£3,499.99 Ghost en­ter the bike park/freeride ring

Mountain Biking UK - - FIRST RIDES -

With its 165mm of rear travel, you might ex­pect this bike to be aimed at the en­duro crowd, but the ‘FR’ tag and coil-sprung rear shock mark the Ghost out as a di er­ent kind of beast, de­signed for hit­ting up bike parks and other grav­ity-fed fun.

The frame The FR AMR’s alu­minium frame helps keeps the price down and uses the same proven four-bar sus­pen­sion plat­form as the rest of Ghost’s range. Our large test bike had a healthy 466mm reach, a short 460mm seat tube and sta­bil­i­typro­vid­ing 440mm chain­stays. The slack 64.5-de­gree head an­gle should breed down­hill con­fi­dence, while the steep 76-de­gree e ec­tive seat an­gle aids climb­ing, if and when you need to winch your­self back up the hills.

The kit Ghost have specced a Fox DHX2 shock out back. While a coil-sprung damper has po­ten­tial per­for­mance ben­e­fits over an air shock for grav­ity rid­ing, in­clud­ing a sup­pler start to the stroke, get­ting the cor­rect spring rate can add ad­di­tional cost if you need to buy a di er­ent weight spring. Up front is a 170mm Fox 36 Per­for­mance Elite fork, with the new ‘GRIP2’ damper.

A 12-speed SRAM GX Ea­gle trans­mis­sion gives you enough gears to ease back up the hills. Magura sup­ply the stop­ping power, in the form of their MT Fifty4 brake­set, which mixes a four-pot front cal­liper with a two-pot rear. DT Swiss M 1900 wheels are shod with Maxxis Min­ion DHF and DHR tyres. The bar and stem are from Ghost’s Ground Fifty­one in-house brand. At 15kg all in, it’s in the right ball­park for a long-travel freeride bike.

The ride Jump­ing onto the FR AMR, it’s easy to feel set­tled. When you’re in the sad­dle, the stubby 35mm stem and rel­a­tively steep seat an­gle en­sure you don’t feel too stretched out. The lat­ter also lets you climb in com­fort. Even with a coil shock, we never strug­gled on the as­cents, thanks to the ge­om­e­try and 10-50t cas­sette.

The slack head an­gle and long chain­stays give the bike great sta­bil­ity over rough ground and in fast turns. In cer­tain sit­u­a­tions we strug­gled with un­der­steer, and we also found it lacked agility com­pared to some bikes with shorter rear ends, which made it more chal­leng­ing to drop quickly into tight berms or flick around awk­ward sec­tions of trail. That said, the ge­om­e­try pro­motes a cen­tred rid­ing po­si­tion, and there isn’t a vast deal of rider move­ment needed to find grip, which the triple-com­pound Maxxis tyres are happy to pro­vide.

Good frame sti ness meant we were able to ac­cu­rately hold any line we chose through rough or o -cam­ber ter­rain, and never no­ticed any un­wanted flex when push­ing hard into berms. The rear sus­pen­sion soaked up big hits well too, but it felt like we were be­tween spring rates, which meant the DHX2 shock wasn’t quite as sen­si­tive over small bumps as we’d have liked.

The GRIP2-damped fork gives am­ple sup­port up front and bal­ances out the bike, with­out any no­tice­able dive, even with the longer chain­stays putting more weight over the front wheel. While the Ghost gets on qui­etly with its job and does it well, it’s lack­ing that ex­tra bit of char­ac­ter needed to set it apart from its ri­vals. LUKE MAR­SHALL­

The Fox DHX2 coil shock in­di­cates the FR AMR’s grav­ity/park in­ten­tions

Up­dated ge­om­e­try, a sti er frame and de­cent parts – there’s a lot to like about the Ghost

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