Review: GHOST Riot 7 LC Trail Bike

German brand provides a unique option for buyers looking for something different.

27.5 All Mountain Trail
An all mountain/trail bike with 130mm of rear travel, 27.5″ wheels and a full carbon frame.

An all mountain/trail bike with 130mm of rear travel, 27.5″ wheels and a full carbon frame.

The Lowdown: GHOST Riot 7 LC Trail Bike

GHOST is a German bike brand that is new to the U.S. for 2015 and their bikes are sold exclusively through REI. Since our First Look article a couple of months ago, REI has expanded their GHOST offerings from 1 model to 29 models including women’s specific mountain bikes, road bikes, hardtails (with 27.5″ or 29″ wheels) and even commuters. The GHOST Riot 7 LC is an all mountain/trail bike with 130mm of rear travel, 27.5″ wheels and a full carbon frame. If you are the type of person that likes to be unique and stand out from the crowd, buying and riding a GHOST will definitely appeal to you. Besides its full carbon construction, the Riot 7 LC utilizes a very unique suspension design that delivers an active ride.

For more back story and a video profile of GHOST the company, see the First Look Feature: GHOST Riot 7 LC feature from January.

Stat Box
Intended Use: All-mountain, trail Wheel Size: 27.5-inches
Travel: 130mm rear; 130mm front Wheelset: Easton Vice
Weight: 26.87 pounds (size S, with tubes) Frame Material: UHM/HM Carbon
Drivetrain: Shimano XT MSRP: $5,699
Suspension: Fox Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 Chilis-out-of-5

In the same league: Felt Virtue 1, Cannondale Trigger Carbon 2, Santa Cruz 5010, Trek Fuel EX 9.8 27.5, Specialized Camber 29, Giant Trance Advanced 27.5 1

Pluses
Minuses
  • A unique bike from a unique brand with a unique suspension design
  • Complex suspension design can make clean-up a chore
  • Comes in 5 sizes (XS, SM, MD, LG, XL) to fit riders of all sizes
  • Desperately needs a remote lockout for the rear shock
  • Active modified four-bar suspension
  • Love it or hate it graphics (only 1 choice)
  • Nice internal cable routing
  • 1x drivetrain would be optimal
  • Solid Shimano XT component spec
  • Stock saddle too hard and flat
  • Excellent Fox suspension
  • Could stand to lose a bit of weight
  • Rock Shox Reverb Stealth included
  • Cash Back on purchase for REI Members, Free First Tune-up

Full Review: 2015 GHOST Riot 7 LC

GHOST uses what they call their RIOT-Link suspension design and it is a modified four bar linkage style. With the expiration of Specialized’s US patent on the FSR design, we expect many more foreign brands to bring their bikes to the US. Brands like Polygon and YT Industries have already started and they are using a consumer direct business model with them. GHOST has taken a different and unique route by using REI as their sole US retailer. One key point that should be mentioned before I go much further, is that although the $5699 suggested retail price might seem high, it is totally worth it join REI and become a member, in order to receive 10% back on all purchases including GHOST bikes. If you calculate the REI Member Dividend into the price, you are only paying $5130 for this bike. (Note: an REI membership costs $20.)

The GHOST Riot 7 LC provides an active suspension design that works well in soaking up the hits, both big and little. One thing to note for first time buyers is that the Riot requires a bit of suspension break-in. Pretty much ALL forks and shocks go through a break-in period, but the Riot design is particularly sensitive to this. If you base your opinion of the Riot on one ride of a brand new bike, it may not be as plush as you would like. Give it a solid 4 or 5 rides and your patience will be rewarded with the type of cush you seek. Close attention should be paid to setup as well. You will find that the Riot likes to run with 30% sag, instead of the usual 20-25%.

That said, the active suspension will bob while climbing if the shock is in full open mode. That isn’t to say that the climbing is inefficient. For tricky, rocky climbs setting the shock to “trail” and staying seated provided plenty of traction. Of course, for long, extended climbs you will want to lock the shock out. This reminds us a bit of the Scott Genius line that liked to be run with more sag than usual and benefited from a bar mounted remote lockout for the climbs.

The rear caliper directly onto the X12 axle.

The rear caliper directly onto the X12 axle.

Another unique feature of the Riot 7 LC, is that the rear brake caliper is mounted to the rear axle and not the frame. GHOST claims that this makes the frame stronger and lighter by removing the stress of the brake caliper mount from the frame. While we are unable to measure these claims, we can say that we did not feel any benefit or detriment to this mounting position. We are not sure if this is a “German” thing or not, but almost all the bolts on this bike are Torx bolts. From the linkage bolts to the cable port bolts to the water bottle cage bolts, all Torx. Not good or bad, but different. Be sure the multi-tool you carry has Torx.

Continue to page 2 for more on the GHOST Riot 7 LC and full photo gallery »

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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  • Quinn Duffy says:

    If you’re in Canada MEC has a large range of Ghost bikes.

  • bob says:

    Excellent review; can’t understand how Ghost went from great values a couple of years ago to ho hum for $6,000 now.

  • chasejj says:

    If it is only an REI product, it is a non starter.

  • gg says:

    Yankees buy this up North at MEC for $5200 + tax.
    That converts to $4700 USD !
    Please send beer for the sleuthing …

  • word says:

    Hows the 914 trail?

    • Gregg Kato says:

      914 looks a lot different these days. I remember that old trail, not too many places you get to ride through a car.

  • duzzi says:

    Good review tinted by some usual sillyness: “The 27.5″ wheels provide an excellent choice for the rider upgrading from 26″ tires”, first calling 27″ wheels 27.5, and second thinking that having 12mm more radius at the wheel is an “upgrade” even after independent tests show that 26 are faster … sigh.

  • Andrea Cesand from Italy says:

    Good article!!! Compliments. I want know my optimize size for Riot. I’m 178 cm tall.
    Wath’s my correct size of Riot cycle?

    • Gregg Kato says:

      Hello Andrea, at 178 cm tall, most likely the LG size will fit you but to be sure nothing beats sizing the bike in person, if possible.

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