The Liv Intrigue X E+ is a rare breed – a women’s-specific electric mountain bike.
Liv Cycling is Giant Bicycles’ sister brand, so it shares some frame technology and parts, but its bikes are developed for women, by women, using data only from female riders, and are fitted with distinct parts and geometry.
Liv Intrigue X E+ 1 frame and geometry
At the heart of the bike is Giant’s range-topping SyncDrive Pro motor, based on a Yamaha drive unit but custom-built for the Taiwanese bike brand.
This delivers 80Nm max torque (slightly less than Bosch, Shimano and Specialized’s latest motors) and up to 360 per cent assistance.
The handlebar-mounted controls are easy to operate on the fly and use a simple LED system to indicate battery power and which of the five modes you’re in.
Liv has opted for a high-grade aluminium frame for all versions of the Intrigue X E+. In the UK, it’s offered in sizes XS, S and M, covering riders from 5ft/152cm to 5ft 9in/175cm.
A flip-chip allows the geometry to be steepened or slackened, although in either case the measurements are conservative.
The head tube sits at 66.5/65.8 degrees, the reach on the medium size is a relatively short 442/432mm and the wheelbase is 1,213/1,216mm. At 472mm, even on the XS, the chainstays are very long.
Liv Intrigue X E+ 1 geometry (low setting)
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.5||76||76|
|Head angle (degrees)||65||65.8||65.8|
|Seat tube (cm)||38.5||40.5||43.5|
|Top tube (cm)||56.5||56.8||58.5|
|Head tube (cm)||9.5||9.5||10|
|Fork offset (cm)||4.4||4.4||4.4|
|Bottom bracket drop (cm)||1||3||3|
Liv Intrigue X E+ 1 kit
Liv bikes are generally excellent choices for smaller riders, and in this case, not only do the S and XS have scaled-down handlebars and stems for a better fit, but the XS also has 650b wheels (the others roll on larger 29in hoops).
This range-topping model has a Shimano XT-based build and a big 625Wh battery.
A 150mm-travel Fox 36 Performance Elite fork is paired with a matching DPX2 shock, which controls 140mm of rear bounce.
You get four-piston XT brakes, plus chunky 2.6in Maxxis Assegai and Dissector tyres.
Liv Intrigue X E+ 1 first ride impressions
Overall performance is impressive. The motor kicks in quickly and smoothly, and adapts as you pedal, giving an almost completely natural-feeling ride, bar the fact that you’re travelling at least twice as fast as you normally would uphill. The narrow motor helps here, with a Q-factor more akin to that of a regular bike.
Those whopping chainstays provide stability on steeper climbs, but can make tighter trails tricky, especially technical descents, and mean that it’s hard to lift the front wheel over obstacles. This will be accentuated on the smaller sizes.
The high torque and near-instant engagement are great for getting restarted on steep climbs, and the top Power mode is useful for flying up hills.
I managed several lunchtime blasts without needing to recharge, and four- or five-hour trail days with battery power to spare. Plugging it in for three hours takes it close to full capacity, so you can get back out again quickly.
Liv has tuned the suspension to suit the lighter-on-average weight of female riders, so the Fox fork and shock are plush and traction-rich, yet progressive enough to avoid harsh bottom-outs.
There’s plenty of power from the XT brakes, allowing for easy speed control down steeper descents, while the aggressive Maxxis rubber offers plenty of grip in slick conditions, boosting confidence on climbs and descents.
Liv Intrigue X E+ 1 early verdict
When sized right, the Intrigue is a very capable and immensely fun bike to ride. However, at 5ft 8in/174cm I am at the top of the recommended height range for the medium frame. The result was a cramped ride feel, which hindered the handling on technical trails.
I also found I couldn’t drop the 125mm seatpost far enough out of the way for descents. The brand does produce a large size, but Liv UK doesn’t offer it, sadly.
The Liv Intrigue X E+ 1 is a great choice for smaller riders and is so much fun to ride that you’ll want to be out at every opportunity. However, taller ladies may be better off looking at the Giant range or elsewhere instead.
|Price||GBP £5799.00USD $5850.00|
|Weight||24.2kg (M) – without pedals|
|Available sizes||XS, S, M|
|Brakes||Shimano Deore XT M8120, 203mm rotors|
|Fork||Fox 36 Float Performance Elite FIT4, 150mm (6in) travel|
|Frame||ALUXX SL aluminium alloy, 140mm (5.5in) travel|
|Handlebar||Giant Contact 35 Trail, 780mm|
|Motor||Giant SyncDrive Pro with Giant EnergyPak Smart 625W battery|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Deore XTR|
|Rear Shocks||Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite|
|Saddle||Liv Sylvia SL|
|Seatpost||Giant Contact Switch 125mm dropper|
|Shifter||Shimano Deore XT|
|Stem||Giant Contact SL 35, 50mm|
|Tyres||Maxxis Assegai EXO TR 3C MaxxTerra (f) and Maxxis Dissector EXO+ TR 3C MaxxTerra (r) 29x2.6in|
|Wheels||Giant e-TR1 wheels|