Ghost Race 4900 – First ride review
Component compromises aren’t unusual on £1,000 bikes, but with a full complement of Shimano Tiagra, FSA parts and Easton wheels, Ghost’s Race 4900 appears to be bucking the trend. Add a good-looking aluminium frame into the mix and we have a potential bargain.
With its 73.5° seat and head angles – pretty standard race bike geometry – on paper the Race 4900 should be quite a racy bike. In the saddle, though, the 4900 has the relaxed, slightly upright feel of a great long-distance bike, and a longer wheelbase and chainstays make for a smooth ride – more mile-eater than speed machine.
The fork has a short rake (the amount of offset between the front axle and centre of the steerer tube) which, combined with the head angle, makes it quick to turn, and sometimes even twitchy when going slow. The flipside of this is that you only need the smallest of inputs when you’re at speed, making for a confidence inspiring ride – especially when on the drops on the comfortable Verso compact drop bar.
The Easton wheels have no model name but outwardly they seem very similar to EA30s and, at 2.86kg for the pair including tyres, cassette and skewers, they wouldn’t be out of place on a bike costing twice as much. The inclusion of a Tiagra triple chainset is good to see: we’re big fans of compact drivetrains but for the big climbs we still think the wider range and ‘get out of jail free’ 30×25 gear is a real bonus – it’ll keep you riding when others are walking.
Tiagra components have improved in leaps and bounds over the past few years, with the latest STI units identical in action to the outgoing 105 shifters. In fact the only thing that sets it apart from its more expensive 105 cousin is the single moulded non-cartridge brake pads, which lack bite and have little or no brake feel – a simple upgrade you could do in the shop.
The frame doesn’t quite hit the heights of the best aluminium ones from the likes of Cannondale or Cube, but it’s not a million miles away. And while the extra bulk shows a little on the hills, the Race 4900 offers good road buzz-killing comfort equal to its rivals, and with its lightweight wheels and FSA kit this Ghost is a real bargain.