Party hard or hardly party? The name of the Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party gives away its intentions. With its fully integrated Eightpins dropper post and tire inserts as standard, Ghost’s trail bruiser has a few party tricks up its sleeve. Let’s get this party started!

GHOST RIOT Trail Full Party | 150/140 mm (f/r)
15.4 kg in size L | € 5,999 | Manufacturer’s website

Simple style meets unusual design language! While the frame silhouette of the RIOT Trail Full Party is discreetly understated, Ghost’s proprietary Traction Link suspension layout, which is closely based on Twin Link kinematics, ensures a unique look with its curved seat stay. The RIOT frame platform serves as a basis for three models, the Trail, AM and Enduro. Our RIOT Trail Full Party test bike has the least travel of the three, combining 150/ 140 mm of travel (f/r). Ghost use the “Full Party” name extension to identify the top-spec version. However, retailing at € 5,999, it’s still one of the cheapest bikes in this test. Tipping the scales at 15.4 kg, our carbon test bike is the heaviest analogue competitor in this test – but also has a few tricks up its sleeve in terms of spec.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best trail bike 2024 – 15 of the most exciting trail bikes in our 2024 comparison test

The 2023 Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party in detail

The cables of the RIOT Trail Full Party are routed internally and disappear into the frame at the intersection between the head tube and down tube. However, the cable ports are positioned relatively far down the down tube, resulting in a wide cable arc that makes for a rather untidy look. On top of that, the cables aren’t clamped sufficiently at the ports, resulting in a loud rattling noise on the trail. Just in case that wasn’t irritating enough, the undersized chainstay protector allows the chain to slap against the frame – Ghost could have used a bigger protector that stretches further over the rear section of the chainstay. However, a small portion of mastic tape will do the trick. The frame features a bottle cage mount on the down tube and a tool mount on the underside of the top tube, while a small mudguard prevents dirt and stray rocks from getting jammed between the main frame and the swingarm.

The spec of the 2023 Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party

Party dress with wow factor? The RIOT Trail Full Party 2023 is the flagship model in the lineup and comes with a top-end spec – doesn’t it? Upon closer inspection, however, the German manufacturer tries to save money: for example, the FOX 36 Factory fork, comes with a fancy Kashima coating, but employs the cheaper FIT4 damper, which might help save weight but performs significantly worse on the trail than its top-tier GRIP2 counterpart – which is what you want on a top-tier fork! The fork is paired with a FOX FLOAT X Factory shock, which is a common choice for trail bikes and delivers a pretty good performance. Ghost also skimp on the drivetrain, combining a mix of Shimano XT, SLX and DEORE components. The rear derailleur – the drivetrain component most people pay attention to – is from Shimano’s higher quality XT series, while the other parts are from the cheaper SLX range, and the chainset is from the cheaper-still DEORE series. While Shimano’s SLX components are pretty good, the SLX shifter lacks the clever MULTI RELEASE function of the XT version, and thus limits the performance of the XT rear derailleur, which, in the end, only gives you advantages in theory. Formula Cura 4 brakes with 200 mm rotors front and rear do stopping duties, and also add a touch of class with their metallic-silver finish. Aside from looking great, they also perform extremely well on the trail, providing powerful, reliable deceleration and excellent modulation. The only drawbacks are the finicky lever reach adjustment, and the lack of lever mount options, which forces you to use additional clamps to secure the dropper post remote and shifter to the handlebars. The fully integrated EightPins H01 dropper post is paired with a Shimano remote and impresses with butter smooth action. The post itself is fully integrated into the frame, using the seat tube as the post housing. The dropper offers between 150 and 175 mm of travel and allows you to adjust the maximum extension of the post without the need for tools. However, the EightPins H01 requires a long seat tube to provide sufficient extension for long-legged riders. For the wheels, Ghost rely on DT Swiss’ robust, entry-level M1900 alloy wheelset and MAXXIS tires, combining an ASSEGAI in the soft MaxxGrip rubber compound at the front and DISSECTOR in the harder MaxxTerra rubber compound at the rear, both in the EXO+ casing, and tire inserts from Pepi’s Tire Noodle as standard. The inserts protect the rims from nasty impacts and allow you to run lower air pressures for more traction and better damping qualities – nice! However, on a trail bike, we would use more robust tires before using tire inserts.

While at first glance, the spec of the Ghost suggests top trail performance, some of the components can’t deliver what they promise on the trail.

Good looks, excellent performance
The Formula Cura 4 brakes not only look incredibly good, but also deliver a strong performance on the trail.
Skimping in the wrong place
The Shimano XT rear derailleur is paired with a cheaper SLX shifter, which doesn’t support the rear derailleur’s practical MULTI RELEASE function.
The FOX 36 Factory features the fancy Kashima coating but employs the cheaper FIT4 damper, which doesn’t deliver on the trail.
Easy as
This small lever can be used to adjust the travel of the dropper post without tools.
This small mudguard prevents dirt and stray rocks from getting jammed between the main frame and swingarm.

GHOST RIOT Trail Full Party

€ 5,999


Fork FOX 36 Factory FIT4 150 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X Factory 140 mm
Seatpost EightPins H01 175 mm
Brakes Formula Cura 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT/SLX 1x12
Stem GHOST 50 mm
Handlebar GHOST Alu 800 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss M1900 Alu 29"
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI, EXO+, MaxxGrip/MAXXIS DISSECTOR, EXO+, MaxxTerra 2.5"/2.4"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 15.4 kg

Specific Features

Tire Inserts mounted

Tuning tips: XT shifter to take advantage of the MULTI RELEASE function | Mastic tape on chainstays

Helmet Sweet Protection Bushwhacker 2Vi Mips | Glasses Oakley Sutro
Jersey Sweet Protection Hunter LS Jersey | Pants Sweet Protection Hunter Pants
Shoes Northwave Overland Plus | Gloves POC Resistance

The geometry of the 2023 Ghost RIOT Trail

The Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party is available in four sizes, S to XL. Overall, the frame is on the long side, with our test bike in size L combining 497 mm reach and a 465 mm seat tube, which has to be this long to accommodate the fully integrated Eightpins dropper but restricts freedom of movement on the trail somewhat. At 455 mm, the chainstays are extremely long too on our test bike, but shrink to 446 mm in frame size S and M. The size-specific chainstay length is meant to match the different reach values, and should ensure consistent handling across all sizes. Ghost have opted against the use of flip chips, or any other geometry-altering gizmos.

Size S M L XL
Top tube 580 mm 614 mm 646 mm 678 mm
Seat tube 417 mm 441 mm 465 mm 489 mm
Head tube 90 mm 110 mm 140 mm 160 mm
Head angle 64.0° 64.0° 64.0° 64.0°
Seat angle 77.0° 77.0° 77.0° 77.0°
Chainstays 446 mm 446 mm 455 mm 455 mm
BB Drop 38 mm 38 mm 33 mm 33 mm
Wheelbase 1,219 mm 1,258 mm 1,307 mm 1,346 mm
Reach 441 mm 471 mm 497 mm 527 mm
Stack 604 mm 622 mm 644 mm 662 mm

The 2023 Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party on the trail

When riding on level ground and uphill, the Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party puts you in a comfortable, upright pedalling position. Although this places you relatively far forward over the handlebars, the front-end lifts off the ground quite easily on steep climbs, forcing you to actively weight the front wheel to keep it tracking. We found it helped to flick the climb switch to keep the bike higher in its travel on longer climbs. However, the tire inserts’ higher rotating mass coupled with the plush rear suspension result in a rather sluggish climbing performance, making long uphills a means to an end rather than a motivation to shred more trails – as should be the case with modern trail bikes. But how does it perform downhill?

The Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party has intuitive, beginner-friendly handling but lacks both composure and agility

When gravity takes over, the Ghost places you in a central riding position, with the weight evenly distributed between the front and rear. Handling is intuitive and makes you feel at ease from the get-go. However, the Ghost positions you on top of the bike rather than integrating you between its wheels, which makes it a little top heavy. Just like the Merida and Mondraker, the RIOT Trail Full Party is predictable and easy to ride, allowing you to shred your way back down into the valley safely and effortlessly even after a long day in the saddle. However, if you turn up the volume, the Ghost lacks composure and quickly becomes nervous in fast rock gardens and nasty root carpets. At the same time, it feels sluggish in tight corners, making you feel as if you were steering a motorhome through a small medieval village. In this regard, the Ghost is very similar to the Cube, lacking both composure and agility – the RIOT’s suspension feels like a sofa too! As a result, it doesn’t provide sufficient feedback from the ground and lacks support, making it hard to pop off natural kickers. The plush suspension, together with the soft front tire and tire inserts, provides plenty of cornering traction. With an active riding style, however, the soft rear suspension absorbs the rider’s input like a sandbag, making it hard to generate speed by pumping through flowing trails. The FIT4 fork can’t keep up with the competition either, forcing you to find a compromise between sensitivity and support – having both at the same time isn’t an option.

Who should take a closer look at the 2023 Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party

With its fancy Factory suspension and standard tire inserts, the Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party appeals to the unapologetic trail ripper! Upon closer inspection, however, the spec isn’t perfect, with a couple of components that might look great on the shop floor but fail to deliver on the trail. The Ghost dealer network makes this a good option for those who want in-person support nearby, and the beginner-friendly handling makes this a good option for those who can do without ploughing through nasty rock gardens or cornering flat out.



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush


  1. planted
  2. poppy


  1. terrible
  2. very good


Cross Country




Our conclusions about the 2023 Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party

While its name suggests an authentic party animal, you’ll find the Ghost Riot Trail hiding in the kitchen when the music gets loud. The spec might look promising on paper but some components suggest a level of performance they can’t deliver. On the trail, the plush suspension generates good traction but offers little support, absorbing the rider’s input like a sandbag. In addition, the RIOT Trail is neither agile nor composed. On the other hand, its intuitive handling makes it a good choice for beginners.


  • Intuitive handling
  • Excellent traction


  • Components suggest a level of performance they can’t deliver
  • Plush rear suspension provides little feedback
  • Lacks both composure and agility

You can find out more about at

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best trail bike 2024 – 15 of the most exciting trail bikes in our 2024 comparison test

All bikes in test: Cannondale Habit LT 1 (Click for review) | Cube ONE55 C:62 SLT 29 (Click for review) | Ghost RIOT Trail Full Party | Merida ONE-FORTY 10K (Click for review) | Mondraker Neat RR SL (Click for review) | Nicolai Saturn 14 Swift HRZ (Click for review) | Orbea Occam LT M10 (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Heckler SL XX AXS RSV (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Hightower X0 AXS RSV (Click for review) | Scor 2030 X01 (Click for review) | SCOTT Genius ST 900 Tuned (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EX 9.9 X0 AXS T-Type (Click for review) | Yeti SB140 LR T3 X0 (Click for review) | YT JEFFSY CORE 5 CF (Click for review)

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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Peter Walker

About the author

Simon Kohler

​​Simon loves speed. He has many years of racing experience as a longboard downhill skater, blasting down alpine passes on his board. In the meantime, he’s swapped four wheels for two, charging down trails and bike park lines aboard his mountain bike instead. He’s savoured some of Europe’s finest trails on various road trips through the Alps. Having lived in Austria for some time, he knows the local Austrian bike parks like the back of his hand. He’s a tech nerd through and through, using the skills and know-how from his engineering degree and his attention to detail to put the latest bikes and components through their paces for our reviews. As an early riser and self-declared muesli connoisseur, he lives his life powered by oats and the strength of his legs.