Liv's brand new women's specific electric mountain bike offers all the power of a full-fat eMTB, with with significantly less weight
The new Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ is a new take on the lightweight emtb, weighing in at a claimed 18.8kg. But the twist is that it gets a full-fat motor and lightweight, compact battery, so there’s no compromise on power or torque. It’s also designed specifically for women, with all the capabilities needed to rip, roar and explore any trail that’s thrown at it. In fact, Liv claims this is the lightest full-power eMTB on the market.
Need to know:
- Giant claims it is the lightest full-power eMTB on the market at 18.8kg in size S
- Uses Yamaha’s SyncDrive Pro2 Motor with 85Nm of torque powered by an EnergyPak Smart Compact 400Wh battery
- Travel is 140mm at the rear with a 150mm travel fork and it runs a mixed wheel configuration, with 29in up front and 27.5in out back
- Gets a full Advanced carbon frame and carbon rocker link
- Wireless SRAM GX Eagle AXS groupset with SRAM Code R brakes
Liv is a rare entity in the modern bike world; a brand solely dedicated to women’s bikes. It was founded by Bonnie Tu, Chairwomen of Giant Group (yes, that Giant), and its USP is that its bikes are developed using women-only rider data, with geometry and spec chosen to suit women riders.
Does that mean that Liv bikes are suitable for all women, or that all women will suit Liv bikes? Not at all, and Liv is up front about the fact that not every woman will get on with their bikes. But also that it is unapologetic about putting women front and centre in terms of bike design, athlete support and grass-roots advocacy.
Women’s specific geometry
So in line with the rest of the Liv range, the Intrigue X Advanced E+ has women’s specific geometry, and that geometry is distinct to that of the Giant Trance X Advanced E+ Elite, which occupies a similar niche in the Giant product range. Technology may be shared across the sibling brands – so you’ll see a Giant dropper post on the Liv, for example – but that’s as far as it goes.
The full frame, including the Maestro suspension link rocker, is constructed from Advanced grade carbon composite, and comes in four sizes – XS, S, M and L – though the size L is not available in the UK.
Liv has opted for a mixed wheel size for the Intrigue, even for the size XS bike, which is rare. Plus there’s a flip chip to switch geometry between high and low settings, to suit different trail conditions and riding preferences. In the low setting that gives a trail-ready head angle of 65.8º and seat tube angle of 76º, combined with relatively mid-length 447mm chainstays.
Cables are routed internally via the headset for a neat cockpit, and the premium model comes in a striking gloss Airglow finish that looks understated in the shade but eye-catching in the light.
Motor and battery
Power comes from the redesigned SyncDrive Pro 2 motor, developed with Yamaha, which offers 85Nm of torque and up to 400% support – although the latter is fairly meaningless. Liv claims the motor weighs in at 2.7kg, which is on par with the Shimano EP801 and the Bosch CX Race motor.
The main weight saving comes from the new EnergyPak 400 battery, which was developed with Panasonic and is impressively compact. It sits neatly in the down tube and weighs a reported 2.3kg. Liv claims that a full charge takes only 2 hrs 55 mins, or 1 hr 45 mins to 60%, which means a quicker turnaround for getting back out on the trails.
There’s also a 200Wh range extender available which sits in the bottle cage if more juice is needed for longer rides or hillier terrain.
Thanks to the compact battery, motor and controls, the Intrigue keeps the fact that it’s an e-bike relatively discrete.
Rather than a prominent control unit, support modes are shifted by the Ride Control Ergo 3 control, which clamps around the handlebars on either the left or right side, and also controls the walk assist mode. These controls can be programmed using the Ride Control App, which can also be used to tweak the support modes to suit rider preferences. A discrete unit integrated into the top tube – the Ride Control Go – can be used as either the display unit with the Ergo 3, or as a simplified control unit, displaying battery levels and modes.
The aforementioned app, which runs off a paired smartphone, can be used to track ride data such as distance, speed, cadence and calories, shows battery level and range in real time, and also offers a diagnostic check feature. Of course, you’d need to mount the phone to your bike to view real-time levels. But Liv offers an alternative stem cap with an integrated mount for compatible devices.
Of the various support modes on offer, one of the most interesting is the Smart Assist mode. Rather than providing a uniform level of support, it takes feedback from six sensors on the bike and adapts the mode to provide ‘optimum’ support based on the terrain. In other words, it’ll boost support when it senses you’re heading uphill, and lower it when you’re having a cruisy ride with low cadence on the flat. This should also improve efficiency, deploying precious battery power when it’s most needed.
Another sensor-based system is at play with the suspension. On this range-topping model, there’s a Fox Float X trunnion mounted shock and Fox 36 Performance Elite forks, hooked up to Fox’s Live Valve. This does for suspension what Smart Assist does for motor support; monitoring sensors to determine terrain, and adapting the suspension performance to provide the most efficient setting.
The spec is completed with the SRAM GX Eagle AXS wireless groupset plus SRAM Code R brakes with 220/200mm rotors for powerful braking. The TranzX Rad+ dropper seatpost allows 30mm of travel adjustment in 5mm increments, so it can be tailored to fit the rider better, and is fitted with a Liv Sylvia E+ saddle.
The Intrigue also bears the new Giant Contact SLR Trail Integrated carbon 800mm handlebar, which – unlike a lot of integrated cockpit systems – allows adjustability; stem length can be 40, 45 or 50mm, with a handlebar position of 0º, -3º or +3º degrees giving a backsweep of 7º, 8º or 9º.
Wheels are Giant TRX 2 alloys with 30mm rim width, fitted with a Maxxis Minion DHF tyre on the front and Maxxis Dissector on the rear.
How it rides
On the undulating rocky terrain of St George, Utah, the Intrigue X Advanced E+ felt right at home. Smart Assist, combined with Fox Live Valve, made for a package that was impressively set and forget; it’s the kind of support that makes you feel like a hero on the bike, boosting up climbs and flying down craggy descents without realising there’s a whole load of complex computation going on.
It never felt anything other than seamless, although a little bit of refinement with the Ride Control App would dial it in perfectly, and I had to turn it off every now and again to remind myself how much work was being done on my behalf.
And of course if you prefer to do the tweaking and set-up refinement yourself, there are plenty of opportunities to dial things in to your heart’s content.
The mixed wheel size set-up provided an interesting combination of stability and smoothness with a more poppy, agile ride than running full 29er, though the test trails weren’t particularly twisty.
Liv claims a range of up to 150km, but of course this is very dependent on terrain, rider weight, support mode and other factors. I didn’t max out the battery on the test rides, but I did manage to burn through a high percentage on a hillier ride while going all-out on the full assist mode.
Overall, the ride feel was a thoroughly enjoyable combination of playful and capable, though I definitely feel I barely scratched the surface of what this bike can do.
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