Bike Check: Thomas Wickles' 'Project Unicorn' Ghost Lector SF

May 19, 2021 at 6:59
by James Smurthwaite  


Ghost Factory Racing team manager Thomas Wickles is a fan of colorful bikes. A couple of years ago he built up a puce Lector hardtail and now, to celebrate the new full suspension version of the bike with a chrome-plated, pink and silver colour scheme inspired by a BMW he passed on the highway. There are also a number of cool custom features on this bike to make it as clean as possible, and while weight wasn't a huge concern there are also some very neat, minimalist upgrades too.

So, put on your sunglasses and take a look through all the details of this wild custom bike build below.
Thomas on his equally bright hardtail that he built up a couple of years ago.

Details
Frame: Ghost Lector FS Superfit RH, large
Shock: Deluxe RT3 Trunnion
Fork: RockShox RS1 RL
Wheels: Bikeahead Biturbo RS1, Boost, 29′′
Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race 2.35′′, 1.3 bar (19psi) front and MaxxisAspen ST 2.4”, 1.5 bar (22psi) rear. Pepi’s Tire Noodle Revolution inserts
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 AXS HOPP Carbon with Zirbel shifter and Blipbox
Brakes: SRAM Level ULT, 160 mm rotors
Cockpit: Bikeahead TBD
More info: ghost-bikes.com

The pink and silver chrome plating was inspired by a BMW Thoma passed on the highway two years ago.

The rear end of the bike has a mirror finish

Thomas has added a couple of aftermarket upgrades to his XX1 AXS drivetrain. Firstl, he sent off his derailleur to Hopp Carbon and they applied their €499 upgrade kit to it. This replaces a number of parts for a claimed weight saving of 40 grams and includes their own pulley wheels.

Next, he replaced the AXS paddles with the Zirbel Twister for a cleaner cockpit.

The RockShox RS-1 apparently took a bit of tracking down as it's no longer made by SRAM. Thomas says, "A few years ago, you were used to the look, somehow it pops today just like it did then when it first came out – at least it does for me. A clearly visual decision, the performance was already awesome back then. There are safer, stiffer forks, but the Biturbos compensate for that."

Thomas was apparently told by Ghost's R&D team that only a SID shock would fit, but he didn't want a remote cluttering up his handlebars so he tried to squeeze in a Deluxe RT3 instead. He soon realised the valve was hitting the frame and sanding down the paint was not an option, so he shortened the valve and the valve core. This means he has to disassemble it to change the shock pressure but he's hoping he won't have to do that very often.

Those Biturbos are run by the entire Ghost team and Thomas is protecting them with Pepi's Tire Noodles.

The brakes combine Guide Ultimate levers with Level brake calipers. The carbon covers come from Hopp and the minimalist clamps from Carbonice

Getting a clean cockpit was key to this build for Thomas and he's ended with just three cables. He could have specced an AXS Reverb but decided he prefers the look of the 8Pins model.

Thomas was trying to find a lever that looked similar to the Zirbel and the Wolf Tooth remote was the best option he could find.



168 Comments

  • 75 6
 Curious what would possess someone to take Guide master cylinders (the ones notorious for failing) intended for 4-pot calipers and pair them with dual piston calipers. Seems like you get the worst of both worlds, no?

None of this build makes sense to my brain
  • 32 6
 guide issue was fixed
  • 35 7
 SRAM brakes would be my last choice for such a build. I know it's a personal thing but I hate the way those levers look. Some Magura, Formula,Hope or of course Trickstuff would suit this build way better.
  • 11 0
 I'm guessing a sponsorship by SRAM/RS has something to do with it. An interesting choice though for sure. Beauty is in the eye of the builder
  • 25 2
 @nozes: As someone who owns Maguras, I'd recommend you reconsider your position.
  • 5 0
 @mior: Guide issue was fixed with the new G2 series, or if rebuilt with G2 parts, no?

I have a set of Guides and a set of G2s, no issues (yet) but the hodgepodge with Level parts doesn’t make logical sense
  • 1 1
 all glides slide the same
  • 2 0
 @nozes: good luck finding any trickstuff.
  • 8 12
flag RGonz (May 19, 2021 at 19:55) (Below Threshold)
 @mtallman2: I run shimano deore levers/ guide 4 pot calipers. Best brakes i ever rode. I'm dead serious.
  • 22 0
 @RGonz: lol mineral oil levers with DOT calipers. Have fun buddy.
  • 2 0
 @RGonz: what fluid are you using? Dot or mineral?
  • 2 2
 @bikerbarrett: brakes that actually do what they're supposed to unlike srams you mean? i think not.
  • 7 1
 @RGonz: yep, good luck with your master cylinder seal life expectancy.

Please wear a FF for your own safety and dont ride behind your mates.

Sudden brake failure is no joke, ask my ex girlfriend
  • 3 0
 @jj12jj: Although not recommended, if you run the system with mineral oil, I suspect there will be no issues, as long as everything was new/clean when it was built up. I believe that going the other way, from mineral oil to DOT is more problematic for the seals and plastic etc.
  • 1 0
 @SonofBovril: one might also replace all seals for the appropriate ones. Would be a hassle though...
  • 1 0
 Two years of hard riding on my Guide Ultimates and I have had zero issues with the levers. Now, caliper pistons coming out at different rates...that I do have issues with. I will need to rebuild the calipers far before I need to rebuild the levers.
  • 2 0
 @jmhills: I have this same Piston issue with both Guides and older Codes...
  • 1 0
 @mikelee: 50:50, duh
  • 4 0
 @holt1997: you put dot in first and then mineral oil so only the dot fluid touches the caliper and only mineral oil touches the lever.
  • 4 2
 Sram brakes work great for uphill riding.
  • 1 0
 @SonofBovril: I am going to do a rebuild at the end of the season. Next brake set will be Hope. I know they are heavier but I do not care. Always had a great experience with them
  • 2 0
 I don’t have an answer for not using the 4-piston calipers, but the swap is the only way to have the contact point adjustment with sram 2-piston brakes.
  • 1 0
 SRAM fixed the issue with the guide levers a few years back.
  • 2 1
 @Burningbird: If they were sponsored by SRAM/RockShox they wouldn't be wanting them to run the older rs1.
  • 2 0
 @jmhills: hope are great apart from serious lack of power. I’ve had e4 and v4 both were weak power wise. Brilliant apart from that. I’ve been on codes rsc for 2 years now and been fit and forget. Best brake I’ve used for decent power/modulation and more importantly consistent and reliability. I’m a shimano fan boy but after 10 years or more I’m sick of the bite point issue. So I’d recommend codes to anyone looking for a fit and forget brake.
  • 1 0
 @mikelee: Where I ride, a 'lack of power' is probably not going to be a issue. The terrain around here prizes more modulation and longevity due to mud and dust.
  • 1 0
 @jmhills: unless you’ve used hopes mate I’d seriously say try before you buy! They’re very weak no matter the fan boys say. If you’re used to Sram or shimano you’ll be disappointed. As for modulation,just squeeze the lever as much as you need! Hard for power, less for less power. It’s way easier to modulate a powerful brake than to magic power from a weak brake!!
  • 1 0
 I ended up with a similar set up on a bike I built last year. Guide RE levers and Level TL calipers. I gotta say, I kinda like it more than the straight Level TLs I have on another bike. The lever feels a little firmer? The difference is really subtle, but it definitely works better. And yes, the Guide issues were fixed a few years ago.
  • 1 0
 @Jo10j: This is the Team Manager's personal build the team is sponsored by SRAM/RS and run SIDs on all their race bikes. The Team Manager, building a swanky personal bike for himself, went out and found a RS1 because he thought it would look better.
  • 2 0
 @SonofBovril: while gentler than DOT mineral oil still makes lots of plastic’s/rubber very weak/brittle. I wouldn’t want to try it with my brakes (or maybe breaks is actually the correct one to use this time)
  • 1 0
 @mikelee: My last set of Hope's were Mono Mini's so a really long time ago. What limits their power? Is it a question of design or something?
  • 1 0
 @jmhills: the e4 feel like guides in power and the v4 feel like xt 2 pots. So if that’s the power you’re looking for then all good. They look amazing and are rock solid reliability wise but for me the power was just not enough. The code rsc I’m using now is perfect. Strong,quiet and after 2 years totally issue free. Very impressed. I personally prefer shimano but I’m done with their bite point issues and leaking seals. Oh and in the wet hopes REALLY squeal constantly which in the uk is all the time. I don’t know why the hopes are weak. I’d guess it’s the master cylinder bore size as the pistons are huge 18mm on the v4 so should be very powerful. I emailed hope about it and they said to buy saints or codes for more power,so they know the v4 is a bit underpowered. Also every independent review says the same thing. Brilliant brakes but lack power.
  • 1 0
 @mikelee: The Guide Ultimates I have had been more than powerful enough for how/ where I ride. I do not shuttle DH sections or anything like that. I am the definition of a "trail" rider. Reliability is prized for me.
  • 1 0
 @Wheeeliemann: sorry for your loss, bro. Such a tragic way to pass away - at least she did something she loved (I hope)
  • 1 0
 @rompemonster: y'all acting like it's impossible to flush lines out. It sounds like people are jealous that they spent hundreds of dollars on brakes only to be disappointed in their performance... I'm using mineral oil in the system. I've ridden codes, elixirs, guides, xt's, hayes... the Sram-ano works as good as any other setup I've ridden and with less issues. (No wandering bite point or sticky pistons etc.) its pretty funny how badly you want it to not work. I truly feel bad for some of you negative Nancy's out there.
  • 62 1
 "This means he has to disassemble it to change the shock pressure but he's hoping he won't have to do that very often."

Hello students, and welcome to "Poor Decision-Making 101".
  • 12 1
 Was thinking the very same thing... what an absolute fuckabout
  • 10 1
 I mean just as hard as swapping a coil spring.
  • 4 0
 I think he really hates he's mechanic.
  • 5 0
 @lefthandohvhater: a coil doesn't lose spring rate after a while, nor does it change with temperature.
  • 3 0
 @lefthandohvhater: Yeah but coil springs don't lose pressure over time and your rate doesn't change depending on altitude, temperature, etc...
  • 1 0
 @Mac1987: BINGO
  • 49 0
 saddle is crooked, literally un-rideable.
  • 6 0
 lol i tried riding with my seat backwards once
  • 3 1
 Mine too -- bugs my OCD tendencies, but accomadates my slight leg length difference, and is quite rideable.
  • 1 0
 @brentkratz: seriously?
  • 2 0
 It’s amazing how some things don’t get past some people on here. Nice catch.
  • 2 0
 @mior: between the leg length differences, imperfectly formed pelvises, knees, and ankles, and the pressure to sell, people are crookeder than you think
  • 4 0
 You spend all that time and energy on how the thing looks, and then BAM! You have to throw the thing away because the saddle is crooked. What's worse, if you look where the frame is aligned to the shock linkage, you'll notice the bike is actually pointed a little to the viewer's left. So the saddle pointing to viewer's right is even more pronounced.
  • 1 0
 @mior: ... and I dont set it that way it just goes there from pedaling force.
  • 38 0
 Im sorry, did I just read the derailleur upgrade cost €499 and saved 40 grams?????? Holy diminishing returns batman!!
  • 4 1
 Yeah, would have been better spent on some Trickstuff brakes for weight and looks.
  • 4 0
 @h82crash: …which are not available anywhere at any price, though…
  • 14 0
 I know this is mean, but I would laugh for days if I saw that guy smash a $1300 derailleur off a stump.
  • 2 0
 @Adamrideshisbike: team/company pays the bill, no personal consequences
  • 36 0
 The fork with noodly performance, higher weight, and requires special hubs, yes! I want that one!
  • 11 1
 The performance is not bad. In some regards it's better then a comparable regular fork. It has inherently better small bump sensitivity and fore-aft stiffness. ...but you correctly mention the weight and the hubs. Also wheel installation is PITA with the stanchions spinning freely.
  • 10 1
 It's the Jaguar E-Type of the fork world: looks gorgeous, goes well, but spends more time being fixed than being used and the owner wishes they had spent less money on something almost as good but ten times more reliable.

I chose the penultimate model of Focus O1E because the top one had an RS1. A smart man learns from his mistakes; a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
  • 20 0
 This is giving me major bass boat vibes.
  • 2 1
 It reminded me of those boats in Amsterdam during gay pride.
  • 19 0
 8 yr old me: “those wheels are wicked awesome!”

48 yr old me: “too weird, can’t pay me to ride them”
  • 21 0
 You were way more fun 40 years ago.
  • 3 0
 @oldfaith: So very true.
  • 1 0
 Didn't like the look of them back in '77, still don't. Otherwise, sweet looking ride.
  • 21 9
 Wow that thing is gorgeous!!!
  • 66 25
 You miss-spelled hidious
  • 165 0
 @christiaan: you misspelled hideous and you misspelled misspelled!
  • 5 0
 @christiaan:

Lol. You actually misspelled hideous. Smile

I agree with both of you though.

(and I think I misspelled "misspell"??)
  • 3 0
 @christiaan: well, to be fair so did you!!
  • 2 0
 @christiaan: You misspelled hideous.
  • 21 0
 Can somebody please tell @christiaan that he misspelled hideous?
  • 23 0
 @whiteboarder: This started long before today. He can't even spell Christian. Wink
  • 3 0
 @whiteboarder: Good idea. I’ll message him.
  • 7 0
 Who is miss pell?
  • 1 0
 I think it's gorgeous too. Not what I'd personally do but you've got to love all the little attention to details. It's like those crazy chromed out muscle cars, people really personalize every single bit. I'm sure we've all got something like that we'd love to do. I'd build up a Klein or yeti arc, something a bit more retro.
  • 1 0
 @christiaan: LMAO!! good one mate!
  • 2 0
 This whole comment section made my day a little nicer. Thanks, pinkers.
  • 1 1
 @zyoungson: a gorgeous hideous lady
  • 1 0
 @MuddyBrit: The shame...........
  • 2 0
 @whiteboarder: he knows, does walk of shame
  • 2 0
 @Zayphod: agreed. I can’t stop laughing.
  • 10 0
 "how much pink do you want?" "yup"
  • 5 1
 ..its just....too much. If that was his point, awesome! but I get a headache if I look at the pics too long, especially the chrome/mirror finish. That said, I get it. I built up a yellow S-Works hardtail in the early 2000's that was Ronald McDonald colors...all red and yellow. It was offensive to the eyes but that was my intent and I LOVED IT. I still have the bike but only the yellow frame remains...everything else is black.
  • 7 0
 Why not a wireless dropper seat post? I get it now, that money was wasted on the rear derailleur kit........
  • 7 3
 I kinda feel like Pinkbike is trolling us with this bike check, none of the components make sense at all and it's pretty darn ugly right down to the fake polished metal look on a carbon frame. It's not April 1st, so why is this here?
  • 6 0
 So many people dont seem to get it.....but then why do you need to get it? The build has been done based one mans personal preference and good on him.
  • 6 0
 That's a Wolf Tooth dropper remote
  • 1 0
 Logo and brand name visible...lol
  • 1 0
 @mtallman2: yeah @jamessmurthwaite it's very obvious
  • 1 2
 and?
  • 3 0
 @mior: They said it was WTB (it has been fixed)
  • 8 1
 What is the weight ?
  • 2 0
 A bike only the PB AI comment bot can love.

I don"t think I could ride that in public. Solo rides only and keep your head down on the trails until the end of the year and you send it out for a new paint job.

Note: this comment was not made by a AI bot
  • 5 0
 500Euro to shave 40 grams off a derailleur...... Dude, just take a leak and blow your nose before you ride. Wink
  • 2 0
 Well if all bikes were the same it would be a rather dull world and this bike leaves me itching to take it for a spin in the hills. I feel the negativity towards this build is unwarranted. I appreciate it and would love to ride it.
  • 4 0
 It's got Dangerholm vibes with the 'bold' paintjob and teeny carbon parts, but can Wickles rock the denim short shorts?
  • 1 0
 someone needs to make dangerholm some clipless crocs
  • 3 0
 Yeah but it’s more like someone tried to copy Dangerholms homework but has neither the style nor the skill to pull it off. Dangerholms builds are usually amazing, this is more in the realms of „why?“.
  • 4 3
 So many questionable choices.

The perseverance with the shock mods resulting in something you have to work extra hard just to check or change the air pressure is unforgivable.

The money on the rear mech' for 40g saving. On a derailleur!

The RS1 hit wonder forks.

And SRAM braking...

You'd better be so fast on this bike. Putting this much effort into looking this obvious but being mid pack / slow is not a good combination.
  • 5 1
 I believe it was Dolly Parton that said "You'd be surprised to learn how much it costs to look this cheap".
  • 3 0
 500 dollar upgrade to a 700 dollar derailleur? I believe this is why they hate us.
  • 1 0
 His design and colourway choices as well as his component choices confirm that he's working in the proper position for a deserving bike company. Peter-principle at it's best.
  • 1 0
 First thought "That must of been one ugly BMW"
Second thought "Pretty sure you could leave this bike unlocked on your tailgate pad in Santa Cruz in front of the brewery and it would still be there when you came back"
  • 1 0
 I've seen enough high end supercars here in Vancouver to be totally bored of this Chrome vinyl wrap looking stuff... Actually now that I think of it, I never really liked it Wink
  • 3 0
 That bike looks like a 5-year-old girl's birthday party.
  • 1 0
 theres alot of effort and money spent on weight savings and the article highlights this, yet it doesnt give us the entire bike weight. What a tease....
  • 2 0
 My thoughts: ugly color with some -at least- questionable part choices and a crooked saddle...
  • 3 0
 lol this bike getting roasted in comments
  • 1 0
 I think it's very well executed and ther chrome is just sick. :-)

The wheels need alternating pink/silver spokes though! :-D
  • 1 0
 wow, I never realized just how low profile (slick) the Aspen ST tire is. This is the first close-up shot I've seen. Center tread is much shorter than current Aspens.
  • 2 0
 That tire reminds me of a supermoto slick..
  • 2 0
 There is a typo on the headline image. Ghost has been spelled Gohst.
  • 3 1
 Wow, attention seeking much? Garish at best.
  • 1 0
 Honestly this bike had the most progressive CC geo so far, 500 + reach for size large bravo!!
  • 1 0
 man some of these choices are like, why? I'm sorry gents but this one is a no for me
  • 1 0
 idgaf how fast or good you are, everything about this bike build is just so off putting
  • 1 0
 Is this seriously “chrome plated”??? That stuff is SO heavy I have a hard time believing it’s real chrome...
  • 1 0
 More likely chrome powder coat.
  • 1 0
 Damn Irmo, I don’t know how you did it, but in the third shot that bike really does look like a unicorn!
  • 3 0
 Pinkbike is brutal.
  • 1 1
 Hmmm. You must be new here. I thought the Ghost got off kinda easy today...
  • 2 0
 @eric32-20: lol you actually made me check - I’ve been on PB for 10 years! Crazy.

It’s still brutal.
  • 2 0
 The problem with those mag wheels is if they get bent you can't true them.
  • 1 0
 Those wheels look like what I thought all wheels would look like in 20 years, 20 years ago.
  • 1 0
 Wow I thought the eggs I was eating during this article were making me sick. Nope just the pictures. No thank you
  • 2 0
 This bike makes my gums bleed.
  • 1 0
 better go to the dentist than. but you risk seeing this bike there because this is the most dentisty bike ever.
  • 1 0
 All this, and not a single "looks like a session" ~ I guess we're growing up (sadly Frown )
  • 1 0
 Wonder what is the point of saving 40g on a couple of pieces and then use heavy paintjob?
  • 1 0
 Saw this guy today in the fichtelgebirge. He was flying. Dude has the skills.
  • 1 0
 If he has a fleet of bikes he can have the whole rainbow!
  • 1 0
 €2856 for those made in Germany wheels
  • 2 0
 those wheels need braces
  • 2 0
 So euro
  • 1 0
 I like the concept just not into pink.
  • 3 2
 WHAT IS THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE BIKE?
  • 1 0
 Bike check for a pink bike

PinkBike commentors: damn that's ugly!
  • 2 0
 That's horrible!
  • 1 0
 This is a textbook example of form over function.
  • 1 0
 It's ugly, yet beautiful. I hate it & I want it.
  • 1 0
 is he riding wider rear than front tire, moto style or what?
  • 1 0
 Don't have to ask the guy what his favorite colour is
  • 1 0
 Anyone else really digging the shifter? I wish they had a 780 bar option.
  • 1 0
 if this isn't a dentist's bike, i don't know what is...
  • 1 0
 Please send that thing back to the 90s
  • 1 0
 This bike reminds me Shun of Andromeda old toy figure.
  • 1 0
 Naw, dog. This thing screams "Look at me!"
  • 1 0
 Gonna need a bigger freezer to put those wheels in.
  • 5 5
 Love those wheels. I hope more companies start making these.
  • 9 1
 Please, no.
  • 3 0
 There's a reason they stopped making mag wheels. Also, why aren't they pink?
  • 1 0
 @noapathy: what's the reason? cosmetics?
  • 1 1
 @imnotdanny: Yeah, no.
  • 3 0
 @noapathy: Are they not as strong? Tbh I think they look kinda cool, not sure if I would actually use them on my bikes though. Also they're ridiculously expensive.
  • 3 0
 @imnotdanny: pricey, not that light, throw the whole thing away if it cracks/breaks, locked into their proprietary hub, etc.
  • 1 0
 @EdSawyer: damn not a lot going for them
you could buy a wheelset with i9 Hydras and ENVE rims for just a few hundred more
  • 2 0
 @noapathy: mag wheels were made of plastic. I tried to straighten a buckle in one when I was a kid (my nan had one of those big top loading chest freezers) but it didn't work.

I think this design of wheel has a lot of potential now that it's 2021 and carbon fibre can be better manipulated. 3D printed wheel? They'd be much easier to clean :-) I share the concerns re. having to replace the whole thing after a crash though, but it is the same with carbon frames.
  • 7 7
 just came here to say this is one ugly bike
  • 1 4
 Looks like a bike from walmart...
  • 3 1
 I had those wheels on a bmx bike in 79.
  • 2 2
 This bike is definitely not my taste.... WHAT is going on
  • 2 0
 breakfast.
  • 2 2
 Ghost ride that whip right off a cliff.
  • 1 1
 Reminds me of Spin energy wheels

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