Why it matters that Liv Cycling makes bikes exclusively for women

With the huge range of bike brands on the market, does gender matter when it comes to design? When many of us were growing up, the difference between boys’ and girls’ bike design was that the former had a straight top tube, while the latter had a u-shaped or step-through frame (historically, to accommodate dresses). Where vestiges of this design ethos remain in the low-end children’s market, these accolades are more about marketing than performance. But for adult women, frame geometry is a real concern. Many brands make bikes that are supposed to be designed for women, but do they really fit the female body?

Liv Cycling, Giant’s Taiwan-based sister brand, is solely dedicated to designing and building bikes for women’s physiology — from frame design and stiffness, to component design and selection, to fitment — in order to to provide women with optimal comfort and efficiency. any kind of bike. Designs are based not only on anthropometric data but also on women’s lived experience with bikes: Liv has female athletes in every cycling discipline consulting on every nuance of design, and is the only women’s brand that builds its own bikes from start to finish. This means they are in control of the entire process, from conception to implementation.

Liv was founded in 2008 by Giant Group President Bonnie Tu when she wanted to participate in a cycling event and couldn’t find a bike that really suited her. Tu’s personal search led to a fuller understanding of the cycling market and its gaps in terms of female riders. Women’s interest in cycling is growing every year and with the COVID-19 pandemic catapulting interest to new heights, women’s cycling continues to be one of the fastest growing areas in the cycling industry. The brand makes road, mountain, cross and gravel bikes, electric and children’s bikes, with many variations on each theme for different rider styles and budgets.

I demoed a Liv Intrigue Advanced mountain bike, whose 27.5″ full suspension carbon bike was surprisingly light. The bike was very easy to adjust to for someone who hadn’t been in the saddle in, oh, about two decades. It rolls nicely over rocks and roots and seems to have good forgiveness and stability in muddy conditions. Best of all, it fits my 5’2″ frame perfectly. The gear position is ergonomically stable and the seat height and angle are easy to adjust. Its light weight makes climbing much easier than I expected! I can’t wait to develop my skills to see more of what this bike can do.

To get into mountain biking, I followed the guide content on the Liv website, which includes topics such as basic maintenance, bike packing, and an introduction to mountain biking skills. In 2014, Liv partnered with Ladies AllRide, founded by mountain bike evangelist Lindsey Richter, who has dedicated her career to inspiring and empowering women and girls to ride bikes. Ladies AllRide offers training camps around the country and there is a ton of content on the LAR YouTube channel, all of which gave me the confidence to give mountain biking a shot.

I also spoke with Jen Audia, who works with Liv’s global team in Taiwan, who said that just as important as bikes being built for women’s bodies is the issue of representation. “You have to see it for that,” she said – “girls and women coming into the sport at any level need to see people like them on bikes – having fun, taking risks, facing fears, accepting challenges – and Liv only invests in women and women.” Audia added that, “Our welcoming community is the other part of the equation. We don’t just create bike products and equipment, we also create community and education.”

The partnership between Liv and Ladies AllRide is a natural progression of women’s movement into sports like mountain biking. Having a community to welcome you, guide you through any concerns, and help you learn the skills you need to achieve your goals is invaluable. And if the experience serves to build women’s confidence – both on the bike and in life – so much the better.

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