Ghost Bikes Riot LT 8 LC  2015 Mountain Bike Review

Ghost Bikes Riot LT 8 LC 2015

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

Ghost Bikes 67,493

At A Glance

LT stands for Long Travel, the standard Riot from Ghost is a 130mm travel trail bike, for 2015 the brand upped-the-anti and went with a longer fork up front. The bike still has 130mm of rear end Riot Link travel, but the geometry has been tweaked to give the bike a more aggressive feel.

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There is some aggressive styling too, the lines around the head tube look like something from the future and the Riot LT will be sure to turn a few heads on the trails. With internal cable routing and carbon protectors in all the right places you can see the design team have put a lot of thought into the function as well as the styling of this bike.

Essentially the Riot LT is a fun, light and manoeuvrable 27.5 trail bike that is a great asset to the Ghost range. Aimed at the aggressive trail rider the bike has 130mm travel at the rear supported by 150mm of “get me out of trouble” at the front. With its 67 degree head angle and ultra light carbon the bike feels capable yet nimble and the scales don’t lie - this baby weighs 12.4kg.

Tech Heads

The Riot LT is built around the 27.5 wheel platform and at its core is the cutting edge Riot Link suspension. With so many established suspension options on the market it is always great to see brands trying something different. The science behind the Riot Link is sound, and it is something that Ghost have been working on for some time.

At first glance the bike looks like any other Four Bar platform on the market, but hidden away on the bikes undercarriage, so to speak, is the extra Riot Linkage. This is an extra link between the chainstay and the rear shock, it means that the shock isn’t directly connected to the front triangle and gets actuated from the top and bottom.

The secondary linkage only comes into play towards the end of the shock stroke; it helps to boost the ramp up in the last 20% of the travel. The idea is that it removes any harsh bottoming out on big hits yet still provides a stable pedalling platform.

Ghost have used top quality Norglide bushings coupled with aluminium hardware rather than traditional sealed bearings in this area. This reduces the weight of the system but also helps to keep the maintenance down as it’s a notoriously muddy spot on a bike.

The Riot LT also has Ghost’s unique approach to a brake mount called the ‘Disconnect’. The idea behind this rear brake mount is to remove stress from the rear stay and transfer those forces into the X12 hub axel. This allows for the use of lighter carbon and less material around the rear stays.

Suspension up front is catered for by a Fox 34 Talas FIT Performance CTD 150/130mm with a 15mm thru-axle. The Riot Link in the rear is managed with a Cane Creek Double Barrel Inline 130mm shock, which is a great addition to the bike, more on that later.

The drive train is a full Shimano XT affair with a 10 speed 11-36 cassette on the rear and a double ring 38/24 up front. The wheels are the excellent and rather stunning looking RaceFace Turbines and the tyre of the moment, the Schawlbe Hans Damf, in 2.25 guise looks after the grip and rolling duties. Ghost look after the cockpit with a set of 740mm wide low-riser bars and a 31.8mm Ghost AS-GH3 stem holding it all together. A Kind Shock LEV Intergra seat post with 125mm drop holds up a Selle Royal Seta saddle, which is comfortable whilst still being light.

The bike comes in 5 sizes, XS, S, M, L and XL, it is worth noting the XS has a KS Lev with 100mm of drop to it.

Ghost LT 8 LC M

Seat tube 480mm
Effective top tube 612.5mm
Head tube 120mm
Chain stay 430mm
Wheel base 1155mm
BB drop -3mm
Head angle 67°
Seat angle 73°
Reach 427.5
Stack 600mm

Weight w/o pedals 27.3lbs

On The Trail

Described by Ghost as having ‘lateral stiffness’ and 'efficient and straightforward propulsion’ the Riot LT offers a lively feel when hammering down single-track. This is partly due to the clever geometry, which offers a longer reach across the top triangle whilst using really short chainstays to keep you in a centred riding position. This makes both the climbs and the descents very comfortable and stable.

The patent pending RIOT-link has been designed to create a progressive spring rate in the last 20 % of the bikes travel. Effectively, when the shock nears the end of its stroke the lower link moves to create 'ramp up’ and a bottomless feel. This link, paired with the Cane Creek Double Barrel Inline 130mm shock, is a great addition to a hard-hitting trail bike.

Given the infinite adjustability of this shock the bike can be set up quite easily for varying terrain. After a few tweaks the Inline provided a plush and traction-enhancing ride. We had no reliability issues with the Inline supplied on the bike and found the ‘Climb Switch’ to be a very useful addition when grinding up long fire-road climbs.

The suspension itself feels smooth and supple and we never experienced any bottom outs even when we really hammered the bike off the bigger stuff. It handled everything we threw at it with finesse and grace, and the rear end gave us a connected feeling to the trail with no nasty kicks when the going got rough. It would be good to test this platform with a lower spec shock to see how it fairs then, but the Riot Link combined with the Cane Creek Inline does a stellar job of giving the bike a lively engaging feel that will have you grinning from ear to ear.

It would be interesting to run the test over a longer period and to see how the Norglide bushings stand up to foul weather riding over an extended amount of time. There is a lot going on around the bottom bracket of the Riot LT, an English winter would certainly flag up any issues. For the duration of our test however, we had no problems at all, and the Norglide bushings should last longer than a sealed bearing in that location, plus they will be much cheaper to replace!

The Riot LT excels as a trail bike; on swooping winding single track it is an absolute joy to ride around on. The suspension at the front and rear is responsive and lively and you find yourself wanting to pop off all the trail features you can find. Pushing the bike into the corners brings rewards too; the tryes offer plenty of traction and the rear wheel tracks beautifully too. As you exit, the bike, aided by its lightweight, sits up nicely setting you up for the next turn. We could thread the Riot LT through the corners all day long and not get bored.

Climbing on this bike felt like a dream, especially when the climb switch was activated on the Inline and the Talas forks were lowered to 120mm travel. There was no unnecessary movement from the suspension and the bike did not wander or weave on the trail. The riding position was comfortable and well balanced. The Inline shock offered impressive climbing grip on muddy and rooty climbs.

On the descents it is easy to forget what you are riding, the bike feels so good on the trail and the Riot Link seemingly makes the 130mm of travel far more capable than it should be. We couldn’t get the bike to bottom out when hammering over the rough stuff, instead of hanging up it still retained a progressive feel. However, as the speeds increase and the terrain gets tougher the rear end can feel a little swamped, you have to remind yourself this is a perfectly tuned trail bike, not a DH orientated all-mountain slayer.

I guess that is more a product of todays marketing and bike expectations than anything else. It’s a 130mm travel trail bike with a 150mm fork up front. Ride it within its means and it will reward you with confidence all day long. Step out of the comfort zone and the Riot Link will work wonders for you, masking any mistakes you might make and working overtime to keep things smooth. Go beyond that and you’ll be reminded that it’s not a downhill rig pretty quickly.

Traversing singletrack at speed is where this bike really shines. Open the fork and the rear shock up and put the power down and it springs into life. It feels like everything a great trail bike should be… light, easy to accelerate and very manoeuvrable. Once you are at the bottom of the trail the Riot LT will happily transport you back to the top with ease. It’s the sort of bike where you head out to do a few laps and end up not wanting to come home.

For

Light, fast and fun with impeccable trail handling, it climbs exceedingly well especially with the fork lowered to 120mm. The Riot Link is innovative and we never felt any harsh bottom outs, whilst getting responsive and lively handling on the trail. A solid XT groupset and mouth watering wheels finish off what is a very striking package!

Against

Putting the 150mm fork of the Riot LT certainly opens up its appeal and ability, however, just remember the 130mm rear end is only capable of brilliance up to a point.

Overall

It looks like something from the future, with it’s sleek lines and striking design, the suspension itself is a step into that future and provides real improvements for the bike down the trail too. Well specced and exceedingly capable, if you are looking for a trail centre slayer that can climb with far more ability than it’s bigger bike siblings yet still handle some serious descents, then the Riot LT deserves a test ride; be careful though you might end up parting with some hard earned cash!

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This review was in Issue 34 of IMB.

For more information visit Ghost Bikes

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By Jim Egercz
Jim Egercz hails from South Africa where the weather is warm and the trails and dry and dusty. Odd then that he prefers the cold, damp weather of the UK! He’s a keen trail builder near his home in the South East of England and gets out to Wales and the Alps whenever he can. He’s been a guide at the Trans Provence and is talented bike mechanic too; if your bikes broken, "Jim'll Fix It!"

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