Up until now, female-specific bikes were usually a case of “pink-it-and-shrink-it,” but as LIV launch the Hail Advanced 0, this women’s bike brand claim to have finally developed a bike to satisfy us female riders out there. So is it time to hail our savior?
A glance at marketing campaigns from women’s bike brands can be such a minefield that you sometimes wonder if you’re enough of a girl to properly get the campaign. We don’t all have legs like Heidi Klum (shoulders like Michael Phelps are more common), and pink isn’t always the favorite color of women. It’s not surprising then that so many question whether female riders even need female-specific bikes. What are the actual differences? How do bike brands tackle the idea of tall women or short men? Some bike brands go for unisex frames, and then add female-specific componentry to win the women’s vote. Liv aren’t one of these brands. They’ve gone way beyond the idea of simply rehashing the Giant Reign, which is arguably something of a brother to the Hail. Instead, the Hail relies on brand new women’s-specific geometry that renders the bike a touch more agile and responsive to steering. They’ve taken a similar considered approach to the spec, and the result certainly looks great.
The Liv Hail Advanced 0 in detail
Women’s-specific bikes often used to be more of a hindrance than a help on descents, with all-too-frequent pitfalls like narrow bars, 2x drivetrains, and tires that just don’t give any grip. The LIV Hail hasn’t just eliminated these weaknesses; it has pulverized them into oblivion. The spec list is likely to be met with sheer envy from basically anyone on the trail – whatever their gender. It all fares superbly, with highlights including the SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain and the state-of-the-art RockShox suspension comprised of a Lyrik fork and Super Deluxe rear shock. And even though current bike trend dictates that 800 mm bars are an asset, we don’t reckon many product managers would have considered fitting them on a typical female bike. Wide 800 mm bars not only generate stability and improve control, they’re also easy to shorten if you’re not keen. Finally, the Hail’s stylish matte paintjob certainly abolishes the “pink-it’”side of the equation.
Fork RockShox Lyric RCT3 Dual Position 130-160 mm
Shock RockShox Deluxe RC3 160 mm
Brakes SRAM GUIDE Ultimate
Drivetrain SRAM X01 EAGLE
Seatpost GIANT Contact SL Switch-Remote
Stem Truvativ Holzfeller
Handlebar GIANT Contact SLR Carbon DH 800 mm
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary PaceStar Evolution / Schwalbe Hans Dampf TrailStar
Wheels GIANT PTRX-0 Carbon
The geometry of the Liv Hail Advanced 0
At 1.60 m (5’3”), I felt that the size small had a great riding position, and it inspired me with confidence that I was actually ‘“in” the bike while riding it (rather than just on it). LIV’s choice of a saddle is – as always – not going to please every woman, but that’s just what saddles are like, whether they’re female-specific or not. The LIV Hail climbed brilliantly, but I definitely noted the benefits of lowering the fork and locking out the rear shock when the gradient really ramped up. The SRAM X01 Eagle and its massive gear range fortunately put every ascent within the bike’s (and my) capabilities!
|Seat Tube||365 mm||380 mm||431 mm||482 mm|
|Top Tube [A]||570 mm||585 mm||610 mm||625 mm|
|Head Tube||95 mm||100 mm||115 mm||130 mm|
|Head Angle [D]||66.0°||66.0°||66.0°||66.0°|
|Seat Angle [B]||74.0°||74.0°||74.0°°||74.0°|
|Chainstays [C]||435mm||435 mm||435 mm||435 mm|
|Wheelbase [E]||1145 mm||1160 mm||1188 mm||1205 mm|
|Reach [G]||404 mm||418 mm||439 mm||450 mm|
|Stack [H]||576 mm||580 mm||594 mm||608 mm|
|BB Drop [J]||5 mm||5 mm||5 mm||5 mm|
The Liv Hail Advanced 0 on the Trail
The weakest link on the LIV Hail comes on the descents, as the dropper post is limited to just 100 mm travel. Even stopping to lower it manually (or investing in a new dropper) won’t help because there’s just not enough room in the frame. For riders who really like to throw the bike down descents, this is a bit of a no-go as it limits your range of movement, which is a pain on really steep runs.
Fortunately, the Hail has some genuine downhill credentials, with balanced handling and a confidence-inspiring way of taking corners with both agility and stability. On technical sections over roots and rocks, the Hail tracks its line like a sniffer dog crossed with a whippet. The suspension is very sensitive and soaks up all sizes of hits with ease. It’s a fearless bike that’s primed for bike parks, rough ground, or root gardens. Plus, it shreds even more preconceptions to oblivion by going for airtime over big drops and jumps #hailyeah!
With the LIV Hail, you’re definitely on route towards enduro heaven with stellar handling and a top-flight spec. The Heidi Klums out there might be able to overlook the limitations of the seatpost, but those of us riding a size XS or S are likely to feel the burn on steep sections.
- Well-considered spec
- Superb, playful handling
- Miles away from pink-it-and-shrink-it
- Short dropper post
For more info head to: liv-cycling.com
Words: Antonia Buckenlei Photos: Christoph Bayer