The Miss ASX is Ghost's new 650b-equipped, women specific trail bike. While it may not naturally lend itself to all-out speed, the Fox and Shimano Deore specced ride is a boisterous delight in most situations.
Ride and handling: playful yet planted
It was a pleasure to glide down rocky descents on the Miss. The 130mm travel front and back and playtime geometry lapped such terrain up.
The 650b hoops complement the ride perfectly – beautifully responsive in the twistiest singletrack, but with extra grip on tricky climbs.
The 130mm Fox fork and rear shock lap up rocky terrain
The bike feels nicely planted on rocky stuff too. That said, we found the Schwalbe Rocket Ron treads lost their way on looser sections, and we felt fairly jittery in the sections of rocky trail still caked in wintery slime. Granted, the Rons are good budget performers, but you might want to switch them to improve performance on dry, hard packed trails.
The four-bar rear suspension gives good grip and support, though there are no stiffness and security improving thru-axles at either end. The extra circumference of the wheels is enough to make mincemeat of awkward rocks and drops. Cornering doesn’t feel clunky either – it’s stable and supportive without any jarring, allowing for a smooth entry and exit.
Frame and equipment: built for versatility with room for some upgrading
The Miss’s shortish top tube length does mean that you pedal in a rather upright position. For descending, this gives playful flickability, although it perhaps comes at the cost of flat-out stability on steeper or looser terrain. It’s not the speediest climber either.
When you do want to slow down, the Miss delivers thanks to the Deore brakes, which have excellent stopping power. If you're a lighter rider, though, it's worth noting that this comes at the expense of modulation – the 180mm rotors can feel grabby and a touch excessive once you're out out of Alpine-descent territory.
Big brake rotors mean a light touch is needed
The Miss’s 13kg weight is acceptable for a bike with this travel and price but, as mentioned above, climbing verve is definitely muted – especially when compared with a similarly priced hardtail. Its weight is contained mostly in the Ryde Taurus rims and Ghost finishing kit, so consider upgrading those first.
With 130mm travel, flat out cross country enthusiasts might find themselves craving a remote lockout, but Fox's CTD damping equipped shocks are otherwise excellent performers.
Finally, it's worth mentioning the paint job. It may not be pink, but the seemingly compulsory combination of pastels and white on women-specific bikes still divides opinion.
Beyond that skin-deep niggle though, provided you're not all-out gravity thrashing the Miss should prove a hell of a source of fun on your way to trail-conquering glory.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.