Not all mountain bikes are specifically tailored to a wide range of riders. For women, some of the riding dynamics of more traditional mountain bikes may not be in line with variations in size, weight, or even aesthetic appeal. Liv Bikes is a company that makes a wide range of innovative and exquisitely crafted mountain bikes solely for women. Liv Bikes are also incredibly durable and varied across many different models, but what makes Liv Bikes stand out?
Liv bikes puts women first in everything they do, every frame they build, every component they spec, and every piece of gear they design. Liv wants your cycling experience to be perfect from the very first ride you take and across a range of MTB designs to match the wide range of mountain biking styles.
Are you ready to master a new skill on your mountain bike, discover more about the sport and learn more about Liv’s professional mountain bike models? Whether you want to learn how to do a front wheel lift, or start enduro racing, this comprehensive guide has you covered. In this guide, we are going to explore Liv’s mountain bike skill techniques, helpful MTB tips and help to get you inspired to take your riding to the next level.
Liv Mountain Bikes
Liv Cycling puts female riders at the front of everything it does. The sister company to Giant aims to make cycling more inclusive by designing and building bikes and gear with specifically tailored geometry for women.
Bonnie Tu, of Giant Bicycles, founded Liv in 2008 when she struggled to find cycling equipment and clothing that were right for her.
Focused on engineering bikes specifically for women, Liv calls its data-driven approach the 3F, standing for Fit, Form and Function. This design philosophy is featured across Liv’s range and sees the company deliver bikes that fit their function, and the female rider, perfectly.
The women’s specific brand is also well known for its presence across elite-level racing, sponsoring triathletes and road cyclists, as well as XC and enduro mountain bikers. The relationship is symbiotic, with athletes being involved in the research and development of products, ensuring that the result is perfectly formulated for top end performance. Liv is a unique bike brand, in that all of its bikes are designed and made by women, for women.
While most women’s bikes are often smaller versions of male or unisex bikes with different saddles, Liv designs its bikes from the ground up, tailoring them to women’s anatomy and specific physical needs.
In an industry that’s traditionally male-dominated, it’s fair to say that Liv bucks the trend. Not only does it have a female CEO, but the majority of its staff, from marketing to designing and engineering, are also female. What’s more, women are present at every stage of the design, development and engineering process, whether that’s talking to potential customers or working alongside the CCC-Liv pro team to test the latest technology.
Liv’s women’s-specific road geometry is based on body dimensions data gathered from multiple reputable sources. Its 3F Design Philosophy – Fit, Form and Function – is all about making sure women’s bikes are actually tailored to women’s bodies, and therefore their physical needs. Liv’s road bikes, for example, are designed to enable riders to maximize on the power from their quads.
Let’s take a closer look at Liv’s most popular bike models.
Liv’s Avail range is a more comfort-focused endurance road bike. The ride position is more upright, the tyres are thicker and Giant’s D-Fuse technology is put to work to counteract road chatter.
At the entry level are the Avail 1 and 2, both of which are full aluminum framesets, with rim brakes and budget-friendly groupsets (Shimano Sora and Claris, respectively). For the purist who wants something comfortable but more advanced, the Avail SL features a carbon fork and comes equipped with Tektro caliper brakes, Shimano 105 gearing and a shock-absorbing D-Fuse seatpost.
The Avail AR range is more targeted at on-the-fence roadies who occasionally take to unpaved surfaces. Sporting disc brakes and a carbon fork, the four AR models range from entry-level Shimano Claris, all the way up to Shimano 105.
Finally the Avail Advanced range uses Liv’s Advanced-grade carbon layup for the entire frameset, and comes with Tiagra, 105 or Ultegra groupsets, while the Avail Advanced Pro 1 and 2 are the top-end models with the choice between Ultegra and SRAM Force eTap AXS.
Liv Enviv Pro
Liv’s aerodynamic road bike offering comes in the form of the EnviLiv Advanced Pro Disc. From the name it’s clear that they’ve done away with rim brakes in this particular line-up and are using their Advanced-Grade Composite to create a disc brake-friendly aero frame.
There are two models in the range: the Advanced Pro 1 Disc and Advanced Pro 0 Disc. While the Pro 1 Disc featured Shimano Ultegra Di2 gearing in 2020, the 2021 model has been downgraded to cable-operated Ultegra. This has also brought the price down, which will be welcome news to some, though it still includes a Giant Power Pro power meter fitted to the crankset.
The Pro 0 Disc, however, appears to be continuing into 2022 in its original guise and comes equipped with a full SRAM Force eTap AXS groupset fitted with a Quarq power meter.
The Liv Avow Advanced is specifically designed for the female triathlete and time-trialist, which is truly a first. It uses the brand’s AeroSystem Shaping Technology and Advanced-grade carbon layup to combine speed with the perfect fit and feel. With two models available in the range: Advanced and Advanced Pro, there are several options to suit differing budgets.
The Avow Advanced is the most affordable of the two, incorporating alloy finishing kit alongside the carbon frameset. The Shimano 105 gearing is paired with Tektro caliper brakes, to create an ideal first tri bike for any woman looking into getting into the sport.
The Avow Advanced Pro is fully carbon, with Shimano Ultegra gearing and Giant SpeedControl SL brakes for stopping power that doesn’t add much weight. The Aerodrive Tri Composite bar and Vector seatpost included with the Pro are designed to create a comfortable and powerful aero position, while the Aerovault system provides a seamlessly integrated storage for essentials.
Liv made its first foray into the best gravel bikes sphere in 2021 when it released the Liv Devote range. The entire range is designed to accommodate gravel grinders and bikepackers alike, with geometry very similar to that of the comfortable Liv Avail range. The entire range comes with disc brakes – mechanical for the lower-end Devote 2, hydraulic for everything above it – and clearance for 45mm tyres which come setup tubeless out of the box.
The Devote 1 and 2 are the most affordable, with aluminum frames and carbon forks. Even at the lower end, the Devote 1 features Shimano GRX brakes and drivetrain (minus the cranks), making the gravel-specific groupset more accessible.
The Devote Advanced, on the other hand, features three models (Pro, 1 and 2) which all have Liv’s Advanced-grade carbon frameset. It’s at this level that the different models are clearly built with specific purposes in mind. The Advanced 1 is definitely for the bikepackers, with knobbly tyres and a dropper seatpost already fitted, whereas the Pro is kitted out with SRAM Force eTap AXS electronic shifting and is geared more towards long-distance gravel racers.
The Brava SLR is Liv’s current contender in the best cyclo-cross bike segment. Designed to take on grueling dirt climbs and tight corners, this lightweight performance-focused bike features the brand’s responsive ALUXX SLR aluminum frameset, disc brakes, and a top tube shaped for comfortable shouldering, as well as easy mounts and dismounts.
Other features make it a comfortable and rugged racer in harsh conditions, like the D-Fuse seatpost, Advanced-grade carbon fork, and the 15mm front thru-axle. Only one model is available currently, and it comes equipped with a SRAM Apex 1 groupset.
Liv’s additions to the best mountain bike realm cover everything from affordable hardtails to full-suspension trail shredders. Using the 3F Design Philosophy, Liv’s mountain bike geometry puts the rider in a balanced position for optimal efficiency and maneuverability.
Sizing in this area tends to come up quite small, in fact few of Liv’s mountain bikes are available in a size large, which is unfortunate for taller riders, but meant to cater for those whose proportions are too short for the majority of mountain bikes already available.
The full-suspension cross-country-orientated Pique is designed to speed across diverse terrain, with its massive 29er wheels rolling over pretty much anything, while the 100mm of travel absorbs the bumps.
Available in two models – the Pique 29 and the Pique Advanced Pro 29 – a variety of budgets are catered for. Both feature Boost spacing and 15mm thru-axles, while the Pique 29 range comes with an ALUXX SL-grade aluminum frame, versus the carbon composite frame of the Pique Advanced Pro 29.
At the lower end, the Pique 29 comes complete with a Fox 32 Float SC Performance fork with 100mm travel, as well as Shimano SLX 1x gearing, while the top-end Pique Advanced Pro 29 0 is equipped with a 100mm Fox 32 Float Factory Live Valve fork complete with a FIT4 damper, and a SRAM XX1 Eagle 1x groupset.
The Liv Embolden is a playful full-suspension trail bike with 120mm travel that’s designed to inspire confidence on trails and singletrack. It’s available in two models (Embolden 1 and Embolden 2) which share an ALUXX-grade aluminum frame and 27.5-inch tubeless-ready wheels.
At the top level, the Embolden 1 features a RockShox Recon RL fork and a SRAM Eagle SX groupset, while the Embolden 2 is complete with a Giant Crest 34 RLC fork and Shimano Deore groupset. Both models have a 1x setup for simplicity on the trails.
Enduro riders will look towards the 140mm travel Intrigue as Liv’s burliest bike options across the world. With its 27.5-inch wheels and clearance for 2.6-inch tires, it can confidently take on the rough stuff and roll over rock gardens with ease.
The aluminum Intrigue range comes in three models, with the lowest-end Intrigue 3 featuring a SRAM Eagle SX groupset and RockShox 35 Gold RL 150mm fork.
The carbon Intrigue Advanced 1 on the other hand boasts a SRAM GX Eagle groupset and Fox 36 Float Performance Elite 150mm fork with a FIT4 damper and Boost spacing. This is a serious and lightweight bike for a serious enduro rider.
In the summer of 2021, Liv added the Intrigue 29 and Advanced Pro 29 to their global line-up.
For the more tame mountain bikers, the Liv Tempt is an aluminum hardtail with disc brakes, aimed at coaxing you away from the road and out onto the trails. While there are actually five models to choose from, essentially you could buy up to ten different versions of this bike, because the small and medium sizes come with two wheel options to choose from.
You can pick a speedy 29er with 100mm of travel, or a more playful combination of 27.5-inch wheels and 80mm up front.
At the entry-level of the range, the Tempt 4 comes equipped with pretty budget components, but at a rather affordable price, it’s to be expected. A Suntour XCE fork and a mixed groupset consisting of a Shimano Tourney rear derailleur and Tektro mechanical disc brakes will be enough to inspire those new to mountain biking without breaking the bank.
At the top end, the Tempt 0 features an SXC32-2 RL air spring fork, a Shimano Deore M6100 drivetrain and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, making for a confidence-inspiring and maneuverable ride.
Giant Liv Bikes
If you are wondering about Liv bikes in terms of larger models, Liv/giant was created to fill a need for all women who are interested in the cycling lifestyle.
It doesn’t matter if you have years of experience, are a beginner, or have never ridden before and want to learn how cycling can help you live a happier, healthier, more adventurous life. Whatever your background and whatever type of rider you aspire to be, Liv/giant is designed for you.
The products bearing the Liv/giant brand represent a diverse range of purposes to meet the needs of every woman rider, from beginner to serious cyclist. A simple guiding principle is at the heart of these fine Giant products as mentioned above; it’s called 3F.
This product-design philosophy, which stands for “Fit, Form, Function,” allows Giant’s Liv/giant engineers and designers to stay focused on the holistic balance of these three key characteristics that are critical to build bikes that appeal to women, are designed for them and ride so nicely you’ll think every Liv/giant bike was custom built just for you.
3F: Fit, Form, and Function Explained
Nothing is more critical for comfort, function and overall riding enjoyment than a proper fit. Liv/giant bikes are designed specifically for the unique ergonomic needs of women riders like you. They are created with women’s-specific frame geometry and come in accommodating size ranges.
Liv/giant bikes also feature women’s-specific components including narrower handlebars, shorter-reach brake levers and women’s seats. Every aspect of the bike is analyzed and optimized for a perfect fit.
While Giant’s Liv/giant engineers determine the key factors of a bike’s handling, such as the frame material, geometry and integration, it’s the designers’ job to bring the whole package together in a stunning form. They aim for smooth, pleasing, organic lines and shapes. They also create stylish accessories and choose colors and graphics that connect with the unique personality of each bike’s owner.
And, every Liv/giant bike is designed to serve the unique needs of the woman it’s made for. From the off-road bikes with Giant’s amazing Maestro suspension, to their cutting-edge road rides with their Advanced Composite Technology, these women’s bikes are truly custom-tuned for you.
Plus, Giant’s top-end bikes are developed using feedback from professional racers. Their sport bikes are designed to be just as comfortable as they are zippy. And, their lifestyle bikes solve real-world needs with features, such as easy-to-operate and low-maintenance hub gearing and racks and baskets. These are just a few examples of Liv/giant’s functional solutions for all cycling pursuits.
It didn’t take long for Giant Bicycles to recognize women like to ride bikes, too, and they are not simply smaller versions of male cyclists. With that, Giant launched the Liv Cycling brand in 2008 with a line of bikes engineered and designed specifically for women.
Liv Cycling features a range of bikes comparable to their brothers with the Giant name badge. Racers on the road and the mountains have a variety of choices for cyclists of all abilities and interests.
While Liv products might share some of the same DNA as Giant bikes, they’re definitely unique. Designed from the ground up with Liv-specific geometry and separate molds for carbon frames, the bikes are unique in virtually every way.
Due to the specification and value, Liv has established itself as one of the most popular women’s specific bicycle brands. Liv’s road bikes can be found beneath some of the world’s fastest racers on the women’s world tour. Racers and recreational roadies alike appreciate Liv’s comfort, performance and affordability.
From the high end Enviliv and Langma to the entry level, yet race worthy Avail, women who ride road have a variety of options that will guide them to podiums, finish lines or canyon summits.
On the dirt side, Liv isn’t much different. With unique engineering, excellent carbon or aluminum and top-flight components, Liv’s mountain bikes range from lightweight hardtails to full suspension trail bikes capable of shredding trails.
Other giant bikes from Liv include urban commuters and electric pedal assist bikes as well as uniquely designed kids bikes that will allow your youngster to grow from training wheels to race day if that’s what they are into.
Liv bikes are beautiful, elegant and functional – much like the riders who own them.
Liv Intrigue Line
For most brands, women’s-specific geometry has fallen by the wayside in favor of different touchpoints and branding. The consensus, it seems, is that women’s bodies (and riding styles) aren’t divergent enough from men’s to require an entirely different platform.
Yet Liv soldiers on, more or less alone apart from Juliana Bikes, with its ground-up women’s-specific builds—and despite the lack of competition, they keep getting better. 2021’s Liv Intrigue was the best yet, and not just in its own shrinking category—it was a legitimately good bike in any roundup.
This award-winning mountain bike combines the manufacturing expertise of Giant, Liv’s parent company, with a female-focused design philosophy. This means that the bikes are of great value for such high-quality women’s specific machines. There are three bikes in the range, and each combines modern trail bike geometry with a very capable component spec.
There are two frame options within the Intrigue range. The Intrigue 2 and 3 both share the same alloy frame. This is made from the highest grade ALUXX SL-Grade aluminum which means that it is both lightweight and strong. The Intrigue Advanced has the same rear triangle as the other two bikes but the main frame is made from carbon fiber composite. This makes the Advanced frame lightweight and strong as well as giving it a smooth seamless look.
All the bikes in the range get a forged carbon rocker link to control the rear shock.
Liv is one of the very few bike brands that offer a “true” women’s specific design. Liv uses data collected from a global database that records up to 289 individual measurements. Combined with input from top-level female athletes this means that all Liv bikes are designed from the ground up to offer the best fit for female cyclists, especially the Intrigue line.
The angles of the two frame types are virtually identical. In line with modern geometry trends, the reach is longer than on previous Intrigue models with shorter stems to match. This is combined with a moderately slack 66.4 degree headtube angle and a reasonably steep 74.5 degree seat tube. This gives you a confident riding position on the descents while still being comfortable and efficient on the climbs.
The first thing you’ll notice on the 2021 Liv Intrigue is the short reach, which is intentional. One of the enduring concepts about women’s bodies is that ladies tend to have longer legs in proportion to their torsos, and this bike reflects that. Depending on how you look at it, that may have earned Liv a pass on the fact there is no XS size in the Intrigue 29 lineup.
For context, the small Intrigue is only 10 millimeters longer than the size XS Pivot Trail 429. Though that comparison is a little murky given that a cornerstone of Liv’s frame design is that women of all heights are better served with shorter reach measurements than they’d find on unisex bikes. A shorter bike tends to give you more front-end control with less effort—but can translate to a twitchy feeling on descents.
That wasn’t the case with the Intrigue. The bigger wheels (this is only Liv’s second full-suspension 29er to date), and modernized geometry result in a delightfully self-assured ride, equally composed when climbing or smashing descents. For the first time, ‘women’s-specific’ truly felt like it was an advantage, rather than something that was expected for ladies to work around.
With 125 millimeters of rear travel and a 140mm fork, the Intrigue hangs solidly in the mid-travel category. You get plenty of efficiency for what some might call a “social” climbing pace, and enough travel to get pretty rowdy on descents. In some ways it’s a master of none (it’s not light enough to be an XC crusher, or burly enough to get super sendy) but if you’re looking for that one bike to get you out on most rides, this could be your daily driver.
Many riders like the Intrigue right out of the gate—but came to really like it as the ride went on. If you’re feeling lazy, it gives you back more than you put in, softening edges and sucking up the trail effortlessly. Give it a little more juice, and it turns into a playful dirt jumper, more than willing to tackle rock rolls and other chaos.
Riders also feel that the top of the bike is freeing, totally in control, and free to push their limits thanks to the contours. The Intrigue does away with DVO’s highly-tunable but intricate suspension in favor of more ubiquitous Fox or RockShox squishy bits. To give you even more tunability, a flip chip lets you steepen or slacken the head tube and seat tube nearly a full degree depending on your ride style.
Other thoughtful spec choices include trusty Maxxis tires (a 2.5-inch EXO-casing Minion DHF in the front and a 2.4-inch EXO Dissector in the rear), 4-piston brakes and huge improvements to the function of the Giant-branded dropper post, though Liv chose to spec a short 125mm post on the Intrigue which had mixed results.
Liv Intrigue 2
Whether aesthetics are a top priority for you or not, this is an unmistakably good looking bike with a deep two-tone metallic finish paint job in the appropriately named color ‘Ocean Spray’, a welcome change to the flat and matt paints you see on a lot of current bikes. The frame pops and shimmers under daylight, like it’s showing off in its natural setting.
The geometry of the Intrigue is middle of the road for a trail orientated bike with no big surprises with the numbers. Many riders found the size guide from Liv was off though, putting them slap bang in the ‘small’ sizing bracket. For example, a 5’5-inch woman will usually ride a medium or 17.5-inch, and not the size recommended.
It is certainly something to consider and points toward going to a bike shop to at least sit on one before committing.
The Maestro suspension platform has been seen on Giant’s MTBs for years, so it’s no surprise to see it throughout the Liv range as well. It climbs well, providing a solid minimally-bobbing platform when climbing and does the business on the downs.
Many riders will set the fork and shock to the recommended pressures for their weight and don’t have to alter them throughout the test. The same can be said about the Fox 34 fork upfront.
Despite being from the cheaper end of SRAM’s mountain bike groupsets, the NX kit on the Intrigue performed well.
The groupset generally is a little noisy; it has a particular whirr about it, especially when getting up toward those massive bail out gears at the top of the cassette, but aside from that the Intrigue 2 performs well.
Liv Intrigue 3
A long-travel trail bike designed specifically for women, the Intrigue 3 sits between the cross-country oriented Pique and the enduro focused Hail in Liv’s full suspension mountain bike line-up. The Intrigue 3 offers capable performance on every type of trail, so is ideal for riders who want one-bike-to-do-it-all.
The Intrigue 3 uses the same Maestro rear suspension system as the very popular Giant Trance. This fully active design uses four pivots with two linkages to create a virtual pivot point that works independently from braking and pedaling forces. This means that the suspension keeps on working properly all the time. Great for those bumpy climbs and rough descents. The 140mm of rear-wheel travel is ideal for technical trail riding.
It’s enough for having a go at the very roughest tracks but won’t leave you feeling over-biked on mellower trails.
Up front you get 150mm of travel from the fork for a well-balanced feel when riding. The entry-level Intrigue 3 has a RockShox 35 fork. This is one of RockShox ‘more affordable forks, but the technology used is much the same as that found on their high-end offerings of only a couple of years ago. This means that you get superb performance on rough terrain.
The other two bikes in the Intrigue line both get highly regarded Fox forks. The Intrigue 2 has a Fox 34 while the Intrigue Advanced 1 gets a burlier Fox 36. Matched to a Fox DPX2 shock, this means that the Advanced model offers a more confident ride on challenging trails, but the Intrigue 3 ramps this up a notch.
It is great to see that all three bikes get SRAM Eagle 1×12 speed drivetrains. The very wide rear cassette gives you all the gears that you’ll ever need out on the trail while the single front ring makes gear shifting very easy. The main difference between the three drivetrains is that the shifting action gets smoother as you move up the range from 3 up to the 1.
Braking duties are taken care of by Shimano on the alloy bikes with more powerful SRAM stoppers on the Advanced 1. The components on the more expensive bikes are also lighter weight which makes the bikes lighter too.
The saddles are all Liv’s own which are of course designed to offer female mountain bikers the best fit. The handlebar grips have a nice feel and are much narrower than you find on unisex mountain bikes. This makes them particularly good for those with small hands. Short stems and wide handlebars give you a confident riding position on the bike.
Some might find the bars on the Intrigue 3 a little too wide, but it is very easy to trim them down if you need to. Each bike has a dropper post to help you make the most of each trail section without having to stop and fiddle with your seat post.
Liv Intrigue Advanced
There is also an Intrigue Advanced to consider. Visually, the Intrigue Advanced Pro1 in the “chameleon mars” finish is a real eye catcher. The carbon frame features flowing, organic lines and the paint finish exudes quality. For the specs, Liv relies on a FOX chassis consisting of an excellent Performance Elite fork and FLOAT DPS shock.
The 12 speed SRAM GX drivetrain with a 30 t chainring and a 10–52 cassette offers a gear range of up to 520% and thus takes the edge off the steepest climbs. To keep the weight low, Liv uses an in-house GIANT TRX2 carbon wheelset, which at this price point is by no means a given. Also the MAXXIS tire combo with a Minion DHF up front and DISSECTOR at the rear are a very sensible choice.
Light riders are well served with the standard SRAM G2 brakes, but heavier and inexperienced ones who are still building up their confidence, may want to consider upgrading to more powerful stoppers. Speaking of confidence, the dropper post of the size S frame has a meager 100 mm travel. The reason for this is the pronounced kink in the seat tube, which limits the insertion depth of the dropper.
With its wide 750 mm handlebars and long 50 mm stem, the cockpit is perfect for small riders. At 12.94 kg, the weight is pretty reasonable, especially considering the wide and very robust tires. The geometry of the Liv Intrigue Advanced matches that of a modern trail bike. The size S has a reach of 415 mm, a rather conservative 65.8 degrees head angle and a pleasantly steep 77 degree seat angle.
The chainstays measure 438 mm across the board and the bottom bracket has a whopping 40 mm drop. All data above refer to the low setting, which can be adjusted via a flip chip in the rocker link. If you’re not too much into geo tabs, don’t worry, in our riding impressions we will tell you how the bike rides on the trail.
Liv Intrigue Advanced Riding Performance
At 425 mm, the seatpost looks unnecessarily long and limits the freedom of movement in combination with the short 100 mm dropper post. Liv’s engineers definitely achieved one thing: the Intrigue Advanced is both comfortable and efficient, providing the perfect base for long days in the saddle. The riding position is central, not excessively upright but not too stretched either, while the big 29-inch wheels integrate you with the bike.
This ensures a very balanced weight distribution and prevents the front-end from lifting, creating a great feeling of safety. Uphill, the chassis is incredibly efficient even without the activated climb-switch while offering good comfort and plenty of traction on technical climbs. Once you’re sitting on the Intrigue Advanced, you don’t want to get off.
Thanks to the light wheels (and despite the bulky tires), the Liv accelerates willingly and feels pleasantly nimble. Uphill, the concept of a comfortable, long-distance trail bike really works.
Downhill, Liv Advanced is good-natured and predictable from the get go. The same pleasant feeling of integration you get on the way up recurs when you lower the dropper to shred your way back into the valley. The Intrigue Advanced responds to rider input quickly and directly but always feels composed. In combination with the sensitive chassis and well-defined rear end, the bike delivers endless fun on flat and flowing trails.
The Intrigue Advanced loves to be pumped and accelerates willingly. Inexperienced trail riders and ambitious tourers who are constantly alternating up and downhills, will love this bike. However, there are also situations in which the Intrigue Advanced isn’t as comfortable: fast, steep and very technical trails. With its 140 mm of travel, the fork works smoothly and harmonizes with the 125 mm rear-end.
However, the chassis reaches its limits on bigger drops and with harsh impacts, passing a lot of information onto the rider. In addition, the bike lacks smoothness at high speeds, where it’s still relatively easy to control but fails to inspire confidence.
Liv Cycling ShoesLiv is also famous for its range of durable MTB shoes. The gum-colored soles and faux-leather upper with turquoise lacing that define many of their shoes are both memorable and sharp.
Made from TPU that looks like leather, with a mesh tongue and mesh around the heel, Live shoes are heavily reinforced at the toe to prevent scuffing or slicing. Zonal lacing lets you control how tight you make the toe versus the midfoot. The reflective laces slide easily through the bottom three grommets, but not the top, so you can tune tightness throughout. Most Liv shoes are perforated in the toe, tongue, and midfoot.
Those vent holes, combined with wicking mesh around the ankle and on the tongue, do a good job wicking moisture from the shoe and away from your foot. Liv gives riders a big swath of sticky rubber in this shoe’s dual-density sole, with harder, more durable rubber in the toe and heel. That gives flat pedal riders some real estate to play with for experimenting where the shoe and pedal engage.
The less sticky toe and heel should make the shoes wear longer than a fully sticky sole, but some users may find different variations in this. The soles of Liv shoes feature rubber that is sticky, but not as grippy as some shoes frequently tested for MTB, including the Ride Concepts Vice.
Liv Shoes Features
An extra fat EVA insole gives Liv shoes some cushioning, but not enough for many riders to want to keep it on post-ride. Additional cushioning in the midsole would also have been welcome in this department. The Liv Shuttle Flat, for example, includes a footbed specific to the shoe, which makes it challenging to use for some. At over a half-inch thick at the heel, the footbed is a structural element, and not the usual disposable insole you find in most footwear.
Liv did a good job keeping the toe box of their shoes spacious but not sloppy, with midfoot-to-ankle lacing that locks your foot to the shoe. This can create a bit of a learning curve for some riders with dialing-in the lace tightness.
Liv’s women’s specific shoes are a compact and well presented trail shoe with features benefiting those with xc race aspirations, it is stiff and packed full of technology to make power transfer to the pedals more efficient. The sole is composed of an aggressive tread with a deep profile and an angular pattern – perfect for cutting into mud but promising to be rather skittery on dry trails and rock.
Adding to the mud capabilities is the option of adding front studs for extra grip so if you’re considering dabbling in a little cyclocross, these could be worth a look. With good mesh patches and ventilation holes, there won’t be much chance of overheating in these shoes and they cut a very sexy fit with subtle detailing.
With this said, some users have reported some issues with the shoes, the fit is rather snug width-ways with the ratchet being a bit of a reach to engage and the second Velcro strap only just getting enough contact to grip properly – ladies with wider feet or a preference for thick socks should think about trying them on first.
The buckle and ratchet system is quite exposed on the side and feels delicate and strained making many users question it’s durability in the case of a crash.
Liv shoes are a good choice for those who are looking for a tidy looking trail shoe that will also serve as a performance xc race shoe. It’s lightweight and stiffness credentials make the high price understandable but difficult to swallow with the fit and closure issues.
Are Liv Bikes Worth It?
One of the best things about Liv Bikes is that the company creates and tailors bikes to many different types of MTB as well as different riding styles for different women. Liv’s bikes are certainly made with a superb level of craftsmanship and come equipped with only top of the line materials, safety, and durability enhancements to serve the needs of female riders.
Consider giving a Liv bike a try, and if you want a larger model, opt for a Liv/giant model.