Liv, previously know as Liv Giant, is a new brand dedicated to women. Giant has long been committed to the female rider, but the launch of its new sister brand Liv, brings that commitment one step further.
Liv, according to the brand's global Marketing Manager, Amanda Schaper, is the only comprehensive product collection designed specifically for female cyclists. The brand aims to provide a solution for every type of female rider no matter what her level. And we have to say we are impressed with what we have seen so far.
The complete range features everything from entry level road bikes, hybrids and sit up and beg style bikes, to high end mountain and road bikes. It is an impressive offering.
Last week we were treated to a sneak peek of the Liv Avail 2015 range in Scotland ahead of its global launch in August. The line features four different bikes ranging from an entry level road bike simply called the Avail right through to a high performance endurance bike - the Avail Advanced SL. Prices are yet to be confirmed in the UK but it looks like prices will start at around the £500 mark for the entry level model and stretch beyond the £5,000 for the top of the range Avail Advanced SL.
The Liv brand is designed, engineered and headed up by women, which is fantastic but it is actually the combination of this commitment to female specific products coupled with the expertise within Giant that has allowed them to create a really impressive range of bikes.
I had the pleasure of riding the Avail Advanced SL, the highest end bike in the range, over two days in Scotland. And I am happy to report it was very impressive.
With a frame weighing in at less than 900g, it is the lightest bike in the 2015 Liv line. With regard to the frame it is the product not only of expert engineering but also body dimension research and feedback from athletes and consumers in order to establish the ideal geometry. Within the first couple of minutes, it felt like a bike I had been riding for years - a perfect fit and reassuringly familiar.
The light frame allows riders to climb faster while exerting less energy and it has to be said that the weight to stiffness ratio is impressive making it super efficient.
The Avail Advanced SL features an integrated seatpost which has been designed to flex slightly in order to absorb vibration on uneven surfaces. While the roads in Scotland were surprisingly smooth, we did put this to the test on some slightly more rough and ready terrain and it really delivered. The only downside with the D-Fuse seatpost is the commitment to saddle height with the use of a hacksaw - once you have chosen your saddle height, it really is there to stay.
My favourite elements of the bike were definitely the Di2 Shifting and the Shimano Dura-Ace disc brakes. The former gave an amazingly smooth gear transition and although it took a little getting used to, really was a pleasure to use.
The Shimano Dura-Ace brakes were also a nice surprise. It was the first time I had used disc brakes on a road bike and I was a little wary at first, wondering if they would have the same sensitivity as my mountain bike. But I have been converted. The brakes offered precise control of the bike even in wet conditions and on step descents.
This is a fantastic bike, perfect for long endurance rides in all weather conditions. The women's specific fit coupled with intelligent engineering gives a very comfortable, confident ride.
Stockists: Giant dealers nationwide from August 2015.
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