Ghost are the latest in a wave of German bike brands to reach UK shores, following in the footsteps of the likes of Focus, Cube, Univega and Rose.
Like those companies, their bikes appear to combine reassuring Teutonic attention to detail – for example, chainstay as well as top tube length increases as you go up the sizing range to ensure the bike remains well balanced – and stringent testing with excellent value for money, and we think they look pretty good to boot.
Ghost may not be well known in Britain or the US, but they’ve been going since 1993 and now produce 70,000 bikes a year. Their race team includes Olympic cross-country champion Sabine Spitz and top German downhiller Guido Tschugg.
We threw a leg over two of their alloy cross-country bikes, the RT Actinum 7500 full-susser and HTX Actinum 7500 hardtail, at their 2010 launch in Glentress, Scotland.
With snow covering the ground and breathtaking views round every corner to distract us, it was hard to get a good idea of their performance. But we were impressed, with both machines proving taut and responsive on the uphills, and lively and controlled on the descents.
Look out for full reviews of several Ghost models in Mountain Biking UK, What Mountain Bike and on BikeRadar once we’ve had time to test them fully. For now, here are some highlights from the Bavarian company’s range.
All-new for 2010, the AMR 120mm-travel platform comes in similar-looking carbon (in which case it carries the suffix ‘Lector’) and hydroformed alloy versions.
The four-bar linkage rear end is based around a 1:2.05 shock ratio, which Ghost say makes the suspension easier to tune. Needle bearings help give a plush feel. Other features include a tapered head tube and press-fit bottom bracket.
The top-of-the-range AMR Lector 9500 comes with Shimano XTR, a Fox 32 FIT RLC fork and Float RP23 shock, for £4,199.99. Claimed weight is 10.9kg (24lb).
At the other end of the scale, the aluminium AMR 5700 comes with SRAM X-9, Avid Elixir 5 brakes, a Fox 32F RL fork and X-Fusion 02 PVA shock for £1,699.99. Claimed weight is 12.7kg (28lb).
The 7500 pictured here has a Fox 32 FIT RL fork and RP23 Boost Valve shock, plus Shimano XT gearing and braking kit for £2,199.99. Claimed weight is 12.4kg (27.3lb).
Also available is the cheaper ASX (£1,799.99-£949.99), based on last year’s AMR frame, and the 150mm-travel AMR Plus, pictured below (£3,799.99-£2,199.99), which is unchanged for this year but set for a revamp in 2011.
The RT is Ghost’s 100mm-travel cross-country/marathon bike, and it was perfectly suited to the rock-hard powder-coated trails at Glentress – light and efficient on the climbs, with enough bounce to take out the sting on the descents. We had issues with the (normally excellent) RockShox Reba fork on our test sample but that failed to mask the bike’s excellent performance.
Prices range from £5,699.99 for the top-end carbon Lector Pro Team with Magura Durin Race fork, DT XR Carbon shock, Magura Marta SL brakes and SRAM XX shifting gear (9.7kg/21.4lb) to £1,599.99 for the alloy Actinum 5700 with RockShox Reba SL fork and X-Fusion 02 PVA fork, Avid Elixir 5 brakes and Shimano XT.
The Actinum 7500 we rode comes in at £2,099.99 with RockShox Reba SL Air fork and Fox Float RP23 Boost Valve shock, plus XT braking and shifting kit. Claimed weight is 11.9kg (26.2lb).
Ghost’s top-end hardtail is the HTX, again available in carbon and alloy versions, and developed with help from Munich University (Technischen Universität München).
We had a blast on the £1,599.99 Actinum 7500, which climbed like a mountain goat thanks to its low (10.95kg/24.1lb) weight and stiff frame but felt reassuringly solid, yet not as bone-jarringly harsh as some race hardtails, on the downs.
Prices range from £5,199.99 for the top-end 8.8kg (19.4lb) HTX Lector Pro Team, with Magura Durin Race Remote RLC fork, Marta SL brakes and SRAM XX groupset, to £1,349.99 for the 11.4kg (25.1lb) HTX Actinum 5700 with RockShox Reba SL Air PopLoc fork, Avid Elixir 5 discs and Shimano XT groupset.
Ghost also offer a cheaper SE hardtail range (£1,149.99-£369.99), along with women’s (like the AMR MISS pictured below) and kids’ mountain bikes, plus road and hybrid machines. For full details, see UK importers Hotlines’ website.