Ghost isn’t a major name in UK road cycling, but some of its sister brands are more familiar – Lapierre, Raleigh and Koga (plus the not-so-well-known Haibike and Atala) are all part of the Dutch Accell Group’s cycling-focused range. Such depth means economies of scale and generally good value for the consumer, so we took the Nivolet 6 for a spin to see just how well it stacks up.
This model takes its name from the Colle del Nivolet, a 40.5km climb in the Graian Alps in north-west Italy. At 2612m, it is Europe’s fifth highest paved pass, and includes a steep 3.5km tunnel and 33 hairpin bends on the way to the tarmac’s end just after the summit. It was also the setting for several scenes in 1969’s The Italian Job, including the final cliffhanger. So, a German bike made by a Dutch parent company, with tenuous links to a classic British film set in Italy, how cosmopolitan.
Ultegra Di2 levers are ergonomically superb
Ironically for the film’s escape route, the Colle del Nivolet doesn’t lead anywhere, but with such obvious climbing pretensions, we pointed our Ghost straight at the hills. A bike can be hugely affected by its contact points, and here Ghost largely hits the mark, Fizik’s Ardea saddle proving superbly plush and supportive, and the own brand alloy finishing kit offering great fit and adjustment. Shimano’s refined Ultegra Di2 levers are the icing on a satisfyingly ergonomic cake, helping us find a comfortable position, with scope to go more or less aggressive.
The Nivolet’s carbon frame doesn’t look especially beefy, but serves up a very competent blend of rigidity and efficiency thanks to its PF86 bottom bracket, chunky head tube and stout stays. Stand on the pedals and there’s an instant increase in speed, and all-out sprints are met with unwavering lateral rigidity that gives confidence to pull and push harder still. But despite the bike’s rapidity, Ghost hasn’t neglected comfort, and throughout our hours in the saddle, the frame soaked up all the rippled and broken tarmac that Wiltshire could throw at us, with a ride quality that’s taut and supple rather than harsh and sloppy.
Vision wheels and Schwalbe Durano tyres form a strong pairing
With a compact 50/34 chainset and 11-28 cassette, there are gears aplenty for climbing and descending, and that frame efficiency plays its part again going uphill, as do the FSA Vision Team 30 wheels. These prove at least equal to the rest of the package, feeling stiff, responsive and fairly lively, helping us gain elevation by pedalling rather than heaving our way upwards. Descending is surefooted and stable, the 30mm rims deep enough to provide rigidity and some aero benefit but remaining largely impervious to gusting winds, and Schwalbe’s 25mm Durano rubber gripping superbly well in mixed conditions. Back on the flat, the rolling stock continues to impress with good straight line speed and reassuring handling that encourages corner commitment, and rewards with greater exit speed.
Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 groupset offers almost identical function to Dura-Ace, and most current Di2-equipped bikes opt for Shimano’s hidden internal battery to improve aesthetics. But, perhaps showing its design roots, the Nivolet still wears an external battery beneath the non-driveside chainstay. Functionally this matters little, and from the saddle as you faultlessly zip through the gears, you’ll care about as much, but it is at odds with the frame’s internal cabling.
Ghost’s Nivolet 6 packs refined performance that might not quite blow your doors off, but focuses less on self-preservation than enjoying days like these.