Welcome to America

GHOST is a German bike brand that has been around for over 20 year and is well known in other parts of the world, but is not so well known in the US because their bikes have not been available here until now. Starting this month, GHOST is coming to America and outdoor retailer REI is the exclusive US distributor.

"Partnering with GHOST brand bicycles allows us to offer a premium, high-performance, award winning bicycle brand with full distribution across the United States," says Mike Cannon, REI merchandising manager for cycle. "We are impressed with the level of detail, smart design and engineering GHOST brand bicycles bring to the industry. The line will also help round-out our bike assortment so REI can better support all levels of cycling."

It will be interesting to see how the GHOST bikes are received and how they fit in to REI's current bike offerings that include Scott, Diamondback, Cannondale and their more recreational-oriented "house" brand Novara. Bikes are scheduled to be showing up in REI stores now and starting in February, GHOST bikes will be available via REI.com and they can be shipped anywhere in the US.

For more information about Ghost, watch this video giving some of their history and an inside look at the company:


Riot 9 LC: XTR group with Easton Haven wheels
Riot 5 LC: SLX/XT group with Shimano Deore hubs and Alex rims

GHOST also makes a long travel version of the Riot with 150mm front forks, but still with 130mm of rear travel. The Riot LT series also has 3 models (Riot LT 10 LC, Riot LT 8 LC, Riot LT 6 LC).

First impressions

Mtbr has a 130mm travel GHOST Riot 7 LC in our hands for testing. It is a nice looking bike and the carbon work is nice and refined (full carbon frame and rear swingarm). The bike features internal cable routing which is always a nice touch. We were having issues with one of the cable guides popping out of the frame, but as the cables build some pliability, the cable guide/frame inserts have been behaving better. Our Riot features Fox suspension, a Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes and rolls on Easton Vice 27.5" wheels. The bike came set up with tubes, but we will be switching to tubeless soon. Our test bike came with Schwalbe Hans Dampfs (my personal favorite tire) but the spec sheet says it is supposed to come with Nobby Nics. We will check with our GHOST contact and verify which tires will come on consumer bikes. The Rock Shox Reverb Stealth is another staff favorite and works awesome. The least liked part on the bike so far, is the Selle Italia X1 saddle that is a bit hard and flat.

GHOST calls it their RIOT-link and they use the terminology "full floating rear shock."

GHOST calls it their RIOT-link and they use the terminology "full floating rear shock."​

The GHOST Riot 7 LC suspension design is a modified four-bar linkage style. We expect many more European brands to start coming to the US, now that Specialized's 20 year patent on the design has expired. The design is "modified" because it also features a bottom linkage so the rear shock is compressed in both directions (GHOST calls it their RIOT-link and they use the terminology "full floating rear shock"). In our initial rides, we have been unable to detect any discernible difference in how the suspension action feels, compared with other similar designs. The rear linkage is supposed to help fight bottoming out, so we will have to give the bike a proper thrashing and report back.

Another interesting feature is the "disconnect brake mount" that mounts the rear caliper directly onto the X12 axle. GHOST claims that this decreases weight and removes stress from the rear triangle (it also means one less screw thread in the frame). We have also been unable to detect any improvements in the ride quality due to the brake mount position, but it looks cool.

Features, spec, pricing highlights

  • Frame: Riot 27.5 UHM/HM Carbon
  • Fork: FOX 32 Float FIT Performance CTD 130 mm 15 mm thru-axle
  • Shock: FOX Float CTD BV LV 130 mm
  • Chain: Shimano XT 38-24
  • Brake/Shift Levers: Shimano XT SL
  • Front Derailleur: Shimano XT
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT Plus 10-Speed
  • Cassette: Shimano XT 11-36
  • Rims: Easton Vice Wheelset
  • Front Hub: Easton Vice Wheelset 15 mm
  • Rear Hub: Easton Vice Wheelset 12 mm
  • Tires: Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.25(test bike has Hans Dampfs)
  • Front Brake: Shimano XT Disc 180 mm SM-RT76
  • Rear Brake: Shimano XT Disc 180 mm SM-RT76
  • Handlebars: GHOST Low Rizer super light 720 mm 31.8 mm
  • Stem: GHOST AS-GH3 31.8 mm
  • Saddle: Selle Italia X1
  • Seatpost: Rock Shox Reverb Stealth 31.6 mm Travel 100 mm (XS) 125 mm (S-XL)
  • Sizes: XS, SM, MD, LG, XL
  • Color: Black-Green-Grey
  • MSRP: $5699

Real world weight is 26.87 lbs but this is with tubes in the tires. It comes ready to switch to tubeless very easily.

UPDATE: US pricing has now been set at $5699 which is comparable to purchasing the bike from an overseas online retailer. REI is also selling three lower cost aluminum GHOST models called the "Kato" (great name) that offers 130mm of travel with a simplified rear suspension design. They are also currently showing a women's specific hardtail. We will have a full review on the GHOST Riot 7 LC in a few weeks.

From the manufacturer

"ONE BIKE. ALL THE MOUNTAIN! We designed our multiple award-winning RIOT 9 with one goal in mind: taking you anywhere you want to go.The enormous potential of our patent-pending RIOT-Link offers perfectly efficient propulsion and optimum control on both high-speed sections and gnarly trails. In addition to the RIOT-Link, other features include the unique new disconnect brake mount, internal cable routing, carbon protectors at key locations and an innovative new X12 thru-axle mount. Expect RIOT!"

For more information visit www.ghost-bikes.com