Ghost SL AMR LC 4 first ride review£2,400.00

A sharp-looking, snappy handling and fun trail bike

This Ghost ride might not have the catchiest of names but, thanks to those angular tubes and a decent spec, it’ll certainly catch the eye. And out on the trail, where it really matters, the AMR is more than just a well-priced looker.

Ghost SL AMR LC 4 frame

The heavily hydroformed front triangle may look carbon but it’s actually aluminium, as is the more industrial-looking rear end. Ghost uses the thoroughly proven Horst Link suspension design to deliver 130mm/5.1in of rear wheel travel, which is handled by a Fox Float DPS Performance shock.

The cables are routed internally, which keeps things looking nice and neat. But when you factor in the unprotected chainstay, that makes for a serious amount of clatter when the trail gets bumpy.

Size-wise, our medium test bike had a 600mm effective top tube, 430mm chainstays, a relatively steep 75-degree seat angle and, by today’s standards, a fairly conservative 68-degree head angle. That said, the SL AMR does boast a healthy 441mm of reach and 15mm of bottom bracket drop, to help you sit nice and low on the bike.

The Horst Link suspension works predictably well, except on really big hits
The Horst Link suspension works predictably well, except on really big hits

Ghost SL AMR LC 4 kit

Ghost has included its own 25mm wide (internal) rims, which not only handle plenty of abuse but also give a great tyre profile. The Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO tyres are something of a let-down, though. Thin sidewalls mean they lack support and the tread and compound provide limited traction. Ultimately, this limits the SL AMR’s trail potential.

The Ghost feels playful yet purposeful and enables you to pick the fun lines, link small trail features together and carry decent speed over rough ground

It’s nice to see Shimano’s ever-reliable 2x11 XT transmission included at this price, and although the Deore brakes aren’t quite as fancy they do the job with power and authority. The KS CRUXi dropper post on our test bike frequently got stuck when fully extended and needed a bit of force to coax it back down.

Ghost SL AMR LC 4 ride impression

With the Schwalbe rubber fitted it was hard to test this bike’s true ability, so we swapped out the front tyre for a nice and sticky Michelin Wild Grip’R, which transformed the feel of the AMR and enabled us to push it closer to its limits.

In its shorter-travel guise, the Fox 32 fork feels reasonably stiff and tracks the trail well, dealing with chatter without fuss, though it can be quickly upset by bigger, more awkward hits. The suspension balance front to rear also felt pretty good, although on really big hits the AMR uses up the last bit of its rear wheel travel quite quickly and the bottom-out is less than pleasant. That said, even with the DPS shock left in ‘open’ mode, we felt the bike climbed really well.

On the whole, the Ghost feels playful yet purposeful and enables you to pick the fun lines, link small trail features together and carry decent speed over rough ground. But push too hard and — if you aren’t flowing with pure trail finesse — you’ll soon find its limits.

Changing the bike's tyres transformed the ride
Changing the bike's tyres transformed the ride

Ghost SL AMR LC 4 early verdict

The tyres hold it back, but once you get over the rattle and clatter it's fun in a variety of situations

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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