Climb high, ride hard with Liv's new full-suss e-MTBs

New Liv Embolden E and Intrigue E cover everything from fire-road to alpine descents

Liv Cycling has unleashed two new women’s specific e-mountain bikes into the world. For those who want to explore local trails, forest roads, gravel paths and generally enjoy exploring and touring comes the Embolden E. If technical trails, climbs, descents and even eMTB racing is your thing, then say hello to the bigger, burlier Intrigue E.

Highlights

  • Two new models of women’s specific e-mountain bikes
  • Embolden E: entry-level eMTB designed for exploring and touring
  • Intrigue E: trail/all-mountain eMTB for trail riding, eMTB enduro racing, all-mountain riding
  • All feature SyncDrive motors and integrated battery packs
  • Battery packs can be fully recharged in 1 hour 40 minutes

Liv Intrigue E+ Pro 1

The Embolden E and Intrigue E were both put to an initial test in Italy
The Embolden E and Intrigue E were both put to an initial test in Italy

Launched with the tagline ‘fuel the fire’, the Intrigue E+ is a 140/150mm travel plus-tyre trail bike designed to handle the technical terrain.

The much-reviewed and well-regarded 4-pivot Maestro suspension system is deployed here, paired with a Fox Float DPS Performance EVOL trunnion-mounted shock to give 140mm of rear travel. Up front, a Fox 36 Rhythm fork gives 150mm of travel with great small-bump sensitivity and a progressive feel that absorbs big hits effectively.

Both forks and shock have a specific light tune to suit the lighter-on-average weight of female riders, plus adapted to suit e-bikes.

The wheelset consists of Giant eTracker Boost hubs with Giant AM 27.5+ rims with 35mm inner width paired with decently robust Maxxis Minion DHF EXO Dual Compound tubeless tyres in 2.6inch width, though the frame can accomodate up to a 2.8inch tyre.

The top-level Intrigue E+ Pro 1 is fitted with the Giant SyncDrive Sport motor with the EnergyPack 500 battery. Liv claims the SyncDrive motor weighs in at 3.1kg, lighter than the Sport version of the motor fitted on the Embolden E.

The 500-watt battery pack can be recharged in as little as 1 hour 40 minutes
The 500-watt battery pack can be recharged in as little as 1 hour 40 minutes

All bikes are available in four sizes — XS, S, M and L — to cover an extensive range of rider heights.

The SyncDrive Pro Motor offers five assist modes, with the highest offering up to 360% assistance, which is enough to make some of the steepest slopes a doddle.

The system is controlled by a compact and simple control panel — the Ride Control One — that sits on the bars. This consists of two large buttons to toggle up and down support modes, a power on/off button, LED displays that indicate battery level and which mode the bike is currently in, plus an additional button that can be used to control lights if fitted. Finally, the all-important 'walk mode' button located on the side of the panel gives a welcome boost when pushing up.

Lastly, while it might not affect the performance of the bike, the frame finish does deserve a special mention as it's a colour-shifting, glitter-finish work of art that changes from teal to blue to purple depending on the light. Pretty damn badass.

The Ride Control One panel
The Ride Control One panel

Geometry-wise, the Intrigue E+ features a trail-ready 66.5 degree head angle and 74.5 degree seat-tube angle. The size medium frame has a top tube length of 23.4 inches, a seattube length of 17.5 inches, chainstay length of 18.5 inches and and a stack of 23 inches. Handlebar, stem length and crank length is size specific.

Liv Intrigue E+ 1 ride impressions

My initial impressions of the Intrigue E, based on riding down (and up!) the loose, rocky trails of the Venosta Valley in Italy, led by the excellent guides of Vinschgaubike, are favourable.

Plus-tyres handled the loose, rocky terrain giving plenty of traction and grip, needed also to handle the added weight of riding an e-bike. Geometry and ride position felt good for both climbing and descending, and the suspension worked well on both small and large hits, helping with traction on the ascents.

E-bike specific Fox 36 forks are fitted
E-bike specific Fox 36 forks are fitted

There are some elements of riding an e-bike that take some getting used to (no matter the brand), and one of the biggest is the speed at which you can climb and the technique you need for doing so. Because you’re riding so much faster, you essentially need your downhill skills for riding uphill.

There are several elements of the SyncDrive system that make it easier. First, the SyncDrive Pro motor has a shorter range of engagement from the crank, which means you don’t need to rotate the pedal as far to engage the motor. This comes into play when approaching technical features in climbs where you want to ratchet the pedals rather than put in a whole rotation.

Second, the SyncDrive Pro motor has a quicker reaction time before engagement, at 190 milli-seconds versus 500 milliseconds on the Sport version of the motor.

Finally, the q-factor — how wide the pedals project from the edge of the bike — is relatively small for the Intrigue. This is a function of designing the SyncDrive motor to be compact, and makes the bike feel more 'normal' and reduces the chances of accidentally catching pedals on the edge of the trail.

Liv Intrigue E+ model range

Liv Intrigue E+ Pro 1

  • Giant SyncDrive Pro motor with Giant EnergyPak500 integrated battery
  • Fox 36 Rhythm forks with 150mm travel
  • Fox Float DPS Performance EVOL shock
  • Shimano Deore XT/SLX 11spd groupset
  • Shimano 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes
  • Giant Contact Switch dropper seatpost
  • ALUXX SL-grade aluminium frame with 140mm rear travel and carbon composite rocker link
  • Giant AM 27.5 e-bike optimised rims with eTracker Boost hubs
  • Maxxis Minion DHF EXO Dual compound tyres in 27.5 x2.6
  • Chameleon blue/black frame colour
  • €4,299

Built for handling tough terrain, both up and down
Built for handling tough terrain, both up and down

Liv Intrigue E+ Pro 2

  • Giant SyncDrive Pro motor with Giant EnergyPak500 integrated battery
  • SR Suntour Aion 35 Air LO-R fork with 150mm travel
  • Fox Float DPS Performance EVOL shock
  • Shimano Deore XT/SLX 11spd groupset
  • Shimano 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes
  • Giant Contact Switch dropper seatpost
  • ALUXX SL-grade aluminium frame with 140mm rear travel and carbon composite rocker link
  • Giant AM 27.5 e-bike optimised rims with eTracker Boost hubs
  • Maxxis Minion DHF EXO Dual compound tyres in 27.5 x2.6
  • Metallic red/black frame colour
  • €3,799

Liv Embolden E+ 1

The Embolden E+ is designed to help riders explore more
The Embolden E+ is designed to help riders explore more

Coming in around €1,000 cheaper than the Intrigue E+, the Embolden is a 120/130mm travel e-mountain bike designed as an introductory e-bike with a focus more towards exploring and touring, rather than full-on tech. Think of it more for flowing, smooth singletrack rather than boulder-strewn, step-down-riddled trails.

The Embolden E range is fitted with the SyncDrive Sport motor, which gives a 350% boost on the highest of its five support modes and has a claimed weight of 3.4kg. The same Ride Control One panel is used to select modes and monitor power levels and is intuitive to use.

Paired with it is the EnergyPack500 battery or EnergyPak400 on the entry-level Embolden E+ 2.

The battery pack is integrated into the downtube, and locks in place with a lock and key system
The battery pack is integrated into the downtube, and locks in place with a lock and key system

The bike features 130mm front travel provided by a RockShox Recon RL fork and 120mm rear travel with a single-pivot suspension system offering 120mm of travel, controlled by the RockShox Monarch RT shock.

As with the Intrigue, the Embolden E+ 1 is fitted with plus-sized 2.6in tyres providing better grip and traction to support the heavy weight of the bike. These come in the form of Maxxis Recon tyres in 27.5x2.6 with Exo protect, set up tubeless ready, fitted to Giant AM tubeless-ready rims with Giant eTracker Boost hubs.

The three models of the Embolden E are all available in XS, S, M and L sizes.

Liv Embolden E+ 1 ride impressions

The Embolden E+ 1 is built for exploring and touring
The Embolden E+ 1 is built for exploring and touring

If exploring forest roads, gravel tracks and simple singletrack is your goal, the Embolden E+ is a bike that will carry you and your luggage quickly and efficiently and should recharge quickly as well.

The Embolden E+ climbed well on some steep, loose terrain, making short work of elevation gain.

While it is able to handle slightly more technical terrain, the main factor holding it back here is the RockShox Recon RL fork, which felt far too flexible when riding and had a tendency to dive through its travel, despite upping the PSI significantly above my normal fork shock pressure, even for an e-bike.

Liv does say the bike isn't designed for rock gardens, drops and the like, but it some ways it's a shame the fork isn't more capable as the bike seemed to handle a lot of these types of smaller on-trail features fine, apart from the front-end performance.

The Embolden uses a single-pivot suspension system
The Embolden uses a single-pivot suspension system

Liv Embolden E+ model range

Embolden E+ 1

  • Giant SyncDrive Sport motor with Giant EnergyPak500 integrated battery
  • RockShox Recon RL 27.5+ 130mm fork
  • RockShox Monarch RT shock
  • Shimano Deore XT/SLX 11spd drivetrain
  • Shimano 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes
  • ALUXX SL-grade aluminium with single pivot FlexPoint suspension system
  • Giant AM 27.5 e-bike optimised rims with eTracker Boost hubs
  • Maxxis Rekon 27.5x2.6 tyres with Exo Protect, tubeless ready
  • Satin steel blue/teal frame colour
  • €3499

Embolden E+ 2 (Power)

  • Giant SyncDrive Sport motor with Giant EnergyPak500 integrated battery
  • SR Suntour XCR LO-R 130mm fork
  • RockShox Monarch R shock
  • Shimano Deore 10spd drivetrain
  • Shimano Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
  • ALUXX SL-grade aluminium with single pivot FlexPoint suspension system
  • Giant AM 27.5 e-bike optimised rims with eTracker hubs
  • Maxxis Rekon 27.5x2.6 tyres with Exo Protect, tubeless ready
  • Black/teal frame colour
  • €3299

Embolden E+ 2

  • Giant SyncDrive Sport motor with Giant EnergyPak500 integrated battery
  • SR Suntour XCR 130mm fork
  • RockShox Monarch R shock
  • Shimano Deore 10spd drivetrain
  • Shimano Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
  • ALUXX SL-grade aluminium with single pivot FlexPoint suspension system
  • Giant AM 27.5 e-bike optimised rims with eTracker hubs
  • Maxxis Rekon 27.5x2.6 tyres with Exo Protect, tubeless ready
  • Black/magenta frame colour
  • €3099

The SyncDrive hybrid system

Liv and Giant have both opted to use the Yamaha SyncDrive motor system for their e-bikes, which consists of the SyncDrive motor itself, the Pedal Plus system that determines the profile of the motor output, and the Ride Control One handlebar control system.

The integrated EnergyPak battery pack consists of 40 individual battery cells working together. The advantage of this system is that if one battery fails in any way, the overall system still works. 6amp charging, supplied via a 'smart charger box', means the 500watt-version of the battery pack can be fully recharged in an impressive 1 hour 40 minutes.

The SyncDrive Sport motor on the Embolden E+
The SyncDrive Sport motor on the Embolden E+

Pedal Plus is the system by which the SyncDrive motor determines the output from the support modes, and is essential for providing as natural a feel as possible, Liv says. It uses four points of feedback including speed, cadence, motor cadence and power input. The lower three support mode outputs are more influenced by the power put into the pedal stroke, while the upper two are more influenced by cadence.

The Ride Control One unit is new for this year and is compact and easy to use. It fits on the left side of the handlebars and allows the rider to shift through support modes, activate the walk-assist mode, and monitor battery life.

Liv also plans to release a smartphone app later in September 2018, which will allow greater functionality and the ability to tune support modes to suit your riding style. This is planned to include features such as the ability to set fitness goals like duration, distance or calories burnt, work with navigation systems, and give incoming call and text notifications.

Aoife Glass

Women's Cycling Editor
A mountain biker at heart, also drawn to the open road. Likes big long adventures in the mountains. Usually to be found in the Mendip Hills or the Somerset Levels in the UK. Passionate about women's cycling at all levels.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Rocky, rough and a long way from anywhere.
  • Current Bikes: Liv Avail Advanced Pro 2015, Juliana Furtado 2013, Canyon Roadlite AL
  • Dream Bike: Juliana Roubion, Liv Avail Advanced SL
  • Beer of Choice: Red wine for the win!
  • Location: Weston Super Mare, Somerset, UK

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