Just a few years ago, Ghost was not a too well-known bike brand in the US. However, these competitive German-made mountain bikes are now becoming a go-to choice for more and more Americans.
The Ghost Kato series is a beginner mtbr’s dream as it consists of entry-level and mid-range hardtail and full-suspension bikes that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Packed with quality Shimano, SR Suntour, and RockShox components, as well as Schwalbe tires at the higher price points, all Ghost Kato bikes have excellent value propositions.
All Katos have 100 mm of travel, but they roll on 29″, 27.5″, and even 26″ wheels and tires. They have a balanced geometry and are super-fun to ride.
These bikes are a good choice for any mountain biker who is just starting out on the trails. If you want a real no-frills MTB that will get you out more and help you have some fun in your free time, check out the Ghost Kato Series.
Read our review of the entire Kato lineup below to learn more and start riding as soon as possible!
Kato 1.6 AL
26″ Model for Junior Riders
Juniors and shorter riders finally have a proper MTB to ride to the trails. Ghost Kato 1.6 AL is an attractive-looking XC Tour bike with 26″ wheels.
It’s a fast and agile bike with nimble geometry that can climb and tackle twisty flats equally well. As you can guess from the name, this Kato comes with an aluminum frame. It’s available in two colors — blue and orange — so juniors will love it.
With a 33.2 lbs. total weight, we can’t really say Kato 1.6 is lightweight. However, it’s packed with high-quality and durable parts that require little maintenance and have low upkeep costs.
The SR Suntour front plush gives you 100 mm of travel and the Shimano Tourney drivetrain equips you with a total of 24 wide-range gears.
You also get Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes which are a bargain at this price point. This setup opens up most mountain, fire, gravel, and dirt roads to you, as well as moderate trails without severe jumps and drops.
The 26″ tires are 2.10″ wide, which makes Ghost Kato 1.6 ride well on both paved and unpaved roads. If you plan to stay off-road, wider tires would be a good upgrade.
Get it if you’re hunting for your first MTB!
Kato 2.7 AL U
Cheapest 27.5 Model for Adults
Budget mountain bikes for adults start with the Ghost Kato 2.7 AL U model. This 27.5″ XC bike comes in two modern colors (orange and red), packed with Shimano components and an SR Suntour fork.
At the front, this bike has an SR Suntour SF19 XCT30 fork with 100 mm of travel. This model does not provide a lot in terms of adjustability but offers good vibration dampening.
Ghost Kato 2.7 is a foolproof choice for beginners and casual riders who want a simple bike they can ride anywhere. A ride with the kids? Check. A ride on the trails? Check. A trip to the store, to work, or to school? Check, check, check.
The drivetrain gives you 24 speeds and consists of Shimano Tourney (front) and Shimano Acera (rear) derailleurs. The brakes are Shimano MT200, dual-piston with 160mm rotors, which are definitely off-road ready.
Ghost Kato 2.7 AL maintains contact with the ground with Rodi Excalibur XC 19 wheels and Mitas Ocelot 27.5 x 2.10 tires. These wheels lean toward the heavy side and the tires are a bit skinny, but they’re more than fine for recreational riders.
If you’re looking for a do-it-all mountain bike, you will love Kato 2.7 the moment you leave the paved roads.
Kato 2.9 AL U
Budget MTBR’s Dream 29er
Most experienced mountain bikers nowadays swear by 29ers. They rely on them for climbing, descending, XC and trail rides. Ghost made the Kato 2.9 AL U model for beginner riders to get a taste of the big wheels and big rides.
Kato 2.9 is pretty much the same as Kato 2.7 in terms of appearance and components. It sports the same SR Suntour 100 mm fork, the same Shimano Tourney and Acera components, and identical Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes. j
The only difference is the wheels and tires. They’re the same brand and model, but 29ers are much beefier than 27.5″ rims and rubber.
The question is — do you need bigger or smaller tires?
If you plan to take your Ghost Kato 2.9 AL to rough trails and forest roads with big bumps, roots and rocks, its bigger wheels will make you happy and content.
Ghost Kato 2.7 is better for flatter XC rides with a lot of twisty bends, as its handling is nimble and responsive. Kato 2.9 will gobble descents a lot better and roll over obstacles more easily.
Whichever you choose though, you’ll end up with a quality budget bike that will ride well on a variety of terrain.
Kato 3.7 AL U
Widest Gear Range 27.5
Better Shimano components and a more capable SR Suntour fork characterize the Ghost Kato 3.7 AL model. On the trails, that translates to more efficient flat riding and climbing, but also better performances and more confidence when descending.
To be more precise, this bike touts a Shimano Acera drivetrain with 27 speeds, which is more than you could ask for. The crank is built from 44-32-22T rings, whereas the cassette has an 11-34T range. There are some serious granny gears for climbing to choose from here.
The SR Suntour XCM fork on Ghost Kato 3.7 is an entry-level option, but its 100 mm of travel will feel velvety smooth on moderate dirt roads and trails.
Another improvement Ghost Kato 3.7 has seen is bigger rotors. Shimano MT200 hydraulic brakes clamp 180mm rotors which is a big improvement in terms of stopping power and braking precision.
The tires are Mitas Ocelot 27.5″ x 2.10″ wide, which is a go-to choice for most Kato models.
As a result of these upgrades, Kato 3.7 AL U gives beginner riders more confidence to wander deeper into the forest and explore bike paths that were off-limits before.
Kato 3.9 AL U
Most Versatile 29er
Entry-level mountain bikers who are buying their first bicycle or upgrading from a Walmart bike should give Ghost Kato 3.9 AL U a serious consideration.
This is a versatile aluminum bike with remarkable specs for the money. As a budget model, it has some downsides, but these are negligent for recreational cyclists.
Thanks to massive 29″ wheels and not too thick 2.10″ tires, Kato 3.9 rides well on tarmac and on dirt. If you want a comfy MTB to commute and ride trails on the weekend, this is the one.
Riders who spend more time on the trails could benefit from a shorter stem and a narrower handlebar, but that’s also subjective.
Just like its smaller brother Kato 3.7, this bike boasts dual-piston Shimano MT200 brakes, an SR Suntour XCM fork, and reliable Shimano Acera components.
You can choose from two colors — green and black — both of which look modern and give the bike an expensive appeal.
Buy it if you don’t want to pay through the nose but want to ride every day and then some.
Kato 4.7 AL U
Top Value Upgrades
Ghost Kato 4.7 AL U is where the real improvements begin to show. This model comes with almost better everything, except for the fork which is still an SR Suntour XCM with 100 mm of travel and remote lockout.
First of all Kato 4.7 has received better shoes compared to its Ghost siblings, so it now wears Schwalbe Rapid Rob tires that are 27.5″ in diameter and 2.10″ in width. They’ll provide you with more grip, stability, and maneuverability on the trails. The wheels, however, are the same Rodi Excalibur XC.
Ghost Kato 4.7 comes with many improvements in terms of components, but still maintains a reasonable price.
The rear derailleur on this bike is a Shimano Deore 9-spd, which is considered to be an excellent low mid-range option. It shifts smoothly and is quite durable. The front derailleur and shifters are still Acera.
The brakes have gotten a revamp too. Shimano MT200 is replaced with MT400. These are dual-piston brakes paired with 180 mm rotors front and back for superior braking.
These upgrades make Ghost Kato 4.7 more capable on the trails and allow beginner and intermediate riders to feel more confident and head out for longer and more challenging XC rides.
Kato 4.9 AL U
Playful and well-spec’d 29er
An excellent bike needs to perform well, but also needs to look good to be ridden often. Ghost Kato 4.9 is available in two popular colors (riot red and riot green with black details), that most riders will love.
Its 29″ wheels make it suitable for slightly taller riders compared to the 4.7 model, but you can find the right fit by going to one of the four sizes: S, M, L, and XL.
According to Ghost Bikes, playfulness and climbing are Kato 4.9’s strongest points. Even though this is a 29er, the ride is still nimble and responsive and the handling is quick, which is what matters for XC rides.
At 31 lbs. it is a bit heavy, but that’s mainly due to burly wheels and tires and the SR Suntour XCM fork. The 3×9 drivetrain with 27 speeds also adds a bit of weight but adds a lot of gear range as well. If you make any upgrades, you can start with the front plush.
If you want better components, better descending, and a bike that makes no compromises with roots, rocks, or bumps on the road, get Ghost Kato 4.9 AL U.
Kato 5.9 AL U
Most Affordable with Air Squish
Kato 5.9 AL U is Ghost’s first slimmed down model from this lineup. It comes with several improvements that make it lighter, simpler to ride, and more efficient when out and about.
One of the main selling points of this model is the SR Suntour XCR Air fork. It puts 100 mm of travel at your disposal and offers remote lockout. Air forks are lighter than coil-based models and provide more adjustability.
Kato 5.9 is also the first model with a 2x drivetrain that we’re reviewing today. In fact, it sports a 2×10 Shimano Deore groupset, which is considered to offer the most bang for the buck. It’s affordable, precise, and very durable.
Ghost Kato 5.9 AL U touts an air fork, 2x drivetrain, and Schwalbe tires at a very competitive price point.
One surprising piece of the puzzle is that Ghost went back and installed Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes on this model. The tires are still Schwalbe Rapid, 2.10″ wide and the wheels are 29″ in diameter.
In terms of appearance, Ghost Kato 5.9 AL is possibly one of the best-looking models so far. You can get it in Monarch Orange and Nightblack with Riot Red details, both of which are super-hot.
Kato 7.9 AL U
Best Hardtail 29er in the Lineup
Kato 7.9 AL U is the best Ghost has to offer when it comes to hardtail bikes in this affordable lineup. It has better components hung on the true and tested Kato frame that offers superior off-road properties. It is also the only hardtail model with a tapered head tube.
First of all, the front suspension is air-infused RockShox 30 Silver fork with 100 mm of travel. This fork is considered to be the best option for XC riding that you can get at an approachable price.
Ghost Kato 7.9 AL U is the best hardtail mountain bike this German company has to offer in their affordable lineup.
High-end Shimano components greatly increase the value and performance of Kato 7.9. Namely, the drivetrain is composed of a Shimano XT M8000 Shadow rear derailleur and Shimano SLX front derailleur. In total, they give you 22 speeds with a massive 11-42T cassette.
The Rodi Excalibur wheels have finally been replaced on this model — now you’ll get Rodi Blackrock rims which are lighter and more durable. The tires are still the same Schwalbe Rapid Rob, and there’s no need to change them.
If you want the best in terms of front squish and drivetrain components, Ghost Kato 7.9 AL is non-negotiable.
Ghost Kato FS 2.7 AL U
Cheapest Ghost Double-Squish
The majority of Ghost Kato models are excellent hardtails, but this German company also has two affordable full-suspension models on offer.
Kato FS 2.7 AL has an SR Suntour XCR 34 fork with 130 mm of travel and an SR Suntour DUAIR rear shock also with 130 mm. These are light and nimble suspension parts that lean toward the mid-range spectrum, so they are a good deal.
Ghost Kato FS 2.7 AL U is an affordable trail bike intended for beginner riders who are considering a purchase of their first FS MTB.
The groupset on this FS bike is Shimano Deore M6000 Shadow Plus. The rear derailleur has a flatter profile, so it is more resilient to falls and impact. In total, you get 20 wide-range gears, which is more than enough for any XC or Trail ride.
When it comes to rubber, Kato FS 2.7 has a Schwalbe Tough Tom K-Guard 27.5 x 2.25 front and Schwalbe Rapid Rob 27.5 x 2.10 rear tire. This combo gives you the best balance of speed and grip you can get. The wheels are Rodi Excalibur XC seen on most Kato models.
Buy this bike if you want to experience front and rear suspension and push the limits on your trail rides.
Ghost Kato FS 3.7 AL U
Best Kato FS You Can Get
If you have a few extra dollars to spare and you want the best Kato FS has to offer, you should end your search with the 3.7 AL U model.
At the front, Kato FS 3.7 eliminates vibrations with an SR Suntour AION 34 LO-R 130 mm fork. At the back, it improves comfort and trail performance with an SR Suntour DUAir LO-R 130 mm shock.
The front and rear derailleur are Shimano SLX and XT, giving a total of 22 gears. That’s more than you could ask for.
Ghost went all out with Kato FS 3.7 AL U and equipped it with the best components money can buy for this much money.
When it comes to braking, riders will get a pair of Shimano BR-MT500 hydraulic discs with 180 mm rotors and dual pistons. These brakes will stop on a dime when you need them to.
The wheelset and the tires are the same as on the cheaper Kato FS 2.7 model, but they’re an excellent deal for the money.
So, if you’re getting deep into the trail riding rabbit hole and you need a bike that can follow along, we recommend Ghost Kato FS 3.7 AL U.
Ghost Kato Series For Kids
The love of trails and off-road cycling should be nurtured from an early age. Ghost gives you the tools to do that with the Kato Kid lineup of four affordable and capable models.
These 20″ and 24″ XC machines can go anywhere and do anything, painted in colors that all kids will love.
- Kato R1.0 AL U – This 20″ kids’ mountain bike is everything a kid needs if they love exploring forest trails and fire roads. Kato R1.0 has frame geometry tailored toward kids and a saddle that’s comfy for their hips. It sports wide tires, 8-speeds, and Shimano components that can handle some abuse.
- Kato 2.0 AL U – Some kids take riding seriously from an early age and need a bike that can handle it. Kato 2.0 has a 50mm front suspension that will make off-road rides more comfortable. But that doesn’t mean this 20″ MTB is not a good choice for neighborhood rides and trips to the school.
- Kato 2.4 AL – Older schoolkids and teenagers can choose Kato 2.4 AL which comes with 24″ wheels, wide tires, Shimano components, and front squish. It’s an all-around good bike that does not weigh a lot and costs reasonably low. Kids can choose from two attractive colors — blue and orange.
- Kato D4.4 AL U – This bike is almost the same as Kato 2.4 AL, but has one important distinction—hydraulic disc brakes. They brake without any hiccups no matter the weather or the terrain. In combination with quality Shimano components and wide tires, they give kids confidence and high performance on the trails.
Our Thoughts About the Kato Series
Ghost Kato is a series of good-looking bikes with excellent specs for the money. Since they are mainly intended for beginners, they have both good and bad sides.
We love the low prices and quality brand names such as Shimano, RockShox, SR Suntour, and Schwalbe. We think riders will also love the excellent XC and Trail geometry, as well as the choice of colors.
What we don’t like as much is the weight of some cheaper models that sometimes exceeds 33 lbs. However, that’s a common problem with many XC bikes in this price category.
All in all, our conclusion is that the Ghost Kato series is comprised of thoughtfully-created bikes that don’t cost much. They’ll allow budding riders to go out more, practice their skills, and return home muddy and happy with their choice.
Related series: Ghost Square Cross
Where to buy Ghost Kato bikes?
Unfortunately, Ghost isn’t as popular in the US (yet) as it is in Europe. We’ve only found them available on REI and on Wiggle (and they sell at the speed of light!). So act fast!