Giant’s women-specific trail bike now delivers on performance and price, says Janet Coulson
Need to know
- Nimble 27.5in women-specific trail bike
- 140mm travel front and rear
- Three frame sizes, all with bags of standover clearance
I was a big fan of last year’s Liv Intrigue, which hit the £2k price point, all bar a pound. This year Liv has two options of its women-specific trail bike: the Intrigue 1 at £2,199, and the Intrigue 2, ridden here, at just £1,499. The question is: how much has slashing £500 from the price impacted the ride quality?
The good news is that the frame and geometry stay exactly the same. And indeed, why change a winning formula? With 140mm travel, the balance is great for both descending and climbing, it is stable at speed, and the low-slung top tube offers plenty of standover clearance for throwing the bike around underneath you.
Watch Janet give her thoughts on the best women’s hardtail
Vitally, the rear shock too is still the RockShox Monarch R and the result is that nothing is lost in terms of grip on technical climbs and absorption of those bigger hits on the way down. Up front, the RockShox Sektor Gold is the Solo Air version with great small-bump sensitivity; the 15mm Maxle lending security to those hard-into-the-corner turns.
Cornering control is improved further by the very respectable 730mm handlebar — a big improvement over the 690mm bars on last year’s bike. The cockpit isn’t perfect though, I swapped the stock 80mm stem for something a little shorter, and with this single change the position on the bike feels really good. Also, the grips are still a little fat and spongy — something I found particularly noticeable in winter gloves where I got hand fatigue after an hour-or-so of riding.
One feature I miss the most, which is standard trim on the Intrigue 1, is the Giant Contact dropper post. And although I still find myself feeling totally spoilt when I say it, the reality is that when all your friends can drop their saddles on-the-fly and you have to stop and faff about with a multi-tool, as there is no quick-release, it does become a frustration.
The Liv Intrigue 2 is still a cracking ride, and having the option of spending a wee bit less for a few less perks, or splashing the cash for higher-spec bling, is a perfectly reasonable development of this bike. And you definitely still get tons of versatility and fun for your £1,500, with the Intrigue 2.