by Kate Heckman
Today, Liv releases its new EnviLiv Advanced Pro 0 Disc. The bike arrived at the Canadian Cycling Magazine office a few weeks ago. It was quietly built up. I’ve since taken the bike out on a few test rides. But before I get to my first impressions of the aero road bike, let me give you a rundown of the new machine’s features.
One of the more striking changes you see on the EnviLiv Advanced Pro 0 Disc, compared with the previous Liv Envie Advanced Pro, is the aero bar and integrated stem that keep all of the brake and shift cables hidden from the wind. It’s a feature you might have seen on the latest Propel, the aero bike by Liv’s sibling company, Giant. The junction at the top tube/seat tube/seatstays also seems to be inspired by the men’s machine. However, Amalie Gunn, Liv Canada brand specialist, cautions against comparing the men’s Propel with the women’s EnviLiv. “Liv doesn’t take a Propel then change it to make the EnviLiv, so the two shouldn’t be compared side by side,” Gunn says. “We start with a blank slate and build the bike from the ground up. The geometries are unique to each Liv model and are based on numerous studies, including the Global Body Dimension Database. The carbon layup on the frame is different in areas of the bike based on female-specific strength patterns.”
Liv calls its approach to bike design for women 3F, which stands for “fit, form and function.” For the fit on road bikes, the company uses a geometry that keeps women riders from becoming too stretched out and bent over when on the bikes. Liv has data on the muscle groups that women use when putting power to the pedals. The company has found that we use our front thigh muscles (rectus femoris) more than men. This information has informed the new EnviLiv Advanced Pro 0 Disc.
“Form,” for the company, refers mostly to esthetics. According to Ludi Scholz, Liv global bicycle category manager, “The bike’s looks draw inspiration from the natural and digital worlds, creating a frame that has personality and depth.”
As for “function,” that 3F pillar includes the carbon technology used for the frame. On the EnviLiv Advanced Pro 0 Disc, Liv went with the Advanced composite process, the company’s second-tier method for building carbon-fibre frames. For the new bike, designers have made sure the fork has increased isolated lateral stiffness to ensure better control. The frame’s tubes have a truncated airfoil shape to them for the best aerodynamics.
Shimano Ultegra Di2 brings electronic shifting to the front and rear derailleurs. The crank has 52/36-tooth rings, while the cassette’s range runs from an 11-tooth cog to a 30-tooth, to help you get up steep inclines. Hydraulic brake calipers bring 140-mm rotors to a stop.
Earlier this year, Giant debuted its new power meter, the Power Pro, on the latest Giant Defy. This device is on the new EnviLiv Advanced Pro 0 Disc. The meter’s strain gauges are on the inside of each Shimano Ultegra R8000 crankarms, giving you dual-side power readings. Giant exposed the Power Pro to a battery of tests, including a salt-spray test of more than 72 hours. Combine that with the storage-temperature test that ranged from 79 C to -20 C and it seems this power meter might survive winter in some parts of the country quite well. The batteries are charged via a USB cable. It has two magnetic connectors that affix to two ports. The charge took about two hours. The power meter paired easily with Giant’s NeosTrack GPS computer. The company says the Power Pro has good battery life, 150 hours (or 2,400 km).
The EnviLiv Advanced Pro 0 Disc runs Giant SLR 1 Aero Disc wheels. The front wheel has a rim depth of 42 mm, while the back is 65 mm. Liv’s research says that the 42 mm/65 mm arrangement saves you 7.6 seconds (or 1.6 watts) compared with rims that are a uniform 42 mm on both the front and rear. Liv’s data also shows that running a 65-mm-deep rim front and back is faster than 42 mm/65 mm, but 65 mm/65 mm is affected to a greater degree by crosswinds, especially at yaw angles higher than 17 degrees. The 42 mm/65 mm setup seems to be the aerodynamic sweet spot for the EnviLiv Advanced Pro 0 Disc. The rims and frame can take tires as wide as 28c. I found the tubeless 25c Giant Gavia AC 1 tires rolled well.
First impressions of the EnviLiv Advanced Pro 0 Disc
When I saw the handlebars, I thought I’d need to adjust the angle of the levers and hoods. On men’s bikes, which I usually ride, I angle the levers so the hoods are pointing slightly inward to improve my reach on the brakes. But with the EnviLiv, such fine-tuning wasn’t needed. These are probably the first women’s handlebars I’ve used, and I love how they feel, which is not something I really expected. After all, I don’t have small hands and do sometimes get a cramped feeling in the drops on bars with short drops. I could further adjust the reach of the bar by placing a shim before it or after it at the stem. Plus, the aero tops look pretty awesome.
On my early rides, I noticed the bike is very responsive. It offered smooth accelerations on hills and quick jumps for sprints. I rode over some cobbles (more interlocking brick than Carrefour de l’Arbre pavé) and the bike was surprising supple. The handlebars weren’t as much of a highlight during some standing sprints: at first, I didn’t feel as in control of the bike as I do with my regular ride. Once I got used to the way the bike swayed (which I suspect is related to less leverage than I’m accustomed to compared with my usual handlebars), all was good. The bike feels quite stable laterally. I think I’ll really be able to dig into the corners in future tests. I’m looking forward to more rides on the EnviLiv Advanced Pro 0 Disc for a more long-term review that will appear in a few months.
EnviLiv models available in Canada
Liv Canada is carrying the following models and sizes: EnviLiv Advanced Pro 0 Disc (XS-M, $6,199); EnviLiv Advanced Pro 1 Disc with mechanical Shimano Ultegra (XXS-M, $4,999) and the EnviLiv Advanced Pro, also with mechanical Shimano Ultegra but with rim brakes (XXS-M, $4,299).