Ghost’s new trail 29er is deliberately designed to be a smooth cruiser, but precision and power transfer losses make the ‘SLAMR’ more of a ‘SLMBR’ on the trail.
Initial impressions are good, with the classic four-bar linkage settling the RockShox Deluxe rear shock well into its plush stroke to bring the already low bottom bracket height down further.
760mm bars and a 55mm stem in a stiffness-boosting 35mm diameter also clearly communicate the tracking stiffness of the 110mm wide Boost hub and RockShox Pike RC fork.
The terrain-eating nature of the 29erwheels and 130mm of easy starting travel at either end continue the low-impact, high-traction ‘sucked down’ feel as it burbles happily and smoothly over roots and rocks. The side-swing front mech and 2x11 XT transmission mean you’re never short of a gear to spin, either.
Neat internal cable routing through the head-tube face creates one of the best shifting Shimano set-ups tested in our Trail Bike of the Year category.
Despite the extra chainring, shifter and larger wheels, the Ghost still sneaks under 13kg, so it climbs OK at tempo and you could have a relaxing day on the SL AMR if you’re in a cruising mood.
Push things a bit harder, though, and it’s not so keen. While the chainstays are symmetrical, the offset down tube/bottom bracket junction and scooped-back linkages produce a noticeable lurch to the driveside and serious wattage dilution when you stamp the pedal down.
That means it never feels as fast as a semi-slick-tyred, carbon 29er should on climbs or any other power play situation. While the front wheel can be placed accurately, the saggy back-end repeatedly feels out on off-camber corners, dragging the front off line with it.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.