been looking for a new full suspension trail bike. Thought about a Yeti or a Kona, but then was introduced to GHOST. I understand the implication of the phrase “ghost bike”, but I still thought this brand would be worth looking into. Germans engineer amazing cars, thought maybe it would carry over to bikes? Any reviews or insight on buying a full suspension bike from REI vs. a local bike shop?
I’ve seen a lot of people kicking ass on bikes from REI and would never discount them solely on their price point or sales source. Just like anything however, they sell great and terribad bikes. Luckily, it’s usually very easy to determine in which end of the spectrum a particular bike resides by Googling.
I am looking for a full suspension bike. They have a Kato FS 7 discounted to $2200. It has a 2X11 Shimano XT component set, Shimano Deore hydraulic discs, Fox 32 FLOAT performance fork (130 mm travel) and a Fox float performance 3-Pos rear (130 mm travel). I have always been a Shimano guy, so this seemed like a good value for the $$. No dropper seat post though. I consider myself an intermediate rider who would like to do more and this seemed like the next step in that progression.
I have gone on a few test rides on Ghost bikes (while I lived in Germany) and they are very nice. I was really tempted to purchase on but I was worried about the serve on them since they were not popular in the states at the time. A few years after I come back they are getting more and more popular. Makes me almost with I purchased one.
I live in Europe (Greece) and I own a GHOST ASX 7500 of year 2014. It is a durable bike, first year Ghost changed the model to 650B.
I spent 2000€ for it on a discount price, full XT. I believe this is a similar model (geometry wise) with the KATO as ASX series was discontinued. KATO is better designed though, so it is slightly lighter.
I wanted it as a trail bike, also capable in the climbs for my Epic rides (60+ Km in trails, 1000m ++ ascents in dirt road and trails, etc) with some potential for some aggressive technical descents assuming I would improved over the time, since I could afford only one bike.
I made a lot of modification gradually and today I am fairly pleased with it. e.g. 3x to 2x (don’t want to go 1x yet), new wider & lighter rims with Hopes (I laced myself) , dropper (not originally included!!!) , shorter stem wider -carbon- handlebar (that should have been provided, not the 700mm wide that came with, but at that time…).
The problem with this bike was clearly the 32 series FOX fork it comes with. FOX32 sucks! Every year I hear FOX engineers have redesigned it and improved it but then I hear again the same old inadequacies about them (32 series). It is not any good for anything else than XC I believe. It was not just about the small travel (130mm) in my bike, that I can live with. It is just not as stiff as I would like it (also is QR) and most importantly the poor performance of the fork specially on the small bumps, rock, roots, etc. After I got improved and rode more technical trails the fork was clearly the weakest link … So that is the last component I replaced and now I have totally different bike.
Punchline. Go for a bike with the geometry characteristics that you need (test ride it if you can too) , and for me the most critical component to pay attention is the fork (also the most expensive one to replace). ABout the frame, as long as it has no known issues (as a few brands that I know) will be fine. Ghost is an OK brand so if you can find a model that suits your riding style with a competitive price go for it. I d expect that any after-sales support / warranty issue that could occur should be OK in the US too. Luckily (or not) we live in a globalized world with internet to support us.