Friday, April 5, 2013

Ghost AMR Lector 2990 First Look


This is the second post in the series of unveiling my Ghost Bikes. Check out the first post here introducing Ghost Bikes from Germany.

Hit Read More to check out my excitement over the new bike.


The Ghost AMR Lector 2990, a full suspension carbon 29er. You can check out the spec here and below are some photos I took.




I have been admiring the polished images on Ghost website, the actual product does not disappoint me at all. Instead of the typical shiny striking paintwork seen on most brands, Ghost artistically picked matte black and red as the color theme for the frame. This is so prominently outstanding when the bike is parked side by side with other branded bikes, what's more with all the cables neatly arranged and internally routed to the designated points. The German's aestheticism does not stop at the frame but continues throughout the bike, for instance, the saddle and the brake system strictly adhere to the same color theme (more photos below). Another distinction is other brands typically print the brand and/or model number as huge and striking as possible on the downtube, the Ghost word is stealthily printed on the downtube. "Ghost" supposedly is invisible and stealthy, right? Such minimalist design but yet drawing attention of passer-by. Overall, the bike is not only designed as a practical race machine but also visually a piece of artwork.

The Ghost designer and engineer might be cursing me that I damage the aesthetics of the bike with a pair of big ugly old gold colored platform pedals in photos above. LOL. My apology, that was temporary when I collected my bike while waiting the newly ordered pedals to reach my doorstep. And there you go...



Perfect now? :) And to exaggerate the perfection...


I got myself a pair of color matching Shimano M088 SPD shoe. :")

No question about the built quality. I learned from a forum that Ghost produces its carbon products from its Germany factory. In fact, this bike was shipped from Germany (and hence the delay). The whole bike feels light, the carbon frame feels solid, the rocker, rear triangle and joints/pivot points are snugly and perfectly fitted to the overall design and geometry. I find the rocker of some full sus bikes look very bulky and damage the aesthetic of the bike, this is definitely not the case with this bike. On the geometry, my biggest concern was I would look like a mouse riding on top of an elephant on this 29er (I am typical Asian size). I was relieved when I first hopped onto the bike, I felt like riding an ordinary 26"! Do a comparison on the geometry...


The geometry is comparable between niner and the sixer. That said, this bike can be ridden like a little pony but run like a speeding horse (I have yet to bring it offroad though). You don't have to worry about dated technologies with German products, likewise the bike design also incorporates numerous technologies (you can refer the complete list here). Noticeably, one-piece design carbon rocker, complete needle bearings system (than bush bearings), Anti-Squat technology and 2:1 suspension ratio that caught my attention. I believe these would determine whether this bike is a perfect all rounder AM bike. I will find out when I clock more mileage with it.

Now come to the drive train...



Shimano XTR Trail 3x10 drive train with e-type direct mount of front derailleur. The rear derailleur is the standard M980, not the latest M985 Shadow Plus rd. Worth upgrade to Shadow Plus? Hmmm...




The brake system is one of the products out from Mission Performance by Magura, the carbon MT8 brake system with 180mm Storm SL rotors on both front and rear. Click on the link above to read more. I hated the initial bite feel, it's like no brake at all with a lot of play on the levers. However, the modulation and bite are getting better after some run in. Can't comment much till I clock more mileage and test it offroad.



The suspension system is driven by Fox's latest Kashima coated CTD series, the 110mm 32 Float 29 Factory FIT CTD Remote on the front and 100mm Float Factory CTD BoostValve with Trail Adjust on the rear.



Both were medium-tuned in firmness (climb mode) in the factory that should be good for most riders. I do have a question on the selection of fork-shock combi, I wonder the rationales behind Ghost engineers' design methodology of this combi. Why not both with Trail Adjust, or both with Fox's dual-control CTD remote, or even better with the Fox's iCD? Perhaps weight and cost were part of the considerations.

Nevertheless, I briefly tested on road (clocked ~40km). I set the sag to be around 25%, the shock in Trail mode with Trail Adjust dialed into 3 (firm) seems like a good setup to ride the bike like a hardtail, no bobbing at all even if I stand-pedaling (the fork was on Climb mode). Turning the Trail Adjust to 2 should be good for my riding style and terrains that I usually ride.



To digress a little, I was tempted to get the top end model AMR Lector 2995 that comes with Rock Shox e:i computerized suspension system (oh well, typical geek of me!). But IMHO I would hold till the technology gets to more field tests and passes a round or two of revision/upgrade. I can upgrade in the future as the frame comes with necessary internal cable routing and mount points for the computer and battery, as shown above.


 

The wheelset is Easton 29" EA70 XCT UST tubeless rims. Again, another thoughtful selection by Ghost, the stealthy grey-on-black graphic on the wheelset speaks the same design language for this gorgeous bike. The spec states both doughnuts to be Schwalbe Rocket Ron 2.25 but I got one Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 and I have that at the rear wheel. Both come in Schwalbe extra light tubes, I have them replaced with sealant since both rubbers are Tubeless Ready (TLR) and the rims are tubeless UST compatible.

Above are the main components that I concern most when buying a bike. I am a bit lenient on other components but German's persistence to quality and perfection continues...




The Selle Italia monolink carbon saddle and Ritchey WCS carbon series of seatpost, handle bar and stem. Many have been eying the saddle when they got to know that I may change to dropper seatpost. Well, let's see if I have an expensive butt that shapes in ergonomically with the saddle. Else it would be up for auction. Hehe...

Ah, finally! I found a blemish (well, more like an individual preference) on this bike...


The original grips were the hard rubber Ghost grips (left photo above). I had them changed to Ritchey WCS Truegrip Foam Grips, thanks to a veteran rider who spared extra in his storeroom. This completes the Ritchey WCS series and also shaves some grams off the bike. Oh, my first upgrade of this bike! :)

Lastly, why I buy Ghost, not other well known brands such as the S-brand?
  • I am a minimalist and I love Ghost's design methodology.
  • I am a hardcore devotee of German products. Adidas, Audi, VW, Sennheiser and what about Michael Schumacher? You can't go wrong with German products! :)
  • The components are easily replaceable with similar off-the-shelf products. One of the well known brands seems to offer proprietary components jointly developed with Fox in its newest models. 
  • It's value for money. I would have to pay 30-50% more for similar spec from the well known brands.
  • To flaunt, this is the official one and only one AMR Lector 2990 in Malaysia! ;)
If you're obsessed with Ghost now, head to my first post here to check out where the Ghosts are. I mean the Ghost bikes. Hehe...

Now I am officially a Ghost Rider. It's time for Nicolas Cage to retire. LOL.

p/s: I like to thank few veteran riders who generously enriched my technical knowledge on bike.