag bike.
  • 2 0
 Is REI not selling Ghost anymore? I didn't realize.
  • 1 0
 they sell CO-OP bikes now if they are ever in stock.
  • 2 0
 yeah when I saw this review my first thought was, "did Outside buy REI too?"
  • 1 0
 the down tube protection all the way down which covers the cable at the same is a neat thing;
  • 1 0
 Please help! How many hands you need to take a sip of water with this "strap cage"?
  • 1 0
 I wonder if this is one generation away from being good. Like this is proof of concept.
  • 1 0
 do it all fun bike....i'd use that for 4x...looks like a fast snappy crusher....
  • 2 0
 Walmart called... they are missing a bike!
  • 1 0
 Sam Walton approves this comment.
  • 1 1
 It has very similar geo to my 2019 YT Jeffsy 27,5 size L. Jusl Longer chainstays and a lot heavier. Does that mean my Jeffsy is basically unrideable?
  • 1 0
 I'm selling a brand new PURPLE FORMULA MOD 450 coil for 55mm stroke if anyone wants one... 37mm ID
  • 2 0
 that bike looks like its already 10 years old
  • 1 0
 The cable management is an awesome idea. Too bad the paintjob looks like something from Toys'R'Us
  • 1 0
 Cable management like an Ibis Mojo HD from years ago
  • 1 0
 If Levy ever makes a Grim Donut prequel series this could be the bike to star in it….
  • 7 5
 im getting pivot vibes
  • 1 0
 it wants to be an enduro bike so bad
  • 1 0
 Certainly sounds like a ghost in the machine ;(
  • 6 9
 Interesting that 2 heavy coiled up bikes are not awesome descenders. Proves that geometry matters a lot and modern air shocks are hella good. Aside from a pure DH bike, air seems to be the way to go for most riders these days.
  • 1 0
 As a smaller weight rider I really like coil, Ive found that most air shocks their compression tune even in fully open my 110lb rider weight wont be able to allow me to get full travel without running a ton of sag
  • 1 1
 Are you referring to the starling as the other coiled heavy bike? Yesterday's review had only good things to stay about its descending. It was one of the Pros.

I do agree though about air shocks. They're so good now and probably would help.
  • 2 1
 @srghyc: good things-except for speed. I get that’s not the only important metric (I’m more about the tasteful side hits than raw speed) but it is an indicator of how well the suspension works.
  • 4 1
 @wyorider, the suspension and downhill performance of the Starling Murmur were great - I'd say it was an awesome descender, even if the timed portion of the test didn't reflect that. With the Ghost it's a different story...
  • 3 0
 @wyorider, The Starling isn't actually that heavy, it's the same weight as the Raaw and lighter than the Stumpy which both have air shocks. It is interesting to me that it was slow in the timed section as I feel fairly fast on mine and have relatively satisfying race results although that was in an enduro with steep rough but also tight stages. I find it calm as the review mentioned which helps me see it through to the end of 5-10 min stage.
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: maybe you need a side hits descent with a handful of optional features every editor hits??

Is there a way to quantify “good” descending beyond a stopwatch?

The most “fun” descender I’ve tried was an Evil Wreckoning. The short chainstays made it a party descending (way fun to get in the air) but it was still fast.
  • 1 0
 @BovineAssassin: yeah, I recognize stock rear shocks have a bandwidth they’re good in. If you’re not in that weight range the suspension needs to be retuned or replaced.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: to be honest, I’m a bit surprised no one picked up on the fact that the Formula Selva forks are 120-160 forks set at 140 on this bike. BUT, can very easily be extended to 160 just by removing the travel reduced spacer. This would give the bike 160mm up front and a approx 1deg slacker head angle and somewhat resolve one of the criticism points of it being too steep. I would have been interested to hear how the bike feels with the forks extended to 160mm and the resulting 65deg headangle.
  • 1 0
 Long chain stays = stability
Short chain stays = party
  • 1 0
 oh well no longer available in canuck
  • 1 0
 As a German I really wanted the Ghost to do well. Oh well!
  • 1 1
 "unfortunately it's not available to US customers..." What's unfortunate about that? Literally no one here is sad. Lol
  • 2 0
 Donor Bike!
  • 1 0
 A bad Ghost? RATS!
  • 1 0
 The smirks say it all
  • 1 1
 Wäff, that slap hurt
  • 1 4
 XT drivetrain but the cassette is SLX....
  • 1 0
 supply issues but remember its all about the shifter not the mech
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