Liv is the sister brand of cycling industry juggernaut, Giant.
The brand stepped out of the protection of Giant in 2014, to become its own entity, with the sole ambition of offering a standalone solution for women who ride – be that road, mountain bike, or just to the shops and back.
The brand offer a wide range of bikes tuned specifically to the female rider, as well as apparel to match, plus clothing and helmets all featuring the unmissable Liv design.
TWC had the pleasure of interviewing the mastermind behind Liv early in the brand's life. Bonnie Tu was a founder investor in Giant Bicycles, and though she’d ridden since childhood, she didn’t learn to use the gears on a road racer until she was 57-years-old.
“We wanted to make cycling more approachable because many women are scared to go out cycling."
She told us that the number one aim of the brand was to grow women’s cycling - saying: “We wanted to make cycling more approachable because many women are scared to go out cycling, especially those who didn’t ride when they were younger.
"So I always make sure our product designers come up with bikes that give our female riders confidence to step on a bike, no matter what age. I want to give them the security and from there they can go into road racing or mountain biking."
Liv have put approachability at the top of their agenda since inception. However, that doesn’t mean they forgo performance. They’ve created bikes and kit for the most target driven of riders, after the highest end of componentry, and they’ve invested in supporting our idols, too – sponsoring Liv Plantur as well as the phenomenal Rabo Liv team, which is home to some of the greatest female riders of our age.
Where do we even begin? Liv provide a comprehensive range, with road race, endurance, cyclocross, full suspension and hardtail mountain bikes, as well as hybrids and Dutch style bikes.
One the road side, the Envie will no doubt make any female rider’s friends green eyed. Models go right up to Dura Ace Di2 for a penny under £5,000 – but what we’re most impressed with is the impeccable value. For £1,600 a rider can pick up the Envie Advance 1 with a carbon frame, Ultegra groupset and top end touches such as aero brakes, seatpost and wide rims.
This year the brand demonstrated their dedication to performance, with their first female specific time trial bike – the Avow. Speed and aerodynamics were all taken care of, but what set the bike far apart from the competition was the stunning paint job that left the TWC office open mouthed.
On the mountain bike side, Liv upped the ante this year with their brand new 140mm travel Intrigue, with 27.5 inch rollers, to complement the existing 100m travel Lust. There are hardtails too, from the entry level Enchant that starts at just £299, to the Obsess Advanced, an all out cross country racer.
For those petering between road and off-road, there's the out-and-out cyclocross racer, the Brava for £999 as well as the more 'adventure road' gravel grinder, the Invite that starts at £699.
The city range comprises of three sporty hybrids, of varying off-road capabilities, and the rather stunning Flourish, complete with basket and chain guard, and mostly designed for short trips around town.
Liv’s clothing range is extensive. The brand did receive criticism initially for the heavy reliance upon traditionally feminine hues – pinks and purples – but they’ve stuck to their guns. They’ve always said that their core passion is “making cycling more approachable and appealing so it can become a mainstream sport and fitness activity among women." Numbers don’t lie, and there’s no doubt about it that pink sells well with the mainstream market.
Just because it’s pink, doesn’t mean it’s not technically advanced. Highlights of the new range include the Infinita trail helmet, with large vents and a handy goggle strap retainer plus Go-Pro mount. On the road end, the Attacca aero road [pictured below] and TT helmets scream super quick.
This year Liv also introduced a brand new saddle fitting system, with a gel pad that can be used in store to determine a rider’s sitting position. Saddles are available with differently shaped channels; ‘forward’ models are fitted if the woman rotates forwards whilst the ‘upright’ saddle is for those who rest back on their sit bones.
Liv have been the bike sponsor of Rabo Liv for years – supporting the Queen of the peloton, Marianne Vos as well as once three time World Champion in cyclocross, road and mountain bike, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot with bikes and equipment.
As well as supporting the UCI pro giant, Rabo Liv, the brand are also headline sponsor of Team Liv-Plantur – also a UCI pro team that offered British rider Lucy Garner a step up into the ranks of the infamous Wiggle High5 for this year.
We could go on forever. Liv have impressed us from the start, and no doubt they'll continue to do so as the years roll on.