Kerry has been putting the Liv Intrigue 2 through its paces for the last few months to see what this highly popular female specific trail bike is all about.
The Liv Intrigue 2 is Liv’s trail-orientated bike positioned as the big sister to the Pique XC range and the little sister to the Hail enduro range.
With more female shredders than ever about these days, Liv are doing a decent job at providing plenty of options for the demands of all types of female rider.
- ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum frame
- Fox 34 Rhythm 150mm fork
- Fox Float DPS Performance shock
- Shimano MT520 brakes
- SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drive
- Giant Contact Switch dropper
- £2599.00 RRP
Whether aesthetics are a top priority for you or not, this is an unmistakably good looking bike with a deep two-tone metallic finish paint job in the appropriately named colour ‘Ocean Spray’, a welcome change to the flat and matt paints you see on a lot of current bikes. The frame pops and shimmers under day light, like it’s showing off in its natural setting.
The geometry of the Intrigue is middle of the road for a trail orientated bike with no big surprises with the numbers. I did find the size guide from Liv was off though, putting me slap bang in the ‘small’ sizing bracket. At 5’5” I’d usually ride a medium or 17.5”.
This small I found too short, particularly in the reach, putting me in a too upright riding position and constantly aware of loading the front wheel up too much when I was out of the saddle. Certainly something to consider and points toward going to a bike shop to at least sit on one before committing.
The Maestro suspension platform has been seen on Giant’s MTBs for years, so it’s no surprise to see it throughout the Liv range as well. It climbs well, providing a solid minimally-bobbing platform when climbing and does the business on the downs.
I set the fork and shock to the recommended pressures for my weight and didn’t have to alter them throughout the test. The same can be said about the Fox 34 fork upfront.
Despite being from the cheaper end of SRAM’s mountain bike group sets, the NX kit on the Intrigue performed well. It’s been a hellish winter in the South West and I’ve thrown everything, mostly mud, at the Liv and it hasn’t skipped a beat in the shifting department. The groupset generally is a little noisy; it has a particular whirr about it, especially when getting up toward those massive bail out gears at the top of the cassette, but aside that it’s been good.
From Shimano, the four piston brakes coupled with 180mm front and rear rotors provide ample stopping power, inspiring confidence while riding fast and steep sections. This is encouraging for both new and more experienced riders to find their limits.
It’s a shame that one important component, the tyres, have been the victim of cost cutting on this bike. The single compound Maxxis High Rollers have highly insufficient grip on rocks and roots and certainly don’t inspire confidence on anything technical. When buying the Liv you should budget for an immediate upgrade to these.
The rest of the kit on the Intrigue is mostly own branded equipment. Liv’s female specific saddle doesn’t look immediately different to a unisex saddle, but the subtle difference in design makes for a much more comfortable day of riding.
The dropper seat post is nothing fancy in itself, a Giant Contact Switch with 100mm drop on the small frame size. The dropper did intermittently refuse to lower toward the end of the test, due to cable corrosion from the conditions we’ve had this winter.
I was pleasantly surprised at the Intrigue’s climbing ability. I spent a day pedaling up the fire road at Bikepark Wales and expected this amount of climbing to be a slog, knowing the 13.6kg weight of the bike and that it has 2.4 inch tyres. However with the shock in climb mode the bike felt eager to get to the top of fire road and smoother trail climbs. It also didn’t disappoint with the shock set to trail mode, firm enough to avoid excess bobbing but sufficient to suck up bumps on more featured trail climbs.
On smooth surfaced and level ground the Liv felt eager to move. Carrying speed well and with plenty of pop out of berms and over rollers, it was fun and snappy and felt right at home tearing around in blue graded trail centre territory.
Early on I played around with the shock rebound settings whilst sessioning a red graded downhill trail at Bikepark Wales as I found it was packing down from repeated drop offs. A few clicks less dampening turned the bike into a two wheeled pogo stick but a couple back the other way gave me a composed planted back end which then threw me no curve balls. I was however hesitant to fully commit to the gnarliest trails throughout the test period because of the short reach and hard compound tyres.
With the Fox 34 Rythmn fork set to fully open its 150mm of travel didn’t dive under braking and felt supportive over most surfaces. With the shock on trail or descend mode depending on the roughness of the terrain, the bike didn’t seem out of its depth in any conditions or trail type that I rode, and the front to rear felt balanced and overall the Liv descends well.
Because of the peculiarities with Liv’s sizing and the fact that this bike was just too small for me, it was hard for me to really realise the full potential of this bike in the bends, however what I did put it through it did just fine.
What do we think?
This is a good all round trail bike for a rider who wants to ride trail centres but who wants the confidence to turn up the gnar factor on demand. Just make sure you buy the correct frame size though and upgrade those tyres and you’ll have a genuinely great ‘one bike that fits all’ mountain bike that’s good value at £2599.
- Eye catching paint job
- Comfortable female-specific saddle
- Four piston brakes
Could do better:
- Better tyres
- A tweak of the sizing guide