Ghost's Actinum RT makes mincemeat of purpose-built trails of the "mostly smooth with occasional rocks" persuasion, and its low weight and front-end stiffness help fire it up climbs.
However, take it out into the wilds and its aggressive geometry and short-travel suspension quickly get out of their depth. That's not to say you can't ride it there, it's just that you'll find its limits earlier.
Ride and handling: Agility can turn to nervousness when things get hairy
With 100mm of travel at each end, the Ghost Actinum RT 7500 is clearly pitched at fast cross-country riding. It’s certainly not limited to the race course, though. While the riding position and geometry is on the racy side, the stem isn’t overlong and you get reasonably wide bars with a bit of rise, so you can afford to relax a bit.
The rear suspension is a straightforward four-bar design, although it’s biased towards a taut response under power rather than taking out every ripple in the trail. Running it softer to get more sensitivity just means running out of travel at the other end of the stroke – don’t try to make it what it isn’t, set it up firm. The Actinum will get over-faced on steeper, rockier trails – if that’s your thing, take a look at the longer-travel AMR models.
Frame: Gimmick-free and well put together
The Actinum falls firmly into the “simple idea done well” camp. There’s nothing unusual about the layout, but plenty of neat details. Up front there’s a tapered headtube for a 1.5/1.125in steerer, an unusual but not unwelcome feature on a cross-country oriented bike.
The large down tube is shaped at the front for increased weld area and horizontally ovalised at the bottom bracket, taking maximum advantage of the wider shell afforded by the press-fit bottom bracket setup.
The top tube is slightly concave underneath for a bit of extra cable clearance where they run over the shock, while the back end features clearance-boosting asymmetric stays.
Equipment: Complete Deore group highlights a strong spec for the money
Ghost have kitted the Actinum out with a complete Shimano Deore XT groupset (including hubs) rather than the more common mix-and-match approach. The fork is a RockShox Reba SL with bar-mounted lockout lever.
Alex rims are noteworthy for carrying Ghost graphics to complement the rest of the bike, which is a neat bit of detail even if it doesn’t contribute to performance. Tyres are Schwalbe Rocket Rons – fast rolling, but you’ll find their limits on looser ground. Ritchey supply the bar, stem and seatpost. Ghost have managed a very strong spec for the money – there’s nothing here that cries out for an early upgrade.