Back Issue | Ghost Riot LT 8 LC Review
Understatement is over: the GHOST RIOT LT 8 LC really stands out! That’s mostly down to the luminous green colour and the futuristic angular frame form, but hidden below the striking colour are some exciting surprises….
Hidden beneath the layer of carbon fibre lies the true heart of the GHOST RIOT. It’s the small, patented RIOT-link rocker arm that sits above the bottom bracket. Not only does it contribute to the name of the bike, but it also defines the ride characteristics. This linkage allows GHOST to influence the spring rate curve of the rear suspension so that it works efficiently, actively, and without bottoming out. The third phase of travel is controlled by the RIOT-link: operating in the last 20% of the travel it noticeably increases the progression, effectively preventing bottoming out.
The GHOST RIOT already impressed us during last year’s Design & Innovation Award, and for 2015 Ghost has added an additional LT (long travel) version into the range. This has the same 130mm frame, but is fitted with a longer stroke 150mm fork. The suspension on our test bike was comprised of a Fox 34 Float Performance fork and a Cane Creek Double Barrel Inline shock.
The second you climb onto the GHOST, the long front centre (reach 450mm/size L) is immediately noticeable; combined with a long 70mm stem, this results in an aggressive, stretched-out position. With the reliable Shimano XT 2×10 drivetrain, an acceptably steep seat tube angle (in spite of the longer fork), and a drivetrain-neutral rear suspension, epic rides become a lot less daunting.
When putting power down out of the saddle the RIOT stays calm, and we found that the switchable Climb function on the rear shock and the travel adjustment of the fork were not required during our test.
However, we wanted to see how the bike performed downhill – we didn’t choose the LT version for nothing!
Here the GHOST also impresses. Even though the fork has 20 mm more travel than the rear end, the suspension can best be described as very harmonious. The rear suspension is plush and never uses more travel than is necessary. The additional end-progression produced by the RIOT-link effectively eliminates all bottoming out. Aggressive riders will be especially happy with this, as it ensures additional suspension reserves are always available.
Once the correct set-up of the Double Barrel Inline shock is found, it provides a very smooth ride feeling and absorbs every impact. Whatever the terrain, the GHOST can take on anything.
The slacker geometry compared to the ‘normal’ RIOT (created by the longer fork) gives a good compromise between agility and stability. The bike precisely translates rapid line changes without feeling nervous at high speeds. On steep alpine trails the higher front end gives greater confidence, but this also means that on flatter terrain a more active riding style is required in order to get sufficient weight over the front wheel.
To get the full potential from the bike we’d recommend making a few spec changes. Our test riders criticised the overly long and narrow cockpit (70mm stem/740mm wide bars) and skinny
Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.25 tyres. On the other hand, the Kind Shock LEV Integra seatpost with 125 mm stroke and the solid Race Face Turbine wheels impressed us all.
GHOST’s plan to implant a longer travel fork in the well-known RIOT model works surprisingly well; the LT version impresses with even more downhill fun whilst retaining the same uphill performance. By swapping a few parts, the performance could be increased even further. The RIOT LT certainly has the potential to become the perfect do-it-all bike.
More information on www.ghost-bikes.com
Words & Pictures: Christoph Bayer