The GHOST RIOT is back! With a total of three different versions ranging from trail to enduro, GHOST present an entirely new line-up of full-suspension bikes. We had the exclusive opportunity to test a prototype of the GHOST RIOT Enduro even before its official release.

The GHOST RIOT is back! We were able to test a prototype of the RIOT Enduro exclusively for you.

The new GHOST RIOT product family at a glance

With the new RIOT, GHOST are presenting a whole new product range that includes trail, all-mountain and enduro bikes. All models rely on Ghost’s proprietary SuperFit geometry concept and TractionLink suspension system, which allow the German brand to adapt the geometry and suspension characteristics of the bikes to their respective area of application. The RIOT Trail comes with 140 mm travel front and rear, the RIOT All Mountain has 150 mm at the rear and 160 mm up front. The RIOT Enduro has 160 mm of rear travel paired with a whopping 170 mm travel fork up front and is aimed at riders who love to get rowdy when shredding their way back into the valley.

The rear-end of the new GHOST RIOT relies on a virtual pivot point system
The TractionLink allows GHOST to adapt the characteristics of the rear-suspension to the area of application of the bike
All RIOT models share the same brake mount

All models of the RIOT range feature an alloy frame. The cables are routed externally on the down tube and are hidden by a plastic cover, which makes for a neat look and quiet ride. The threaded bottom bracket is very user-friendly too. Prices for the new RIOT models range between € 2,499 and € 3,499, which is refreshing considering some bikes in its category can cost up to three times as much.

The cables are routed externally and hidden under a hard plastic cover – neat!
The threaded bottom bracket is great news for all home mechanics.
GHOST rely on two compact suspension rocker arms and place the shock vertically behind the seat tube.
The straight seat tube combined with a steep seat angle calls for a setback dropper post.
Of course, this is NOT what the standard chainstay protector looks like. The production bike will have a more stylish plastic model..

Maximum grip and top efficiency thanks to the TractionLink suspension

As we all know, bike manufacturers can get incredibly creative when it comes to choosing cool names for their latest technologies. With their TractionLink, however, GHOST get straight to the point and make it clear what their proprietary rear-end is all about: traction. The TractionLink suspension system relies on a twin link with a virtual pivot point. According to Ghost, the system allows them to strike an optimal balance between climbing efficiency and active rear triangle suspension performance downhill. However, this should not be confused with the RIOT-Link, which some of you might remember from the first-generation RIOT. If you want to delve deeper into the theory behind the TractionLink, we recommend reading our Suspension Vodoo article.

Thanks to the TractionLink suspension system, Ghost can optimise the rear-end of each RIOT depending on its area of application and thus deliver a perfect mix of traction and efficiency.

SuperFit – A tailored geometry concept for everyone

How can you guarantee that the geometry of a bike really fits its rider? GHOST for example, use their own algorithm based on over 100,000 data sets of human body proportions to ensure that every rider finds their optimal riding position. The SuperFit system was first introduced with the launch of the LECTOR HT XC bike. Now the Germans use the same technology with the new RIOT lineup. The most striking factor is that the S size rolls on 27.5″ wheels. In addition, the difference in reach isn’t consistent from size to size. For example, the 22 mm increase from the medium to large RIOT EN Enduro is finely graded. From L to XL, on the other hand, the increase is 30 mm. However, if you think that with SuperFit GHOST adapt the geometry of their bikes to the rider more than other brands, you’re wrong. All sizes share the same bar-width and stem length. Sizes M, L and XL also use the same chainstay length, and only the S size with its smaller wheels has shorter chainstays.

The geometry of the GHOST RIOT EN 2021

While the three versions of the RIOT have different amounts of suspension travel, in terms of geometry all bikes have some things in common – and they’re all remarkably long and slack. For example, the RIOT EN has a head angle of 64° and a massive 498 mm reach is size L. And while the 38 mm BB-drop makes for a remarkably low bottom bracket on a 160 mm travel bike, the 77° the seat angle is very steep. The chainstays length is 435 mm for the size S with 27,5” wheels and 455 mm for all other models. If you want to immerse yourself more deeply into the geometry of the RIOT EN, here’s all the info you need.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 417 mm 441 mm 465 mm 489 mm
Top tube 588 mm 648 mm 683 mm 684 mm
Head tube 120 mm 100 mm 140 mm 160 mm
Head angle 64° 64° 64° 64°
Seat angle 76° 77° 77° 77°
Chainstay 435 mm 455 mm 455 mm 455 mm
Bottom bracket drop 24 mm 38 mm 38 mm 38 mm
Wheelbase 1224 mm 1276 mm 1315 mm 1352 mm
Reach 453 mm 477 mm 498 mm 528 mm
Stack 619 mm 627 mm 663 mm 681 mm

Full party! The spec options of the GHOST RIOT EN in detail

As mentioned, GHOST offer the new RIOT in three versions: trail, all-mountain and enduro. Each version is available in two or three specs. Starting at € 2,499, the prices are very fair across the entire range. The undisputed highlight of the RIOT Trail and RIOT Enduro lineups are the Full Party models, which feature a purple Formula chassis. The Full Party version marks the upper end of the spectrum and retails at € 3,499. The new GHOST RIOT was designed to be compatible with an EightPins dropper, which explains the straight 34.9 mm seat tube. The Eight Pins dropper comes as standard on two of the enduro models and the high-end trail bike but not on the cheaper RIOT AM model and the more affordable RIOT EN and RIOT Trail models, which rely on a conventional setback dropper. Another highlight is the light yet robust Syntace wheelset that comes as standard with all higher-end models. All RIOT EN models and the RIOT Trail Full Party version come with a coil shock.

All RIOT models have a 34.9 mm seat tube, which on all top-end models accommodates an EightPins dropper.
The RIOT EN and RIOT Trail Full Party come with a coil shock.
For their RIOT range, GHOST rely on a SRAM UDH mech hanger, making finding spares easy.
How much does the GHOST RIOT EN weigh? We didn’t get a chance to weigh the bike ourselves but the 15.96 kg noted on the top tube of our prototype seem realistic.
With a whopping 170 mm of front travel, the RIOT EN was designed to tame the gnar on the roughest trails.

The GHOST RIOT EN models in detail

The RIOT EN enduro-model is available in three spec options, which all include a coil shock and 170 mm fork. The most striking version of the enduro lineup is the Full Party model, which costs € 3,499 and comes Formula suspension and brakes. The rest of the spec includes a mixed SLX/XT drivetrain and Syntace V30 wheelset. The bike with the most attractive price/performance ratio, in our opinion, is the RIOT EN Universal, which retails at € 2,999 and features a Marzocchi Bomber Z1 fork, FOX VAN Performance shock, four-piston Shimano brakes and, like the Full Party model, a mixed SLX/XT drivetrain. Again, GHOST round off the spec with a Syntace wheelset and even throw in an EightPins dropper. At the lower end of the RIOT EN range, the Essential model, which features a mixed SRAM NX/GX groupset, RockShox Yari fork and Super Deluxe Coil Select shock. It probably goes without saying that at € 2,499 you won’t get a Syntace wheelset or EightPins dropper.

RIOT EN ESSENTIAL

Fork RockShox Yari RC 170 mm
Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Select R 160 mm
Brakes Shimano BR-MT520 203 mm
Drivetrain SRAM NX/GX Eagle
Seatpost Limotec Alpha 1 125/150/170 mm
Stem Ground Fiftyone
Handlebar Ground Fiftyone 780 mm
Wheelset Rodi Tryp 30
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO+ 2.5/2.4″
Price € 2,499

RIOT EN UNIVERSAL

Fork Marzocchi Bomber Z1 170 mm
Shock FOX Van Performance 160 mm
Brakes Shimano Deore 203 mm
Drivetrain Shimano SLX/XT
Seatpost Eightpins Hydraulic
Stem Ground Fiftyone
Handlebar Ground Fiftyone 780 mm
Wheelset Syntace V30
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO+ 2.5/2.4″
Price € 2,999

RIOT EN FULL PARTY

Fork Formula Selva S 170 mm
Shock Formula MOD 160 mm
Brakes Formula Cura 4 203 mm
Drivetrain Shimano SLX/XT
Seatpost Eightpins Hydraulic
Stem Ground Fiftyone
Handlebar Ground Fiftyone 780 mm
Wheelset Syntace V30
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF/DHR II 3C MaxxTerra EXO+ 2.5/2.4″
Price € 3,499

The GHOST RIOT AM models in detail

The all-mountain RIOT AM model is available in two specs, which retail at € 2,499 and € 2,999 respectively. While the AM model shares the same frame as the enduro version, it has a shock with a shorter stroke and a fork with less travel. The more affordable spec includes a FOX Rhythm fork paired with a DPX2 performance shock, a mixed Shimano DEORE/ XT drivetrain and DEORE brakes. For an extra charge of € 500, you can upgrade your spec to a RockShox Lyrik Select + fork, Super Deluxe Select + shock and a SRAM GX-Eagle drivetrain. Unfortunately, this version comes with SRAM G2 brakes – the more powerful CODE model would be more appropriate.

RIOT AM ESSENTIAL

Fork FOX 36 Rhythm 160 mm
Shock FOX DPX2 Performance 150 mm
Brakes Shimano BR-MT520 203 mm
Drivetrain Shimano Deore/XT
Seatpost Limotec Alpha 1 125/150/170 mm
Stem Ground Fiftyone
Handlebar Ground Fiftyone 780 mm
Wheelset Rodi Tryp 30
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF 3C MaxxTerra EXO 2.3″ MAXXIS Aggressor EXO 2.3″
Price € 2,499

RIOT AM UNIVERSAL

Fork RockShox Lyrik Select+ 160 mm
Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ 150 mm
Brakes SRAM G2 RSC 200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle
Seatpost Limotec Alpha 1 125/150/170 mm
Stem Ground Fiftyone
Handlebar Ground Fiftyone 780 mm
Wheelset Rodi Tryp 30
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF 3C MaxxTerra EXO 2.3″ MAXXIS Aggressor EXO 2.3″
Price € 2,999

The GHOST RIOT Trail models in detail

The GHOST RIOT Trail has its own frame and offers 140 mm of travel, both front and rear. It’s available in two specs, which cost € 2,499 and € 3,499 respectively. While the affordable Essential model features a FOX 34 Rhythm fork and FOX DPS shock, the Full Party version pairs a Formula Selva S fork with Formula Mod coil shock. The Syntace V30 wheelset and Shimano XT drivetrain should ensure reliable, long-term performance.

RIOT TRAIL ESSENTIAL

Fork FOX 34 Rhythm 140 mm
Shock FOX DPS Performance 140 mm
Brakes Shimano BR-MT520 180 mm
Drivetrain Shimano Deore/XT
Seatpost Limotec Alpha 1 125/150/170 mm
Stem Ground Fiftyone
Handlebar Ground Fiftyone 780 mm
Wheelset Rodi Tryp 30
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF 3C MaxxTerra EXO 2.3″ MAXXIS Aggressor EXO 2.3″
Price € 2,499

RIOT TRAIL FULL PARTY

Fork Formula Selva S 140 mm
Shock Formula MOD 140 mm
Brakes Formula Cura 4 180 mm
Drivetrain Shimano SLX/XT
Seatpost Eightpins Hydraulic
Stem Ground Fiftyone
Handlebar Ground Fiftyone 780 mm
Wheelset Syntace V30
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF 3C MaxxTerra EXO 2.3″ MAXXIS Aggressor EXO 2.3″
Price € 3,499

The new GHOST RIOT EN on the trail

Enough of the theory, how does the new GHOST RIOT EN and fare on the trail with its radical geometry? We had the opportunity to test a prototype on our steep, wet home trails. Although our test-prototype didn’t come with the final spec or paint finish, the frame and suspension gave us a pretty accurate idea of how the production bike is going to feel – which means that we can already draw some meaningful and very exciting conclusions.

GHOST’s brand manager Christian Morgenroth came to see us with a prototype of the new RIOT. Together, we put the bike through the wringer on our steep, wet home trails, making the most of the prime autumn conditions.

According to the GHOST SuperFit concept, with a body height of 180 cm, we need a size Large. With a reach of 498 mm, the bike is long, very long! However, once you sit on it, the RIOT doesn’t feel as massive. Thanks to the steep seat angle, the riding position is comfortably centred and upright. Since we didn’t bring a scale with us, we weren’t able to weigh the bike ourselves and had to guess its weight instead. However, the 15.96 kg noted on the top tube of our prototype seems perfectly in line with our rough guess – it’s definitely not a light bike. Nevertheless, the RIOT EN is a keen climber. While it’s definitely not a mountain goat and doesn’t motivate you to ride out of the saddle, it negotiates all sorts of climbs very comfortably. The centred riding position and long chainstays prevent the front-end from lifting off the ground. In theory, you could ride on forest paths with no hands all day long. On technical climbs, make sure you pick your lines carefully because the low bottom bracket can lead to frequent pedal strikes. Apart from that, the RIOT delivers an excellent climbing performance in all conditions and handles even narrow and technical sections without breaking a sweat. While the FOX VAN coil shock doesn’t have a lockout lever, this is not an issue as long as you ride seated. However, as soon as you get out of the saddle, you’ll notice a fair amount of pedal bob and realise that the engineers at GHOST chose traction and grip over pedalling efficiency with the RIOT.

Next level relaxed. Thanks to the steep seat angle, the comfortable and upright pedalling position is ideal for long climbs on fire roads, almost taking the weight of the bike out of the equation.
When riding out of the saddle, there’s a noticeable amount of pedal bob. That being said, the RIOT EN wasn’t designed to be a mountain goat.
Instead, it will get you to the top of the hill comfortably and with a smile on your face.
Just let it go! The RIOT EN loves charging through rock gardens at full pelt.

“Just let it go” is the mantra of the GHOST RIOT EN when gravity takes over and you shred your way back down into the valley. The rider is nicely integrated into the bike, safely tucked away between the big 29 ”wheels and the long reach, high stack and long chainstays make for a very balanced ride. After this first impression, we wouldn’t necessarily describe the RIOT EN as agile or playful. Instead, we can say that it’s rather good at tackling nasty trails and converting long, fun descents into brake dust – all day long! The suspension works smoothly while feeling pleasantly defined. This means: the rear-end will handle pretty much anything you can throw at it and generates tons of traction. At the same time, it doesn’t sink into its travel when you pop off a ledge for some airtime. Superb!

The balanced geometry and super-plush suspension of the RIOT EN take the edge off scary and nasty trails, even in the worst conditions.

Throughout the test, we couldn’t help but think that the Medium frame with its 477 mm reach would perhaps be the better option for our height (180 cm). After all, you don’t ride full pelt all day long, every day. The plush suspension combined with a slightly more compact wheelbase would provide a winning mix of agility and smoothness. However, this would also affect the climbing position of the bike, likely making it too cramped and unpleasantly upright.

Our first impression of the new GHOST RIOT EN

The short test duration, paired with the not-quite-finalised spec of our prototype GHOST RIOT EN, mean we can’t draw a final conclusion. However, we can tell you that GHOST have come up with a plush and very smooth-running bike that takes the edge off the nastiest trails – the perfect rig for long shuttle sessions in Finale Ligure and epic bike park missions. Unfortunately, the extreme geometry and high weight restrict its all-round capabilities.

With its extreme geometry, the RIOT EN shines on challenging terrain but gets easily bored on less demanding trails.

For more information about the new RIOT range, please visit the GHOST website.

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer

About the author

Christoph Bayer

When work doesn't feel like work, then you've probably done everything right. Luckily, that’s exactly what Christoph did. He loves biking and the tech talk surrounding it (to the detriment of his girlfriend Toni), photography and travelling the world. He has been with ENDURO almost from the start and as editor-in-chief, he's responsible for making ENDURO the most progressive and exciting magazine in the industry. Of course, he still writes a lot of content himself, reviews almost 100 bikes a year and rides his bike almost every day. The alpine trails around his hometown serve as the perfect testing grounds. He doesn't have a classic 9 to 5 routine – sometimes he's in the office, sometimes he'll take his laptop to sit in the garden and sometimes you'll even find him working remotely from his van parked at one the best riding spots in the world. For Christoph, work-life boundaries are fluid and he likes it that way.