The Liv Intrigue X E+ is a women's specific eMTB designed for trail riding and any adventure where the fun lies both uphill and down. Combining capable suspension 150mm/140mm travel with 29er wheels (27.5inch on the size XS) plus Giant’s range-topping SyncDrive Pro motor, this is a bike that positively encourages you to ride further, faster, higher, longer and more, and pretty much guarantees you’ll have a huge amount of fun while you’re doing it. We can’t stop riding it.
Liv Cycling is a separate but sister brand to Giant Bicycles, and while they share certain aspects such as frame technology and parts, Liv bikes have been developed, designed and built for women, by women, using data only from women who ride. The result is a distinct frame geometry and selection of parts that, according to Liv, ensures that most women will get the best possible fit, ride experience and performance without having to swap out parts. So how do these match up to today's best electric mountain bikes? Here's our full Liv Intrigue X E+ women’s eMTB review.
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Liv Intrigue X E+ women's eMTB review: design and features
The core of the Liv Intrigue X E+ is the high-grade aluminium frame with trail ready (but not ground-breaking) geometry. Like a lot of modern trail bikes, the Intrigue X E+ features a flip chip that allows the geometry to sit a little higher and steeper for climbing or lower and slacker for rides where there’s more down then up. In our experience, we tended to just leave it in the low position as, with the motor assist, we found getting up most climbs a doddle in any case.
In the high geometry setting on the size medium we tested, the head tube angle sits at 66.5 degrees with a seat tube angle of 76.7 degrees and wheelbase of 1216mm. In the low position, the head tube angle is 65.8 degrees, seat tube angle of 76 degrees and a wheelbase of 1213mm. The reach on the bike is relatively short when compared to men’s/unisex bikes, at 442/432mm, and long chainstays at 472mm adds stability on steep climbs but can affect handline on tighter trails – but is a common feature on eBikes.
The rest of the spec includes a Shimano XT groupset, 29er wheels based around Giant’s eMTB specific strong eTR1 rims and boost hubs and powerful Shimano XT 4-piston brakes with Deore XT levers.
Liv and Giant worked with Yamaha to develop a bespoke system in the form of its own SyncDrive Pro motor which in the eMTB world is currently competitively light weight and offers a really impressive 80nm of torque. This means it can produce from 100% up to a whopping 360% assistance; in practice, you feel like a climbing god, quite literally. The battery is a 625Wh EnergyPak Smart integrated which offers many hours of assistance and can be fully recharged in about 3 hours.
Liv UK offers the bike in size XS, S and M, covering riders from 5ft/152cm up to 5ft9/175cm. Liv are generally excellent choices for smaller riders, and for the Intrigue X E+ not only do the smaller sizes have scaled down handlebars and stems for a better fit but the XS option also has 27.5in wheels to give a more uniform handling experience across all sizes.
Liv Intrigue X E+ women’s eMTB review: performance
In action, this bike performs impressively. The pedal assist kicks in quickly and smoothly as you pedal which makes for a pretty natural riding sensation. Sensors monitor speed, torque, pedal rotation and other metrics and feed this back into the system to provide a steady level of assist that adapts to your pedalling and the terrain you’re on as you go.
The motor itself is quite narrow and the system uses regular bike cranks and chainring which results in a normal-feeling ride, compared to some eMTBs where the wider motor in the bottom bracket area means the q-factor – how wide your pedals are out from the centre of the bike – is larger which, if you’re not used to it, means you can end up catching pedals. Not a problem here!
Handlebar mounted controls allow you to power on, off, and control the assist level. It’s a simple push-button plus LED light system which makes it easy to see at a glance what your battery level is like and what mode you’re in. There are five modes, ranging from a simple 50% assist all the way up to the aforementioned 360% assist which makes short work of steep hills and is dangerously good fun.
Liv claims the battery can provide up to 190km of riding on one charge, and while we can’t confirm that we can confirm that we’ve ridden ‘till we’ve run out of daylight and energy and had a couple of lights left in the tank. That figure is always just an estimate, since the true figure will be affected by things like rider weight, terrain and which mode the bike is ridden in; for example, it takes more power to get up hills so if you live in a mountainous area it’ll eat into your charge quicker.
The suspension is tuned to suit the lighter on average weight of women riders, but it’s also crucial to get it set up for your own weight on top of this by setting the sag on the forks and shock.
Fox suspension offers plush, progressive action that gives a pleasing, secure amount of traction when riding, making short work of drops, rollers and rock gardens. However, the conservative head angle means that the bike can feel a little nervous when terrain starts to get really steep.
Sadly, Liv doesn't offer the bike in a size L in the UK and as we sit towards the top end of the size medium height range at 5’8”/174cm, we found the size just a bit too small. However, for riders under that height, and particularly smaller riders, this is a very well put-together eMTB that’s capable and immensely fun to ride.
Liv Intrigue X E+ review: specs
- RRP: £5,799 / US$5,850 / €6,350
- Sizes: XS, S, M
- Frame: ALUXX SL-Grade aluminium
- Motor & Battery: Giant SyncDrive Pro by Yamaha, 80nm torque, with Giant EnergyPak Smart Integrated 625W battery
- Fork: Fox 36 Float Performance Elite FIT4 with 150mm of travel
- Shock: Fox Float DPX2 Performance Elite FIT4 controlling 140mm travel, with a Liv custom tune
- Drivetrain: Shimano XTR with Praxis e-Cadet+ alloy cranks
- Brakes: Shimano XT 4-piston with Deore XT levers
- Wheels: Giant eTR1 rims and hubs with Maxxis Assegai EXO MaxxTerra 29x2.6in front tyre and Maxxis Dissector EXO+ 3C 29x2.6 inch rear tyre
- Seatpost: Giant Contact Switch dropper with 125mm travel
Liv Intrigue X E+ women’s eMTB review: verdict
Capable, playful and a whole lot of fun – so much fun, in fact, that you’ll want to be out riding all the time and with motor-support, short hops and longer rides won’t wipe you out. We found ourselves heading out for quick workday lunchtime blasts just because it was going to be quick, not too tiring or sweaty, and a great way to get out of the house during lockdown. This is a particularly good option for smaller riders, offering all the fun of an eMTB is a smaller package.