The Ghost Kato 7 offers fun in small does in the £1,000 category of our Hardtail of the Year test
If the inspiration for this bike was Inspector Clouseau’s manservant, it hit the nail on the head. Just like its namesake, the Ghost Kato 7 keeps your skills sharp and your reflexes honed, delivering kicks that few other bikes here can match.
However, it also has an unflinching ride that dispenses a proper kicking when you’re sitting down over anything rougher than a billiard table. In other words, it soon gets tiresome.
So what makes it so entertaining in small doses? The frame layout is top-notch. It has a low bottom bracket that is just brilliant in the corners, a fairly slack head angle that promotes real confidence on steep descents, and a riding position that gives you absolute authority over your lines.
Up front, the RockShox 30 Gold fork could definitely be sturdier, but it provides a very smooth, supple ride on small hits. Sensibly, Ghost has also chosen the 120mm travel version, which really helps calm things down when the trail gets wild.
Although there’s an air pressure guide printed on the left leg, we ended up running our fork harder than suggested. This kept the geometry more stable under hard braking, preventing too much weight from being thrown forward.
As the Ghost Kato 7 gave us confidence to push harder, we soon reached the limits of the stock Schwalbe tyres — the shallow tread scrabbled for grip in the dirt — and sliced through the sidewalls on the first ride.
If Ghost engineered some comfort into the looping rear stays and fitted some more aggressive rubber, the Kato would be less punishing yet still retain its black-belt status on technical singletrack.