Liv, the women's division at Giant, offers a comprehensive range of women's bikes including three Liv Intrigue X E+ e-bikes, named simply the 1, 2 and 3. Review by Alice Burwell.
The Liv Intrigue X E+ 1 uses a fluid formed aluminium frame, a Giant developed drive system and feature women’s geometry and gender specific components. The motor fitted to the Intrigue X E+ 1 is a Giant SyncDrive Pro which is actually based on a Yamaha design. Giant pairs this with a 625Wh Panasonic battery and uses its own mapping software to deliver 80Nm torque and a maximum assistance level of 360 per cent. The motor also has optimum support between cadences of 50-110rpm, which simply means it works best if you keep the pedals spinning. Giant’s compact control unit uses a series of tiny LED lights to display battery life and ride modes. These landing lights aren’t very intuitive, but if you want to see proper figures, Giant’s RideControl app displays all the relevant info.
Liv Intrigue X E+ 1 review
Like Bosch, the Giant system has a ‘Smart Assist’ mode that automatically adjusts the power output depending on the terrain. There’s also a walk mode, with the button on the front of the controller, so no weird finger gymnastics are needed to operate it.
For indoor charging the battery is fully removable. Simply insert a T25 Torx key into a hole in the down tube and the battery pops out. There’s also a charging port on the frame, but I found the plastic cover over the socket hard to release.
The Maestro suspension system on the Liv Intrigue X E+ 1 uses the same Co-Pivot technology as other Giant bikes, where the lower shock mount shares mounting hardware with the main suspension pivot. This approach saves weight but the Intrigue X E+ 1 is still a kilo heavier than the Scott Contessa Strike eRide 910. However it does have a stiffer Fox 36 Performance Elite suspension fork with 10mm more travel up front, which I think is worth the trade-off.
Women’s specific parts include thinner grips and a women’s saddle with a channel. I found the Liv Sport Pro saddle plush but the grips are rock hard, which is why I swapped them after one ride. Liv also fits a chunky 2.6in Maxxis Assegai tyre up front and a faster rolling Dissector on the rear. As such, the bike doesn’t have the Scott’s turn of speed or quite the same range, but it’s way more confidence inspiring when riding technical trails. I also found it much easier when rolling into steep chutes as the bike didn’t slide around as much because there is a lot more braking traction too.
The bike comes with a top-end Shimano XTR rear derailleur but the Shimano XT brakes suffered from the same inconsistent performance as most I’ve tested, often wandering bite point without warning.
One of the key differences between this bike and the Scott is the women’s specific geometry. The Intrigue X E+ 1 has a shorter reach with a higher handlebar height, which also brings the bar closer; basically it’s shorter and this makes the bike more manageable for lighter riders. The rest of the geometry is close to other e-bikes with this amount of travel, but the BB height is quite tall, which is actually a plus as it also again makes the bike easier to manoeuvre. A relatively steep seat angle puts you in a great position for climbing and the long chainstays help keep the rear tyre glued to the ground.
With its shorter top tube, the Liv not only fitted me better it handled better too thanks to its superior suspension. In the slacker geometry setting, it feels incredibly composed when straight- lining rough tracks, but it’s still agile when you want to nip in and out of tight singletrack turns. In fact, the Giant felt so familiar when I first jumped on it; more like a bike I’d spent a few months getting dialled in. And coming back to the Giant after riding other e-bikes I didn’t have to relearn how far to push the grip or where to position my weight when descending, it just felt so composed and so easy to ride fast.
Review by Alice Burwell.