LIV INTRIGUE X E+ 1

Designed by women for women

1000By Pamela Zoolalian

Liv is the brand, within the Giant Group, that was developed 14 years ago with a goal of focusing bikes designed specifically with women in mind by building them to better fit women’s physiology for better control and handling. It’s worked very well, and the bikes tend to fit most women very well. 

THE BIKE

The Intrigue starts with an aluminum ALUXX SL frame slathered in stunning Chameleon Plum color. The “1” numeration designates that the bike uses the highest-end spec of the Liv model line. Suspension duties are capably performed with a 150mm Performance Elite fork and a Fox Float DPX2 Performance shock that relies on Giant’s own Maestro linkage with a handy flip chip for adjusting the geometry. It was nice to find that the Fox suspension is custom-tuned for Liv.

THE PARTS

A mix of Shimano XT and XTR drivetrain components work well with the 12-speed SLX cassette with a 10-51T driven by a KMC e-specific chain. Shimano XT 4-piston hydraulic brakes with 203mm rotors can stop you on a dime. Giant’s 29-inch tubeless-ready e-TR1 rims and hubs were the wheel choice, and they’re mounted with a 2.6-inch Maxxis Assegai 29×2.6-inch in front and a 29.5×2.6-inch Maxxis Dissector rear. 

Shimano’s 12-speed XTR Shadow+ drivetrain offers optimal gearing for almost any climb or descent.

Liv specs a specific dropper seatpost with a range between 100-150mm of drop depending on frame size. The grips have a smaller diameter to cater to smaller hand sizes. 

THE MOTOR 

The Intrigue X models are powered by a Giant-branded SyncDrive Pro motor, which is actually a Yamaha PW-X2 motor. Giant is the only company that Yamaha allows to put their own programming and battery into the bike (it helps that Giant is known as the world’s largest bike maker). Apparently, other brands are offered a choice of two to three choices for basic programming. The motor puts out 80 N/m of torque and offers up to 360 percent assistance.

The bike uses Giant/Liv’s very plush Maestro suspension technology and utilizes a Fox Float rear shock that’s custom-tuned for the bike.

There are a variety of modes, offering everything from Eco to High, and there’s a Smart Assist mode that adjusts power output based on how hard you are pedaling and the terrain.

The 625Wh battery is made by Giant and offers plenty of range, but they do have an external range-extending battery as an option to make longer rides possible. Giant and Liv are starting to use 21700-cell batteries (versus 18650 cells) on some models to achieve better power, range and cooling.

Suspension up at the forgiving front end of the bike uses a Fox Float Performance Elite fork with 150mm of travel.

The RideControl Ergo display is one they’ve been putting on bikes for a couple of years. We really like the simplicity. It has buttons for changing modes and rows of bright LEDs that show pedal-assist level and battery life.

WHO IT’S MADE FOR

The Intrigue X E+ 1 is made for women, obviously, but more specifically intermediate- to advanced-level mountain bikers who want a bike with plenty of range and with a range of sizes that fit many women that might not fit other bikes. Their extra-small frame fits 5 feet tall to 5-foot-4, and their large fits 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-11, with two other sizes in between.

THE RIDE

When I first set my eyes on the Liv Intrigue X E1, I could see this was the best of the best for a “girls’” bike. The aesthetics alone were a step above. The beautiful shape of the downtube was not simply cylindrical, but molded, creating elegance in style lines where the battery was housed. From there I marveled at the Shimano Deore XT shifters, the 203mm brake rotors and Shimano XT hydraulic four-piston brakes. 

My maiden voyage was going to be a simple “get to know the Liv” ride on familiar trails. As I pedaled up the steeps of my local mountain range I began smiling and laughing. I was immediately impressed by the pedal assist as it delivered what I’d long been pining for—an easier climb so I could ride more downhill sections. Although I was still working hard, I was only in the second of the five power levels, and of the 12 gears I had yet to rely on, the big 51T cog hit the lowest gearing. 

What I was experiencing was the needed pedal assist so my legs could take me further up the mountain. I was no longer zonking out after a few short miles. Sure, I was still breathing deeply with my legs burning from feeling the work, but the bike carried me where I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy going previously. My day ended up being so much fun that I rode almost 24 miles, going from about 1000 feet elevation to 2500 elevation. 

The four-piston Shimano XT brakes with 203mm rotors offered ample stopping power and good modulation.

The following few weeks my mind began thinking about how the Liv Intrigue would do on more technical terrain, so it was off to SkyPark at Santa’s Village in the mountains near Big Bear Lake. The SkyPark trails are home to miles of groomed berms, jumps and wood features that truly match top destinations in technical ability all while running through a thick canopy of trees. I couldn’t think of a better playground to really see how the Liv Intrigue would perform.

I had been told that SkyPark was the perfect e-bike park simply because there are no ski lifts to get you back to the top of the runs. It’s all pedal power. Once I pedaled up to the top, I sat for a moment to marvel at how bike technology had evolved since the days when I first began riding. Here I sat on a bike that just assisted my ride up, yet there was no shortage of technical features to enhance the performance for the ride down! 

Giant/Liv’s minimalist approach to the display/controller is simple, works in bright daylight, and gives you at-a-glance detail about battery life, power level, etc.

 

Once on the trail I could appreciate the plush suspension absorbing my landings before pushing me through the turns as the rebound propelled me down for the next quick obstacle. It’s a great feeling having a bike that’s designed for a woman in mind. Everything about the Liv Intrigue felt right. It’s as if the bike was designed for me and me alone. As the day moved on, my confidence with the trail and the bike really showed. I would laugh out loud, howling as I flew over features. I felt like a kid as I reached the point of weightlessness, grinning from ear to ear. 

THE VERDICT

I came away incredibly impressed with the overall performance of the Liv Intrigue. It was obvious that they spared no expense in specing the bike. It is not only eye candy but also the top of its class regardless of the gender-specific geometry. While you might look at the price tag of many e-bikes and scratch your head in dismay, there was no question to me that this bike is worth every penny. It truly is a game-changer out on the trails. I have now been converted and am a true believer in the power of pedal assist.

LIV INTRIGUE X E+ 1

Price: $6250

Frame: ALUXX SL-grade aluminum

Fork: Fox 36 Float Performance Elite, 150mm, FIT4 damper, Boost 110×15 QR, 44mm offset, e-optimized, custom tuned for Liv

Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance custom tuned for Liv

Motor: Giant SyncDrive Pro

Battery: Giant EnergyPak Smart Integrated, 625Wh. Giant EnergyPak Plus range extender compatible.

Controls: Giant

Charge time: 4–5 hours

Top speed: 20 mph

Range: 32–65 miles (claimed)

Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR, Shadow+

Chain: KMCe. 12 Turbo, EcoProteq, e-bike optimized

Brakes: Shimano XT hydraulic 4-piston, 203mm rotors

Saddle: Liv Sylvia SL, SST rails

Dropper post: Giant Contact Switch, 30.9mm

Rims: Giant e-TR1 29”

Hubs: Giant e-TR1 110×15 (f), 148x12mm (r)

Tires: 2.6” Maxxis Assegai foldable (r), MaxxTerra (r) Maxxis Dissector (r)

Weight: 51 pounds

Color choice: Chameleon Plum/Black

Sizes: X-small, small, medium, large

www.liv-cycling.com

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