Ghost are a German mountain biking brand renowned for maximum kit for your money. The Ghost AMR Plus 7500 is a really balanced ride in handling and suspension terms too, although the heavy weight starts to drag as the day wears on.
Ride & handling: Speed-friendly geometry but good on XC singletrack
Despite the narrow bar needing more muscling than other bikes when the trail got belligerent, the overall balance of the Ghost still made it extremely easy to ride. The slack head angle keeps the wheel far out in front for easy self-correcting confidence. This compensates for the lack of leverage from the bar in rocky or high-speed descending situations. Feedback from each end of the bike is well matched too.
Neither the fork nor back end are the sharpest slicing and tracking. They’re predictably compliant, so you can really push the bike hard through corners, relying on them both to slide or grip to the same level.
The rear suspension tune sits the bike firmly in its travel under cornering loads without making it insensitive to small bump patter and losing traction.
The RP23 damping makes it easy to fine tune the level of low-speed compression too. The four-bar rear linkage repeatedly proved excellent at maintaining momentum in a broad range of conditions.
It will take a slap from a square edge without slowing down too much and it’s stiff enough not to twist and stumble if you’re driving it diagonally. The Fox fork damping proves its worth more the harder you push it and, as is often the case, the TALAS fork felt better than the fixed travel equivalents.
This all-round competence means you’re worrying less about how to work the traits of the bike to your advantage and concentrating more on your lines and braking points, which leads to faster, smoother overall results. The dropper post is a real help when it comes to staying focused and flowing rather than faffing about with quick-releases or compromising with an in-between ride height.
It’s the same story on singletrack and climbs too. It’s not light, but it pedals well enough to climb comfortably. The sorted suspension and potential for dropping the fork travel really comes into its own on techy or typical trail centre climbs with repeated switchbacks and power surges.
As well as well balanced steering it’s an easy bike to hop and pop about if you need to make more dramatic or immediate line changes or you just fancy chucking it around.
Frame & equipment: Heft doesn’t outweigh positives
The AMR Plus frame is a really smooth version of the classic four-bar layout. Heavily hydroformed lines flow through every main tube.
The top tube – seat tube brace, screw-through rear dropouts and post-mount rear brake mount are all similarly organic castings. Art fans will find Henry Moore parallels in the big ovalised centre hollow in the single-piece press-fit bottom bracket, lower shock mount and main pivot section. There’s another funnel through the centre of the I Beam sided linkage and a neat-looking bobbin across the top of the seatstays.
A DT Swiss RWS 142x12mm screw-through skewer ties it all together at the back and there are ISCG mounts around the bottom bracket. Dropper post guides are included on the side of the seat tube if you want to fit a remote cable onto the currently manual X-Fusion dropper seatpost. There’s definitely a lot of alloy in the frame though, because it’s fairly heavy on the scales considering its higher price.
Besides the X-Fusion dropper post there’s not much in the kit list to explain the high weight. Fox’s 32 trail fork is one of the lightest 150mm (5.9in) travel forks around, even in the handy TALAS 120 to 150mm (4.7 to 5.9in) travel adjust format, and the Nobby Nic tyres are still light despite their generous volume.
It’s great to find a full suite of Shimano’s excellent XT groupset including the easily serviceable, smooth spinning hubs front and rear. The black crank arms scuff up quickly though. It’s a triple-ring rather than bashguard-and-double too, which we can see being swapped by more hardcore trail riders. The XT brakes are excellent, with an amazing amount of power packed into their short, crooked levers.
The short stem matches the all-rounder trail intent of the bike well too, although a wider bar would be a definite bonus when fighting against the grain of the trail.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.