Giant have gone back to the drawing board to redesign the majority of its 2014 mountain bikes around 650b (27.5in) wheels. While the company’s commitment to middle-sized wheels is newsworthy, we found its level of support for women’s mountain biking – through the Liv/giant brand – the most encouraging thing about the 2014 launch.
This summer, Giant is introducing five new female specific models. If you're a woman looking to get into mountain biking, or a seasoned racer, the odds are that the company will have something to suit your needs.
Click through the gallery on the right for a rundown of Giant’s 2014 women’s mountain bikes.
Giant 2014 coverage on BikeRadar
- Giant 2014 650b (27.5in) mountain bikes
- Giant 2014 cyclocross bikes
- Giant 2014 mountain and cyclocross prototypes
650b wheels across the range
While many of Giant’s 2014 men’s/unisex mountain bikes exist in both 650b and 29er form, the company has determined that it can serve a wide range of female riders with just one wheel size – 650b (27.5in)
“Our research led us to believe that the 27.5in wheel platform offers an ideal way to reduce overall bike weight, improve efficiency, and deliver better control for female riders,” said Liv/giant product developer Abby Santurbane.
The new models also distance themselves from the men’s line through branding, paint schemes and component spec. Gone is the ‘W’ designation previously used to indicate which of Giant’s bikes were designed for women; in its place are bikes with undeniably feminine characteristics.
"We get to cherry pick all things Giant and make the best bikes we can for women,” said Liv/giant product marketing manager Jackie Baker. Some of the features that carry over to the women’s line include Giant’s OverDrive 2 head tube, mated to forks with 1.25in to 1.5in tapered steerers, rear dropouts that are convertible between 142x12 and 135mm, and internal cable routing.
While the five new Liv/giant mountain bikes have clear analogs in the men’s line, Baker was quick to point out that the new models have different geometry and, in the case of the carbon bikes, layup schedules designed to better suit the needs of female riders (for example, placing an emphasis on weight savings over absolute stiffness).
The Intrigue is Giant’s new women’s 650b trail bike. Like the Trance, it has 140mm of front and rear travel and is designed for general trail riding as well as enduro racing.
The Intrigue shares many of the same features as the Trance, but has improved standover clearance, taller head tubes and shorter top tubes across the four-size range
The two models in the Intrigue line share the same aluminum frame and use forks with on-the-fly travel adjust to drop the front end from 140mm to 120mm and improve front wheel tracking on steep climbs. Both bikes also come with Giant’s new internally routed Contact Switch dropper seatpost.
Lust and Lust Advanced
Giant-sponsored cross-country and enduro racer Kelli Emmett had a hand in developing the Intrigue trail bike, as well as, what Giant claims is the world’s first women’s specific carbon 650b full-suspension bike, the Lust Advanced.
The Lust Advanced 0 has a top-shelf build, including SRAM's XX1 group, a RockShox SID XX fork and Giant's new P-XCR0 carbon wheelset
The bikes in the Lust series are designed with endurance racing in mind. Like the Anthem, the Lust and Lust Advanced have 4in of front and rear suspension. There are two Lust Advanced bikes; both have carbon front triangles mated to aluminum rear ends. There are also two bikes in the aluminum Lust line.
Many companies produce women’s specific mountain bikes, but only a few have models that are on par with men’s models in terms of construction and component spec. The Liv/giant team is committed to producing bikes of that caliber for female riders.
This season, road and cyclocross champion Marianne Vos has decided to start racing World Cup cross-country events in the build-up to the 2016 Olympic Games. Her weapon of choice is a prototype of the Obsess Advanced.
The two bikes in the Obsess Advanced line share similar features to the XTC, such as an internal seatpost clamp, oversized chainstays for power transfer, and thin seatstays to take the edge off rough terrain
As the name implies, the Tempt is Giant’s gateway bike. The five models in the Tempt line share the same aluminum frame. Compared to the race-focused Obsess Advanced, the Tempt has relaxed geometry to increase stability and make it more forgiving for budding mountain bikers.
Relaxed geometry and a bent top tube help make the Tempt beginner friendly
For more information on the 2014 Liv/giant line visit www.livgiant.com.