Ghost AMR Riot Lector 7 - Review

Oct 13, 2014
by Mike Levy  




Ghost's AMR range began life in 2006 as a lineup of trail bikes designed to be well-rounded and relatively lightweight, but 2013 saw the German company debut an evolved design that is more in line with the increasing demands of today's riders. The new design, dubbed AMR Riot, sports 27.5'' wheels, a carbon fiber frame, and an adapted suspension layout, the RIOT-Link, from which the bike's name is derived. The final product has 130mm of rear wheel travel that is said to ramp up quite progressively as it nears bottom out, something that could be just the ticket for a trail rider who doesn't mind getting a bit saucy every now and then. Our AMR Riot Lector 7 weighs just over 26lbs, comes with an XT build kit, Easton Vice XLT wheels, FOX suspension front and back, and retails for $5,200 CAD through Mountain Equipment Co-op - there is no USD pricing for the 2014 model, but Ghost is jumping into the U.S. market in 2015 with REI.


AMR Riot Lector 7 Details

• Intended use: trail
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Travel: 130mm
• Carbon fiber frame
• 68 degree head angle
• 435mm chain stay length
• 12 x 142mm thru-axle
• BB92 bottom bracket
• Internal cable routing
• MSRP: $5,200 CAD


Frame Details

Ghost has gone all out with carbon fiber to create the AMR Riot, and the entire bike, save the rockers and nearly hidden RIOT-Link suspension components, has been constructed out of the stuff. And while the frame sports somewhat traditional lines, with the classic front and rear triangles, the angles and tube shaping certainly gives it a futuristic appearance. It also looks incredibly clean, with the internally routed lines entering at the front of one of most extremely shaped head tubes that we've seen in awhile via screw-on ports that can be removed to make cable changes easier.

Ghost has gone with an interesting rear brake mount that they say delivers more of the braking forces into the X12 thru-axle than into any frame members, and they've done this by creating a standalone aluminum caliper mount that's only attached to the seat stay via a bolt that runs through the frame and threads into it rather than threading into the frame itself. The thru-axle holds the caliper mount in place lower down. The result is not only a pretty clever looking setup, but also one that doesn't require Ghost to use any threaded inserts in the carbon.

Ghost AMR Riot Photo by Amy McDermid
  Ghost didn't leave any stones unturned with the AMR Riot frame: internal cable routing via removable ports, loads of frame protection all around, and a pretty clever rear brake mount.


Protecting the carbon frame certainly wasn't an afterthought, with a number of stick-on guards that sit in molded-in recess at different locations. This includes a burly rock guard at the bottom of the down tube, as well as both a pad on the chain stay and a small steel protector at the yoke to keep the chain from doing any major damage. There's even a guard bolted to the frame between the chain rings and the front triangle that should help to keep the chain from stepping off when things get rough - a little bit of insurance, you could say. All this might be small beans compared to some of the bigger talking points that are usually hit on, but it does go to show that Ghost was thinking about the details when they penned the AMR Riot.


Ghost AMR Riot
  A standard four-bar design this is not, with a nearly hidden secondary linkage above the bottom bracket that has the 130mm bike ramping up progressively in the latter stages of its travel.


The Riot's Suspension Explained

The Riot appears to employ a fairly standard looking four-bar linkage layout that, at least at first glance, resembles a lot of other bikes on the market. Take a step closer and have a look at the Ghost's underside and you'll see that there's something else going on, though, and that something is a secondary linkage arrangement, referred to as the RIOT-Link, that's used to boost the ramp-up in the last 20% of its travel. The shock's lower mount is actually on a short rocker link that is activated by the chain stay (see the diagram at right), meaning that the shock isn't mounted to the front triangle at all, and Ghost claims that the highly progressive ending stroke makes it difficult to cause any hard bottoming. That sort of control in the deeper regions of the bike's travel also gives more possibility for tuning options earlier in the stroke, with a digressive damping setup that's said to provide a pedalling aid on the top before entering a more linear stage in the mid-stroke. The pivots utilize Norglide bushings and aluminum hardware rather than traditional sealed bearings, something that no doubt helps to drop some weight from the overall package.


Ghost Riot
  The RIOT-Link does add some complication to the design, but Ghost clearly feels that it's worth it.


Specifications
Release Date 2014
Price
Travel 130
Rear Shock Fox Float CTD BV LV
Fork Fox Forx 32F O/C CTD 130 mm 15 QR
Cassette Shimano XT 11- 36
Crankarms Shimano XT 38-24
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT 10-Speed Plus
Front Derailleur Shimano XT
Shifter Pods Shimano XT SL
Handlebar Ghost Low Rizer super light 720 mm
Stem Ghost Light AS 29
Brakes Shimano XT Disc 180 mm
Wheelset Easton VICE XLT
Tires Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.25
Seat Selle Italia X1
Seatpost Rock Shox Reverb Stealth 31.6
Ghost AMR Riot









Climbing

Being a 130mm travel bike would be a hard life. You're not allowed to totally suck at climbing like a longer travel rig, but there's also a good chance that your owner is going to be doing all sorts of reckless things on the way back down the mountain. In that way, these mid-travel machines are kinda like the triathletes of mountain bikes in that they're likely not going to be the best at anything, but they have to be damn good at a bunch of stuff. And the do-it-all Ghost happens to be especially good when it comes to getting up mountains, regardless of the route. The bike takes off like you've lit a fire under its ass, even when sag at the back of the bike is sitting at over 30%, with Ghost really putting something special together in the pedalling department. The fast rolling Schwalbe rubber helps the cause as well, and the sum of it all is a bike that is likely going to make you feel fitter than you actually are when it comes to smashing out those gravel road climbs where efficiency and speed outweigh all other concerns. That's not to say that it runs into trouble when some skill is required to navigate through a technical problem, though, because the Ghost is a true thoroughbred anytime it's pointed upwards.

Ghost AMR Riot Photo by Amy McDermid
  The Ghost is the stuff of dreams for someone who takes pride in cleaning tricky climbs. In other news, sticking your tongue out has been proven to increase the chance of cleaning a section by 37%.


Attention all who have gotten off of a 29er and felt that it was too big, cumbersome, and slow to react: the 27.5'' wheeled Ghost is the exact opposite, and it's everything that someone would want if their local climbs are trickier to nail than solving a Rubik's Cube while blinded folded and wearing oven mitts. Numbers aside, the bike's top tube feels relatively compact and, with a wheelbase to match, it's almost as if no corner is too tight, no rootball too complicated, and no speed too low. Watch your buddy who's ahead of you have to perform a Euro-dork wheel pivot to get around a corner, and then make him look foolish by navigating the same corner on two wheels by steering around it thanks to the Ghost's sharp, on-point front end. Taking that tactic with anything technical should see you claw up most things, whereas charging at stuff like a goon could do the same but also make you look like, well, a goon. On the other hand, the Ghost will have you looking like you know what you're doing if you take the former approach, and I know which one I'd prefer. The bike's traction while seated, quick steering, and compact footprint are the stuff of dreams for anyone who takes enjoyment from scaling mountains (those people do exist, by the way), and the right rider on this bike would likely make short work of getting up sections that others would hesitate to ride down.

One of the few complaints when it comes to the bike's climbing is gearing related, and it's a minor one that surely won't bother a lot of riders: the 24 tooth small ring and 11 - 36 spread of the cassette saw the rear shifter being thumbed through the gears an awful lot on rolling terrain that was just steep enough in sections to keep the chain off of the 38 tooth big ring. That meant that we were often running from one end of the cassette to the other in order to avoid the much slower and not load-friendly shift up to the larger chain ring, and we'd likely sub in a 26 or 28 for where and how we ride. That's it, the only niggle, which means that the Ghost is one hell of a climber in my books.



Downhill / Technical Riding

The Riot is a bit like that one co-worker who's always happy no matter how shitty their day seems, and riding it on singletrack that allows for some interpretation shows how truly peppy and playful it is. It's constantly in high spirits, so long as the speeds and terrain don't get too rowdy, and you'll likely find yourself in the same sort of bubbly mindset after a few minutes behind its too-skinny house brand handlebar. A manual here, a cheeky little natural gapper there, and all of a sudden you've got a stupid grin on your face. There's a lot to like about this bike if finding flow on trails that don't ask you to let it all hang out in order to clean them is what you're into, or at least ride them competently, and someone who knows what they're doing is going to have the snappy little Ghost in all sorts of interesting places on the trail. And talk about a bike that can change direction like a fly having a seizure - the Riot's pinpoint steering allows it to be whipped around tight corners with so little effort that it's almost alarming. Unicycles should be jealous of how quick the Ghost can turn.

Ghost AMR Riot Photo by Amy McDermid
  Fast, rolling terrain is where the bike feels most at home.


Unfortunately, like a triathlete who only knows how to dog paddle, the Ghost isn't the entire package when you factor in how it performs at speed or on chunky ground. The bike's sharp handling that can help so much at the right times happens to do the exact opposite at the wrong times, and the result can be a nervous feeling that doesn't exactly instil confidence when it's go-time. This is compounded some by the bike's rear suspension that is harsh on top, which then forced us to compromise with lower shock pressure to find some much needed forgiveness, although going down that road, along with running the fork a bit stiffer than optimal, does take some of the on-edge handling out of the bike. It also helped to minimize the lack of traction out back while descending, but all this searching for an optimal setup felt like chasing my own tail when there are other bikes of similar travel that only ask that I'm somewhere in the ballpark when it comes to suspension setup in order to perform well. Even at its best, with the rear end probably softer than optimal at over 30% sag, it felt unforgiving for its 130mm of travel, and the bike could be knocked off line easier than others in the same class. The RIOT-Link does seem to function as advertised, however, as the ramp-up at the end of the shock's stroke was noticeably effective at keeping us from any hard bottoming moments.

Is there a solution? Larger volume tires run tubeless and at a low pressure would help, as would a slightly extended wheelbase, but then you'd lose much of the Ghost's impish personality that's so much fun when the speeds aren't high enough to be worrying. I suspect a more forgiving shock tune with less of a pedalling aid, along with a wider handlebar and slightly slacker head angle, is the answer, which is exactly what Ghost is going to offer for 2015 in shape of their Riot LT lineup.

Ghost AMR Riot Photo by Amy McDermid
  I didn't gel with the Ghost when things got steep or rough, and there are better 130mm travel bikes out there when it comes to taming such terrain.


If it sounds like I'm bellyaching about the Riot's abilities it's only because the bar has been set so damn high over the last few years. I mean, there are 120mm and 130mm bikes that would shame a longer travel machine from just a few years back, and they don't require much beyond you sorting out your position on them and setting the sag correctly before you can sail blindly into the unknown. That's not to say that the Ghost doesn't have its place in the world, just that both it and its owner are going to be much happier if they frequent less demanding terrain than anything too chunky and fast, although it certainly doesn't shy away from a slow speed technical challenge. And now for a bit of a spoiler: I've ridden the 2015 Riot LT, which sports a more aggro build kit, an extra 20mm of travel up front that gives it a slacker head angle and longer wheelbase, and Cane Creek's new DBInline shock, and it's a much more forgiving animal all around despite having the same 130mm of rear wheel travel. It looks as if Ghost is well aware that there was room for improvement, or maybe ''changes'' would be a better way to put it, and they've done exactly that by expanding the Riot lineup.



Technical Report

• What more could you need from your brakes than what Shimano offers with their XT stoppers? Zero fade, loads of power, and while they can be a bit grabby when it's wet or loose, they seem like the ideal choice for someone who doesn't want to do anything other than change their brake pads every now and then.

• A 720mm handlebar doesn't really seem out of place on a 130mm bike, but something wider would go a long way to calming down the Ghost's handling at speed. Personal preference, as always, but I'd bolt on something different if it were my bike.

Ghost AMR Riot Photo by Amy McDermid
  A Shimano XT drivetrain, a set of XT brakes, and Shwalbe's Nobby Nic tires mean that you don't have much to do in the upgrade department.


• The bike's Easton Vice XLT wheelset required some love from day one, with the first proper ride resulting in a trip to the truing stand for the rear wheel. That's not terribly out of line given that things need to seat in and move around a bit, something that can add up to some wheels needing a touch up, but it didn't end there. The front wheel, which seemed like it was holding up just fine, decided that enough was enough and folded up unexpectedly under us. Not ideal, especially considering the Riot didn't really see anything out of line relative to its intentions.

• Ghost went with a Shimano XT drivetrain with a 38 and 24 tooth chain ring combo, which is a pretty safe bet that allows the bike to be ridden anywhere you'd actually want to take it. We'd likely go with a larger small ring, as mentioned above, but the setup is spot-on otherwise. Shifting was great across the board, and the derailleur's clutch didn't fade out and let the chain drop.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWhile the Riot might appear to have all the hallmarks of a great all around trail weapon, months of saddle time on the bike have shown that there are more capable do-it-all machines in the same travel bracket. That said, the Ghost has the sort of animated personality that many bikes lack these days, with very few of its peers able to lay claim to being as fun-loving and spritely as the German machine. That makes it a good choice for a rider who's more concerned about playing about, carrying speed and covering ground quickly than one who might regularly spend their time on steep, pointy and rough terrain. You might end up disappointed if you see yourself as the latter, but it could be a bike for you if you identify with the former. - Mike Levy


www.ghost-bikes.com
www.mec.ca


159 Comments

  • 167 20
 PB bike reviews these days regardless of the brand....

100mm........... Climbs like a sir but be disappointed by the descents
120/130mm.... Climbs a boss and surprisingly good at descents
150/160mm..... Don't expect to climb like a boss but be a boss on the descents
170/180mm..... Useless at climbing but amazing when pointed downwards... but wait.... it's still not enough for riding real DH
200mm +......... Whats climbing? Buy this bike and you will descend like a sir and have instant Ratboy-style street cred

Now that we have that over with most of us are really only interested in whether or not it's affordable and has good specs at a decent price...

PS... Include some videos of you riding the bikes reviewed because a video speaks a thousand pictures...
  • 87 7
 it may be that way.. wait for it.. could it be.. that bikes with certain amounts travel are DESIGNED to perform better under different conditions?
  • 106 2
 Actually, a video speaks about 24 pictures per second
  • 72 1
 ^^^or about 24,000 words per second.
  • 36 20
 @Bullitproof... I'm just summing up what most reviews have become... They should keep the detailed reviews for game changers like the Yeti SB6c or new GT Sanction.... Things that break the mold I'm talking bout... Else this really gets boring reading the same shit every week.

Oh and you know what also sucks... These reviews basically say "NO HOW DARE YOU GO NEAR THAT ROCK GARDEN WITH YOUR 120MM TRAIL BIKE? ARE YOU INSANE?" I've said it before so many times... The skill and fitness of the rider are 9/10ths of the package... Telling a rider he cant do this or that because of his bike is wrong... It's actually quite degrading to a passionate rider a with lack of choices... makes them not wanna try new things coz they have this notion bashed into them every week about how the bike type they ride is not suitable for this that or whatever... Sure, durability and reliability may be affected, but these reviews are passion killers

Maybe they should start have some more "how to" skills videos instead of placing restrictions on riders because of bike types...

Oh no but hold on... Teaching a rider skills instead of pushing to sell bikes means bike companies might lose out a little extra profit? We cant have that now can we?..... In that case keep the boring reviews coming....
  • 31 12
 Stop complaining. this is a great review. Well written and comprehensive.
  • 37 5
 What you mean complain? I'm a PB user... we never complain Wink
  • 8 2
 1.good brakes 2.good dropper 3. good cranks 3 good mech 4 WIMPY FORK
  • 4 0
 Spark24 just cut a few jobs/lol...brilliant!
  • 5 0
 I have been looking to buy a new bike for next year. honest reviews or even review of any sort on DH bikes are almost non-existent. even on PB if you notice under product that there are some large gaps in product. if you cross reference this with the list of advertisers then it makes sense.i guess it is an example of not wanting to piss off the advertisers. oh and mnorris. a video is 29.9 fps.
  • 6 0
 I don't know if you know anything about video production, but the time, money, and effort that goes into it, is a lot more than the few hrs you spend shooting and retouching pictures, and with all the reviews they give us a week for free, they would have to work 24/7 just to give us maybe 1 video/review a week, and I'm sure the clients will not want to run with that bill either (just not a very smart way to do business). Besides this is a magazine, not a tv channel, photos and writing still have their place and purpose... Be grateful..
  • 6 1
 Would love to see videos at the reviews.Some slowmo at tecnical parts and things like that.
  • 27 1
 I gotta say Spark24. No offense meant, but I disagree completely.

1: I think all reviews should be this in depth and comprehensive. I don't care whether the reviewer thinks the spec is good for the money, I can decide that for myself. What I want is their opinions on the bits I don't already know about ie. how the frame geo/sus layout combine to create the bikes specific ride feel. As you say, these days almost all 120mm bikes climb like a champ and almost all 200mm bikes descend like the wind, so I want to know about the small details. Does the rear end feel harsher than competitiors in a particular situation, does the short wheelbase combine with this to make the bike feel nervous?

2: I think the longer reviews stay print based rather than video edits, the longer we will get full in depth reviews rather than some short dumbed down highlights read directly from the manufacturers website, then 4 minutes of watching someone ride the bike which tells you next to nothing about the finer details. Video is killing journalism and replacing it with bright colours and soundbites Frown

I think this review was awesome, although I mostly took from it that this bike carries around a pointless extra linkage designed to take big hits in situations the geo pretty much stops you getting into anyway. But still climbs pretty niftily despite the pointless extra weight. However hopefully next years model will improve upon this. And the wheels folded under next to no abuse. And the rear brake somehow puts all the forces into the axle instead of the frame members, despite the axle being attached to said frame members. Which is odd.

All this is only my opinion, and I do not think your opinion is any more or less valid than mine...
  • 7 1
 Gabriel Mission, I couldn't agree more.
  • 4 0
 Video may not help... last month I watched RatBoy ride a Santa Cuz 5010 on video and he made a great XC bike look like a Park bike. Skill level had everything to do with it.
  • 5 1
 "While the Riot may have all the...hallmarks of a trail weapon.." uh just make sure you have a set of wheels to replace the shitty ones it comes with so you don't f*cking die when the front tacos while on an actual trail.
  • 3 1
 Well, thinking about it, it would be cool if besides the photos and the written review, to have a Gopro attached to the guy riding the bike, and just give us the raw footage, don't have to be redbull quality, just a POV of the guy riding it and talking about it, like that dude who reviews the downhill race courses while riding. This could even be done while shooting the pictures for the review... I guess that's an easy, cheap, and simple way of having a different point of view.. Sorry if I just gave more work to somebody at Pink Bike..
  • 2 2
 Videos are great, but I can't watch 'em at work without getting caught.
  • 3 3
 Anything Fox no sale. It's amazing how a company with one great 40, can sell a boat load of crap too.
  • 4 0
 i have always felt ever since my bmx days, that you can tell when you have moved on to the next level of riding when you stop believing magazine hype and stop taking reviews seriously. you can ride anything on anything.
  • 1 0
 True. You can ride anything on anything. You could ride dh on your mums shopping bike if you wanted. But some bikes are better than others, and without riding them yourself to find out, reviews are the next best thing. It is also true that some reviewers are better than others, I must say I think most on pinkbike are up to scratch.
  • 1 0
 We used to ride on fully rigid bikes with single wall rims. You CAN'T ride certain things because you only have 130mm travel? WTF?
  • 1 0
 i don't actually recall ever reading a review that said you couldn't ride certain types of tracks on certain bikes. Just that some bikes make much less of a meal of it than others.
  • 49 3
 I find that suspension design really spooky.
  • 9 12
 This needs to be top comment. Fantastic.
  • 11 1
 Won't that layout feel kinda dead during spirited riding?
  • 17 4
 "There's a lot to like about this bike if finding flow on trails that don't ask you to let it all hang out in order to clean them is what you're into, or at least ride them competently, and someone who knows what they're doing is going to have the snappy little Ghost in all sorts of interesting places on the trail."

Huh?
  • 19 0
 I couldn't even read that.....
  • 2 0
 i think that translates as:
"The bike is a lot of fun on easier trails due to the snappy handling, but gets out of its depth as soon as you put anything slightly gnarly in front of it."
  • 6 1
 ie it is a 5" travel trail bike.
  • 1 0
 ie SJ FSR slaughters anything infront of it
  • 14 1
 "Changes direction like a fly having a seizure." Holy f**k I laughed my ass of reading that!Big Grin
  • 11 0
 Whenever Mike Levy publishes an article, I look forward to those "like" comparisons. He really managed to create a unique author's attribute.
  • 12 2
 A whole paragraph on how well the frame is protected from tiny stone chips and chain slap is of no significance whatsoever when you go on to say:

"The front wheel, which seemed like it was holding up just fine, decided that enough was enough and folded up unexpectedly under us."

Have they also protected the frame from the effects of being used to plough a furrow in a rocky trail?

I would have a few choice words to say to the manufacturer if that happened to me whilst 'just riding along' on a new trail bike, but no further comment in the review?
  • 2 0
 ++++++++++^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
  • 12 0
 But I like euro dork wheel pivots ;
  • 6 0
 One of the VERY best things about this bike that you won't read in any reviews is the fact that as an REI Member, you could buy it, ride it for a couple months, find you don't like it, and take it back... No questions asked...

But if you decide you love it, well then, let's not forget the 10% annual refund you'd get. So on a $3,000 bike, that's $300 back. No one else does these kinds of things for their customers.

I'm happy that REI finally has a proper line of mountain bikes on tap. Not because I'll ever buy one (I like my Yeti too much) but because of their philosophy.

So hell, go buy one! If you don't like, take it back... What more could you possibly ask for?
  • 5 2
 An angel looses it's wings, a puppy dies, w/e makes you feel bad in regards to your beliefs, when you are happy about buying a bike from a department store.
  • 6 3
 Yo dude, I work at MEC which also sells this bike. I have worked and managed shops for many years before. Don't pigeon hole this as a Department store. We support like a bikeshop or better. The options we give our customers are deadly and our shops have very commitment mechanics.
  • 2 5
 Tell me more how your department store corporate owners chills with your customers after work, go out for beers, fixes someone's bike who comes in off the road with no money and lets them come back another time and pay you back. How many trails has MEC built and maintained and how many years has MEC personally taken care of it's community, Zerooooooo
  • 3 1
 "How many trails has MEC built and maintained and how many years has MEC personally taken care of it's community, Zerooooooo"

LOL! The internet is a wonderful tool. I'd use it, and then you will know some of the answer (just not the unpublished stuff). I rode one of them yesterday for a start.
  • 1 2
 Touché that's cool a department store builds double tracks to up their marketing, when they're charging you to be a member of their store.
  • 2 1
 Well, you are more than welcome to come up to BC and check out our world famous North Shore double track trails Big Grin
  • 2 3
 I will never, ever buy a bike brand that totally snubbed the independents for exclusivity with tax-evading co-ops.
  • 1 0
 By department store corporate owners I guess you mean the thousands of co-operative members that collectively own (and therefore get a vote in major decisions) MEC, right? Right.

They give back to the community. Just this year MEC donated $10,000 each to two Canadian mountain bike associations to improve their trail systems (I think it was Shorthills for the Eastern competition). I'm also sure that their mechanics would enjoy a beer with you, and doubt that many independents will accept payment for service on the honour system.

Now Royal Distributing, on the other hand, IS an "extreme sports" department store that recently became a dealer of Marin bikes in Ontario (I'm sure the other 10 independent dealers loved that), sells them at a major discount, and provides worse service than the Mennonite mechanic at Home Hardware. I'm still not going to deter people from shopping there because it's difficult to recommend that a friend should invest >$700 in a bike that is marginally better than a department store bike when a much more capable bike can be had for the same price. They can buy the one for better value, take it to another shop and get gouged on service fees (since that LBS will know it came from a soulless "department store") and still come out saving money.

The independents have 3 ways to get my business: set lower prices, provide better service, carry better inventory (why would I wait 2 weeks for them to get a part when I can get it for cheaper in the same period). The latter two are the main reasons I keep going back to my LBSs. Unfortunately, I've been chastised for "shopping online" when I bring in parts I bought of Pinkbike for service at the shop carrying the best inventory, and consistently let down by the poor inventory of the shops with better service.
  • 2 0
 I hear you when you say it must take a pretty long time to ship stuff up north. My local shops shipping is next day. As far as independents not using the honor system, you're right, most probably won't. The shop by my house in California however, San Clemente Cyclery, will use the honor system if you need a cable or tube to get you home (most times the customer won't come back and pay either). The shops been around for 40 years. I can tell you about the pricing, it's not the shops fault. Cost of doing business is high. (blame all of the companies who sell OEM to online dealers at blow out costs) (shimano and specialized are two big's who are actually making and effort to protect their pricing and not sell their stuff online way cheap). If you dont make certain margins, you will be losing money, simply by having your doors open, because nearly all of the profit has to go right back into the shop to keep those doors open (buying inventory, bills, paying employees, etc.) As far as service, you need to develop a relationship with your shop and most importantly, simply take care of your bike before you bring it in. If you ride a lot, hard, and especially in poor weather, you're bike needs a complete overhaul quite often. I see all to many bikes, ( just guessing from what I see, but I'd say at least 85% of the bikes that go into a shop, never see any attention between one tune up until the next one, the day something goes wrong. The stays are coated in dirt, pivots caked full of dust, chain dry, cassette filthy, seals filthy, headset and BB haven't seen grease since factory, wheels sprung).
  • 2 0
 When the customer brings their bike in for just a "tune up" they want their $60 to cover hours and hours of work and they expect their bike to feel like a factory race rig. Bikes these days are machines, not toys, the price tag matches it. Literally every time you ride, your bike needs some sort of attention to keep it running at 100%. If you treat your bike like a toy, not a machine, you should expect to pay for the hours it takes to Ohaul your bike. If the parts you want are too expensive, odds are you don't really need the pro level parts, you gotta pay to play.
  • 1 0
 Next day shipping would be spectacular. I'm waiting 2-3 weeks for Chromag grips from my LBS (this is now the off-season which factors in there). As far as buying parts go, the duties, since most shops are American, and shipping offset the benefit of online shopping. For big box stores selling bikes, I have a much harder time justifying the LBS when you get so much more for your money elsewhere. My next bike will probably be used off PB like the current one, but for me to get people involved in the sport I would not hesitate to send them to Royal, MEC, etc. and then to my favourite LBS for service. No one has to earn the right to buy good parts if those parts can be had on a budget.

I just don't like the method of promoting the LBS using guilt. All businesses have overhead, and all businesses need to meet a minimum margin to stay in business. Book stores, computer shops, office suppliers...all of these businesses are facing steep competition from Big Box chains or online stores, but bike shops are the only I've been guilt tripped in.

Service is the biggest strength of an LBS, and I don't think shops are doing a good enough job promoting that. If I bring in a part that obviously came from an online dealer or classified ad, don't lecture me on buying local. Complain about me all you want when walk out but when I'm in the store, treat me with the respect. I can do basic tune-ups at home so other repairs don't happen as often. If they only see me once or twice a year, I don't expect to build a relationship and don't expect discounts.
  • 6 1
 "there are more capable do-it-all machines in the same travel bracket."
Like what? Don't leave me hanging! Mega TR is too heavy. what else can I buy that is good at climbing, fun and poppy but won't fall apart under me on a descent? 120/130 rear travel and 140/150 front.
  • 3 0
 +1
and also "...when there are other bikes of similar travel that only ask that I'm somewhere in the ballpark when it comes to suspension setup in order to perform well".

Why not name names?
If I was looking for a similar bike I would have wanted to know which are the relevant models.
Reviewers at MBR magazine for example, are not afraid to compare competing models from different manufacturers and give the pros and cons of each one.
  • 3 1
 And...I will. SC Solo w/the '15 Pike setup or any fork bigger than last years 32mm.
  • 3 0
 Kona. Process 134. 134 mm in back, 140 in front
  • 1 0
 +1 for the Santa Cruz 5010. Awesome bike.
  • 1 0
 Forgot to mention, the Ibis Mojo HDR and the Yeti SB5.
  • 1 0
 A Cannondale trigger is also worth looking at in the 130mm travel. Just get past the idea of a pull shock, and possibly even a lefty.
  • 1 0
 Yeti SB95 w/ RS Pike 140mm & Cane Creek DBAir is a great setup
  • 8 0
 I think this is a good review. Thanks Mike.
  • 4 0
 "Watch your buddy who's ahead of you have to perform a Euro-dork wheel pivot to get around a corner, and then make him look foolish by navigating the same corner on two wheels by steering around it"

For the win on any bike
  • 3 0
 Euro Dork lmfao ! Riding a Liteville by anychance ?
  • 4 0
 Weighs just over 26 pounds? If you make that statement lets see a picture of it hanging off of a Park scale. I think sometimes the testers believe the sales info before testing the bike.
  • 1 0
 I'd agree. I purchased a pretty damn accurate and relatively cheap 50lbs scale that I could easily carry with me in any luggage or pack. Why don't these reviewers do the same?
  • 5 0
 You carry a scale on your pack? Or luggage?

"I ran into a 2.2kg pile of chue scheisse". I measured it on my calibrated scale so it must be true and here's a picture"
  • 2 0
 My hanging scales weighs less than a tube. My luggage does not. I was referring to the excuse of "we don't carry scales because we travel for reviews."
  • 2 0
 I don't own the greatest, fanciest bike in the world; and that's just fine. Yes, everyone likes the gear aspect of this sport and that's awesome but it certainly inst everything. I am perfectly happy to read reviews of sweet new bikes that Push you riding levels and look sick. In the meantime, i'll be training to go faster.
  • 6 5
 Euro-dork wheel pivots? Since when did a technical maneuver become euro-specific? I remember those vids... And the igalian dude was overdoing them I admit but most of the time they were the only way down those steep switchbacks.
  • 6 0
 Never really thought Fabien Barel was a dork, but...OK... Thought that maneuver had more to do with how tight the switchback was and how long of a bike you were on...not nationality.
  • 4 0
 You now Only need to go and test the amr lt now with a 150mm pike up front and slacker geo, right pinkbike?.....
  • 5 4
 These bikes even though they look good in theory as do it all bikes I am afraid that they don't really excel at anything as the article also mentions. For example I had a similar 2013 130mm Fuel EX and despite the fact that it was a really good and well built bike I never liked it that much and I ended selling it in 6 months. More specifically it didn't pedal as well as a hardtail or even a XC FS bike and it didn't handle the more demanding trails as a AM or FR bike. So for someone who can afford only one bike and do a little bit of everything it was a good middle solution but for everything else it was just average or even below that. Anyway I suppose that there is room for everyone in the market.
  • 1 0
 I'm curious, what did you replace your Fuel EX with that did better as an "all rounder?" Even though an all-rounder probably makes the most sense in theory, I agree that it's cool to have a bike that is really great in at least one department. I still miss my Cove STD 180 mm travel bike that I used to use as my "all rounder." Yes, I was slow as hell on the climbs (50 lbs), but it was so worth it for the downs!
  • 4 2
 I replaced it with a 170mm Giant Reign X. It doesn't pedal that well but when pointed downhill there is simply no comparison. And together with the Reign I also built a NS Surge Evo with a 160mm Pike for the rides that require more pedalling but still include some aggressive trails. Both bikes are in my profile. Now if I had to only have one bike then again it wouldn't be the Fuel but most probably a 150-160mm FS bike.
  • 3 0
 I find that the burlier bikes around 140-150mm are the best all arounders. They pedal good enough to get you through most climbs yet still really fun on the downs. I once considered buying a smaller travel bike (120mm ish) for trails that require more efficiency than travel, while keeping a bigger bike (160mm ish) for the rougher trails. What I noticed though, is that when you're travelling to new places, you never really know which bike you're going to need, and sometimes, the networks with the most gruelling climbs... also have tough downhill trails too so there is no perfect option.

Of course, a jack of all trades will never be the best at anything in particular but it will still be good enough in most situations, as opposed to bikes at either end of the spectrum, which excel in some areas but are severly lacking in others.
  • 1 3
 My bike has 100mm on the climbs and 160mm on the descents. It's a bit of a porker cause of my ghetto build but definitely out performs my old 150mm rig on the climbs and the down hills.
  • 2 1
 Although I understand what @gpgalanis is saying I don't necessarily fully agree. I have the same bike with some much needed changes like a short stem and wide bars. I have no trouble at all riding anything from local trails to Mountain Creek bike Park. Is it awesome at anything in particular, no, but that's the idea behind an all rounder bike. It can do everything but nothing great.
  • 2 1
 Don't get me wrong. I think that these type of bikes have a specific target group that wants to do a little bit of everything so I really think that this is a great bike to start with and then see if you need something more or less. Of course for some people this is exactly what they want.
  • 1 0
 ^ same with my fuel.
  • 2 0
 Very true. I felt like I had to defend my little bike that could. That being said I'm looking for a more capable bike on the downs as we speak. I feel like the 130mm category of bikes is a great way to introduce people to mountain biking. As your skills and man size increase you look for more aggressive, longer travel bikes in the 150mm range.
  • 5 0
 I find 140mm rear travel with 140-160mm up front and slack geometry is the sweet spot for me.
  • 2 0
 ^ Yip, like the Banshee Spitfire or the Transition Scout.
  • 2 0
 Or the Giant Trance SX.
  • 4 0
 Yeah I think to say these mid travel bikes are great at nothing but good at everything is unfair. It's more about picking a bike suitable for your terrain and purpose. I own two "mid travel" bikes. 2009 Fuel EX and a 2011 Remedy ... both are similar. However they excel at very different things. It might be easy to pick the Remedy as the most versatile, but not so fast- it depends highly on the trail in front of you. Yes the Remedy can slug up climbs, but it doesn't slay them like the Fuel does, it suffers too much from the extra weight of the bike and slackened head angle, climbing the Remedy requires some care and skill compared to the Fuel. The Fuel is an excellent trail bike and one of the best bikes I've ever owned, so long as the trail is not tooo demanding, if it is, the Remedy is the better weapon. But the Remedy isn't happy unless there are chutes and drops and chunky rock gardens. Let me be clear, you could take either bike anywhere and have fun, but I just don't like being "over-biked" ... that is to say if I can get away with a lighter lower travel machine I will usually do it because I don't like to numb the trail too much or for no reason. On the right trail either of these machines is the best bike I've ridden. Ill put it this way, when I lived near a local State Park that was mostly flat and didn't have much in the way of jumps or drops, or sustained descents - but was still rocky and rooty- the Fuel was under me most of the time. I've since moved, and the trails I ride are mostly very technical and feature some aggressive steep lines. The Remedy is now my primary whip. But I won't unload either of them.
  • 1 0
 Between your bikes I would have chosen the Remedy in a heartbeat. The Fuel is good and so are similar bikes but I really have a soft spot for 150-170 bikes. I don't care if it will take me a little bit more effort or time on the uphill but I will enjoy the way down.
  • 2 0
 I would too gpgalanis, but see that's my point. Unless you have the terrain to enjoy the Remedy on, the Fuel can be more fun. My Fuel is fitted with 29 inch bars and 2.4 tires so it likes to play, for flatter terrain it's great. My Remedy is also more akin to a Slash, it's the last of the more raked heavy duty Remedy's before that bike came out.
  • 1 0
 I'm loving this discussion. I had a a db mission (150mm) sold it got a big hit (170mm) sold that got a db sortie (120mm) and I have been eying the 140mm class of am bikes next. The sortie has really been the most fun since it feels really lively, but I am feeling regret after every descent for how the fork flexes, dives and I wonder how much the frame can handle when I am railing a corner and the bike is bouncing sideways. I live in Utah and the trails run the gamut from chunder and boulder to fast and flowy and I pretty much always have to climb 1000ft to ride down again. I have pretty much decided on the remedy so I an still play a bit, but I can climb too, but I like to hear the debate on it. Sometimes I thing a 120mm bike build burley with a pike would make the most sense. I there anything like that out there?
  • 2 0
 I hear that taletotell. The problem with a lot of shorter travel (~130mm) bikes is that even if they have nice slack geometry, they're let down by flimsy components or frame. I love my Altitude to death, but it suffers from flex frickin' everywhere. If I somehow manage to break the frame I'll be going for a Banshee Spitfire - a bit heavier but it definitely seems worth it. Can't think of anything burly and pedalable at 120mm....
  • 2 1
 I'd do the Remedy, if you can only have one, it's hard to beat. Especially for the trails you describe taletotell.
  • 1 0
 Honestly, I've been using the 145mm bike a lot lately and I even brought it to the local DH resort to see how much it could really handle and I found it takes quite a gnarly track before it becomes overwhelmed by the terrain and even then, its usually only specific sections.

I'd even go as far as saying that in most xc/am networks, 95% of the time, I don't even bother taking pro pedal off because the added firmness is actually more useful on the downs than additional plushness would be . I've often found myself wishing I actually had a smaller bike but then I remind myself that most offerings below 140mm have flimsy frames and suboptimal geo when it comes to charging down so this is why I feel burly 140ish bikes are where its at.

Only place where I'd see 160-180mm frames have their place is if you're riding true DH trails with no lift access and the climbs being non technical fireroads, which is a little too specific for me as I hardly ever encountered such trails in my area.
  • 1 0
 The Meta AM is looking pretty good in that regard. 140mm and built solid.
  • 1 0
 I've been levitating toward Commencal for my next bike. The AM is looking like the perfect do it all machine. That or maybe a Transition. Can't decide.
  • 1 0
 I think the meta is a 150, which falls into the slow up fast down category. I even saw a review to that effect. I am interested in commencal though. I have seen a few in person. They are sweet.
  • 1 0
 Yeah you are right I thought I remembered it being 140, in any case, sweet ride. A 150 if built right I don't think has to be "slow up", maybe not fast up...but they can do ok.
  • 5 0
 can you still hear the screaming of the lambs Clarice?
  • 2 0
 It's not cooked.
  • 2 0
 Soo.. It looks like another mtb suspension design that has jumped the shark. Come to think of it, it has 27.5 wheels, so it jumps the shark while jumping the shark... jumping is cool, so it's.. cool? No.
  • 1 0
 I've been on this rig since May ! From the Coast trails in Squamish to Israel and back to the shore ! For anyone in the 130mm market its a super versatile ride, I've been on Stumpjumpers, Trances, and this is right in there with the any of those rides. The specs are dialled! It's stable in the chunder and the float rear brakes are amazing and predictable. if the rumour is true about a Pike next year that will top it off- 140mm up front would be butter. 2c in a nutshell
  • 4 0
 Nicely balanced bike. But the looks are killer!
  • 4 3
 Haha if it has 150 mm of travel or less the haters come out in force. hey guys some of us have to actually pedal for our downhills. If you only ride chairlifts why bother to comment?
  • 3 1
 Wow! Finally! I cant stand all these grease tubes starring at me from my drawer.... With this bike I would be able to use a whole tube on all those bearings at once!
  • 2 2
 68 degree HT angle. Too bad too steep . Good for XC not for DH. Depends where you ride I guess. 26 pounds. Nice for climbing. The rear brake puts a great deal of stress on the stays so a semi floating rear brake is a good idea.
  • 3 0
 This is not a bike made for DH...
  • 2 0
 The steep head is coming back. Makes it more playful. Think trek remedy, norco sight, these playful trail bikes have steep angles to make them easy to lever up and snappy to turn.
  • 4 1
 It's an am bike. a 5" am bike shouldn't have slacker then a 67.5 head angle for proper trail manners. No it doest excel in techy dh, but in its chosen field it excels. get a grip. its not an enduro bike
  • 3 0
 Is it just me or is the front tire missing two spokes
  • 2 0
 Looks like two broken spokes at 7 and 8 o'clock
  • 3 0
 Forgot these we're available at MEC.
  • 4 1
 $5,200 CAD - facepalm. OMG...for what....
  • 2 0
 I haven't seen a front mech in while? I think you also forgot something sort of kinda really important wtf?
  • 4 4
 so good bike shit shock and fork - sounds like ever other basic fox equipped bike lol lot of money, would have expected better forks and shock
  • 12 1
 sorry but 5200 with this bike gets you:
full carbon frame
full XT
reverb
Easton vice wheels...

and just because the fork and shock don't have kashima on, doesn't mean they are shit. you have probably never ridden them yet so you cen't say they are basic or not good enough for the money...
  • 1 0
 I agree its a lot of money and that there are better options on the market though...
  • 3 0
 Actually, read reviews of bikes equipped with the basic fox stuffx pretty much all of them say the same thing, either too much damping and a harsh ride or not enough and wallowy under pedalling. And check out yts bikes, the capra is cheaper than this and you get full top of the range components
  • 1 0
 yeah CTD hasn't gone down too well really... but the difference is that yt sell their bikes directly to the customer, skipping the dealers. most brands sell through shops, making them at least a grand or 2 more expensive.
  • 9 1
 look up the riot LT mentioned in the article.... cane creek inline, pikes, slacker HA and wider bars.. not sure why pinkbike didn't just review that one in the first place? plus it's red. and red ones go faster
  • 2 0
 @inked-up-metalhead and an allmost certaintly snapped frame or cracks around the bottom bracket combined with a shitty paintwork. The german forums are full of complaints. YT may offer a great price but that's all.
  • 1 0
 drflow, I have a capra and its awesome. Im not an expert but I prefer it to my spicy ... each have their preferences.
  • 1 0
 Right, but you cant buy the parts for what they sell a complete bike for? So buy the complete bike and use it as a build kit
  • 1 0
 That's because the parts are not sold directly from the factory. They go through shops too which is why they are so expensive
  • 1 0
 If parts where sold directly they would be so much cheaper
  • 1 2
 @ HutchJR sorry but 5200 gets you a bike with suspension that comes with a 2k bike. also the Easton wheels got trashed quickly Wink its not value for money
  • 1 0
 Has Pink Bike reviewed the Capra Yet and I missed it?
  • 1 0
 Capra Review from VitalMTB - www.vitalmtb.com/product/guide/Bikes,3/YT/Capra-Comp-1,14534#product-reviews/1930.
Dirt Mag and Bike Radar both gave it 5 stars,come on PinkBike you must have been sent one ?
  • 1 0
 who cares if it is review on PB. it has been review as you mentioned. bad ass bike period!
  • 2 0
 Nice bike I'll stick with the Cube version and save myself 2k
  • 4 0
 or a Canyon Spectral CF (or AL if you don't want to check your frame after every minor crash)
  • 5 1
 The thing is that its a canadian website and we don't really have access to YT/Canyon so all those comparisons don't mean much here.
  • 1 0
 YT and Canyon are direct order so you need a big wad of cash or a credit card to buy them. They don't tend to do 0%. Commencal seem to be going down that route too but some shops are still stocking them.
  • 4 0
 I really do like this sport a lot and happily sank a ridiculous amount of money in it but the day I need to take a loan to ride a bike is the day I stop riding.
  • 2 0
 looks like a great bike to work on
  • 3 0
 Ghost ride the whip.
  • 4 3
 Wow, overbuilt suspension not doing its thing. Climbs less than a hardtail. Feels like a hardtail down. Looks like 2009.
  • 2 0
 Why would 68 deg be unrideable?
  • 1 0
 So has anyone actually ridden this bike , and if so what do they think? Other than the review of course !!
  • 1 0
 Give me 30mm more travel and a 40% off cupon and Ill take one.
  • 2 1
 The decision to buy the AMR will haunt you once you point it downhill!
  • 1 0
 so really whats he difference between a ghost and the new evil undead?
  • 1 0
 A ghost is incorporeal.
  • 1 0
 divide the price by 1000. I'l give you 5 dolla
  • 1 0
 Not bad )
  • 3 2
 *Yawn*. Next.
  • 1 1
 So why would I buy this over a Yeti SB5C? Oh yeah.............I wouldn't.
  • 2 3
 the down tube graphics are spooktacular! in an awful kind of way. RIOT
  • 1 2
 5200,not even kashima, this is robbrey
  • 1 3
 27.5 = unnecessary and marketing !
  • 4 1
 Coming from people who have never ridden it
  • 1 0
 What do you know?
  • 4 1
 im just saying.. don't take it personal; im just saying that its almost only people who have never ridden it that say its shit
  • 2 3
 Seriously? There's still people who insist on talking shit about the most dominate wheel size in MTB?
You won't find 26" in XC. You won't find 29" in DH.
27.5" is in XC, Trail, AM, Enduro and DH (except DJ/4X). This is not marketing, this is demand.
Besides, it's one of the oldest wheel sizes in cycling. Brought to MTB because we now have the technology to make them strong and light.

Leave 26" for Rampage, DJ, 4X and the youth.
  • 2 3
 Nobody asked of 29 and 27.5. !! Point! We have been imposed. 29 in 2010 was marketed for sale again increase MTB suitre has a fall after the crisis of 2008! 27.5 happened because the 29 did not corre ^ pond to everyone and all the practiced.
Sorry, but we can always do the XC 26! It must be a carbon frame for XC? No, and yet I have a steel frame and I XC.
  • 1 0
 Finally, one always has the technology to continue to improve in the future 26 and it will get even betterWink
  • 4 6
 BOOOO REI.
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