Men's vs. women's bikes: just how different are they?

We pit the Giant Reign against the Liv Hail to find out

Just how different are men's and women's bikes? We tested the Giant Reign against the Liv Hail to find out

Liv Cycling is the women's specific sister company to Giant Bicycles, but unlike many others that simply modify pre-existing unisex models with components more appropriate for a women’s build, Liv designs its bikes from the ground up with different geometry for female riders.

But exactly how much do women's bikes differ from their unisex or male counterparts?

The Hail is a new addition to the Liv range and according to Liv it's been designed specifically for women with a focus on enduro riding and racing.

The Reign is a 160mm travel bike in the Giant line, designed for a similar enduro/all-mountain purpose.

Both offer 160mm of travel, plus similar suspension kinematics and build kits. However, this is where the comparisons end, with the geometry of the two bikes being markedly different.

Liv bases its geometry on data gathered from a global body dimension database, which offers access to a range of body dimension stats that include leg length, arm length, height and sex.

Sadly, this data isn't open source, so we can't take a look at it, but Liv says that it indicates sufficient differences between the average man and woman to mean that developing a bespoke geometry for female riders makes for a better ride experience and performance. Liv refines this with rider testing and feedback.

But how much of a difference does this make? To find out we sent out women’s editor Aoife Glass and technical editor Tom Marvin to test both of the bikes back to back. Check out the video above to see how they got on!

Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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