Ghost 2012 mountain bikes - First look

New AMR Plus, Cagua and HTX 29er

UK distributors Hotlines have given us a pre-Eurobike preview of the latest bikes from Ghost. On the mountain bike side, the German company have redesigned their AMR Plus all-mountain/trail bike and added a 170mm-travel variant called the Cagua, introduced a 29er hardtail and added a couple of well-priced downhill/freeride options to the line-up. They also have some revised road and urban options.

AMR, AMR Plus and Cagua

We've had one of Ghost's 120mm-travel AMRs on long-term test and there's not much we'd alter about it; Ghost seem to agree as for 2012 the only changes are new colours and a drop in price. For example, the top-end alloy model, the Shimano XT-equipped 7500, will cost £2,299.99 as opposed to £2,399.99, with the only spec changes being a switch from Ritchey kit to an own-brand (wider) bar, stem and post.

The 120mm-travel AMR has been treated to new colours and spec tweaks for 2012

It's longer-legged brother, the AMR Plus, however, gets an all-new frame, available in carbon fibre (Lector) or aluminium (Actinum), with up-to-date features including a 1.5in head tube, Syntace X12 rear axle, Direct Post Mount brake tabs and ISCG05 mounts. It has 150mm of travel as stock (more on this later), with a slacker head angle (66.5°) and steeper seat angle (74°) than the current model, as well as a lower bottom bracket.

All AMR Plus models will come with dropper seatposts with handlebar remotes – either a RockShox Reverb or X-Fusion Hilo. The range starts with the alloy 5900 at £2,299.99, with a 15mm-axle Fox TALAS RL fork and X-Fusion 02 RCX shock, Shimano Deore XT groupset and non-series Shimano 596 disc brakes. It tops out with the carbon Lector 9000, with a Fox TALAS FIT Kashima RLC fork and RP23 Kashima shock, plus SRAM X0 gearing and brakes, for £4,499.99.

The AMR Plus has an all-new frame, and all models come with a dropper post for 2012

The AMR Plus uses the same four-bar suspension design as most of Ghost's range. New for 2012 is the ability to increase its travel to 165mm by swapping to a different length shock. This means you could run it stock for your local trails and then stick on a longer shock and fork, along with some form of chain guide, to beef it up for a trip to the bikepark or the Alps.

This is where things get slightly confusing, because Ghost have another new bike called the Cagua which uses exactly the same frame as the AMR Plus but comes as stock with 165mm of travel. So what's the difference between the two? It's all about the build. Where the AMR Plus comes with a tapered-steerer Fox 32 fork offering 150mm of travel, the Cagua has a 1.5in-steerer fork, and it's the burlier Fox 36 model with 170mm of travel.

The Cagua uses the same frame as the 2012 AMR Plus but has an extra 15mm of travel courtesy of a different length shock

There's a similar theme with the rest of the equipment too – 2.35in Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres on the AMR Plus, 2.4in Fat Alberts on the Cagua; 1-1/8in stem vs 1-1/2in; triple chainring vs twin-ring plus chain guide... This difference in spec is reflected in the weight of the two bikes, too – the AMR Plus Lector 9000 is said to weigh 11.9kg (26.2lb), compared to 13.7kg (30.2lb) for the top-end Cagua (price and spec TBC; Hotlines don't yet know whether they'll be bringing the Cagua to the UK).

Northshore and DH

Ghost have another new bike, the Northshore, with just 15mm more travel than the Cagua and the same X12 rear angle and ISCG mounts. However, the separation between the two is clear – the Cagua is billed as an 'enduro' bike (ie. it's been designed to be pedalled up hills as well as bomb down them) while the 180mm-travel Northshore, as the name suggests, is aimed squarely at the freeride/bikepark fraternity.

Hotlines didn't have a 2012 Ghost Northshore to show us, but it uses essentially the same frame as the DH

The Northshore chassis is essentially a cheaper-to-produce version of Ghost's downhill frame (more on this below) and this is reflected in its pricing – the complete bike costs £1,999.99; the same as some freeride frames. It uses the same tubing as the 200mm-travel DH but has steeper, shorter geometry – a 65° head angle, 58.5° seat tube and 430mm chainstays. The spec includes a Marzocchi 66 RCV single-crown fork with 20mm axle, a Marzocchi Roco R shock, Truvativ Hussefelt cranks and nine-speed Shimano XT gearing, plus Magura MT2 brakes.

The DH has one major advantage over its little brother – a 'Bogey Roll' idler pulley to mitigate the effects of the high main pivot placement on pedalling (traditionally not a major concern with freeride bikes). The bike was introduced last year and changes for 2012 are minor – the head angle is now 1° slacker (63°), there's a Direct Post Mount for a 180mm rotor at the rear, a new 'small' size has been introduced (dimensions of the existing medium and large frames will shift slightly as a result) and the top-end 9000 model gets a carbon fibre link.

The DH has a 'Bogey Roll' idler to separate pedalling forces from the suspension

Claimed weight of the £4,499.99 DH 9000 is 17.3kg (38.1lb) and, with a Fox 40 RC2 FIT Kashima fork and DHX RC4 Kashima shock, 10-speed SRAM X0 and Magura MT6 brakes, Ghost reckon it's ready to race. Of more interest to many readers, though, will be the entry-level DH 7000, with Marzocchi 888 RCV fork and X-Fusion Vector RC shock, nine-speed SRAM X7, Truvativ Hussefelt cranks and Avid Elixir 3 brakes, for £2,299.99. The 7000 is also available as a frameset, with Fox instead of X-Fusion shock, for £1,499.99.

As with the rest of Ghost's full-suspension range, needle bearings are used in the shock eyelets instead of bushings for extra suppleness over small bumps (both eyelets on the DH and Northshore, just the upper on the AMR and AMR Plus) and chainstay lengths as well as front triangle dimensions are size-specific.

The DH 7000 looks like a good option for anyone starting out in downhill

Hardtails

On the hardtail side, both the entry-level SE and the race-orientated HTX are unchanged save for new colours and spec tweaks. New for 2012 is a 29er version of the HTX, the HTX 29, available in aluminium only, with prices for the three-model range starting at £999.99.

Ghost say it has "agile geometry", with a 69° head angle, 72° seat angle and the same wheelbase (1,085-1,120mm, depending on size) and Active Flex rear end (slim, ovalised stays and a 27.2mm-diameter seatpost to add comfort) as the 26in bike. There's a tapered head tube up front and press-fit bottom bracket down below to add stiffness.

The Ghost HTX 29 is about as sleek-looking as 29ers get. The angles look promising, too

The entry-level HTX 29 Actinum 7000 (£999.99) has a 100mm-travel RST First 29 Air SRL fork, Shimano SLX gearing (with non-series 552 cranks) and Avid Elixir 1 brakes. The top 9500 model (£1,799.99) upgrades to a tapered-steerer Fox 32F 29 RL fork with remote and 15mm axle, and full Shimano XT.

Road and urban

Ghost are best known for their mountain bikes but they also have a small but perfectly formed range of town and drop-bar models. The Trekking (utility, from £599.99), Cross (hybrid, from £449.99) and Speedline (fast hybrid, from £699.99) urban bikes get new, lighter hydroformed frames for 2012, with 27.2mm seatposts for improved comfort, sloping top tubes, Post Mount Direct brake tabs and 3D forged dropouts.

The rigid-forked, disc-brake-equipped Speedline 5700 caught our eye, at £999.99

The aluminium Race Actinum road bikes now have 27.2mm seatposts to improve comfort, while the carbon Race Lector will be available in a Pro version with Shimano's new Ultegra Di2 electronic groupset for £2,999.99 as well as a top-end version with SRAM Red for £5,299.99.

For more information on the Ghost range, visit www.hotlines-uk.com and www.ghost-bikes.com. The new bikes will be officially launched at Eurobike and are due to start appearing in shops in September. Look out for reviews of key models here on BikeRadar. Check out our image gallery for lots more pictures.

Ghost's road bikes are looking good, too; this is the carbon Race Lector Team with SRAM Force

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