If you’re in the market for an electric mountain bike, Ghost probably isn’t the first brand to spring to mind, but this understated and over-named SL AMR X S4.7+ can compete with the best.
Ghost SL AMR X S4.7+ frame
At the heart of the aluminium frame is Shimano’s STEPS E8000 motor, which is one of the smoothest and most intuitive I’ve ridden.
The external battery may look ugly, but it’s easy to remove for off-bike charging. A classic four-bar Horst link suspension design delivers 140mm of rear wheel travel, controlled by a coil shock.
Ghost SL AMR X S4.7+ kit
Ghost was among the first brands to mix wheel sizes – something that’s now the trend on many e-MTBs and enduro bikes.
The SL AMR X uses a 27.5 x 2.8in Maxxis Minion DHR II rear tyre and a 29 x 2.5in Shorty up front. Somewhat less fashionable is the Dual Position Air spring in the RockShox Lyrik fork, which lets you drop travel from 160 to 130mm at the flick of a switch.
The coil shock contributes to a smooth ride downhill. Russell Burton
SRAM’s EX1 drivetrain provides eight gears and an 11-48t range. Stopping is taken care of by Formula’s powerful Cura 4 brakes with 203mm rotors. These were tricky to set up without rubbing.
Ghost SL AMR X S4.7+ first ride impressions
The first thing that struck me about the Ghost was the handlebar height. On the XL bike I tested, the tall head tube (170mm) meant that, even with the stem in its lowest position, the grips were 112cm above the ground.
That’s high even by the standards of our tallest testers, and forced my weight back slightly on really steep ascents – although this is easily solved by lowering the dual-position fork.
More importantly, the effective seat tube angle is steep, at 76 degrees, and the suspension is supportive under power. This makes it easy to keep the front wheel weighted on the steepest gradients despite that bar height.
To get the most power on climbs, the Shimano motor demands a high cadence – something that’s trickier to get right with only eight gears. But the traction and positioning are superb for punchy technical climbs.
When descending, the coil-sprung rear-end offers good grip and support. Russell Burton
When descending, the coil-sprung rear-end offers good grip and support. The dual-position fork lacks the superb small-bump sensitivity of RockShox’ fixed-travel Lyrik with DebonAir spring, but the weighty frame helps deliver a smooth ride nonetheless.
While the 66-degree head angle is on the steep side, the low bottom bracket (335mm) and the XL size’s generous 495mm reach and 1,295mm wheelbase give it a seriously composed and stable ride through the rough.
The 460mm chainstay length isn’t the shortest, but it’s still easier to manual than some e-bikes while maintaining a good front-to-rear weight balance.
The smaller rear wheel means there’s more room to move off the back of the bike when negotiating steep terrain – something shorter riders are more likely to appreciate.
With the 2.8in rear tyre gripping well in loose terrain and the 2.5in front tyre being better suited to muddy conditions, they’re not always well-matched. Fitting bigger rubber up front made the grip that bit more predictable.
The only fly in the ointment is the handlebar, which has a high rise (35mm) and is too swept-back, making it harder to weight the front in some situations. But, of course, this is easily swapped out.