Ghost SL AMR X 9 LC
The Whole Package
Words by Sourpatch & Drew Rohde
Photos by T. Knight, Sourpatch, D. Yuroshek & C. Duffy
What do Decepticons and the Ghost SL AMR have in common? Aside from a menacing name, both destroy everything that crosses their path. Ghost have been making bikes for the last 24 years and have grown quite big in Germany (their home country), as well as the rest of Europe. However their name hasn’t garnered the same respect here in the States due to their lower-end bike offerings found in REI retailers. Now that certain restrictions regarding the importation of their suspension platforms have been lifted, Ghost and REI have doubled-down on their North American efforts by offering the same high quality bikes Ghost is known for in Europe. We have been riding the SL AMR for the better part of a year now and it is still stokes us out as much as it did on our first rides.
The X series SL AMR models are Ghost’s longer travel all-mountain bikes, featuring a sinister looking carbon front triangle. A FOX 36 supplying 150mm of front suspension travel works in unison with the 140mm Cane Creek DB InLine Coil shock. The frame’s geo may not stack up to the number-crunching nerds out there who value charts and theoretical performance over actual tire on the ground performance, but we found the 67-degree head angle beautifully blended snappy maneuverability and high speed stability. And that’s no bullshit. The Fox fork rides high in its travel and the aluminum 4-bar rear end had great support, which kept the bike on plane and balanced, no matter the terrain. In fact, the rowdier it gets, the better this bike rides. Shimano’s XT group makes up for most of the stop and go aspects of the bike, and does a great job of both. The rest of the build has a mix of components from Race Face to SDG and KS. All in all, the spec is well thought out and comes in at a price we find to be fairly competitive.
This bike has literally seen it all. We’ve ridden it with wreckless abandon in the demanding bike parks of the Dolomites, the loamy forests of Humboldt County and the chaparral of SoCal. Hell, we even spent a day riding Whistler Bike Park aboard the SL AMR. In each and every type of terrain, our riders were impressed with how well this bike rides.
Climbing Even with the DH-biased combination of a slack-ish head angle, long wheelbase and coil shock, the SL AMR X 9 climbed surprisingly well. There were times however, mainly on steep not-so-smooth climbs, that we were wishing we had a traditional air shock to help improve some efficiency but, for the most part, the bike climbed over everything in its path. The fact the bikes geo isn’t over-the-top aggressive meant it was ready to tackle switchback climbs and more techy maneuvers. Something some modern bikes suck at in favor of high speed DH performance. This bike blends the ability to handle both nicely.
Descending While the Ghost climbs rather well for a coil sprung big mountain shredder, descending is where the bike really shines. This bike allows us to plow over everything on the trail with the utmost confidence. The 46.89-in (1,191mm) wheelbase combined with the large wheels originally had us thinking about tight turn performance but we quickly learned it was a non-issue. The SL AMR is extremely nimble and when driven straight into bermed or rutted corners, it holds its line well. Even more, it exited turns without any fumbles and accelerated with ease. Two things that really stick out about this bike are traction and suspension performance. Thanks in big part to the Cane Creek shock and suspension design, the bike’s ability to remain composed and soak up terrain instilled confidence we haven’t found on many other trail bikes. Traction is equally impressive and we attribute that to the bike’s uncanny ability to keep the tires composed and on the ground when you want them there. If it’s play time or you need to get the bike in a new line, its light weight and lively feel make it easy to place.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Ghost SL AMR X 9 LC may be German, but it rides like the Swiss Army Knife of bikes. You want to shred the bike park or shuttle the local, rowdy downhill trails? Give it hell! Wanna head out on a 20 mile singletrack adventure? Get after it. This bike will not disappoint. We would 100% recommend this Ghost to anyone in the market. It’s hard not to sound like we’re getting paid off by REI but the truth is, they’ve got a killer bike on the floor and the biggest hurdle is probably going to be breaking the stereotype that real riders don’t shop at REI. While we don’t know much about the Co-op, the return program and dividend points earned on a purchase of this size only further solidify our recommendation of this bike. It really is that good.
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Weight: 30.51 lbs (w/ pedals)
Frame: SL AMR X 29 Lightweight Carbon LC / Alloy AL
Fork: Fox 36 Float Performance Elite 150 mm 15 mm Boost
Shock: Cane Creek Double Barrel Inline Coil CS 140 mm
Brakes: Shimano XT Disc 203 / 180 mm
Handlebar: Race Face Atlas 800 mm 35 mm
Saddle: SDG Fly
Seatpost: KS LEV Integra
Shifter: Shimano XT SL
Stem: Race Face Atlas 35 mm
Hubs: GHOST Light 15 mm Boost (f), 12 mm Boost (r)
Rims: Race Face ARC 27
Tires: Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.35 / Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35
Bottom Bracket: Race Face
Cassette: Shimano XT 11-46
Cranks: Race Face Atlas 32
Derailleur: Shimano XT 11-Speed Plus
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