Long-term test bike: 2011 Ghost AMR 7500

Teutonic trail muncher

We first rode the AMR at Ghost's 2011 launch in Glentress, Scotland where we decided it would make a perfect long-term test bike. The German machines have only been available in the UK for a year, and have yet to reach the US, but a combination of good value and typical Teutonic attention to detail means we think they're a brand to watch.

At £2,399, the 7500 is the top-end alloy model in Ghost's 120mm-travel (5in) AMR range. For that price you get a tapered steerer Fox 32 FIT RL fork with 15QR axle and an RP23 Boost Valve shock, a full Shimano XT groupset, Ritchey finishing kit and Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres. Weight is around 28lb (without pedals).

There's a choice of five frame sizes, each of which has different length chainstays – we wish more companies would do this. Other features include a press-fit bottom bracket and needle roller bearings at the shock mounts to improve small bump sensitivity. A women's version is also available – the AMR MISS 7500 – along with carbon fibre frame options and a longer-travel (145mm/5.7in) AMR Plus variant.

First impressions are good. We took the AMR 7500 to the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire for its debut outing, where it attracted plenty of admiring glances as well as taking the sloppy conditions in its stride. Over the next few months we'll be putting it through some thorough testing to find out whether it's spookily good or Ghost have scored an own-ghoul (sorry). Ghost bikes are available in the UK through Hotlines Europe.

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