November 13, 2016
Ghost AMR 2975/2014
1. more XT!
2. more momentum from 29"
3. better positioning seats me 'inside', rather than on, the bike.
4. dual sus allows me to push my limits harder.
5. cheap price, almost new
6. got rid of extra front gear to save weight. never needed it on my Siskiu anyway.
1. Very worn rapid rob tires. new ones can be bought
2. rear Deore mech and wonky chain slipping. this can be tuned and fixed
3. shifting is...more solid? is this a bad thing? but that's just my preference
4. shifting doesn't catch sometimes. this can be fixed
5. heavier weight. tho that's mostly the lazy me complaining.
I first seriously considered upgrading when I realised it would be cheaper and more economical to buy a 2nd hand dual sus. My choice of trails were getting more demanding, and while I could get speed with my Polygon Siskiu 7 on the downs and flats, stability was only assured on flats. That isn't to say my Siskiu hasn't been a good hardtail teacher. I learned to scan and pick my lines, not blur through them. how to commit to a line, crash or not. Many a crash came from picking bad lines.
But I hit my limit. My dh lines were getting more technical, and I wanted to go faster. My 27.5" bike on drops felt flimsy. The rear mech was bouncing around on even simple drops.
Enter the Ghost. After a few weeks of searching, narrowing down options on bicyclebuysell.com, I found an almost new, highly rated 2014 dually. The owner had never taken it on jamborees, or trails, for that matter. He has another Scott and apparently is more XC oriented. After a few bouts of haggling later, I became it's new owner for less than half its original price! Finding a good buyer for my Siskiu really helped finances too.
Specs (where it matters)
1. XT EVERYTHING. even hubs. except the rear mech. For some reason there was a problem with shifting and the previous owner replaced it with a brand new Deore. oh well. He probably cannibalized it for his Scott. at this price i'm not complaining.
2. XT shifters are more solid, giving a solid CLICK when i shift. I find I have to be more deliberate with my shifting. I actually prefer the speedier, if flimsier Deore shifters.
3. XT brakes are more precise.
4. The mech is 2 X 11 speed.
5. 29" X 2.2 rapid rob tires, which are quite worn. I think the previous owner did a lot of road on these...With an increase to wheel size come a whole list of pros and cons, which will be explained below.
6. At least 2 kg heavier than my Siskiu 7. It is a dually after all...
7. It's LIME NEON GREEN. i don't like the colour scheme because its not aggressive enough. My friend who likes it says it gives off a sci-fi vibe. I don't want sci-fi. I want industrial.
8. A through axle front end! =)
9. It is SPOTLESS. except for a scratch on the remote lockout for front fork, which is a weird place for a scratch.
Day 1 Test: Bukit Dinding.
In retrospect I should have picked an easier trail. But i was overconfident with my new bike and was thinking "New bike, new trail! how hard can it be?" very hard apparently.
First thing I notice is how well this thing climbs. Getting rid of the third gear on a 2 X 11 really cuts the weight, and for its weight, this bike felt as easy to climb as my hardtail...
...until the extra 2 kgs sink in. climbing up bukit dinding (my first time!) probably didn't help either. I took a long scenic walk up. Tip: Always bring mosquito repellent!
Once up and rolling down, Bukit Dinding reminded me of just how unskilled I was. The trail was slick from two days rain. my rapid robs were quite worn when I got them, and I stupidly left them at full pressure for some reason. My shoes couldn't even grip the trail! After taking a few crashes I decided (wisely) to ride the gravel down and leave the trail for a more skilled me, or at least a dryer day.
But that's not all! on the way down on slick mossy gravel and tar, my already worn tires couldn't get any grip, resulting in the very first time my back wheel slid sideways and nearly crashed into a motorcycle. I read reviews and its a fact that rapid robs are good...till they wear down. That incident still haunts me. I keep thinking my car brakes will be next to let me down for some reason.
Basically, extra weight worn tires slick path faster DH = recipe for disaster. The bigger brakes certainly helped the wheels to stop. but the bike just kept going. scary. I'm considering getting new tires.
Day 2 Test: Bukit Kiara
A bit wary from yesterday, I made sure to go after 1pm when conditions are driest, and reduce pressure in the rear tire, just in case.
Climbing up Kiara was faster on a 29"! but I started feeling the strain 25% sooner cos of the extra weight and rolling resistance. Chalk it up to my lack of stamina. Something to work on =)
I had more confidence hitting Kiara's trails on a dual sus. I didn't even bother with knee guards, something I would do on steep sections. I was faster on all trails and descends, and did not crash once. Being faster saved energy - I even pushed myself to go on new loops because I was not tired.
Also, I didn't notice it on my Siskiu 7, but rider positioning on the Ghost is much more suitable for trails. It's not built for speed - it's built for stability with lower center of gravity
The rapid robs held up fine this time, but I have to wonder at their performance in wet conditions. 29" didn't really seem as much of a problem in twisty tracks as I thought, it actually helped maintain momentum over stones and roots.
Also, my front mech sometimes slips and doesn't change as trouble free as I though. I also read that Deore rear mechs are less durable and doesn't maintain chain tension as well as XT..I may need to send it to the shop for tuning.
They say when you get a bike it should match your riding style in two years, instead of getting one that suits you now. The Ghost AMR 2975 certainly feels like that sort of bike. It's not as playful or simple as my Siskiu 7, and I feel like I have some way to go before I learn how to shift, brake, and steer properly. I look forward to my time with it and becoming a better rider =)