At A Glance
The ASX 5500 from Ghost has been given a revamp this year, like many models out there the wheel size has grown to fit in with the now almost ubiquitous 27.5 format. This bike offers some real value for money, especially for the rider looking for a well-rounded full suspension trail bike. With a 130mm of travel up front and 120mm out the back it’s poised to be a trail shredder.Buy Trail Bikes on
We’ve seen a few of these sub £2000 GBP full-suss rides lately and it certainly seems like the trickledown effect of technology is alive and well in the MTB world. The ASX manages to pack some serious punch in terms of bang for your buck.
The frame is Hydroformed Aluminium with a tried and test Four Bar linkage suspension system that separates the braking forces so they don’t affect the way the suspension works. It’s a reasonably light frame; the whole bike comes in at just under 30lbs dry. An X–Fusion E1 RL Air rear shock has been specced and this is fitted with rebound and a simple lock out switch. Up front a Fox 32 CTD 130mm fork takes care of business and the CTD feature on a bike of this price range is very welcome.
With a head angle of 68˚ the ASX sits nicely between an XC race machine and a more all-mountain rig. This is matched with a 73˚ seat angle to keep the bike heading in the right direction on the climbs. The bottom bracket drop is fairly small, just 10mm and the chainstays have been kept short to offer a lively playful feel.
In terms of the rest of the kit the drivetrain is an all Shimano affair, 3x10 gearing has been chosen with a mix of Deore components highlighted with an XT rear mech, not a clutch version though. The brakes are the excellent Shimano Deore discs with 180mm rotors, providing huge stopping power.
Ghost’s own stem, bars, seatpost and saddle finish off the cockpit; the bars are 700mm wide which may be a little small for some of the larger riders out there. Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres are fast and quick to accelerate and shod on Ryde Taurus rims with Shimano hubs.
On The Trail
My first ride on the ASX happened to be at our local DH trails, it’s where we film a lot of our test bikes. As the sun was shining the urge to jump aboard and fling it down some trails and then pedal it back up was just too much. Small trail bikes are often overlooked in the UK with lots of riders thinking they need more and more travel. However, the nimbleness of smaller bikes always seems to inspire a huge amount of fun on trails where often they shouldn’t rightly be!
The ASX handled the somewhat damp conditions very well, and I was surprised with the responsiveness of the rear end. You can really pump the ASX into corners and be rewarded with a satisfying ping of acceleration. Over rougher ground the bike tracks well, although the drive train is a little noisy without the clutch rear mech and having three rings up front.
The Shimano brakes really shined through on the steeper descents and even with the slightly slick Rocket Rons struggling for grip the brakes inspired plenty of confidence. I personally found the 700mm bars a little narrow, usually I’m riding 760’s on trail bikes, but it was nice not having to think about fitting through the gaps between trees and on narrow single-track.
Pointing the bike back uphill it climbs very well, there is good traction on both the front and rear tyres without having to shift your weight about too much. Making the most of the suspension options only improves this experience and the X-Fusion shock lock-out was welcome on the longer, smoother climbs.
I then took the bike out on a few longer riders with a little more saddle time to see how it faired. Again I was impressed by its eager nature and whilst maybe not the quickest out of the starting blocks it certainly was no slouch. As an all-day trail machine it’s great, although I must admit to fitting a dropper seat post to really round the ASX off.
The more I rode it, the more I struggled to find fault, I kept having to remind myself just how much bike you were getting for your money too. The suspension platform is well sorted with a nice blend of suppleness on the descents and a firm pedalling platform.
Of course there are a few niggles, the lack of dropper post and clutch rear mech being chief ones for me, but then at this price you can’t have everything, and with the money saved at purchase this is a bike that can easily be upgraded and added to. Especially when the basis of the bike is very well rounded in terms of trail friendly geometry and a great suspension platform.
The Ghost ASX is a lot of bike for the money, of course it isn’t perfect, but at this price it is hard to argue with any of the fairly minor niggles we had. If you want a bike that can handle some rough descents, and get you back up to the top with no dramas then the smooth riding and nimble ASX can do just that. Your bank manager and better half might just thank you for it too…Buy Trail Bikes on
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This review was in Issue 31 of IMB.For more information visit Ghost Bikes
By Rou ChaterRou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.