German bikes have a reputation for being stiff. Although a frame that’s rigid in the right places is a good thing, stiffness everywhere isn’t. On smooth roads it’ll feel superb but on coarser surfaces you’ll feel beaten up. Thankfully that’s not the case with the Ghost Lector Pro. We’ve been hugely impressed with the Bavarian machine’s ride.
The all-carbon frame and fork are beautifully put together. At just 7.5kg it’s a lightweight chassis, and makes the Lector a climber’s dream. On downs or on the flat, the solid bottom bracket shell and deep chainstays help keep power delivery smooth and free of flex, while the carbon top tube and seatstays are slim, making for a remarkably comfortable ride despite the race-specific geometry.
The fork continues the smoothness theme, offering a vibration-killing amount of fore-and-aft movement. The rigidity side to side is good rather than outstanding, though, and the occasional correction is required on descents when your weight is shifted further forward. The big story here, though, is the electronic drivetrain.
With Shimano’s flagship Dura-Ace Di2 proving itself on the professional scene – ridden to all three jersey victories in this year’s Tour de France – its more affordable cousin Ultegra Di2 has a lot to live up to. We’re glad to report that UDi2 performs every bit as well. Shifting is smooth and slick.
The close button positions take some getting used to, especially with thick winter gloves, but on a test ride on one of our favourite 80-mile loops we came within seconds of a personal best – a PB set on a lighter bike on a dry, sunny day not a damp wintry morning with intermittent rain and greasy tarmac. We put this down to how Ultegra handles shifting when normally you wouldn’t chance it.
We’ve all done it – hit a climb in the wrong gear and hold it for too long; on a standard cable setup you’d think twice about forcing a shift under that much load, knowing there’s a good chance the chain would get spat off, forcing you to stop. With Di2 we could still shift, with the motor forcing the shift and the self-adjusting mech holding the chain.
It’s also possible to run chain lines you normally wouldn’t – and shouldn’t! – like the big no-no of 50×25. On standard drives the result is chain rub, because the chain is at far too much of an angle, but the Di2 front mech either makes corrections automatically or a tap of the button lets you trim it manually.
Classy kit elsewhere includes a Ritchey WCS stem, Logic II bar and a carbon post topped with a carbon-railed saddle. The Easton Aero wheelset is tightly built and smooth rolling if a little weighty, but the excellent Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tyres help keep the Lector swift.
Even if you dismiss the incredible shifting, the Lector is still an accomplished bike. It’s not without niggles – the join on the front rim is prominent, leading to a pulsing when applying the front brake, and because the frame can take a standard drivetrain it does have a couple of plugged internal routing points which some may find a little unsightly – but that’s about all.
Shimano ultegra electronic shifting is quick and smooth: shimano ultegra electronic shifting is quick and smooth www.robertsmithphotography.co.uk
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.