Liv Devote Advanced Pro review

An excellent combination of assured handling and road-bike speed for Liv’s first gravel bike

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Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £4,699.00 RRP | EUR €5,000.00
Pack shot of the Liv Devote Advanced Pro women's gravel bike

Our review

A true do-it-all bike for on- and off-road adventures
Pros: Supremely comfortable over long distances and rough ground; huge gear range; plenty of mounts for mudguards, luggage, bottles and accessories; dropper seatpost compatibility; generous tyre clearance
Cons: Fast-rolling slick tyres sketchy in the wet; integrated hex tool doesn’t easily or sufficiently tighten thru-axle
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Say hello to the brand new Liv Devote Advanced Pro, the much anticipated women’s gravel bike in the Liv Cycling line-up and the bike it describes as the “ultimate adventure bike”.

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This is a machine designed for versatility, to be ridden on and off road, and to be loaded up with bags for multi-day adventures. If you’re looking for one bike that will handle a lot of different types of riding then this could be the bike for you.

The range-topping Advanced Pro tested is built as a fast, performance-focused bike for speedy gravelistas who encounter gravel, tarmac and trails on their rides, and comes complete with a SRAM Force eTap AXS groupset, carbon wheels, 40mm slick tyres and a carbon seatpost and bars.

There are five builds in the Devote range in total. Two based around an aluminium frame paired with a carbon fork, and three using the carbon frame and fork featured.

If you prefer your adventures a little more rugged, then the backcountry-ready Liv Devote Advanced 1 has you covered with Giant Contact Switch dropper seatpost, Shimano GRX groupset and chunky Maxxis Rambler 45c tyres, which will see you trucking along mucky, techy bridleways and rooty, rocky singletrack.

We’ve included a full overview of the new Devote range at the end of this review.

Liv Devote highlights

  • Liv’s first women’s gravel bike
  • Clearance for 45mm (700c) and 50mm (650b) tyres
  • Mounts for mudguards, luggage and accessories
  • Carbon and aluminium frame options
  • Five builds from £1,400 to £4,699
  • Women’s-specific geometry using data from female riders
  • New Giant CXR-2 carbon gravel wheelset also launched

Carbon frame, comfort and lots of tyre clearance

Defining exactly what a gravel bike is can be tricky, as the burgeoning niche covers everything from gravel racing (with events such as the Grinduro and Dirty Reiver) through to bikepacking and adventure riding on varied surfaces.

Gravel, unsurprisingly, varies from place to place too; swathes of the US have endless gravel roads and mountain climbs, whereas in the UK most riders will be on bridleways, forest fire roads and tarmac to connect it all together.

So for a bike to handle all of that, it needs to have versatility, and that’s what Liv has tried to achieve with the Devote.

Pack shot of the Liv Devote Advanced Pro women's gravel bike
Built for adventuring, whether that’s epic mountain missions or rediscovering your local area.
Phil Hall / Immediate Media

The Advanced Pro is built around a frame and fork made from Liv’s Advanced-Grade Carbon Composite. Like the frame geometry, the carbon layup has been tuned to optimise comfort and performance for the average female rider, according to Liv.

Liv and Giant love hyperbolic words to describe the chunky head tube, down tube and bottom bracket area (Overdrive, Megadrive and Powercore respectively – see what I mean?), but in practice this translates into a taut, efficient platform for pushing out power and precise steering. Even on loose gravel, handling is excellent.

There’s oodles of room in the frame to allow clearance for big gravel tyres – 700 x 45c and 650b x 50c – and yes it can take both wheel sizes, though the Devote only comes with a 700c wheel option as standard.

Internal cable routing and flat-mount brakes keep things neat and the integrated bash guard on the down tube and chainstay protector help avoid frame damage from the flying gravel and errant rocks that this bike will doubtless come into contact with.

It’s adventure-ready with all the mounts you could want for attaching racks, mudguards (fenders) and three bottle cages. There is even a set of mounts on the top tube designed to take additional accessories and bags.

On the subject of mudguards, you’ll only be able to fit a half-size fender if you opt for a full 700 x 45mm tyre; if you want a full fender for wet and mucky conditions, you’ll need to drop to a 700 x 40mm tyre.

There is plenty of clearance for chunky tyres and mudguards on the Liv Devote Advanced Pro women's gravel bike
There’s plenty of clearance for chunky tyres or mudguards.
Phil Hall / Immediate Media

The cockpit has been designed for comfort and handling in a range of conditions. It’s built around the Giant Contact SLR XR D-Fuse handlebar, which has a slight flare and a shallow drop plus a D-shaped cross section, hence the name.

Built for cyclocross and gravel riding, the design allows the bars to flex and absorb some of the chattery forces you get from riding over rough ground. The result is less vibration through the hands and a less harsh ride feel, which reduces fatiguing on the arms, without compromising handling.

This is also helped by the new Liv All Conditions handlebar tape, which provides cushioning and grip with a tyre-like surface texture – handlebar tape with tread.

It worked well for keeping my grip secure with wet hands, and it washes easily so you don’t end up with stained bar tape after the first muddy or dusty excursion. It’s also available aftermarket if you want to add it to another bike.

Comfort at the rear end of the bike comes in the form of the brand-new Liv Approach women’s saddle and Giant D-Fuse SLR carbon composite seatpost.

The saddle has a long central channel, steel rails and a split design and, while saddles are highly personal when it comes to fit, I found this one extremely comfortable, flexing in a supportive way while I pedalled.

The shape of the D-Fuse seatpost is designed to absorb chatter and help isolate the rider from the significant vibrations and hits that gravel riding brings, and is effective in doing so. It’s aided by the seat tube design and integrated seat collar that allow flex along a greater length of the post, though I did find the rubber cover worked its way up the seatpost as I rode.

Happily for the hardcore off-roaders out there, the Devote is compatible with 30.9mm dropper seatposts, the more common size on the market. This means you can run it with droppers such as the Giant Contact SL Switch, the RockShox Reverb and the Reverb AXS, getting between 75mm and 125mm of travel depending on frame size and dropper make.

Another new part making an appearance on the Devote Advanced Pro is the Giant CXR-2 carbon wheelset.

This has been designed specifically for gravel use and is based around the CXR-1 cyclocross wheelset. It features hookless rims which, Liv claims, are easier to service, more durable and lighter than hooked alternatives. (Editor’s note: Hookless rims could affect tyre compatibility if you choose to use narrower road tyres on the Devote. We’ve covered hookless rims for road bikes in-depth here and Giant has published a list of road tyres compatible with its hookless rims).

Liv has also included a removable hex tool that sits securely in the thru-axles, allowing you to easily remove them on-the-go – handy if you don’t have the right tool with you. However, getting enough leverage to tighten the axle securely using just the tool is tough and you may prefer to use a torque wrench or a hex tool with a longer handle.

A removable hex tool that sits securely in the thru-axles is included
The thru-axle release tool sits in place securely while riding.
Phil Hall / Immediate Media

The CXR-2 wheels have a whopping 25mm inner rim width and 31mm outer rim width (compared to an inner width of 21mm on the CXR-1), which means they can take chunkier tyres. Giant claims up to 2.3in cross-country mountain bike tyres will fit on the wheels, though these won’t fit in the Devote frame, alas.

In keeping with the fast-rolling gravel race build, the Devote Advanced Pro comes fitted with Maxxis Velocita EXO 700 x 40mm tyres which performed very well on hard-packed dirt and dry gravel, but have their limitations in trickier conditions, as I’ll come on to. They are also set up tubeless.

SRAM Force eTap AXS Wide provides all the gears

Tweaking the reach of the shifters supplied with the SRAM Force eTap AXS groupset is pleasantly simple to do, so it’s easy to adjust the fit to make it easier to reach the brakes while on the drops.

The SRAM eTap AXS groupset itself worked well throughout. Wireless electronic shifting means fewer cables and once the derailleurs and shifter were all connected and set up – simply a matter of pressing a few buttons in the correct order – it worked perfectly.

The wireless SRAM Force eTap AXS system is easy to set up
The wireless AXS system is very easy to set up, and so far fairly low maintenance.
Phil Hall / Immediate Media

Charging is as simple as slipping the batteries out when they need a boost (SRAM says battery life should be around 60 hours of riding time on a full charge). There’s also an app for your phone so you can monitor and tweak the setup of the groupset.

This is the new AXS Wide groupset, launched in May to provide additional gearing range for gravel riding and bikepacking.

The cog sizes might seem unusual when compared to regular road bike gears – a 43/30t double chainring and 10-36t cassette in this case – but I never felt like I was going to spin out on fast flats, and where the groupset really comes into its own is the huge range at the low end.

Having lots of low gears with small incremental changes between them is ideal for long climbs, steep climbs, climbing with a bike that’s heavily laden with bags, climbing when tired or just climbing if it’s not really your thing, you don’t fancy slogging your guts out or if you’re still getting your fitness back after lockdown.

Powerful brakes are particularly important for gravel and adventure bikes when you’re likely to be heavily laden, braking on loose surfaces, or both, and the AXS hydraulic brakes provided plenty of power with subtle enough control to allow you to gently shave off a little speed here and there, as well as more forceful stops.

Liv Devote Advanced Pro geometry

Liv’s frames may be made by sibling company Giant, but the Devote is in no way a ‘shrink it and pink it’ version of Giant’s Revolt gravel bike.

Liv’s bikes are all developed using data from female riders, including information on body dimensions, muscle activation patterns, weight distribution, height-to-weight ratio and so on.

The result, according to Liv, is that the average woman will find a better fit ‘out of the box’. This should in turn mean less need to swap out parts such as handlebars, stems, cranks etc in order to get the right fit, though Liv admits that not all women will find its women’s-specific geometry will work for them.

Frame size XS S M L
Seat tube length (mm) 390 420 465 500
Seat tube angle (degrees) 75 75 74.5 74.5
Top tube length (mm) 515 525 535 550
Head tube length (mm) 95 125 155 180
Head tube angle (degrees) 70.5 70.5 71 71
Fork rake (mm) 50 50 50 50
Trail (mm) 76 76 73 73
Wheelbase (mm) 1,013 1,020 1,022 1,039
Chainstay length (mm) 430 430 430 430
Bottom bracket drop (mm) 80 80 80 80
Stack (mm) 593 623 655 678
Reach (mm) 429 437 443 452
Handlebar width (mm) 400 400 420 420
Stem length (mm) 70 80 90 90
Crank length (mm) 165 170 172.5 172.5
Wheel size 700c 700c 700c 700c

The geometry of the Devote has been designed with climbing efficiency and a stable ride experience in mind. A long wheelbase gives the Devote noticeable stability on rough ground and techy descents, and at 1,039mm is longer than the Juliana Quincy (1,015mm for a 54cm frame) and the Canyon Grail (1,020mm on a size S or 1,029mm on a M) – two comparable gravel/adventure bikes.

It also has a steeper seat-tube angle (74.5 degrees versus 74 and 73.5 respectively), which helps place the rider more over the bottom bracket, allowing more efficient pedal power on climbs. Head tube angle is fairly similar to the Quincy and the Grail; 71 degrees versus 71.5 and 71 respectively.

Fast on and off road

I’ve ridden a lot of Liv road bikes, and each of them has a pleasingly efficient ride feel. The Devote manages to combine that feeling of taut power transfer through the frame with a noticeable plushness from the chunky tyres, carbon seatpost and saddle that softens rough ground without losing that sense of speed.

The result is a bike that feels fast both on and off road, but also feels sure-footed enough to make you want to try that rooty singletrack heading off through the woods or investigate that gravel road.

Liv Devote Advanced Pro women's gravel bike being ridden on a gravel track
Handling was excellent, but taller or broader women might wish for wider bars.
Phil Hall / Immediate Media

The quantity of attachment points makes loading it up for a multi-day adventure, or getting the bike ready for wet winter rides, part of the Devote’s suite of talents too. This is a bike that could fulfil many roles for cyclists for whom adventure and experience, rather than absolute flat-out speed, are the measure of a successful ride (though it’s certainly not slow).

In terms of fit, I overlap the recommended height range for the medium and large. Based on previous experience, and having a long body, I sized up to the large and the fit was great.

Liv Devote Advanced Pro
Little details like this illustration on the seat tube are part of the pleasing aesthetics of this bike.
Phil Hall / Immediate Media

On longer rides and on more technical terrain, I did find myself wishing for slightly wider than the 420mm bars the Devote comes with, although this is a fairly standard handlebar width for the frame size and I have broad shoulders.

I haven’t tried the Devote with a dropper post – here I’ve focused on the Advanced Pro as it’s specced out of the box – but I’m very keen to because the only thing holding me back from trying more technical terrain has been the fixed saddle height.

Liv Devote Advanced Pro women's gravel bike being ridden on a gravel track
The stiffness of the frame gives noticeably efficient power transfer.
Phil Hall / Immediate Media

For muddy winter riding in the UK I’d also certainly want to swap out the tyres for something with more tread, or have a back-up 650b wheelset with big chunky rubber, because the slicks don’t do well on slippery roots or sloppy forest trails.

However, for summer riding on hard-packed dirt, dry gravel and the occasional road, or somewhere with a more reliable climate than the UK, they’re ideal.

Liv Devote Advanced Pro women's gravel bike being ridden on a gravel track
Maxxis’ Velocita tyres are perfect for gravel, hardpack dirt and dry trails.
Phil Hall / Immediate Media

Liv Devote Advanced Pro bottom line

Gravel riding ultimately means different things to different people, but the Devote didn’t just take me where I wanted to go, from A to B and back again, it opened new doors. Its capabilities encouraged me to explore places I wouldn’t otherwise have ventured.

Liv Devote Advanced Pro women's gravel bike being ridden on a gravel track
Comfortable, confidence-inspiring and encouraging.
Phil Hall / Immediate Media

It’s the kind of bike that will tempt you into exploring those local paths and trails you’ve been eyeing up, taking those techy singletrack shortcuts for the hell of it, planning that overnight ride to get away from it all, or just avoid a long-distance train journey while having an adventure at the same time.

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Its versatility makes it an ideal choice for the one-bike quiver, since you can do so much with it, and in my time with the Devote so far I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Liv Devote 2021 range overview

Liv Devote Advanced Pro

  • Advanced-Grade carbon frame and forks
  • D-Fuse carbon seatpost
  • SRAM Force eTap AXS groupset and brakes
  • Giant CXR-2 wheelset with Maxxis Velocita 700×40 tyres
  • £4,699 / $5,500 / €5,000 / AU$7,299

Liv Devote Advanced 1

  • Advanced-Grade carbon frame and forks
  • Giant Contact Switch dropper seatpost
  • Shimano GRX 1x 600 groupset and brakes
  • Giant P-X2 wheelset with Maxxis Rambler 700×45 tyres
  • £TBC / $3,000 / €2,800 / AU$4,199

Liv Devote Advanced 2

  • Advanced-Grade carbon frame and forks
  • D-Fuse carbon seatpost
  • Shimano GRX 400 groupset and brakes with 105 cassette
  • Giant P-X2 wheelset with Giant CrossCut AT1 700×40 tyres
  • £TBC / $2,500 / €2,500 / AU$3,699 

Liv Devote 1

  • ALUXX aluminium frame and carbon fork
  • D-Fuse alloy seatpost
  • Shimano GRX 400 groupset
  • Giant S-X2 wheelset with Giant CrossCut AT2 700×38 tyres
  • £1,349 / not available in US / €TBC / AU$2,199 

Liv Devote 2

  • ALUXX aluminium frame and carbon fork
  • D-Fuse alloy seatpost
  • Shimano Sora groupset with Tektro disc brakes
  • Giant S-X2 wheelset with Giant CrossCut AT2 700×38 tyres
  • £1,400 / $1,150 / €1,100 / AU$1,699

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €5000.00GBP £4699.00
Weight L
Brand Liv

Features

Features Colour: Chameleon blue with Reflective Mushroom
Handlebar Giant Contact SLR XR D-Fuse with back sweep and flare drop
Tyres Maxxis Velocita 700x40c, tubeless
Stem Giant Contact 8-degree
Shifter SRAM Force eTap AXS
Seatpost Giant D-Fuse SLR carbon composite
Saddle Liv Approach
Rear derailleur SRAM Force eTap AXS
Front derailleur SRAM Force eTap AXS
Bottom bracket SRAM DUB press fit
Frame Advanced-Grade carbon composite
Fork Advanced-Grade carbon composite, full-composite OverDrive steerer, 12x142 thru axle
Cranks SRAM Force D1 DUB 43/30t
Chain SRAM Force D1 12-spd
Cassette SRAM Force 12-speed 10-36t
Brakes SRAM Force eTap AXS Hydraulic, 140/150mm rotors
Wheels Giant CXR-2 Carbon Disc Wheelsystem