It was only by the end of 2015 that Ghost Bikes announced to stop all activities around downhill racing after some very successful years with Marcus Klausmann, Johannes Fischbach and the RRP team. Ghost decided to invest their resources in enduro racing; new bikes and a new team. We’ve spent a few days with Ghost to learn more about their new brand philosophy.
The 2016 program of Ghost offers two different enduro bikes, which seems a bit confusing on first sight. The FR AMR and the PathRIOT, both offering a similar amount of travel, both with one-by drivetrains and all the components you`d expect on a modern enduro bike.
Once you start looking at the details of the bikes, the difference becomes clear. The PathRIOT features the complicated Riot-Link suspension, the FR AMR a standard four-bar-link suspension design. The PathRIOT`s suspension is linked with lightweight bushings, the FR AMR has reliable ball bearings. The specs and geometries make all the little differences to expect that the FR AMR is a day-to-day bike and the PathRIOT a pure race machine. We’ve already reviewed the PathRIOT in our dream bike feature, now it was time to see how it performed on the race track.
So yes, the Ghost PathRIOT is meant to be a pure race machine, the Riot-link suspension is complicated but promises control even in the toughest situations. The bushings are said to wear out quick, two to three new sets should be in your tool box during a full season of racing, but it makes for a very light and compact frame design. The front-end of the bike is very high and should, in theory demand a very active style of riding. As how it`s always with theory; it`s just theory and so many variables on a bike make that reality can be a lot different. Ghost offers the PathRiot in small, medium and large, only in full carbon fibre and only in two very high-end specifications.
Racing the Ghost PathRIOT
Madeira, the island of eternal spring was our playground to test the PathRIOT over a time of four full days. The weather changed all the time and so did the trails, Madeira offers so many different trails; rocky, slippery, fast, loose, berms and jumps are all there. John, the founder and owner of Freeride Madeira Islands showed us around and made sure we could ride the PathRIOT on all the different trails.
The first impression of the bike was definitely the weight, it`s seriously light, especially considering the coil shock. Then the high front-end; it takes a couple of rides to get used to the high front-end. Weight balance on a bike is super important to give the right amount of pressure on both wheels and the high handlebars make that a little tricky. On the trails it means it’s easy to lose traction with the front wheel. Once you’re on it and you give that active pressure on the front it feels like a pinner.
On the second day of riding things got serious, a numberplate and transceivers made clear that also we were about to race. Ok, yes the race was just a fun race, but when the clock is running it feels a little more serious. The stages were short but very demanding and the PathRIOT needed to be ridden hard. Every time I would be a little of the full 100% of concentration and commitment, the bike would punish me, it needs it all and isn’t forgiving. The front-end feels very stiff and this adds to the need of active pressure coming from the handlebars. As soon as you’re off pace, it’s easy to wash away and let gravity win.
So how did it feel? Excellent acceleration, very good suspension performance and super precise handling, but at the same time unforgiving. If there was one thing that felt a bit out of the concept, it was the length of the bike and the chainstays. I`m 1.82m and rode a large, the biggest bike with a reach of only 460mm. 460 isn’t short, but for a race bike it could be more to simply provide some more stability. This also got confirmed by the fact that team rider Franzi Meyer changed from a medium to a size large, being 1,75m tall.
The chainstays are 425mm long and make the bike very manoeuvrable, but at the same time they make it hard to get pressure on the front wheel. The longer the chainstays are, the more weight moves from the rear wheel to the front wheel, so the short chainstays with the high front-end definitely made it hard to keep the front wheel on the ground. The PathRIOT is a bike to get used to, not one to ride only once every two weeks and to my taste it`s a bike that needs an XL brother, or even an XXL brother. Considering it’s meant to be a race bike, the current Large could be called a Medium and would fit a 1,75m racer very well.
Final Thoughts on the Ghost PathRIOT
Yes it`s a bike for those who want to train, compete and be as fast as they can. The Ghost PathRIOT needs to be ridden hard with a very active riding style, doesn’t forgive when you’re off pace and can be a real rocket. Racing means performance at the cost of durability and if you’re in for the PathRIOT you´d need to work on bushings of the bike as well as your fitness. The lack of a bigger frame-size limits the taller riders, but the overall package of the Ghost PathRIOT convinces as a real race machine.
For more information head to our review of the Ghost PathRIOT LC 10 or to the Ghost bikes website
Words: Ruben Torenbeek Photos: Ghost Bikes
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