While you may have seen Liv’s MTB ambassador Rae Morrison riding a 160mm-travel Hail enduro bike, the 140mm Intrigue is the burliest option available to British buyers.
But this Liv Intrigue Advanced 1 is planted on nimble 650b wheels, has a lightweight carbon frame and boasts confidence-inspiring suspension.
Liv Intrigue Advanced 1 frame
Thanks to its carbon fibre front triangle – made with a layup created specifically for women – the Liv was the lightest bike in the four-bike group test it was part of – pitted against the Canyon Spectral WMN CF 8.0, Juliana Maverick C R and Scott Contessa Genius 910 – at 12.73kg.
Saving another few grams, the rocker link is made of carbon too.
The first thing you notice with this bike is how incredibly light it is. Steve Behr
The Intrigue is available in extra small, small and medium, but you can’t buy a large in the UK. For me, at 5ft 5in / 165cm this was okay, but taller riders may find the cockpit a little cramped.
Liv’s geometry isn’t especially extreme or progressive, and the dimensions are in common with classic trail bikes. While it’s not the longest bike in terms of reach (432mm, medium), the Intrigue does have a lengthy effective top tube (592mm), offering a good amount of room for pedalling.
This bike definitely sits more on the playful and easy-handling side of things, and it can accommodate tyres up to 2.6in wide to roll through rock gardens with confidence.
Liv Intrigue Advanced 1 kit
Along with the frame, the Giant TRX-1 Composite carbon wheels were the lightest on test. It’s a nice touch that the wheels come set up tubeless out of the box, too.
Although the head angle isn’t the slackest at 66.5 degrees, Liv encourages descending by speccing a burly, 150mm-travel Fox 36 Performance Elite fork up front.
This works well in conjunction with the Fox DPX2 Performance shock, which is sensitive to small bumps, providing a smooth ride and lots of grip at the back end.
The rear suspension is quite sensitive, which translates to good rear-wheel traction. Steve Behr
The SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain is a decent mid-range performer and I had no issues with it.
Although the SRAM G2 brakes work solidly in all conditions and the contact-point adjustment is a great addition, they can’t match the braking power of the Shimano XTs on the Canyon.
While I’m being fussy, I don’t like the way the cables are left quite long, creating a bit of an untidy mess around the handlebar.
Also, while I complained about the short 100mm dropper on last year’s model, I couldn’t get the 150mm post supplied this year low enough in the frame to have the saddle at the right height for pedalling. For me, a 125mm post would strike the best balance of drop and length.
Liv Intrigue Advanced 1 ride impressions
The first thing you notice with this bike is how incredibly light it is. Whether you’re unloading it from the car or throwing it around corners, it feels effortless. Combined with the 650b wheels, this makes for an agile ride.
A middling 66.5-degree head angle gives it a satisfyingly direct steering feel for composed handling.
It may not be the biggest or most aggressive bike, but the Liv feels more stable on the downhills than the Canyon did (the other 650b-wheeled bike), thanks to its longer chainstays and reach, and smooth suspension.
The Intrigue isn’t the flat-out fastest bike out there, but it’s fun and versatile Steve Behr
With its stiff, 36mm-stanchion chassis, the fork allows you to hit rougher tracks just that little bit more confidently.
The rear suspension is quite sensitive, which translates to good rear-wheel traction, but at the expense of some pedalling efficiency.
I had to use the shock lockout to restrict pedal bob, and pressure has to be carefully balanced to maintain enough sag for the downhills without introducing too much suspension movement when climbing.
The Intrigue isn’t the flat-out fastest bike and doesn’t carry speed as well as some, but it’s fun and versatile and has few performance compromises. I’d love to see a slightly slacker version, maybe with bigger hoops too.
As it is, though, it’s still the bike I’d choose to take home from the four I tested back-to-back.
Liv Intrigue Advanced 1 geometry
Sizes (* tested): XS, S, M*
Seat angle: 74.5 degrees
Head angle: 66.5 degrees
Chainstay: 43.8cm / 17.2in
Seat tube: 44.5cm / 17.5in
Top tube: 59.2cm / 23.4in
Head tube: 10.5cm / 4.1in
Fork offset: 4.4cm / 1.7in
Trail: 10.96cm / 4.3in
Bottom bracket drop: 1.5cm / 0.6in
Bottom bracket height: 34.2cm / 13.5in
Wheelbase: 1,167mm / 45.9in
Stack: 58.7cm / 23.1in
Reach: 43.2cm / 17in
How we tested
Four popular female-focused trail bikes were put through their paces to see which performs best on the ups, downs and everything in between.
Brands take a varied approach to designing bikes for female riders, but in this test Scott designs its frames identically for both unisex and women’s bikes, Juliana’s measurements are the same as that of its brother company Santa Cruz, while Liv and Canyon modify their frame dimensions for female riders
Bikes also on test: