If you’re after a really well controlled, balanced, short-travel all-rounder that’s light enough to race on but ballsy enough to blast, then Ghost’s AMR Lector 7700 is a bargain.
Ride & handling: Capable and likeable bike that just lets you get on with your riding
Ghost’s 680mm handlebar/80mm stem cockpit setup says sensibly modern rather than savagely progressive and that’s a great indication of the rest of the ride too. The four-bar suspension treads a smooth line between lack of pedal and brake reaction without being limp or overly bouncy when you wallop power through it.
A large-volume air can on the 200mm Fox Adaptive Logic shock gives plenty of air to cushion each blow, and this floated feel is obvious straight away in the ride. As is often the case with larger volume shocks, there’s a tendency for it to squat in the middle of the travel, but that’s not a big problem.
For a start it makes the geometry slightly slacker in practice and, because the suspension neither jacks up or squats down massively under pedalling force, it does just stay sat there rather than bouncing up and down. The three different low-speed compression settings and full ProPedal threshold mean you can easily set basic shock sensitivity up for most tastes too.
The Fox F120 fork up front is slightly sticky in its initial travel feel and is certainly best matched by a bit of compression on the rear. Once you start rattling down steps or trying to turn or brake on rocky descents, control is excellent though. The QR15 screw-axle at the tips and the tapered steerer also offset the increased flex of the lightweight F120 chassis.
The result is a bike that simply melts away underneath you in terms of suspension reaction, with very little setup time or thought. Traction and comfort are increased, big hits are reduced, landings are connected and rough lines are stuck to without any need for specific rider interaction, just a smooth supply of pedalling and steering instructions.
The Ghost's reaction to what you do with the handlebar is equally obedient but quiet in character. It hasn’t got the swagger or nonchalant automatic line correction of really slacked-out bikes, but it’s calmly neutral when things get fast or steep. The composed damping of the Fox fork and shock also help keep it straight and level when the ground underneath is anything but.
The 69-degree head angle means the front wheel wanders off-line less at lower speeds or on climbs, and the low weight and stiff alloy chainstays mean undiluted power transfer from the oversized press-fit bottom bracket. The result is a really well balanced, capable and very likeable bike that just lets you get on with your riding without demanding any particular treatment or tricks to get the best from it. The fact that it’s light and well equipped for the price puts it right up in the ‘recommended’ rankings.
Frame & equipment:Impressively stiff carbon mainframe; supernatural value
Ghost’s appeal to materialists starts with the frame material itself. It’s not the only carbon-framed option at this price (Scott’s Spark 35 is £100 less) but it’s still impressive to find a composite mainframe for less than £3,000. It’s a neat piece too, with tapered head tube sitting at the front of a big conjoined down tube, top tube box. It’s sloped enough for decent standover, with a bracing strut for the extended seat tube.
The press-fit bottom bracket adds stiffness and larger axle compatibility to the transmission. Routing the cables along the underside of the down tube also provides some protection from rocks flung up from the front wheel. The asymmetric alloy back end gets easy adjust post mount brakes and the shock is driven with a scooped rocker arm. There’s a yellow highlighted option too, if the black and grey is too subdued.
The Shimano Deore XT transmission is a full 3x10 triple chainset DynaSys setup for tackling any trail gradient or grovelling up the last climb of a long day. Operation is silky smooth thanks to full outer cable routing, matching chain and cassette too. The XT brakes are powerful and predictable anchors that are rapidly becoming favourites.
XT hubs extend Japanese quality to the centre of the wheels and potentially last several times longer than cartridge bearing units if you take the time to service and tune them up. Decent quality Alex rims are wrapped in top spec Schwalbe Nobby Nic all-rounder rubber. Ghost finishing kit includes a carbon bar and seatpost, which is impressive for the price and helps towards a low complete weight of 11.97kg/26.4lb, without pedals.