Liv: dedicated to women's cycling

The 3F approach to women's bike design

This is a sponsored article, brought to you in association with Liv Cycling

Liv has been dedicated to women’s cycling since day one, and that commitment starts with creating the perfect bike for female cyclists. Using women-specific frames and components, Liv is dedicated to providing the ultimate in ride quality and efficiency for every bike.

Liv believes that transparency is the best approach, so read on to discover exactly how it creates bikes and why its approach works. 



The 3F philosophy

The secret ingredient that goes into every Liv bike is its design philosophy, 3F: fit, form, function. 

Starting from scratch and designed from the ground up, 3F is a data-driven, no compromise approach to building the perfect ride. That means you get a bike built to fit you, based on body dimension, muscular activity and strength patterns.

Form is at the heart of every Liv product, and every aesthetic detail plays its part. Frame, components and technologies then align to become the final bike, and the ultimate in function for every ride.

Liv knows that people come in all different shapes and sizes, and these differences extend to more than just torso to leg length proportions. There are other differences that may affect your positioning and the way you ride. For example, Liv has found that a larger percentage of women’s strength comes from their lower bodies, which directly affects their weight distribution and how they’re balanced over the bike.

Liv uses this knowledge to its advantage when it designs women-specific frames. Not only does it create a geometry that balances the rider over the bike, it also tunes stiffness and compliance by adjusting the layup of the Advanced-grade composite material in the carbon frames.


Crunching the big data


Liv has done its research and it discovered that how a bike fits can be calculated using three main pieces of data: body dimensions, muscular activity and strength patterns.

This information comes from more than 15 reputable sources, ranging from research studies to the Global Body Dimension Database. This database is a huge catalogue of all sorts of body dimensions, collected from men and women all over the world, and is used by lots of companies who are interested in fit: everything from bike manufacturers to clothing brands.

Together, these yield a huge amount of data about women’s anatomy, sizing variations, muscle energy and outputs.

The Liv 3F design ethos stands for fit, form and function
The Liv 3F design ethos stands for fit, form and function

This collection of body dimension data, including average anthropometric measurements for both men and women, enables Liv to set a woman’s fit on the bike. The optimal fit brings a woman’s body into a comfortable seated position with ideal placement of contact points, and situates the body to deliver maximum power output.

Testing the metal

This said, building a bike solely based on statistics isn’t enough. That’s why testing prototypes with Liv's professional athletes and ambassadors is a big part of the design process.

By conducting several different rounds of testing, Liv's designers can fine-tune geometry, adjust stiffness and compliance on the composite frames and choose the best components for each bike.

Together, the data and feedback are applied to design the final bike build to complement a women’s body and make the most of the rider's lower body strength, while ensuring optimum balance and comfort.

By choosing Liv, women don’t have to settle for something that merely works, they will have a bike that fits and delivers the ride.

Aero bikes, time trial bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, commuter bikes: the Liv range covers all the main disciplines of cycling
Aero bikes, time trial bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, commuter bikes: the Liv range covers all the main disciplines of cycling

When it comes down to it, it's not just your height that plays a role in what size bike you choose. Every rider has their own unique anatomy, riding style and personal preferences, so Liv athletes and ambassadors share their information to help cyclists make a more informed decision when choosing bike.



The package is only complete once frame design, componentry and state-of-the-art technologies have all been combined. That’s how Liv produces lighter, faster, better performing bikes for every type of rider.

From pressure-reducing, women-specific saddles, to stem lengths optimised to put you in the perfect position, and brake levers that put stopping power within better reach, Liv carefully selects each component to get riders as close as possible to the perfect ride, right out of the box.

Average anthropometrical differences

There are 11 average anthropometrical differences between men and women of the same height
There are 11 average anthropometrical differences between men and women of the same height

These are the average anthropometrical differences between men and women of the same height:

  1. Stature
  2. Crotch height
  3. Sitting height
  4. Shoulder breadth
  5. Shoulder to grip
  6. Hand length
  7. Hand breadth
  8. Hip breadth, sitting
  9. Ischium distance
  10. Foot length
  11. Foot breadth

Liv uses this data for setting body position and contact points, such as narrower handlebars, smaller grips, women’s-specific saddle design and crank length.

The average body measurements of men and women measuring 5ft7in
The average body measurements of men and women measuring 5ft7in

Looking at the average body measurements of men and women measuring 5ft7in and 5ft3in, you can see significant anthropometrical differences that will determine the best bike fit. Notice that differences in proportions become more pronounced for shorter men and women.

The average woman on the closest sized men's frame
The average woman on the closest sized men's frame

When putting the average woman onto the closest sized men’s frame, you can see that she becomes too bent over and stretched out. Not only can this negatively impact power output, pedal efficiency and balance for bike control, but it can also result in pain points such as lower back pain, neck pain, elbow pain and numbing of the hands.

Riding in the wrong position may lead to injury down the road… or trail.

Height distribution overlap
Height distribution overlap

Height distribution applies to how Liv decides its frame sizing range, and it recognises that there is a range of body shapes and sizes that overlap.

Liv is committed to proper bike fit for the majority of women, short and tall, by designing women’s-specific geometries and componentry.

Liv bicycle designs emphasise women's lower body strength
Liv bicycle designs emphasise women's lower body strength

Liv bicycle designs emphasise women’s lower body strength, taking into account natural muscle firing pattern. The data found that women activate the front thigh muscles more so than men while cycling.

Strength patterns

The proportions of how average men and women recruit strength from their lower body and upper body compared
The proportions of how average men and women recruit strength from their lower body and upper body compared

Liv compares the proportions of how average men and women recruit strength from their lower body and upper body using five markers:

  1. Total body strength
  2. Upper extremities strength
  3. Lower extremities strength
  4. Trunk strength
  5. Dynamic strength

Notice that a woman’s percentage of lower body to upper body strength is greater than that of a man’s. Liv uses this data to tailor the stiffness and compliance of its frames to meet a woman’s power demands, and without sacrificing the strength and durability of the frame.

This delivers a unique carbon layup in each of the carbon frames for a tough, yet feather-light bike.

A level playing field

Although Liv loves its brother-brand Giant, each new Liv bike starts with a blank sheet of paper.

Liv's team of designers and engineers carefully craft everything specifically for women's physiology. From frame design and stiffness, component design and selection and positioning, the entire bike build maximises women’s power.

It does, however, share Giant’s tried and tested technologies, such as Maestro Suspension, in its off-road bikes and Advanced-Grade Composite Technology, so its bikes are the best quality.

Liv believes that to get the best riding experience, women benefit from a bespoke frame
Liv believes that to get the best riding experience, women benefit from a bespoke frame

According to Liv’s research, the majority of women are more comfortable and efficient on a bike designed specifically for them. The average anatomical and physiological differences between women and men mean that most women need a bike option other than men’s or unisex bikes.

Liv believes women deserve the same variety and choice as men, so when it comes to buying a bike it’s proud to be pioneering the charge in offering a full line of women’s specific bikes.

The product is supported through its committed global team of ambassadors and pro riders, who continue to engage and inspire women around the world, sharing experiences and being a trusted source of information.

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