The Liv Devote Advanced 1 is part of the women’s bike brand’s gravel/adventure range and is designed to handle everything from all-day gravel rides and bikepacking trips to all-weather adventures and racing.
Liv might be part of the same company as Giant Bicycles, but the Devote Advanced 1 isn’t just a Giant frame with female-specific touch points in a different colour, all Liv bikes are designed specifically with female riders in mind.
The brand’s engineers and designers create bikes for women based on anatomical and physiological data which, according to Liv, comes from “15 reputable sources”.
This means that all of the brand’s frames are designed on the basis of how women typically ride, as well as their physical size and shape, so not only are considerations made for saddle comfort, but the geometry differences between male and female are key to the design process, too.
While data is important, prototype bikes are also tested by professional athletes to fine-tune and adjust the designs.
The Devote Advanced range includes three models; the top-spec Devote Advanced Pro for £4,999, this mid-range Advanced 1 for £2,599 and the entry-level Devote Advanced 2 for £2,399 – all with composite frames.
If you’re looking to spend a little less, then the aluminium-framed Devote range starts at £1,199 for the Devote 2 and rises to £1,499 for the Devote 1.
Liv Devote Advanced 1 long-term review update one
At the end of the summer, I became aware via Instagram of a new community group called School of Rocks, set up across the UK (plus one location in the Netherlands), “offering a toolkit to empower everyone to find joy in off-road cycling”.
As well as a great opportunity to learn new skills, I thought it would be a chance to meet like-minded riders who may also be looking to occasionally ride with others and get more confident off-road. Riding alone is great, but it’s always nice to be more sociable and learn about new places to ride too.
The closest school to me was in Bath, so I joined the first ride, which involved a gentle route along a flat, shared gravel path so we could get to know each other and learn more about what was planned for the coming weeks.
It was late summer, so bike lights were needed for the latter part of the rides, and this turned out to be a new skill for me too.
Riding in the dark off-road is a very different experience and something I wouldn’t consider doing solo, so it made a welcome change. There were also some spectacular sunsets to enjoy.
Each of the six weekly sessions focused on a different skill, including riding in the ‘ready’ position, climbing and descending off-road, practising bike handling skills on singletrack, riding loose gravel, tree roots and other natural terrain, plus lots more in the 1.5 to two hours each week.
The biggest thing for me, though, was meeting some great people, and with the community groups set up via various apps, a number of rides outside of the sessions have taken place too.
The type of bikes and kit used in the group were really varied and brought home how accessible gravel riding is for those who want to give it a go. There was a mix of mountain bikes, hybrid bikes and gravel bikes.
I felt very spoiled being able to ride the Liv Devote, which handled everything I pointed it at capably – if, perhaps, the rider onboard didn’t always succeed.
If you’re interested in getting involved with a local cycling club, give it a go. There are lots of amazing people who coordinate and run all sorts of cycling clubs, often on a voluntary basis, around the country. It may be just what you’re looking for, and Facebook and Instagram are great places to search these out as well as follow riders who inspire you to get out on the bike.
Of course, you could always start your own group if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
Liv Devote Advanced 1 specification and details
Being part of the Giant family, the Devote Advanced 1 features a number of the brand’s technologies, including its Advanced-Grade Composite frame material, OverDrive steerer and D-Fuse handlebar.
The Advanced 1 has clearance for 45c tyres and comes fitted with some very beefy and cushy 700×45c tubeless Maxxis Ramblers. The Rambler has a dual compound for longevity and EXO sidewall protection.
The gravel-specific tread pattern is designed for speed and control, with slightly larger intermediate and shoulder knobs for cornering. These are fitted to Giant’s 700c P-X2 Disc wheelset.
There’s a 400mm Giant Contact XR D-Fuse handlebar that has a 5-degree back sweep and a flare drop for a more confident position in the drops when riding off-road.
The D-Fuse bar is designed to soak up vibrations and comes fitted with some grippy Liv All-Condition tape.
You can choose between a D-Fuse seatpost, also designed to absorb vibrations, or a dropper seatpost. I chose to spec the bike with a dropper post because I’m interested to find out whether having a dropper on a gravel bike is really worth the upgrade and improves ride performance.
The Liv Approach saddle is contoured to fit female anatomy and has a long cutout along most of the seat’s length. There’s padding on the back of the saddle and it comes with steel rails.
Stop and go duties are taken care of by Shimano in the form of 1×11 Shimano GRX with a 40t crankset and hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors.
With the dropper post fitted, there’s the shifter lever on the right-hand side of the bar and the dropper lever on the left.
The Gloss Dark Green colourway looks great in real life and the internal cabling makes for an even smarter appearance. There are mounts for racks, mudguards and water bottle cages.
Liv Devote Advanced 1 full specification
- Sizes (*tested): XS, S*, M
- Weight: 9.6kg, S size with pedals and cage
- Frame: Advanced-Grade Composite, disc. Compatible with fenders
- Fork: Advanced-Grade Composite, full-composite OverDrive steerer, 12x142mm thru-axle, disc
- Shifters: Shimano GRX RX-810 1×11
- Rear derailleurs: Shimano GRX RX-812
- Cranks: Shimano GRX RX-600-1 40t
- Cassette: Shimano CS-M7000, 11×42
- Chain: KMC X11EL-1
- Bottom bracket: Shimano, press-fit
- Wheelset: Giant P-X2 Disc
- Tyres: Maxxis Rambler, 700x45c, tubeless
- Brakes: Shimano BR-RX400 HRD hydraulic disc brakes, 160mm rotors
- Brake levers: Shimano GRX RX-810
- Bar: Giant Contact XR D-Fuse, 31.8, 5-degree back sweep, flare drop
- Stem: Giant Contact, 8-degree
- Seatpost: Giant Contact Switch Dropper and Connect Composite D-Fuse
- Saddle: Liv Approach
Liv Devote Advanced 1 geometry
In the UK, the Advanced 1 is available in three sizes, and Liv’s website helpfully provides a recommended height range for each.
The XS frame is said to best suit riders between 150cm and 163cm; the S frame from 158cm to 169cm; and the M is recommended for rider heights of 164cm to 175cm.
Of course, these are only guidelines and you should pay close attention to the geometry figures for each size too, but if you’re able to try one out in a bike shop that’s even better.
At 157cm, I sit on the edge of two sizes, so I struggled a little to decide between the XS and S. But after reviewing the geometry table and making a few comparisons between previous bikes that I’ve ridden, I settled on the S, which mainly came down to the reach and wheelbase figures.
|Seat tube length (mm)||390||420||465|
|Seat tube angle (degrees)||75||75||74.5|
|Top tube length (mm)||515||525||535|
|Head tube length (mm)||95||125||155|
|Head tube angle (degrees)||70.5||70.5||71|
|Fork rake (mm)||50||50||50|
|Chainstay length (mm)||430||430||430|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||80||80||80|
|Stack to handlebar (mm)||593||623||655|
|Reach to handlebar (mm)||429||437||443|
|Standover height (mm)||683||711||749|
|Handlebar width (mm)||400||400||420|
|Stem length (mm)||70||80||90|
|Crank length (mm)||165||170||172.5|
Why did I choose this bike?
Last year, my long-term test bike was the Specialized Diverge X1 and I absolutely loved it. Being able to get off the road and discover previously hidden routes was an absolute joy, especially in 2020.
A gravel bike has given me the best of both worlds and opened up where and what I can ride.
With geometry that puts me in a more confident position for handling than a road bike, and in a frame much lighter than a mountain bike, I think I’ve found my perfect ride.
I still cycle on the road, but more and more I’ve been choosing to ride away from traffic-heavy routes and head to the quieter lanes and tracks of the Wiltshire countryside near my home.
I’m fortunate, too, that I live in an area ripe with gravel tracks. Salisbury military training ground isn’t far away and the area is littered with gravel roads, hidden byways and even singletrack through woods.
You only encounter a handful of cars (mostly dog walkers heading for quieter walking spots), farm traffic, horses and maybe a tank or two.
Gravel bikes also give you plenty of choice when it comes to tyre width, and the Advanced 1 is specced with some rather chunky 45mm Maxxis Ramblers.
This bike also has the option to fit a standard seatpost or a dropper post. I’ve never ridden a bike with a dropper, so I’m keen to try one out to see what difference it makes and if it’s something really worth having on a gravel bike.
Liv Devote Advanced 1 initial setup
The first job was to get the dropper post set up, which was kindly done for me, so to confirm the height I measured my other bike from the centre of its bottom bracket to the top of the saddle, which was 655mm.
Other than that, it was simply a case of setting up the bar and fitting my double-sided Shimano XT M8100 Series clipless MTB pedals, a bottle cage and other accessories such as a Garmin mount for my GPS computer.
I also set the tyres up tubeless, and with relatively dry conditions this summer and autumn, I set the tyre pressures with 25psi in the front and 30psi in the rear.
Once set up, I tweaked the angle of my saddle forwards slightly – something I usually have to do to be comfortable – and wound the levers in a touch for my little hands.
With pedals and a cage fitted, my small bike weighed 9.6kg.
Liv Devote Advanced 1 ride impressions
The first thing I noticed when the bike arrived was how good it looked in its Gloss Dark Green colourway.
First-ride impressions were very positive, too. I tend to be a bit fussy when I initially get on a bike, usually finding something uncomfortable or not quite right, but not this time.
Any bike size concerns I’d had went out the window and I couldn’t get over how comfortable the saddle felt.
Typically, I choose to fit short saddles to my bikes – with the Specialized Power being my saddle of choice – but the longer Liv Approach felt as if it had been designed for my specific shape and size.
The saddle has a curve that travels its length and deepens slightly in the middle. It fits like a glove and my opinion hasn’t changed after miles of riding.
Plus, the long cutout does a great job of supporting me in a seated position without any uncomfortable pressure points, even on long days out,
Another massive plus for me are the tyres, which are so far excellent. They’ve not had to handle much in the way of mud yet, though.
Their width and gravel-specific tread put me in mind of a tyre you might find on a mountain bike, and they roll over obstacles such as rocks and roots with ease.
The performance of the tyres is aided further by their tubeless setup, which allows me to run lower pressures, making it possible to pop and ping across tracks.
All this has given me plenty of confidence on terrain – or perhaps a false sense of my abilities.
The bike really shifts when you start pedalling. It feels as though it’s got a lot of intent and I’m still a big fan of a 1x setup for gravel riding. It also means that with the dropper lever, the cockpit isn’t too busy, with the shifter on the right-hand side and dropper lever on the left.
For my first few rides, I’ve headed out on familiar routes and bike comfort has been good.
Despite the wide, heavily treaded tyres, they don’t impede road-cycling speed as much as I thought they would and I reckon they’re worth a little extra effort here for the benefits they provide off-road.
I haven’t really got to grips with when to use the dropper yet and often forget to drop it on steep downhills. I think this is something I’m going to need to practise doing because it’s not coming naturally so far, especially given that I’m not used to riding with one.
I’m still loving 1x for quick gear changes on technical climbs and the shifting has so far been smooth. I’ve found the chain a little noisy over rough terrain, though.
The bar offers a comfortable position too, but due to the flare and sweep of the design, there’s not a lot of room for accessories.
At first, the bar tape felt good with its extra grippy surface, but without gloves I found it rough on my palms after a few miles. With gloves or mitts though, the tape is more comfortable and offers plenty of purchase on all terrains.
Although I like to get off the beaten track, I do need to get better at routing, so let’s just say it’s fortunate that this bike is light enough for me to lift it over unexpected gates and styles.
There have also been a lot more cows grazing on my routes this year, and I’m not a fan, so it’s lucky this bike shifts, and my irrational reaction to cattle certainly puts a rocket up my riding no matter how tired I feel!
Liv Devote Advanced 1 upgrades
I’ve not really changed much on the bike, but I have added a Knog bell to alert other byway and track users that I’m approaching.
It’s not so much an upgrade, but I’ve used a couple of the mounts for my handy tool keg that’s stuffed full with an emergency tube, tyre lever and multi-tool.
With wintry conditions on the horizon, I’ll probably look to fit some mudguards, at least on the front, because the chunky tyres tend to shed dirt when rolling downhill fast on tarmac.
There isn’t a lot else I’d change right now, though. I have fitted some lights, but might need to play around a little bit with the fixture options due to the sweep of the bar.
Although I love the tyres, I might also consider trying out a more road-oriented set of hoops to see how they affect on-road performance and how much I miss the easy-rolling nature of the Ramblers.
Other upgrades are more about me and my riding; practising skills, getting out on some new routes and trying to get to grips with using the dropper.
|Price||AUD $4199.00GBP £2599.00USD $3450.00|
|Weight||9.6kg (S) – with pedals and cage|
|Available sizes||XS, S, M|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano, press fit|
|Brakes||Shimano BR-RX400 HRD hydraulic disc brakes, 160mm rotors / Shimano GRX RX-810 levers|
|Cassette||Shimano CS-M7000, 11x42|
|Cranks||Shimano GRX RX-600-1 40t|
|Fork||Advanced-Grade Composite, full-composite OverDrive steerer, 12x142mm thru-axle, disc|
|Frame||Advanced-Grade Composite, disc. Compatible with fenders|
|Handlebar||Giant Contact XR D-Fuse, 31.8, 5-degree back sweep, flare drop|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano GRX RX-812|
|Seatpost||Giant Contact Switch Dropper and Connect Composite D Fuse|
|Shifter||Shimano GRX RX-810 1x11|
|Stem||Giant Contact, 8-degree|
|Tyres||Maxxis Rambler, 700x45c, tubeless|
|Wheels||Giant P-X2 Disc|