Liv ditches 27.5-inch wheels and goes all-in on 29er wheels for 2020 Pique XC bike

Top-end Liv with Fox Live Valve comes in at a heady $12,300

2020 Liv Pique

The Liv Pique, a 110mm travel XC-focused bike, has been updated for the modern era of cross-country racing and, for the first time, is now available with 29er wheels.

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Built around a women’s specific frame, the Pique combines climb-ready geometry and Giant’s popular Maestro suspension platform to produce a bike that’s designed to tackle trails with speed and efficiency in a wide range of price points.

2020 Liv Pique 29er key features

  • Pique now available with 29er wheels
  • Pique Advanced 29 is Liv’s first complete carbon mountain bike
  • Four sizes: extra small, small, medium, large (not in all territories)
  • Bottle cages on all sizes
  • Alloy and carbon frame versions
  • Fox Live Valve on top of the range model

A women’s-specific XC bike for modern race tracks

The original Liv Pique was introduced in 2016 and formed part of the brand’s redesign of its entire mountain bike fleet. The long-travel enduro-focused Hail launched at the same time with the shorter travel Intrigue trail bike following in 2018.

However, all of these bikes were built around 27.5 wheels. The new Pique is the first 29er in Liv’s mountain bike lineup.

While there are some similarities between the new Pique and the old version, such as the Maestro suspension and hardcore XC geometry, this isn’t just a Pique with 29er wheels slapped on. The whole bike has been redesigned from the ground up to fit in the larger wheels.

In particular, it’s interesting to see that the size small bikes ship with 29er wheels, something that most brands have avoided.

It’s potentially good news for smaller riders who want the benefits that 29er wheels can bring, namely smoother rolling over obstacles, lower likelihood of getting caught up in rocks and roots, and they’re better at maintaining their momentum when up to speed — all important things in the heat of cross-country racing.

2020 Liv Pique geometry

The geometry of the bike has also been altered to suit the larger wheels and bring the bike firmly into the modern era of cross-country bike design.

Following the usual tropes of every new bike launch, the head angle of the bike is now 1 degree slacker (68.5), the reach has grown across all sizes (404mm to 427mm on a size medium bike) and the seat tube now sits at 74 degrees across all sizes (vs 72.5). Despite a sprinkling of shred-friendly figures, the bike still has clear XC leanings.

Weight has also been reduced across the bike, with a new ‘forged carbon fibre’ upper rocker that now includes a cutout, which is claimed to reduce weight without sacrificing stiffness.

2020 Liv Pique suspension

The bike is based on Giant’s Maestro suspension platform, which combines four pivots and two linkages to create a floating shock design.

2020 Liv Pique Live Valve
The top-end $12,300 model features Fox’s Live Valve system.

Liv has tuned Fox’s Live Valve system using data it collected from different female riders, collating information about their riding styles and morphology to create what it considers to be the best feeling sus bike for women, with help from Liv’s ambassadors and athletes to boot.

The shock has been tuned for the typically lower weight of female riders, with the standard weight range of the Pique tuned for riders weighing between 52 and 73kg. Riders outside of this weight are advised to have the suspension independently tuned to suit them.

2020 Liv Pique upper rocker
The upper ‘forged carbon’ rocker has a cutout to reduce weight.

Despite its XC-leanings, Liv clearly sees the Pique as a bike that will be popular with a wide range of riders because it’s being offered at everything from entry-level alloy-framed price points right up to range-topping full carbon Advanced Pro models with Fox’s super pricey Live Valve technology.

2020 Liv Pique 29er first ride impressions

Kingdom Trails Vermont
I rode the new Pique at Kingdom Trails in Vermont.

The new Pique was launched at Kingdom Trails in Vermont, which was a great testing ground for the Pique 29er — featuring long, natural trails scattered with roots and rocky sections over undulating terrain you’re pedaling pretty much constantly.

The shallow tread on the Maxxis Rekon tyres held lines well and rolled fast on the sandy, well-drained soil of Vermont but riders in places with muddier conditions or a more clay-based soil and prone to wet weather will probably want to upgrade to toothier rubber.

Fox’s Live Valve system is effective in that, once it’s working, you don’t notice it — the bike feels efficient, taut and fast on climbs but opens up enough to handle the rooty sections and the odd drop on the descents.

However, my weight meant I was able to overwhelm the shock’s tune from time to time. More averagely weighted riders won’t have any issue with this and an increase in spring rate or a re-tune should help to overcome its penchant to bottom out more regularly than I would have liked.

The XC-appropriate, 68.5-degree head angle helped to keep the handling snappy and no extra oomph was needed to overcome the bigger hoops’ extra inertia in tight trails.

I would prefer to try the Pique 29er on familiar trails, and to also see how it fairs on more technical terrain. With world cup cross-country circuits getting increasingly technical, a good cross-country bike is no longer just about how light and efficient it is; it also needs to be able to handle vast root sections, rock gardens, drops, rollers and the inevitable steep, technical climbs.

I look forward to testing its limits in the future, so watch this space!

2020 Liv Pique 29er range overview

2020 Liv Pique Advanced Pro 29 0

The 2020 Liv Pique Advanced Pro 29 0
The 2020 Liv Pique Advanced Pro 29 0.
  • Fork: Fox 32 Float SC Factory Live Valve
  • Shock: Fox Float Factory Live Valve
  • Wheelset: Giant XCR-0
  • Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate
  • Groupset: SRAM XX1 Eagle
  • Cockpit: Giant Contact SLR XC
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Saddle: Liv Contact SLR
  • Tyres: Maxxis Recon Race 29 x 2.25
  • Price: £8,999 / $12,300 / €10,349

2020 Liv Pique Advanced Pro 29 1

The 2020 Liv Pique Advanced Pro 29 1
The 2020 Liv Pique Advanced Pro 29 1.
  • Fork: Fox 32 Float Performance
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS Performance
  • Wheelset: Giant XCR-1
  • Brakes: Shimano XT M8100
  • Groupset: Shimano XT M8100
  • Cockpit: Giant Contact SL
  • Seatpost: Giant Contact Switch 30.9
  • Saddle: Liv Contact SL
  • Tyres: Maxxis Recon Race 29 x 2.25
  • Price: £4,699 / $5,350 / €5,399

2020 Liv Pique 29 2

The 2020 Liv Pique 29 2
The 2020 Liv Pique 29 2.
  • Fork: Fox 32 Float SC Performance
  • Shock:  Fox Float SC Performance
  • Wheelset: Giant XCT
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore
  • Groupset: Shimano SLX M7100
  • Cockpit: Giant Contact
  • Seatpost: Giant Contact
  • Saddle: Liv Contact
  • Tyres: Maxxis Recon Race 29 x 2.25
  • Price: £2,699 / $3,000 / €3,099

2020 Liv Pique 29 3

The 2020 Liv Pique 29 3
The 2020 Liv Pique 29 3.
  • Fork: RockShox Recon RL
  • Shock:  RockShox Deluxe Select+
  • Wheelset: Giant XCT
  • Brakes: Shimano BR-MT400
  • Groupset: SRAM SX Eagle
  • Cockpit: Giant Contact SL
  • Seatpost: Giant Contact
  • Saddle: Liv Contact
  • Tyres: Maxxis Recon Race 29 x 2.25
  • Price: $2,050
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The Pique 29er is available immediately from Liv retailers globally. Some models will not be available in select territories so it’s best to check with your local distributor for full details.