2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0
21 Aug 2019

Liv rolls out its first ever 29er mountain bike - the Pique 29. Based on the popular Giant Anthem platform, Liv's new Pique 29 brings with it a unique frame, women's specific geometry, and a few key changes that make this a more trail-ready bike than the Anthem.

The not-so-minor details

Product

2020 Liv Pique Advanced Pro 29 0

Contact

Giant Bicycles

https://www.liv-cycling.com/au

Price

$11,999

Positives

- Competent handling offers descending confidence
- The XS size is a winner for short female riders wanting a speedy 29er
- Dropper posts as standard equipment on all models
- Fox Live Valve system offers high performance that's set and forget

Negatives

- One kidney probably isn't enough for this model
- Big pricing gaps between the available models
- The Rekon Race tyres are fast, but a chunkier front tyre would be nice

The 2020 Liv Pique Joins The 29er Party!

While the name may be familiar, the 2020 Liv Pique Advanced 29 0 is a far cry from the existing 27.5in-wheeled Pique. It’s a completely new XC weapon and marks two firsts for Liv: it’s the brand’s first full carbon dual suspension mountain bike, and it’s also Liv’s first ever 29er. Those two aspects bring this flagship XC bike toe-to-toe with its counterpart from brother company Giant; the Anthem Advanced Pro 29 0.

2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0 fiona dick
Liv unveils its first ever 29er – the brand new Pique 29. Woo-hoo!
2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0
Be prepared to swat away the magpies – this is one spangly mountain bicycle.
2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0
Most likely made from the tears of a male peacock.

Giant was notoriously late to the 29er party, having dipped in, and then back out again, before famously proclaiming 27.5 as the one true wheel size. Well, at least until the re-launch of the Anthem 29 in 2018. And now that we also have the Trance 29 and Reign 29, it would seem that Giant has changed its mind about wheelsizes.

The two-year delay in Liv coming along for the 29er ride was perhaps the challenge around designing frames for smaller riders. Being a women’s specific brand, Liv prides itself on providing a proper fit for ladies all the way down to an XS size.

Liv Global Product Marketing Specialist, Elise Heinold claims, “Not everyone has mastered the size XS for a 29in wheel bike … and we totally nailed it!” But how exactly did they do that? As we’ve covered before, Liv designs are informed by data collected on female body dimensions, muscular activity, and strength patterns. “Our goal was to find the right geometry and fit so that petite women can ride this bike without sacrificing stiffness or weight for XC racing”, says Liv engineer Sophia Shih.

With the specific design objectives achieved, it’s good to note that all frame sizes will fit a downtube water bottle – yep, that’s right, even the XS frame! Sure, the marathon racers may be left asking for more, but it’s still a positive step forward for 29er bikes of this size.

2020 liv pique 29 3
The Pique 29 will fit a water bottle inside the mainframe all the way down to an XS size. Neat!

Travel, Specs, Frame Material – What We Got?

The new Pique family of bikes offers 100mm of suspension up front, and 100mm out back via the Maestro suspension platform and a trunnion-mounted rear shock. This is actually 10mm more than the Giant Anthem, which only has 90mm of rear wheel travel.

There will be four Pique models coming into Australia for 2020; two with the full-carbon Advanced Pro frames, and two with ALUXX SL alloy frames. Regardless of frame material though, all Piques share the same geometry and the same suspension design. We’re pleased to see 1×12 gearing and dropper posts specced across every model in the Pique range, along with lightweight air-adjustable suspension all the way down to the Pique 29 3.

In addition to the frame geometry being female specific, the suspension is tuned to weight ranges and Liv works with each suspension company to achieve this. It’s worth noting that the standard weight range the Pique 29 has been tuned for is 52-73kg. If you’re outside of this weight range, it’d be advisable to look into having your suspension custom-tuned specifically for your weight.

Here’s a closer look at those four models we’ll have available in Oz this season;

2020 liv pique 29 3
The entry-point in the Liv Pique range, the Pique 29 3 gets a mysterious purple & black paint job, along with 1×12 SRAM Eagle shifting, a dropper post and RockShox air-adjustable suspension.

2020 Liv Pique 29 3

  • Frame | ALUXX SL-Grade Alloy, 100mm Travel
  • Fork | RockShox Recon SL, Solo Air, 100mm Travel
  • Shock | RockShox Deluxe Select+
  • Wheels | Giant Performance Disc Hubs & XCT Alloy Rims
  • Tyres | Maxxis Rekon Race 60tpi EXO 2.25in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain | SRAM SX Eagle 1×12 w/SX Eagle 30t DUB Crankset & 11-5ot Cassette
  • Brakes | Shimano MT400 w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Seatpost | Giant Contact Switch Dropper, 30.9mm, 75-125mm Travel
  • RRP | $3,399
2020 liv pique 29 2
Best paint job of the range? We think so! The Pique 29 2 is also built around a swoopy welded alloy frame, but upgrades to Fox suspension front and rear, with a Shimano SLX 1×12 drivetrain laying down your pedal power.

2020 Liv Pique 29 2

  • Frame | ALUXX SL-Grade Alloy, 100mm Travel
  • Fork | Fox 32 Float Step-Cast, Performance Series, GRIP Damper, 100mm Travel
  • Shock | Fox Float DPS, Performance Series
  • Wheels | Giant Performance Disc Hubs & XCT Alloy Rims
  • Tyres | Maxxis Rekon Race 60tpi EXO 2.25in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain | Shimano SLX 1×12 w/SLX 30t Crankset & 10-51t Cassette
  • Brakes | Shimano MT500 w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Seatpost | Giant Contact Switch Dropper, 30.9mm, 75-125mm Travel
  • RRP | $3,999
2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 1
Lovers of carbon take note – the Pique Advanced Pro 29 1 has the same frame as the top-end 0 model, but comes in $5k cheaper thanks to a more sensible parts selection. This one is going to be popular.

2020 Liv Pique Advanced Pro 29 1

  • Frame | Advanced Grade Carbon Mainframe & Swingarm, 100mm Travel
  • Fork | Fox 32 Float Step-Cast, Performance Elite, FIT4 Damper, 100mm Travel
  • Shock | Fox Float DPS, Performance Elite
  • Wheels | Giant XCR 1 Composite
  • Tyres | Maxxis Rekon Race 120tpi EXO 2.25in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain | Shimano SLX/XT 1×12 w/XT 30t Crankset & 10-51t Cassette
  • Brakes | Shimano SLX w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Seatpost | Giant Contact Switch Dropper, 30.9mm, 75-125mm Travel
  • RRP | $6,799
2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0
Not interested in making compromises in your time on planet Earth? The Pique Advanced Pro 29 0 is with you all the way – Fox Live Valve suspension, SRAM XX1 shifting, and carbon fibre everywhere, it doesn’t get much more bling than this.

2020 Liv Pique Advanced Pro 29 0

  • Frame | Advanced Grade Carbon Mainframe & Swingarm, 100mm Travel
  • Fork | Fox 32 Float Step-Cast, Factory Series, Live Valve, 100mm Travel
  • Shock | Fox Float DPS, Factory Series, Live Valve
  • Wheels | Giant XCR 0 Composite
  • Tyres | Maxxis Rekon Race 120tpi EXO 2.25in Front & Rear
  • Drivetrain | SRAM XX1 1×12 w/XX1 32t Carbon Crankset & 10-50t Cassette
  • Brakes | SRAM Level Ultimate w/180mm Front & 160mm Rear Rotors
  • Seatpost | RockShox Reverb Stealth Dropper, 30.9mm, 75-125mm Travel
  • RRP | $11,999
2020 liv pique 29
Liv has gone to some lengths to keep the Pique nice and compact, even with the bigger 29in wheels.

Pique 29 Sizing & Geometry

As you’d expect, the new Pique 29 follows the “longer, lower, slacker” trend with a relatively roomy cockpit, low bottom bracket, and a 68.5° head angle. A low standover height combined with a short seat tube and XC-specific dropper post enables plenty of room to move around for descending and cornering. The low stack height means an aggressive XC position can be easily adopted. It has a pretty compact rear end for a 29er with 438mm chainstays, which is intended to give a lively feel to the bike.

As for sizing, Liv will have three sizes available in Australia for the Pique 29: X-Small, Small and Medium. According to Liv, the X-Small will fit riders down to about 148cm tall, while the Medium covers riders up to 177cm tall. Though the reach measurements are over 20mm longer than the previous Pique 27.5, they’re still a touch shorter than the unisex Giant Anthem 29.

2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 fiona dick
Fi swooping along on the Small-sized Pique 29 test bike.

I’m 168cm (5’4”) tall and rode the Small size. According to the chart I’m right in the sweet spot for that size and felt really comfortable on it once I’d centred the saddle in the rails and taken out one 5mm headset spacer. I probably could have removed more – the Pique 29s come set up pretty upright, which is good, as you’ve got plenty of adjustability and can really slam the stem if you want.

It’s A-Live Valve!

The bike we were riding at the launch is the Pique Advanced Pro 29 0. It’s a seriously premium offering that comes dripping in carbon components with a very sexy paint job, but most notable is that it features the game-changing Fox Live Valve electronic suspension system. Wasting mental and physical energy on your suspension lockouts is now a thing of the past, as this system does that entirely for you (for the full rundown on Live Valve, check out our story here).

2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0 live valve fox kashima
The dual-link Maestro suspension design is hopped-up with the very clever Fox Live Valve system on the top-level Pique Advanced Pro 29 0.
2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0 live valve fox
A solenoid inside the fork and shock damper allow both to flick from open to closed in just 3 milliseconds. And the system does it all automatically, so you can concentrate on the trail ahead.

After setting up your sag and rebound as you usually would, “You just turn it on and ride”, explained Everet Ericksen, Fox Engineering Manager, Advanced Development Group and inventor of the Live Valve system. “It frees up a lot of your mental capacity to focus on breathing or line choices … it’s a big deal”.

Combined with top-of-the-line Fox Factory suspension components, it also comes with a big price tag, but its benefit to race efficiency is undeniable with the delivery of lightning quick adjustments to your suspension as the terrain changes.

2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0 live valve
1×12 Eagle shifting on this Pique, along with Giant’s own XCR 0 carbon wheels and Maxxis Rekon Race tyres. It’s a speedy little number.

ALL Of The Bling

Also undeniable is that the Pique Advanced Pro 29 0 is a helluva good looking bike! With striking chameleon blue/purple paint (complete with matching top cap) and lustrous gloss finish, I love how the lower half of the bike dips into black. The classy raw aluminium-look graphics and curved lines of the carbon tubes complementing the arcs of the trademark Liv frame design are also very aesthetically appealing. Topping off the package is the absence of suspension lockout levers, which leaves the handlebars looking clean. Along with the internal cable routing though the frame, it results in a sleek, sophisticated looking rig.

Worth noting here is that Liv was actually trialling two colourways during the launch, and the bike I’m pictured riding is the one that didn’t make it to market. RIP to the Green Lizard Queen.

2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0 fiona dick
Don’t get too excited by the Green Lizard Queen colour – this one isn’t making it to production.

There have been no compromises in spec for the Pique Advanced Pro 29 0. I couldn’t see one thing to upgrade. In addition to the top shelf suspension, there’s carbon everywhere from the cockpit components to the SRAM Ultimate Level brakes and SRAM XX1 Eagle groupset. With a respectable 1490g claimed weight, the XCR 0 carbon wheelset is paired with the fast-rolling Maxxis Rekon Race 2.25in EXO tyres.

Liv specced surprisingly wide handlebars for an XC machine with 750mm carbon bars as standard – you can of course cut these down to suit your preference, but many racers are going wide for leverage on the climbs and better control on the descents. In a time where XC courses are becoming more technically demanding it’s also great to see the speccing of the Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper post, with 75mm to 125mm travel across the three frame sizes. A nice feature is Liv’s Contact SLR Forward saddle featuring the nifty Uniclip system for pairing with the compatible lightweight saddle bag.

2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0 fiona dick
Proper 750mm wide bars come as stock on the Pique 29 – good stuff Liv!

A Queen’s Bike On Kingdom Trails

Vermont’s famed Kingdom Trails were the site for the launch of the Pique Advanced Pro 29 0. It’s a unique destination in many ways; most notably because the 160+ kilometres of trails, managed by the Kingdom Trail Association, traverse over 90 private landowners’ properties. Mountain biking has become the driving force for the town’s community and economy, and it’s been welcomed with open arms – landowners have actually requested that trails are built on their land rather than the other way around. Yes, really.

liv pique kingdom trails
A gaggle of journalists on the Kingdom Trail network for the Liv Pique 29 launch.

Our guide and owner of Kingdom Cycling and Experiences, Collin Daulong described Kingdom Trails as “Disneyland for mountain bikers” and it’s hard to disagree with that. Unlike much of the riding in the New England region, these trails are fast and flowy, using the natural contours of the land and creative use of bridges for features and technical challenge.

More often than not you’ll pop out of a trail after weaving your way through a carpet of pine needles or maple forest to a stunning view of lush green countryside, a serene riverside, or a hut in a clearing in the middle of nowhere offering refreshments. Everyone is “just so darn friendly” and genuinely pleased to see you enjoying what’s on offer … it’s just good vibes all round!

2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0 fiona dick
The Pique is a 100/100mm XC bike, but it can feel like a lot more than that.

That’s Cool, But How’s The 2020 Liv Pique 29 Ride?

With Live Valve inventor Everet Ericksen and Fox Lead Technician Lewis Angeley on hand to run us through the intricacies of Live Valve, we set up our suspension, switched on the Live Valve brain and completed a few demo loops, giving us an opportunity to play with the different bump-sensitivity settings on the Live Valve controller and have the Fox gurus check our suspension was dialled.

The bike came with plenty of headset spacers so it was easy to lower the stem to get over the front wheel for optimal climbing and cornering position.

2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0
Plenty of spacers for adjusting the front-end.
giant contact slr saddle women's
There are women’s specific touch points throughout.

I expected the Pique Advanced Pro 29 0 to be fast – and I wasn’t disappointed. The light overall weight translated into quick acceleration considering the large hoops, and once up to speed this bike motors along. With the Live Valve system sorting out the suspension you just point and pedal.

Save for the clicking that you hear from the solenoids reacting to bumps, the proof in the pudding of Live Valve is that you basically don’t notice it due to its immediate response – 3 milliseconds, to be precise – and I didn’t feel any harshness of sudden bumps through my hands or feet as I have with other inertia valve suspension systems like the Terralogic and Brain dampers. When hitting a climb, the suspension remained firm as I put the power down and, after opening for a bump or root, the snappy timer action closed it instantaneously, resulting in minimal wallow. Front and rear solenoids mean the suspension works independently, and rear wheel traction was superb on slower, more technical climbs with irregularly spaced roots.

2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0 fiona dick
Even across choppy roots, the Live Valve system is super responsive.

The traction and stability provided by the 29er wheels helped me corner with confidence, but while the Maxxis Rekon Race tyre combo is unquestionably light and fast rolling, I’d elect to run something with a bit more bite up front for greater cornering confidence.

The bike certainly felt agile, and its geometry and light weight meant I could pop over smaller obstacles with ease. For larger obstacles, I did find not knowing whether or not I could preload the suspension (depending on whether Live Valve has closed the fork and shock at the time) a bit tricky, which left me occasionally wishing for more predictable suspension.

I found the Pique Advanced Pro 29 0 to be very stable on the descents. While Live Valve detects your trajectory and keeps the suspension open for longer on descents, I occasionally felt harshness when hitting a bump, but this could also have been due to the stiff carbon wheels. Either way, it didn’t detract from the fun and with the suspension open I enjoyed a plush ride and had no hesitation hitting small drops and jumps. The SRAM Ultimate brakes with 180mm/160mm rotors provided ample stopping power, and I appreciated the bike’s dropper and low centre of gravity. This package combines to give the bike enduro-like descending confidence.

2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0 sram level ultimate brakes
SRAM’s Level Ultimate brakes are top quality stoppers with plenty of power.
2020 liv pique advanced pro 29 0 live valve
This bike is undeniably gorgeous, and fast, and comfortable. But it’s also undeniably expensive. Thankfully the Pique 29 range kicks off at a much more approachable $3,399.

I really liked just how quiet this bike is, with its near-silent freehub and the rubber chainstay protector giving you opportunity to simply appreciate the sound of tyres on dirt. The click from the Live Valve controller can be heard doing its thing, particularly when climbing, but it’s not loud enough to be annoying.

Flow’s Final Word

So, what to make of this new women’s specific 29er race bike?

Liv says the Pique 29 sits towards the trail end of the XC market, which I agree with in terms of its capability on more challenging terrain. If you’re looking for a comfortable, pedal-efficient and confidence inspiring cross-country bike, then I’d happily recommend it – particularly if you’re on the shorter side and have had difficulties finding a 29er bike that fits properly.

The Pique Advanced Pro 29 0 with its Live Valve-controlled suspension is a beast unto itself – especially considering the $12k price tag. It is unapologetically high end, which is something we don’t see often for a women’s specific bike, and that’s rad. For those who aren’t interested in compromising, this will be an absolute weapon in the hands of an avid XC or marathon racer, and for anyone who has an appreciation for cutting-edge technology.

For those with shallower jersey pockets, the good news is that you can get into the 2020 Liv Pique 29 range for $3,399. Also good is the fact that Giant Australia is bringing in four models into the country shows the brands commitment to women’s specific bikes, which we’re big fans of.