First Ride: 2020 Liv Pique 29 - A World Cup Ready XC Bike

Aug 19, 2019 at 4:48
by Sarah Moore  



While the new Liv Pique 29 may have the same name as the first generation Pique introduced in 2016, the two bikes bear little resemblance. The bike has morphed from a small-wheeled trail bike into a big-wheeled cross-country race machine. The Pique 29 is Liv's first mountain bike that has a full carbon frame and, with an entirely new design, it is much better suited to cross-country racers than the previous Pique was.

While I initially thought that it was a Liv bike along the lines of Giant's Trance 29 when I spotted Kaysee Armstrong's prototype at Sea Otter in April, it's closer to the Giant Anthem. The Pique 29 is aimed at experienced mountain bikers who are interested in XC racing and epic rides.
Liv Pique 29
• Wheelsize: 29"
• Travel: 100mm
• Head angle: 68.5°
• Chainstay length: 438mm
• Threaded bottom bracket
• 12 x 148mm rear spacing
• Fork offset: 51mm
• Sizes: XS, S, M, L
• Carbon and aluminium models available
• MSRP: $2,050 - $12,300 USD
www.liv-cycling.com

The bike is offered in size XS through Large and there are six price points available. With aluminum models starting at $2,050 USD and the carbon models going all the way up to $12,300, the Pique 29 is sure to please high school racers' parents and World Cup regulars alike. All models have dropper posts, women's specific geometry and saddles, and 100mm of suspension that is tuned for lighter riders.



Photo Robin O Neill
While you can ride this bike in baggies, it's more appropriate for full spandex sending.


Frame Options & Build Kits


The Pique 29 Advanced Pro 0 that I rode at the launch event in Kingdom Trails, Vermont retails for a whopping $12,300 USD. That high price is largely due to the addition of Fox's Live Valve suspension - there's a Fox 32 Float SC Factory Live Valve 100mm travel fork with a FIT4 damper, and a 100mm Fox Float Factory Live Valve rear shock. Other highlights include a SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain and crankset, SRAM Level Ultimate brakes, Reverb Stealth dropper post, a Giant Contact SLR XC Flat carbon 750x31.8mm handlebar, Giant's XCR 0 29 hookless carbon wheels with a 25mm inner width rim, and Maxxis Recon Race 2.25 EXO tires.

If that's way more than you want to spend, the Pique Advanced Pro 29 1 retails for less than half that at $5,350 USD. It has a Fox 32 Float SC Performance Elite 100mm travel fork with a FIT4 damper and remote lockout, a 100mm Fox Float DPS Performance Elite rear shock, a Giant Contact Switch dropper, a Shimano XT drivetrain and crankset, Shimano SLX brakes, a Giant Contact SL XC Flat 780x31.8mm handlebar, Giant's XCR 1 29 hookless carbon wheels with a 25mm inner width rim, and Maxxis Recon Race 2.25 EXO tires.

The entry-level Pique 29 3 that retails for $2,050 USD comes with a RockShox Recon RL 100mm travel fork, a 100mm RockShox Deluxe Select rear shock, a Giant Contact Switch dropper post with remote lever, a SRAM SX drivetrain and crankset, Shimano BR-MT400 hydraulic disc brakes, a Giant Contact SL XC Flat 780x31.8mm handlebar, Giant's XCT wheels with a 25mm inner width rim, and Maxxis Recon Race 2.25 EXO tires.


Fox Live Valve on the top of the line model.
This gorgeous matching headset cap is featured on the Advanced Pro 0 model.

All models come with Liv's Contact Forward saddle with UniClip system.
180mm front and 160mm rear rotors across the line.


Frame Details


Updated Advanced Forged Composite Upper Rocker Arm: The Pique 29 has an updated "forged carbon fiber" upper rocker arm. It is no longer a solid piece, but instead has a cutout in the middle for maximum lightness, without sacrificing stiffness and strength.

PowerCore bottom bracket: An oversized bottom-bracket area with a fully integrated wide bottom-bracket design and asymmetric chainstays, which Liv says provide additional stiffness on the driveside and stability on the non-driveside.




Geometry



The Liv 3F Design Philosophy guides Liv as they research, engineer and test new bike designs, apparel, and gear. Liv bikes are designed for women from the ground up and do not use the same molds as Giant bikes.

The previous generation of the Pique was built around 27.5" wheels with a 69.4° headtube angle, 72.5° seat tube angle, 430mm chainstays, and a 404mm reach on the size Medium. Liv's priorities with the new Pique 29 were to build a bike with 29er wheels, with a short rear center, aggressive XC geometry, 100mm of travel, and a suspension leverage curve to work smoothly with the complete geometry design. They've accomplished this with a headtube angle that is a degree slacker a 68.5°, a seat tube angle that is a degree and a half slacker at 74°, 438mm chainstays, and a 427mm reach on a size Medium.

Their goal was to be able to fit even the most petite women on this bike without sacrificing stiffness or weight for XC racing, while fitting a water bottle on all sizes.


Studio photography by Jeff Clark Photography


Suspension

The Pique 29 uses Maestro Suspension which has four pivot points and two linkages that work together to create a single floating pivot for active, efficient and independent suspension system on the trail. The Pique features 100mm of travel using Giant’s Maestro suspension technology.

More than just setting the rebound and air pressure, Liv has optimized the internals of their shocks for female riders. Within Liv’s 3F design philosophy, they used a variety of different women’s body types and riding styles to find what they believe is the best suspension feel for women. They’ve refined the suspension's shim stacks, volume spacers, and air pressures to match the female rider based on extensive testing with their female athletes and ambassadors.

The standard weight range the Pique 29 was tuned for is 52-73kg (114-161 lbs). A rider outside of this standard tuning weight range would want to have their suspension serviced to best respond to their weight.




I rode the Pique 29 Advanced Pro 0 for two days at Liv's launch event at Kingdom Trails in Vermont. The network boasts over 100 miles of singletrack that cross through the private property of over 50 landowners. It's an impressive partnership. Riding bikes and eating as many different maple syrup products as possible seems to be the priority in the area, so I fit right in. Maple creemees, Vermont's version of a soft-serve ice-cream, were a particularly hot commodity. I highly recommend the maple sugar sprinkles.

As for the trails, they were fast and flowy, with gradual climbs and descents and barely a root or rock in sight. Coming from Squamish, I found the number of easy trails refreshing, and it was great to see some many beginners out on the trails. At the same time, I would have liked to have a couple more technical trails to test the bike on since World Cup courses these days have drops, steep chutes, gnarly rooted steep climbs, and rock rolls. Kingdom Trail's black trails were oddly similar to their green trails and lacked features that could really push the bike's limit.
Photo by Robin O Neill
Sarah Moore
Location: Squamish, BC, Canada
Age: 29
Height: 5'7"
Inseam: 27"
Weight: 155 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @smooresmoore



Robin O Neill photo

Climbing

I rode a size Medium Pique 29 Advanced Pro 0 during my time in Vermont. The climbing position and 427mm reach on the Pique 29 were comfortable and I didn't feel like I needed to make any changes to the cockpit other than dropping the stem. Once we started riding, I was impressed with the lightweight Pique 29's ability to hold speed into climbs, and then rocket up them with remarkably little effort. It felt like a bike with World Cup climbing pedigree, which it is. Liv Global Racing's Kaysee Armstrong will be racing the bike in the Snowshoe World Cup next month alongside her Canadian teammate Sandra Walter.

The Fox Live Valve system on the Advanced 29 Pro 0 means you don't even have to think about locking out your bike and can just focus on pushing hard on the pedals. I really appreciated the no-fuss system and think it would be fantastic in an XC race setting since it allows you to keep focused on your competitors instead of twisting knobs and turning dials.

The sensors react much faster than you or I can, which means that the bike is locked out for those short, punchy climbs that you wouldn't bother to use a remote lockout on. The mode changes in 3 milliseconds –100 times faster than the blink of an eye and senses a bump at the front wheel and opens the fork before the rider feels it.




Descending

As for descending, the bike felt light and poppy and was much more fun to descend than I had anticipated. I chose to ride the Fox Live Valve system in the middle setting, which seemed to give the right amount of efficiency on the climbs without being harsh and losing traction on the descents. Liv has done a great job with the handling on the 29er wheels and the steering felt precise and intuitive. What the Kingdom Trails lack in technical terrain they make up for in corners and the Pique 29 wove through them quickly and seamlessly.

All models come with dropper posts, there was a 125mm dropper post on the size Medium I tested, and that coupled with the big wheels made me feel comfortable on the bike at speed and descending.









68 Comments

  • 40 4
 How is it that even Giant has eclipsed the $12,000 price range. Absolutely ridiculous. Someone has been putting the screws to our local bike shops. $5,000 bikes came with eagle go now cost $6,000 and come equipped w/ nx components. I know this doesn’t exactly pertain to the bike in this article but, $12,000?? You can buy a race ready KTM for less
  • 9 0
 Edit* eagle gx
  • 6 1
 Dead right. Pricing across the board is nuts. I’d like to see final sales totals of these über bikes when life-cycle is done to see what real demand is. Or is it an exercise in making the brand worth more? As you say, specifications seem to have very average weak spots on ever increasing prices for complete bikes. I’m starting to not even read the reviews of bikes over a certain price point, what’s the point....
  • 11 0
 @Deadclmbr: Well if you'd read the article you'd note that it has Live Valve. The MSRP on Live Valve is over $3k. Given a Giant OEM discount that's how you go from the $10k going rate for carbon-palooza builds to $12k.
  • 4 0
 I have to sell all my weed stocks to buy this 12k spandex mobile.
  • 3 1
 @jorgeposada: better off selling weed
  • 2 26
flag Laymo (Aug 20, 2019 at 9:06) (Below Threshold)
 Giant is pretending to be Specialized when they are actually about as generic and creative as Wal Mart. What a fraud, they are simply making expensive bikes to position themselves as an elite brand. Not going to work, especially with the dumbest bike brand name ever: Giant?!? Nobody had ever explained the significance of the weird name, did they just name it Giant because they wanted to be a gigantic bike company?
  • 3 2
 It is what it is. The best deal (for higher end bikes anyway) is to buy a frame you like and build it up, then when you want to upgrade you just swap over your parts. It used to be that buying a complete bike was the better deal, but now it is the opposite. You end up paying more and getting a wheelset, tires, or something else you might want to change out. I think the manufacturers know that most people want complete bikes so they make much better margins on a complete set up than a frame. Of course, there's more labor that goes in to it too, especially for US companies that build up their bikes in house.
  • 7 2
 I agree this is a vast sum of money for a bicycle. But to play devil's advocate for a moment, things do tend to get really expensive at the top level of sports. This bike is being sold as World Cup race ready.

So for more of an apples-to-apples comparison, is your sub-$12k KTM kitted up to be competitive at the FIM Motocross World Championships? Bear in mind most of the rest of the competitors will have spent over $100k, or are riding a bike money simply cannot buy.
  • 13 2
 Please show me what class you're racing a 12k motocross bike in and winning?
  • 6 0
 @OllyHodgson: Thank You. People often say that without knowing much about what a top level motocross bike actually is.... I'm so tired of this argument. I can buy a decent used car for 12k too. It's completely irrelevant. Open market dictates pricing. Also, just because a 12k bike exists doesn't mean a 1,200 one doesn't....
  • 9 0
 Honestly who cares as long as their pricing at the lower end of the range is good? Giant's low/mid range specs are the bomb. They can make the high end as expensive as they want, it'll never affect me.

The "I can buy a moto for this much" meme needs to die already. You can't buy a *best in class, world championship competition ready* moto for anything near $12k.
  • 5 0
 @Laymo: actually giant manufactures a lot of frames for other bike company’s and Giants quality and customer service is fantastic. The great thing about Giant as well is they have very affordable entrylevel along with World Cup price is no limit offerings too. I have owed several giants of the overs and all were excellent for their time
  • 9 6
 @TheOriginalTwoTone:

A $12,000 motocross bike is capable of winning at the highest level. A 2020 CRF450 retails at $9400. It doesn’t need much. ECM tune, clutch, suspension revalve to suit the rider and a few doo-dads and it’d be hard to distinguish it from Roczen’s bike.

Even at $10,000 without the active suspension this bike is priced insane. Good luck selling these Giant. Dentists buy Yeti’s.
  • 3 1
 @Camstyn: They won't need your luck, I'm sure they sell about as many as they planned on. Which regardless of units, is fortunately one of many products across all price points, that they sell.
  • 5 1
 @Camstyn: Sorry but the engine internals along with a lot of other things on Roczen's bike are not the same as the production bikes, Anyways the point everyone misses in this argument is economy of scale. Go to any motocross track on a race weekend and you could easily see 15 of the same bike. Same goes for every other race weekend on any other motocross track in the world.

Mountain bikes over even $2k just arent all that common in the big picture so everything just costs more to make and market.
  • 1 1
 @Mntneer: Hahaha if you only knew.
  • 6 1
 @Aem221:

I know that, my point was a $12,000 near stock bike is still capable of winning at those levels. Sure the factory teams get pretty radical when it comes to modifications but it’s because they can, not because they need to. Have a look at what privateer John Short has been racing this year. He’s not winning, but put a guy like Roczen on his bike and he’s going to go just as fast. $12,000 goes a long ways.
This is so off-topic anyhow
  • 1 0
 the same way they are offering models starting at $2050
  • 1 0
 @Camstyn: You can say the same thing about mtb though, so its moot.
  • 1 0
 @DARKSTAR63:

Agreed, 100%
  • 3 0
 Where’s the AXS and Live Wire combo option!?
  • 3 0
 What's a KTM? Must be a new German dropper post.
  • 1 3
 @Grmasterd: Is that why they named it Giant, because they have giant manufacturing capabilities?
  • 2 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: Just because you a have a 12k mountain bike, doesn't mean you're winning either.
  • 2 1
 @OllyHodgson: Actually yes, a brand new KTM 450 outfitted with a Trax shock and a set of Cone Valve forks will be under 20k. On a 450, there doesn't need to be a ton of motor work done because they are putting out almost 60hp. Most of the motor work is massaging what's already there.
Please don't throw around 100K bikes unless they are factory bikes.
At least 1/2 the Pro in the AMA Nationals are privateers and are not spending 100k on a race-ready ride, that I can guarantee you. I have a few friends who qualify for SX and Nationals on surprisingly close to stock bikes with suspension valving, cam-timing and a pipe.
  • 1 0
 @twelve02: doesn't sound as cool as "100k"
  • 1 0
 @twelve02: who said said? But show me a world cup racer on a 2k mountain bike that winning.
  • 1 0
 But ktms only come in 5 or 6 speed.......
  • 1 0
 @OllyHodgson: That sub 12k ktm IS capable of competing in FIM MXGP, people do this all the time. Near stock moto bikes are competetive at the highest level, most of the time privateers are just messing around with suspension settings.

Not like 5k mtb aren't capable of competing in World cup DH or EWS either though, so I guess Im dumb for even replying lol.
  • 1 0
 @skerby: True that, top factory enduro (motorcycle) riders like juha salminen and david knight have been known to race certain events on stock ktms with just suspension adjustments.

Anyways for me, a blinged out bike only attracts attention at the trailhead parking lot, once you hit the singletracks, everyones in their own element. If I’m happy and having a good time racing or shredding on a 3 x 9 spd 26er, so be it. I ride to have fun....
  • 1 0
 I did spend less on a race ready KTM...brand new.
  • 1 0
 Someone keeps buying these bikes at those prices, or they would be forced to rethink their price points. I guess there are riders who don't have mortgages, their kids' education to pay for, or retirement to think about. Must be nice, I guess. I do get around just fine on a 6 year old 3K SLX-level bike, and I felt guilty taking even that out of the household budget. I know inflation is a factor, but the cost of high-end bikes must be giving the rising cost of college some competition on the line chart.
  • 2 1
 @pixelguru: People might buy a Specialized, Trek, or Santa Cruz for $12,000, but Giant isn't in that category of elite brands and doesn't belong there. They are a boring, low investment cookie cutter manufacturer that is never creative, has limited offerings that don't fill the niches where other elite brands do, and is slow to realize new trends.

I would argue that Fuji is a more progressive and creative bike company than Giant, and their mountain
bikes are actually better than Giants now.
  • 23 4
 $12,300 USD is a good number for a women’s specific build. Not to much, not too cheap, but just right.
  • 8 4
 Because of the advanced scientific research needed to accommodate women's unique needs, we had to price the bicycle accordingly. We hope that you will purchase one for your wife so that you may experience the future of cycling innovation.
  • 1 0
 Agreed, excellent number, and street price is probably $11,999.
  • 1 0
 If I bought my wife that 12K bike, and I didn't immediately produce proof of a winning lottery ticket, she'd return it and then murder me – perhaps not in that order.

She's an avid rider who loves the Liv Lust she bought for $2,600 a few years ago. Is this 12K bike really worth more than **4X** the price of that solid and capable SLX-level alloy full-suspension ride?
  • 9 3
 As a female who races and works in a bike shop - totally thrilled with this bike. That it comes in several price points is awesome - I can suggest it as an option to heaps of female bikers who come through the shop doors. Some don't want to spend a lot, some do want to spend a lot to get the top bike. I'm still a fan of 27.5, but this bike opens up a few more options for those that want a 29er but still want to ride the Liv brand. Love the geometry and specs - esp. a dropper on every version! Well done Liv!! Smile Can't wait to try one!
  • 3 0
 There are a few rough-er trails in the kingdom trails, but you have to know where to look. Pedaling up the Burke Mountain side is a good start. Overall, the kingdom is a lovely respite from the constant root-and-rock chunk that the rest of the VT trails have.
  • 5 1
 Mentioning shock tune for bodyweight on men's bikes would also be a good idea.
  • 5 0
 The paint job on this bike looks rad.
  • 1 0
 It would be a cold day in hell and a witches frosty titty before I would spend more than 4k on a mountain bike. However, racers have different needs and wants, and besides, that 12k goes to the Giant pot that helps sponsor riders, trails, and events. People forget that.
  • 5 3
 It's really nice to see there are bikes now for the increasing number of female dentists and doctors. They really needed this.
  • 1 0
 100mm rear travel (as opposed to 90mm on the "Boys Bike") and 30.9 with a dropper included. I wonder if the rear travel is all in the rocker and can swapped onto earlier Anthems?
  • 1 0
 They did the same thing with the Reign/Hail, the Hail came out first and then the Reign came out the following year. They were not the same either. Giant/Liv seem to make small tweaks between the two unlike SC which just puts a different paint job on the frame.
  • 1 0
 Shorter but higher than the Anthem-models - pity, as I´ve liked the +10mm Travel, slacker HA, the normal seat collar, swooped top tube and the sick paint jobs (Alu Pique 2) better
  • 5 3
 12,300 and no eagle axs and reberb remote? no x0 cassette, giant is crazy sometimes
  • 1 0
 Giant decided to put the value into the things that really matter to riders, like Livevalve.
  • 2 1
 @PinkyScar: Giant decided to put the money into their pocket and put just barely enough bling on the bike to bait the ill-informed rich.

Not that Specialized or Yeti would be any different.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: Then again, I can think of stupider things to blow 12 grand on than a bicycle. And at least it's a better choice for a rich beginner than a purple slacked-out long travel bike, purchased (and I quote), "so I don't have to feel any bumps". True story. Most shops don't make much money off these kinds of bikes anyway, let alone sell them regularly.
  • 2 0
 I think the happy facial expression in all the photos say more than the review could.
  • 1 0
 few couple of grand more, you could gotten yourself a superbike that is ready to tackle isle of man TT. like bmw S1000R. absurd pricing
  • 1 0
 Looks like some kind of springboard contraption to launch Evil Kenevil over the Snake River.
  • 2 0
 Haven’t heard of that model. Is it new?
  • 1 0
 Given the price tag I'm surprised there isn't axs, and that they're speccing all in house components.
  • 2 0
 God that paint job is stunning. I wish it came on the men’s bike too.
  • 1 0
 Their team will race these and anyone else with the money will buy something else.
  • 2 0
 Only came here for the paint job. Gorgeous!
  • 1 0
 Look at the numbers, it’s even slacker and has more travel than a mid-90s dh bike.
  • 2 0
 #26aintdeadbut70degheadangleis....
  • 1 0
 So the new 2020 liv pique 29 is basically a boosted blinged-out 2013 trance 29er....cool
  • 5 3
 Its an ugly bike
  • 1 0
 Is it just me....or does it need about 7 Ripley Cable Dice?
  • 1 0
 that gate..
  • 1 0
 These calves :fabulut:
  • 1 0
 NO ONE WOULD EVER BUY
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