Notice:The Pressedienst Fahrrad has provided me with the Ghost bike for a test on my request and Ghost has provided me with information about the bike. Thus, this is advertising.
Voluntary abstinence for a higher goal – this is how an ascetic life is defined. And the Ghost Asket is – although named after the ascetic – quite the opposite. It invites lavish riding through the forest and on asphalt and is not only a sporty gravel bike for many training miles, but also a bikepacking bike for extended tours. The renunciation of worldly sensual pleasures demanded in asceticism is counteracted with this bike. But the Ghost Asket of course still lives up to its name, because with it you can very well achieve the higher goal: absolute fun outside on the bike!
When the Pressedienst Fahrrad offered me the Ghost Asket for testing, I first had only the mountain bikes in mind. But even there I had to search first, because Ghost I knew as a brand, but had no concrete picture of the bikes and model lines so far.
Ghost was founded in 1993, is located in Waldsassen (Bavaria) and has 330 employees today. Since a few years the company belongs to the Accell Group, which holds bicycle brands such as Winora, Haibike, Staiger or Batavus, Koga or Lapierre.
Back to the bike and the Ghost Asket. This name is mostly known for its MTB model series, which is why I first landed on these models. These are advertised with the beautiful claim “Don’t cry, ride!”, which is a pleasantly direct change in the sea of soft-spoken freedom and adventure slogans.
Actually, ascetics are funny people: they fast, take vows, and are pretty much fun-free for the sake of virtue. The ASKET is different: although its appearance is modest, unobtrusive and minimalist, it was built with a great vision: (To give the riders) a real enlightenment.
But did the Pressedienst Fahrrad really want to offer me an MTB to test? No, because recently Ghost has also offered a gravel bike series under the model name Asket, which honestly surprised me pleasantly. And from which I have heard nothing before or seen.
And the Ghost Asket Gravel bikes should definitely be seen, because they are a very interesting and not to be underestimated offer to all who do not pay tribute to the questionable N+1, but are looking for an affordable and very good bike both for the sporty ride, commuting to work, as well as bikepacking tours with luggage.
Ghost therefore also classifies the Asket as a touring engraver for “athletes and commuters”:
Everything you need. But not a bit too much. Our Asket Gravel bikes follow a purist design approach and focus on what’s really important: they’re stable, capable of off-road riding and still offer plenty of propulsion on pretty much any surface. Available in both racy sportbike and EQ variants, these cross-country bikes are equipped for everyday use, commuting and bikepacking.
In total, there are seven Asket Gravelbike models, three of which come in the so-called EQ version. This is an equipped version, where the bike is either already equipped with mudguards, rack and battery light, or as a bikepacking variant comes directly with saddlebags, frame- and handlebar bags.
So you can just go on tour or start commuting right away. Very smart, especially for people who do not want to deal with all the details, but just want to get started.
Frame & Geometry
I had the Ghost Asket Advanced in frame size M in the test. I actually ride with my size of 1.84m and a step length and inner leg length of 81cm usually the frame size L. But the Asket in M fit me pretty well. But I would also like to try the size L, which would possibly be even better. In the M size I would then want to change the stem length from 60mm to at least 80mm in any case.
The Asket Advanced is according to Ghost…
…our purist Gravel Bike in the high-end equipment! With this crosser you can really let it rip on asphalt, gravel and forest trails. A lot of propulsion, the extremely robust construction and the high-quality components make this cross-country bike a reliable companion on discovery tours and sporty rides over hill and dale.
However, the Asket Gravelbike’s design is based on the Ghost Lector SF, the cross country hardtail MTB. This is particularly evident in the bend in the rear triangle, which, however, has a vibration-absorbing function in the Lector SF (the frame is made of carbon). According to Ghost, this kink in the Asket has only optical reasons.
This has surprised me, because when riding I meant to feel a pleasant flex and had this attributed to the kink.
So I asked again:
On the design with the kink: so it is with the Asket only design and no function? So no damping at all?
Exactly like that!
The frame of the Asket Gravelbikes consists of aluminum, the fork of carbon. According to Ghost, these are manufactured “overseas”. The bikes are then assembled in Waldsassen. As a frame set, the Asket is unfortunately not available.
The frame is very well processed, the welds are “aluminum-like” larger. Ghost relies on the Asket on internally routed cables, which on the one hand provides a very tidy appearance, on the other hand in practice then when changing a cable is not quite as practical. But that is a discussion of taste.
For me it’s not so bad, also because then the cables are not in the way when bikepacking bags and so also a little more protected lie.
Our frames are (also) ready for adjustable seatposts: The cable routing can be laid cleanly and well protected inside.
According to Ghost, the Asket has a maximum system weight of 120kg, which is of course not much, but industry standard. Heavy people therefore have to factor that in, especially if they also want to ride with luggage.
To achieve even more system weight clearance, the frame would have to be more massive, which would mean correspondingly more dead weight.
The Asket is classified in Ghost category 3:
Category 3 vehicles are generally bicycles, pedelecs and S-pedelecs of the mountain bike type with intended use cross country, marathon, tour and gravel.
Specifically, this means:
- includes categories 1 and 2 (concrete, paved, asphalt, paved and natural trails and roads) as well as rough trails with minor obstacles and unpaved trails that require good riding technique.
- participation in competitions is allowed
- drops and jumps up to a height of max. 60 cm are allowed (under the condition of appropriate riding technique)
- not suitable for acrobatic actions
The geometry of the Asket suggests a rather comfortable stance, good for long tours and good off-road handling.
Unfortunately, the Asket is not yet included in the geometry comparison database I often use. So for now, we can only look at the stack and reach values here:
- In size M, the reach is 407mm, the stack is 612mm, and the stack to reach ratio is 1.5.
- In size L, the reach is 427mm, the stack is 641mm, and the stack to reach ratio is 1.5.
For better understanding:
- Reach describes the vertical distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the headtube.
- Stack describes the horizontal distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube.
A lot of stack and little reach means: The frame is slightly shorter and you sit more upright.
Little stack and a lot of reach mean: The frame is longer and you sit more stretched/athletic on the bike.
A stack to reach ratio of 1.55 or more is considered a comfortable riding position. A value between 1.45 and 1.55 is a rather sporty position. Below 1.45, you can assume a very sporty, race-oriented seating position.
With 1.5, the Ghost Asket is thus at the upper end of the sporty position with an already quite comfortable seating position. I was able to determine this in practice as well. I found the geometry to be very comfortable and fitting right away. That just sat and I could cover longer distances without any problems.
Purely from the StR values, is the Asket with the Ritchey Outback (StR of 1.51) or the Bombtrack Hook (StR of 1.5).
The Rose Backroad or the Canyon Grizl have lower StR values and are therefore sportier in their geometry than the Ghost Asket.
The Asket frame and fork are richly equipped with eyelets. On the fork are three eyelets per side for carriers. In addition, there is an eyelet for mudguard mounting.
Three bottle cages can be attached to the frame, two in the frame triangle, one on the down tube. In addition, the frame has in the triangle eyelets for fixing bags with screws. And on the top tube there are also two eyelets for the cockpit / top tube bag.
In addition, luggage racks and mudguards can also be mounted on the rear frame.
The Ghost Asket comes factory fitted with 28 inch/700cc wheels. Here tire widths of maximum 50mm are possible, with mudguards 45mm.
But according to Ghost, 29 inch wheels with a maximum tire width of 2 inches can also be installed, or 650B/27.5 inch wide tires with a maximum width of 2.2 inches (without mudguards). This allows a versatile use of the Asket, even on more demanding off-road Bikepacking or gravel events.
The Asket models are all equipped with Shimano components. This begins with the basic Asket with a 9-speed Sora, over the 10-speed GRX with the Asket Essential to the 11-speed GRX with the Asket Advanced.
On the test bike, the GRX was installed with the 812 rear derailleur and the 600 shift/brake levers. It was equipped with 1-speed shifting: front with 40 chainring and rear with 11-42 cassette. This provided a small step-down, but from my point of view is not enough if you are traveling with luggage or in steeper terrain.
However, the shift / brake levers are already designed for 2-speed operation as well. The left lever is in this case blind switched and without function. But if you want, you can also go 2X on the Asket. The following maximum crank / ring combinations are possible according to Ghost:
- Sram 2×12: 50/37T
- Sram 2×11: 46/36T
- Sram 1-speed: 46T
- Shimano 2×9: 50-34T
- Shimano 1×11: 42T
- Shimano 2×11: 48/31T
The 40er chainring provides of course for decent propulsion, even if I would have wished me a little less teeth in front from time to time in the terrain then. At 15-17% climb on the Waseberg in Hamburg you have still fun with the combo 40v/42h, but with luggage that should then no longer be so easy to do with this gear ratio.
Also for the brakes Ghost relies on the Shimano GRX. The worked inconspicuously and the 160mm discs did not make a sound, even in wet conditions.
With the installed wheels, however, Shimano 105 hubs with thru axles are used. Rear 12x142mm and front 12x100mm. In addition, with the WTB ST i25 Ghost donates an inexpensive tubeless-compatible aluminum rim. On this test bike Maxxis Ravager tires in a width of 40mm were used.
And although these were equipped with tube, I was very pleased. With the right tire pressure, they had very good grip and clean cornering in wet and dry conditions. When it got muddy, of course they slid, but you always got them back under control just fine. And they didn’t go flat once. That happens to me quite often, but this time they lasted my test kilometers without any problems.
Maxxis writes about these tires:
The Ravager is a gravel tire for riders who want to tackle difficult terrain with just their drop bars and a thin layer of rubber. Where other tires go beyond the end of the road, the Ravager just starts. Raised square center lugs allow for good climbing as well as braking ability. Large side lugs get you safely through the next turn.
And I can confirm that! On asphalt anyway, but also in the forest and on paved roads, the profiling provided a good propulsion and at the same time gave the necessary lateral grip. So look at the tires times on occasion closer, if you are looking for new ones.
As a handlebar Ghost has installed its own Gravel Bar RA120A with a width of 460mm. I can not find any information unfortunately, but it has a flat top and hardly any flare. I found him ok, but do not cope so well with the flat handlebar top. Since I would change to another handlebar, which also has a little more flare.
But during my test rides, the installed handlebar was unproblematic. Only when mounting accessories or holders on the handlebar, you must of course ensure that only very little round clamping space remains on the right and left of the stem. An Aerobar I do not see there (unless there are clamps for this type of handlebars – which I believe, but do not know any concrete).
Ghost Asket riding characteristics & conclusion
Ghost also talks about the Asket Advanced as a “modern gravel racer: a road bike with off-road genes”.
In practice, I can understand that, because the Asket is despite sporty-comfortable geometry quite snappy on the road. It rolls very well on the road and off-road it is even snappier. One reason are certainly the tires from Maxxis, which enable and deliver the necessary performance here. On the other hand, the geometry also makes it possible to transfer the power well here. The bike is not bumpy off-road and I felt safe even on annoying root passages. I think that the size L would have brought a bit more smoothness than it was the case with the M and my body size.
As written above, I had expected a hard frame that passes the shocks more directly than I know it, for example, titanium or carbon. But the aluminum frame of the Asket has, in my view, even a bit flex and overall contributed to a pleasant riding experience.
And also in terms of weight, the Ghost Asket does not have to hide: my test bike weighed 10.3 kg without pedals. Officially, the weight is given as 11.2 kg. And there you can even squeeze out a little more, if you use, for example, a different wheelset, a different seatpost and saddle or optimize the gear model.
I am still surprised by this good and thoughtful throw of Ghost. The Asket is a very good gravel bike that brings everything for Bikepacking tours and is more than adequate as a sports bike.
And then there’s the price: for the Asket Advanced, Ghost is calling for 2,200 euros. That’s a more than fair price for this bike.
The entry-level Asket costs just 1,600 euros. The Asket with rack, mudguards and light comes in at 1,800 euros. The Advanced EQ with bags costs 2,400 euros and for the Essential with 10-speed GRX the bike builders from Waldsassen demand 1,900 euros.
Classification in Martin’s Allroad Bike categorization
As you know, I have developed an Allroad Bike categorization, in which I classify all the bikes I test and thus create a little more clarity.
This is not easy, also because the variety of types, applications, categorizations and trend designations make it almost impossible to structure this once. Nevertheless, I have tried it once. I have formed three categories under the generic term Allroad bike, but of course they overlap and thus also have commonalities:
- Performance & Race: Some of the bikes come from the racing bike / crosser area and / or are inspired by there. Especially road cyclists who switch to gravel find pleasure in these very sporty bikes, which are primarily intended for competitive use.
- Leisure & Everyday: Here I see the bikes that combine the sporty and the relaxed, and with which you can go almost anywhere without thinking much about it. Yes, here we’re talking mainly about the classic gravel bike as a primo offering to those who don’t want to worry about the surface anymore, but just want to ride.
- Travel & Adventure: Yes, even the daily commute to work can be adventure, but in this category I see all bikes that are suitable for almost all terrains, whose roots lie more in MTB and which make off-road, bikepacking and bike travel in all varieties possible.
For me, the Ghost Asket Advance Gravel bike lies in the sweet spot of Travel & Adventure and Performance & Race. You can do both very well with this bike, although I see more strengths of the Asket in the sporty Adventure Gravel.