We’ve reviewed a few Ghosts over the years and, looking back at those reviews, have to say that we were always suitably impressed. But those were 26-inch dual suss bikes and a couple of 29er hardtails; what’s the German brand’s ability to deliver a decent 29er dual susser?
– Photos: Dino Lloyd
Very few people dislike Satin Silver, a neutral, yet classy colour, which, along with some grey, coats the AMR 2955’s butted aluminium frame. Actually, the tube shaping on this bike is pretty impressive, almost arty. The relaxed headtube (69.5 degrees) is quite noticeable in it’s backward tilt, while the usual Ghost strength-over-lightness traits are evident, including a gusset between seattube and toptube, a reinforcement plate between the downtube and headtube and a 180mm brake disc rotor upfront. The relatively short chainstays (440mm) are possible through the low-down curving of the seattube. With both axles using through-axle design and a tapered headtube, you sense a reassuring stiffness and stability even before turning a pedal. Unusually, the suspension is a Rock Shox/Fox mix, which sees a Rock Shox Reba RL Solo Air upfront with 100mm of travel and PopLoc remote lockout and a Fox Float CTD adjust 100mm-travel shock at the back. The wheelset sees Alex rims mated to Shimano SLX hubs via DT Swiss spokes and the tyres are, not surprisingly, from Schwalbe, in this case, Rocket Ron. The groupset is a Shimano SLX/XT blend, while the bars, steam and seatpost are all Ghost’s in-house accessory range.
After our first couple of rides, the rear Rocket Ron tyre developed a severe warp, which mystified us. We put it down to a tyre manufacturing defect and swapped it with a WTB Nano. And that really is where our problems ended. And that wasn’t even a Ghost problem. Speaking of the Ghost, It only has 110mm up front and 100mm at the rear, but the AMR 2955 behaved as well as a 130mm-travel trail bike as it did as a marathon-course performer. The suspension is configured to deliver a fairly linear feel through the stroke, so the AMR2955 uses a high proportion of the available travel a lot of the time – and actually feels less like a short travel bike.
It truly impressed us with it’s ability to tackle big hits and steep, fast descents but also be a comfortable cruiser on long flats or up steady ascents, terrain it’s most likely to be faced with in South African marathons and stage races. It also takes a 31.6mm diameter seatpost, which means a dropper-post upgrade is a real option, which is useful considering its impressive versatility. Shifting was flawless and braking was good, but not superb even with the 180mm diameter rotor upfront. The AMR 2955 was confident through corners and never really felt that fast. But looking at some of our regular Strava segments, its speed and agility was simply disguised by its comfortable feel.
Ghost took a while to dip a toe into the 29-inch wheel size pond. But if the impressive performances of the AMR 2955 are anything to go by, it seems they have dived right in with a sense of purpose and authority. It’s not a mainstream brand in South Africa, but Ghost has now consistently impressed us with every single one of their models we’ve tested over the past three years. That kind of consistency should be respected and noted.
SIZES: XS, S; M; L, XL
TOPTUBE LENGTH: 610mm
SEATTUBE LENGTH: 480mm
HEADTUBE ANGLE: 69.5 degrees
SEATTUBE ANGLE: 74 degrees
CHAINSTAY LENGTH: 440mm
PRICE: R23 999
COLOUR: Satin Silver with grey accents
FRAME: AMR 29 Actinum DB SCL butted aluminium
WEIGHT: 13.52kg without pedals
FORK: Rock Shox Reba 29 RL Solo Air with 110mm travel, PopLoc remote lockout and tapered 15mm through-axle
REAR SHOCK: FOX Float 100mm travel and CTD adjust
SHIFTERS: Shimano Deore 10-speed
FRONT DERAILLEUR: Shimano SLX
REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano XT
CRANKSET: Shimano FCM 552 42/32/24
BRAKESET: Shimano 596 hydraulic disc with 180mm rotor (front), 160mm rotor (rear)
WHEELS: Alex FD19 rims, DT Swiss spokes and Shimano SLX hubs
TYRES: Schwalbe Rocket Ron 29 x 2.25
OTHERS: GHOST Flat light 700mm riser bars, GHOST SL SP 717 seatpost and Selle Royal Seta saddle
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 27, 2014 – All rights reserved