A do it all fast endurance road bike with electronic gears and women specific geometry. Can the Liv/giant Avail Advanced 0 live up to its many promises?
The Avail looks like a full on race bike at first glance; the aero-shaped seat tube and fork blades deflect attention from the true nature of this endurance beast. It’s actually designed for riders looking for a performance ride on sportives, centuries and day-long epics.
The female specific geometry offers a slightly higher front position due to the taller steerer tube that provides a comfortable, yet sporty, endurance riding position. Liv/Giant were the inventors of and also continue with their commitment to compact frame designs, the sloping toptube gives better standover height for smaller riders and reduces the size and weight of the front and rear triangles whilst increasing stiffness and strength.
Carbon fibre frames are our favourite weapon of choice for comfortable and compliant road bikes, here we see Giant’s Advanced-Grade Composite (T-700 carbon fibre monocoque construction), with an oversized OverDrive steerer tube and integrated RideSense ANt+ sensor for wireless data transmission. It looks stunning too with electric blue graphics piercing the eye from all sides and contrasting against the black background and matching black components. The forks are full carbon construction including the steerer tube – no expense spared here.
We love the Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic gears; we’ve always felt frustrated with the length of sweep required for our small hands to change from the small to large front chain ring. But no more – a quick touch of a button and shazam – magic or perhaps electronics do the rest! Our gear changes have never been so precise and perfect. Next year and beyond will only see this technology improve; in terms of design expect to see sleeker looking components with smaller motors, options for button positions and integrated battery units. Performance will no doubt continue to improve too – we’re already converts.
The brake levers offer a good amount of adjustability for reach, perfect for smaller hands, and easily tuned via the screw adjuster. Previously Shimano supplied a simple wedge insert to bring the lever closer to the bar, it worked fine but wasn’t particularly elegant.
It’s especially nice to see a full Shimano Ultegra groupset, no corners cut or sneaky cost cutting alternatives, every moving part is the wonderfully reliable and super smooth Ultegra. Ultegra are Shimano’s second top groupset and unless you’re a pro-rider, obsessed with losing a few grams, or generally dislike spending extra cash, then the step up to Dura-Ace is probably not necessary anyway. We say ‘hats off to Giant for not skimping!’
Giant’s P-SL0 wheels are lively, compliant and pretty lightweight too, they don’t look particularly bling, but then again style over substance is a worse crime by far. The Giant P-SL tyres are smooth and surprisingly good in even the most gruesome of wet and slippery conditions, a pleasant surprise at a time of panic emergency stopping – as we found out.
There’s more carbon fibre bling with the Giant integrated design seat post, constructed from their top end Advanced SL-Grade Composite carbon fibre. Topped with the sporty, yet comfortable enough to ride all day Fi’zi:k Vesta saddle with Manganese rails, a good choice for the bike given the endurance slant of the bike.
By making minor adjustments to the contact points, namely the bar height, stem length and saddle position, we improved the fit from ‘good’ to ‘nigh on perfect’. Switching the stem for a slightly longer version perfected the ride position and allowed foor a smidge more space to stretch out and enjoy the ride. Everything else fitted a treat though, even with our penchant for wider bars the narrow (38 inch c-c) Liv/Giant Contact women’s bar felt fine after the stem change. All going to show it’s worth putting in the time getting the bar (and saddle) position absolutely right for the most comfortable riding position possible.
Sick of the never-ending cold weather, we headed to Spain for some sunny miles to see how the Avail performed on their beautiful new tarmac roads (thank you EU money)! Gliding along the silky smooth ribbons they call roads, there was no scope for hiding any faults or niggles, allowing us to focus on what really counts – the responsiveness and performance of the bike in full action. The Avail promised endurance comfort with responsive and efficient climbing and sprinting whilst also delivering on comfort, and we certainly weren’t disappointed.
You can pound the pedals all day on the Avail without feeling unduly fatigued or uncomfortable. The higher bar set-up gives the shoulders, neck and back a more relaxed position than a more traditional head down race position, definitely gaining top marks for comfort. That said, there’s no reason why you can’t race the Avail, it’s snappy and responsive and enjoys a good thrashing up steep climbs and holds a sprint superbly well too. Cornering is a dream, holding a line in a stable and confident way, the bike feels well balanced and at ease on technical and tight cornered mountain descents.
Even back on Britain’s pitted and pot-holed roads the Avail feels smooth, and does well to absorb road buzz and judder. In a perfect world we’d choose carbon bars, which would be the icing on this rather delicious cake, this would enhance smoothness even more. We figure it’s always good to have an upgrade in mind!
Needless to say we were totally enamored with the bike’s geometry, handling and performance, and this was equally matched by the components too. After 600 miles we haven’t had to touch anything apart from pump the tyres up since we threw a leg over the Avail.
– Comfortable yet sporty
– Great spec all round
– How are we to go back to using non-electronic gears now?
What Giant say about the Liv/Giant Avail Advanced 0
2013 Liv/Giant Avail Advanced ladies carbon endurance bike is incredibly responsive and efficient for climbing and sprinting – but not at the cost of comfort. Featuring women’s – specific geometry and OverDrive steerer tube, which is oversized for better handling and slightly taller for endurance positioning and an integrated RideSense ANt+ sensor for wireless data transmission which lets track your progress. Featuring the same endurance geometry as Cycling Plus Bike of The Year Liv/Giant Defy Advanced perfected specifically for women riders.