Ghost Riot LT 8 LC - first ride review£4,100.00

Lightweight yet boisterous trail all-rounder

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Ghost’s carbon-framed Riot hinted at aggressive trail riding potential when we tested it last year, and this Long Travel version is a recipe for real Rioting if you take the time to tune it right.

Frame and equipment: light, strong and reliably kitted

A massive multifaceted down tube links the chunky head tube to the BB ‘basket’ that holds the lower Riot linkage. The rear brake bolts to a separate plate that sits on the 142x12mm rear axle, just behind the chainstay pivots. Weight is impressively low, yet there’s only a hint of flex when cornering at full gas.

The chunky carbon frame is headed up by a multi-faceted head tube with neat internal routing:
The chunky carbon frame is headed up by a multi-faceted head tube with neat internal routing:

The chunky carbon frame is headed up by a multi-faceted head tube with neat internal routing

The Riot LT gets a 150mm (5.9in) travel Fox 34 TALAS fork – droppable to 120mm/4.7in for the climbs – in place of the 130mm (5.1in) Fox 32 Float of the standard bike, plus a short stem, 740mm bar and dropper post. The 130mm of rear travel is unchanged and is handled by a Cane Creek DBInline shock. Shimano’s dependable XT provides the stop and go kit. Race Face Turbine wheels put a broad footing under trustworthy Schwalbe Hans Dampf rubber, and both will go tubeless easily.

Ride and handling: a versatile long-travel convert

While some long-travel conversions on lightweight frames fail to be convincing, the Riot’s solid front end makes it a good fit for a bigger fork. The Performance spec Fox 34 does OK too – it’s a bit linear under braking/cornering loads but consistently damped and stiff enough to stay controlled when the trails get more exciting.

The Cane Creek shock changes the feel of the bike dramatically, providing a real contrast to Riots we’ve ridden with pedalling-prioritised Fox dampers. You can set this super-tunable shock up tight and efficient or make it super-plush and rely on the ‘climb’ lever and the progressive end stroke that the Riot Link creates.

Set up right, the riot lt will happily get stuck into most things you can throw at it:
Set up right, the riot lt will happily get stuck into most things you can throw at it:

Set up right, the Riot LT will cheerfully get stuck into most things you can throw at it

It’s worth spending time tweaking it, because once tuned, the Riot LT is a great all-round trail bike. While it’s not full on ‘enduro’, the handling is well balanced and it’s burly enough to put its shoulder into serious terrain when needed. Set up right, the shock amplifies back end control well beyond regular 130mm performance so you can drive the Ghost hard through trouble.

Flick the ‘climb’ lever, drop the fork and you’ve got an impressively lightweight, responsive and rapid machine for nailing serious climbs. This is a bike we’d be happy to ride whatever the terrain or distance the day had in store.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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