Ghost's H AMR X Adventure Bike - Crankworx Whistler 2016

Aug 21, 2016
by Mike Levy  
Ghost

And now for something entirely different from Crankworx: Ghost's 140mm-travel H AMR X is a bike-packing machine that's built around an eighteen-speed Pinion gearbox and comes with enough frame bags to head off into the bush until the zombie apocalypse wanes. Ghost knows full well that the H AMR X is an ultra-niche bike in a niche sport, but also that it might appeal to people wouldn't normally consider mountain biking to be their go-to activity. For example, picture climbers who have a long approach to the bottom of their ascent, or fishermen who want to get to a backcountry lake that would take days to reach on foot.


Ghost
Made it to basecamp and want to shred? Ditch the bags and the H AMR X turns into a normal mountain bike that happens to have a gearbox.


The 140mm-travel frame, which can accept 29'' or 27.5+ (shown) wheels and tires, is a down-sized version of Ghost's 160mm FR AMR platform, including a similar but different four-bar suspension layout. What's changed? The inclusion of Pinion's P1.18 gearbox means that Ghost has gone with a slightly different location for the main pivot, and the H AMR X's suspension design is said to put an emphasis on braking performance to keep things under control when you're coming in hot aboard a fully-loaded but capable mountain bike.

It also comes equipped with Cane Creek's new DBcoil IL, which isn't a surprise given Ghost's penchant for coil-sprung shocks.

I haven't been shy in the past about pointing out why gearboxes, while certainly interesting, are kinda silly for a performance mountain bike. That said, I can certainly see the appeal when it comes to pedaling a bike out into the backcountry (or across a country) on a multi-day, week, or month-long adventure where reliability trumps any other concern. And with little to nothing that would require adjustment, the P1.18 gearbox would also make sense for someone who isn't a diehard rider or handy with tools. Know how to tie an alpine butterfly bend knot but don't know what a B-tension screw does? Can you do a cack-handed cast in your sleep but mountain bike drivetrain maintenance doesn't extend past lubing your chain? Then derailleurs might not be for you.
Ghost
Pinion's P1.18 offers eighteen gears and a wide range.


Ghost
Ghost
A Boost-compatible dynamo hub feeds power to a USB port up at the stem's top cap.


Ghost
Ghost
Plenty of room for your climbing and fishing supplies, or all of your ''prepper'' gear.


All of the bags pictured on the H AMR X are included, and Ghost is also selling them separately. The Cordura fabric is waterproof, as you'd hope, but the seams don't get the same treatment. Instead, separate dry bags are found inside each, with the idea being that you would use these to keep the contents completely dry so nothing gets wet when you bring them into your tent at night.

The massive seat bag detaches quickly and can be strapped to a backpack to allow the dropper post to go through all of its travel, and the bike also sports a neat dynamo front hub with Boost spacing that's wired up to USB port at the top cap. Need to charge up your phone, light, or GPS unit? Not a problem.

It kind of makes me look forward to the zombies.


79 Comments

  • 30 5
 I dig the concept and agree with the use of gear box & dynamo hub. That said, I would think for a non-enthusiast or someone bike packing where reliability and efficiency are key, 140mm of travel is on the long side (I doubt they will be hitting any jumps, drops, or rock gardens at speed). Also, wouldn't a basic air shock with rebound and lockout make more sense for the same reasons?
  • 13 3
 agree about the shock comment. I would have thought a 29er hardtail would be best. Allot more efficient, lighter and don't have to worry about the full suspension maintenance
  • 10 1
 Its an Odd bike for sure.... What exactly makes it an adventure bike besides the fact that they strapped a lot of bags to it?

For long excursions on a bike do you really want that much travel? And isn't a gearbox 10% more drag/ less efficient?
  • 31 2
 @gunners1: I usually opt for a bmx/ dirt jumper on my long distance adventures.
  • 16 2
 I think the choice of a coil is appropriate, how many old land rovers or audi allroad's do you see with functional air suspension? Gearbox is chosen for the same reason, much more reliable = more confidence taking far away from help (though if it does break, you are seriously f#cked). Besides those two things , what make it an adventure bike ? dynamo hub, usb outlet, custom bags included...I think adventure bikes are all about the sum of many small utilitarian details...this thing has some of those nailed...others (like the usefulness of an FS bike for bikepacking vs 29+ ) are up in the air in my opinion.
  • 13 3
 @DGWW: I think it would make a bit more sense to spec a reliable air shock (and air fork). A bike that's set up for lugging 50lb+ of gear is going to be sprung totally wrong when it's free of gear for day rides. I couldn't handle having a bike like this and not be able to set it up so it works both ways.

Aside from that, I like the idea.
  • 4 0
 @AgrAde: Good Call on being able to adjust it for loaded/unloaded. Many people use Surly Krampus' for this type of thing. Not a Surly fanboy, but they are of the few who focus R&D on these niche segments.
  • 2 0
 The bike is RAD I want one so I can ride around the local botanical gardens and camp out for the night while closely looking over my shoulder for Zombies... Chuck a SWAT on it and im sold LOL
  • 18 1
 I'm sold. This is the perfect bike for me. I can carry around all my cellphones, wifi router and batteries while playing pokemon go.
  • 9 0
 coil shock makes sense for back country reliability - the damper might fail if you suffer an oil leak - but the spring will still support your weight and allow a slow return to civilisation.

Had this happen (not with 100's of miles to ride) in Whistler Bike Park, coil shock damper failed (Manitou) but managed to slowly ride down the mountain Smile

When an air shock fails, the bike bottoms out and is unrideable, especially if loaded with bags. Had an air shock fail before and a long 10 mile walk out of the woods....not wishing to repeat!
  • 2 0
 @DGWW: I don't think you understand how the Land Rovers air suspension was set up. It wasn't some natty air sprung shock unit but a big old rubber bag with various components adjusting pressure to allow higher and lower suspension. The bags were prone to bursting, the compressors failed and the electrics running them were not really reliable either. My Discovery had a coil conversion for this reason.
Saying all that I know a lot of Discos that keep the bags, albeit reinforced ones, and go on some incredible adventures across Europe and into Africa
  • 3 1
 Coil will not go flat on the trail. A air can can and will go flat. Coil is a lot more reliable.
  • 4 1
 Interesting to see coil sprung rear suspension is being preferred because of reliability whereas the forks and tyres still use air. Some McGyver will probably find it easier to somehow lock the rear suspension linkage (using straps or whatever is available) than to lock the forks (open the air chamber, dump it full of dirt, close it again...). My rear suspension never failed me, but I usually use straps to keep it in position when I take the shock out. I have no doubt that these same straps can help you make it back home if the positive air chamber leaks.

More than any other suspension bike, this bike is probably going to be used under widely varying loading conditions. Rider with backpack or without, with or without bags, rear bag only... It is much easier to adjust shock pressure for these different conditions than to swap out springs during your trip.

I think if it is just about covering the distance (like the aforementioned climbers and fishermen) a hardtail fatbike with a Rohloff is probably the most reliable choice. If you want to have it all (also have a nice trailbike when the cargo is off) then this seems great. But I'd argue that anyone riding a 140mm trailbike doesn't mind working out how to do some basic maintenance on a conventional drivetrain.
  • 1 0
 @DGWW: The Krampus is a great bike for backpacking... not that I have used mine for it but many have. K.I.S.S. im defo a Surly fanboi. They make great bikes - once you've owned one you wont go back.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: Surly is more influential than they are getting credit for. The Pugsly was clearly ahead of its time. It was actually Surly that got me on a mountain unicycle (their Conundrum MUni).
  • 1 0
 I love it and I think they nailed it! It's like the unimog of bikes. It needs to be reliable, and it needs to be able to handle nearly anything. I think all of there choices reflect that. Coil and oil is smooth and reliable(don't forget that added weight here, this suspension will be strained much more than an XC setup), gearbox is super reliable, and I think all of the travel is very important for two reasons; again the added weight, and also it needs to be able to handle anything with that weight. It might not be a common trail bike, but it's purpose built and I want one!
  • 1 0
 @tufty: Quite the assumption you are making there. I don't think I gave enough in that comment for you to judge my understanding. With that behind us now, what the hell does 'natty' mean in this context?
  • 1 0
 Maybe for the guy who likes to park his gear at a site and ride gnarly stuff, pack up and move on?
  • 12 0
 what a bummer. they left out the standard pinkbike " pedals good going uphill..but point it downhill, and it really shines!" So what does a gearbox bike with non waterproof bags cost?
  • 7 0
 "to head off into the bush until the zombie apocalypse wanes"..... say no more, take all my money.
  • 11 4
 Gearboxes are "silly", but having a flimsy piece of plastic hanging off your bike near the ground isn't?
  • 16 3
 Correct.
  • 12 6
 You could ride with a complete spare derailleur, cable, and housing and it still would save weight over a gearbox, not to mention the increased efficiency.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: Yea but then you have to be mechanically competent to be able to complete the repair if there are issues. That was their point, Ghost wanted this bike as maintenance free as possible. I know I am personally tired of bashing my derailleur and replacing it one or more times a season... with how light an efficient bikes are in all other respects these days I'm still genuinely surprised gear boxes haven't become more popular. Gear box, coil sprung, and good pedaling; if the geo is on point for descending this could be a contender for my new rig!!!
  • 5 0
 @millsr4: Going out in the wilderness as a bikepacker and not being mechanically competent seems to be a way to well...die. An even more simple solution than carrying a derailleur would be to carry a tensioner and a few quick links. Just last weekend I rode 6 miles on a Horst Link bike after my brand new XT derailluer was ripped off and brand new XT chain was bent in several places. Removed the derailleur, removed the bent links, made singlespeed, rode out.
  • 5 0
 Additionally, I've got no problems with the gearboxes. What I have problems with are overly expensive solutions to reliable inexpensive standards on the market. You could replace your entire drivetrain a few times over before coming close to the cost of Pinion's cheapest gearbox. Until something like the P1.18 comes down to $1200 or less, it'll still be cheaper to buy 1x11 drivetrain with carbon cranks and replace the chain, derailluer, cassette and chainring 3-4 times. Usually chainrings last longer than a single season, as do derailluers, so you might even get in 5 drivetrain replacements before the Pinion makes sense. Not to mention that gearbox frames are more expensive and their manufacturers more limited. The issue isn't the gearbox, it's the cost.
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: I definitely agree with you that if you can't fix your gear you should take it into the wilderness... I've used the single speed fix many times myself even on shorter rides. I was just reenforcing Ghost's reasoning in that they want these bikes as maintenance free as possilbe, and even for an experienced mechanic, gearboxs take much less maintenance in the long run.

Where I live it rains ALOT. If you want to ride in the winter you WILL go through drivetrain components quicker than dryer places like Arizona. I end up replacing every piece of my drivetrain every year. For this reason, and my rate of derailleur destruction I mentioned originally, the initial cost of a gearbox isn't as big of a deal...
  • 3 0
 @PHeller: I think your position is warranted! Cost is everything.

That said, I still think gearboxes are the future precisely because they are too expensive to be the present. In other words (and as every other technology has shown) it's often years before a technology can be made cheaply enough for wide spread use.

Until then, I'll stay 1x10 with a wide ratio cassette.
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: im stealing this idea. Thx
  • 5 0
 Am I the only one that thinks this looks like a super fun 29er trail bike? Why market this as a bike packing bike, am I missing something?
  • 1 0
 It also exists as a non-gearbox normal trailbike. Looks like a super fun 29er, and I like the Idea of coil shock.
  • 2 0
 yes, your the only one. Please take up cold fusion, or global warming next as obviously your genius is wasted on mere mountain bike marketing strategy...
  • 1 0
 @stiingya: well thank you sir, I truly am the genius this world deserves...
  • 9 6
 I know I'm going to get hate for this, but I bet it's a niche bike. People like to talk about they'll be the first in line to get a internal gearbox, but they'll use some lame ass excuse it's a 27.5=/29 bike.
  • 24 1
 I hate your comment.
  • 3 0
 Cool, plenty of options now to go out and ride for days on end without civilization. Will Ghost be able to sell get out of work/all commitment cards? you know, just so I could actually use this more than a 1-2 times a year
  • 2 0
 My old Turner Highline with Totem and Hammerschmidt, 2.5 on back 2.7 on front, seems plenty ready for zombie battle. When I need to carry chainsaw, axe, and shot gun I just tighten the spring on the coil shock and roll in comfort and confidence.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy Seriously no ride report on how this gear box is on this bike? What a tease. Bike looks great and though it maybe a niche, I bet there will be folks getting one to just ride and not bike pack with it. I'm interested for sure.
  • 2 0
 rad bike, for sure..and whatever keeps driving the emerging gearbox trend is fine w/me.
i'll have something like this in a few years.
  • 1 0
 Good luck trying to tell zombies what Boost is. They may not even stock 29ers let alone 27.5plus tires at remote areas of some faraway countries. Er... psst...one of my friendly Lbs doesn't haha... Wink
  • 1 0
 I wonder how many spare rear derailleurs (+minimal tools to swap them) you could carry for the weight of one gear box... And the coil shock Big Grin + hard tail frame accomodates MASSIVE bag in the front triangle.
  • 8 4
 Gearboxes...the future.
  • 12 3
 Zombies > gearboxes
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: Sorry Mike, but to take such a stand on something other than an editorial piece is severely lacking in journalistic integrity!

And BTW, you and I both know there is no difference between a fanboi and a zombie.
  • 2 1
 You lost me at the bag seams not being waterproof...They're just adding extra weight by making people have to carry dry bags.
  • 3 0
 Niche bike for sure. But what a niche!
  • 3 0
 Any pictures without the bags? Look like an awesome bike minus the bags.
  • 1 1
 Wouldn't a fat bike be the obvious choice for this type of packing as they can pretty much go anywhere? It looks like a sweet enduro / trail bike with some bags strapped to it, ditch the bags and market it as such.
  • 2 0
 I'd get this bike just for the dynamo hub usb charger thingamajig! I'm easily amused-- I know!
  • 3 0
 Does this mean I will be able to buy a gearbox bike at MEC?
  • 1 0
 Nice bike man. I bet its fun to ride with all of the weight off of that rear wheel. The chain tensioner would rip off when i ride over trees......
  • 2 0
 Just because it's an adventure bike doesn't mean you have to make it brown.
  • 1 0
 Harder for bears to see. A bright turquoise Nomad with pink accented Enve's might get me killed! LOL
  • 1 0
 A nice addition to any mountain biker's arsenal. The more bikes the better, right?
  • 4 3
 I really hope that a company comes out with a Downhill bike that has a gearbox. I genuinely hate drivetrains right now.
  • 5 0
 Zerode!
  • 1 0
 Zerode, old diamondback sabbath, nicolai and cavalerie all have gearboxs on dh bikes...
  • 1 1
 @abbfan2 Why hate gearboxes? I'm genuinely not trolling, I just am curious as to what you find a bummer. I am interested to learn other perspectives, but I struggle to figure this one out myself. Why does that cute little derailleur generate so much hate?
  • 1 1
 @VwHarman: Notice how you got a down vote as opposed to an answer? Because fanboi! It's easier to down vote than explain a position. And we all know fanboi's are emotional about what they like. That makes them stupid and unable to understand why they spend what they spend on x, y, or z.

Instead, when someone challenges them on it, they can't answer without revealing an internal flaw. Cognitive dissonance at it's best. So on PB, they just down vote and be done with it.
  • 2 0
 @BDKR: Not wrong! I see you also received a reactionary downvote for exposing fanboi emotional down voting! Ha! That said, I did misspeak in my post as my first sentence asks why hate gearboxes, when I certainly meant derailleur. TBH, I would really like to try both systems and see which performs best where. That said, until gearbox systems use a standard mounting system to make it more simple for frame manufacturers I just don't see a gearbox really going too far...
  • 1 1
 @VwHarman: ROFL!!!!

I agree with you on the issues surrounding gearbox acceptance. It needs some standards and maturation. It's not bad at all.

That said, I don't think the derailleur get's hate as much as a lot of people just want to see it go. A lot of people can see the future of a gearbox and see it being in the way.

A better and less argumentative way to look at this is to just simply say if/when gearboxes become cheap (or at least much cheaper) and more efficient we'll see them used more. Until then, it's that cute little derailleur that rules the roost. :-)
  • 1 0
 @VwHarman: I'm a moto rider. I like the simplicity of the drivetrain on my moto. gearbox on a dh bike resembles it
  • 1 0
 @abbfan2: thanks for the reply! I grew up on a moto, so that makes sense to me. Do you think that dh will be the first discipline to adopt the gearbox? I don't see it as a necessity in xc, but in the more aggro riding disciplines having less hanging parts seems appropriate.
  • 2 0
 @VwHarman: I think enduro will to tell you the truth. a broken mech could ruin someones day. In dh bike parks parts are easy to obtain at races or not. In enduro I think the gearbox will catch on in enduro just because parts are less accessible at races and nonexistent in long backcountry rides
  • 1 0
 @abbfan2: Good Call. Enduro makes perfect sense if any discipline is going to adopt the gearbox! Cheers for the chat!
  • 1 0
 Seems like a sick bike but not a specially revolutionary or game changing bag setup.
  • 3 1
 Grip shift. No thank you.
  • 2 1
 the 90's called and want their grip shit back
  • 4 0
 I have a buddy who still swears by his Grip Shift on his DH bike. Dude bombs hard too, so its not like he doesn't know what he is doing. He almost convinced me a while ago. The ability to dump gears is unrivalled, and he sets his up with XO shift and derailleur. He buys XO grips Shifts off Ebay all the time to have a stockpile for the inevitable end of the design! It feels odd to me, but I have never liked them, as long as I can remember. That said, getting into some shit and being able to dump all the gears is pretty awesome.
  • 2 0
 What a shocking front hub.
  • 2 0
 Weights and pricing would have been nice to know.
  • 1 0
 Gotta get my hands on one of these
  • 1 0
 Want. Looks like they thought of everything with this bike.
  • 1 0
 I treck with my dual sus bike. This bike is sweet!
  • 1 0
 What is this for a bike stand?
  • 1 0
 Gearbox+derailleur= a lot of gears. Is it possible?
  • 1 0
 do have to say it would have made more sense to do this with 27.5 wheels.
  • 1 1
 Looks heavy, even without the bags on it, but a good idea nonetheless.

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