Climbing: You either love it or you hate it.
And if you’re in the camp that’s not crazy about cooking your quads, you’ll appreciate the extra oomph provided by the Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1 e-MTB.
This beast shreds the downhills with the best of them. And its powerful 85nM engine allows you to return to the top for round after round of downhill runs.
Liv hosted a group of ladies from around the world for the reveal of the Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite three-bike lineup in Utah late last year, just before the snow hit the mountains. If you haven’t been lucky enough to have ridden out there yet, I’ll lay out the landscape for you. There were endless mountains of gnarly rocks interspersed with intermittent sand puddles. The reward for making it up the hills was an absolutely breathtaking horizon.
I’m from flatter, punchier terrain in the hill country of Austin, Texas. So my first thought was that riding here was absolutely going to destroy my legs. The Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1 (the highest-spec model) pleasantly surprised me. It had gobs of power and excellent descending ability in a surprisingly lightweight (over its predecessor) package.
I had no trouble riding the rocks on this thing. At one point, I laughed hysterically while going straight uphill in a sea of sand (absolute horror for a normal bike, right?). Overall, I was impressed with this powerful machine and all it offered.
In short: The Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1 e-MTB was a joy to shred downhill. And it’s powerful electric assist made riding and pushing the bike back up less draining and more enjoyable. It’s a great bike for all skill levels, with enough downhill chops to satisfy advanced riders, while the powerful assist allows newer riders more opportunities to hone skills. Best of all, the bike is designed by and for women. But it’s still an e-bike, so it is much heavier than normal MTBs.
Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1
- Frame Carbon
- Suspension travel 150mm front, 140mm rear
- Sizes XS, S, M, L
- Motor torque 85 Nm
- Battery capacity 400 Wh
- Great downhill handling
- Women-specific sizing
- Fox Live Valve works amazingly well
- Mullet wheel setup is not for everyone
- Fox Live Valve will cost you $$$
- Only one frame color for this spec
Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1 Review
SyncDrive Motor and Lightweight Design
New Yamaha motor technology powers the Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1. Dubbed the SyncDrive Pro 2, this motor outputs an impressive 85 Nm of torque. It had noticeable responsiveness at even the slightest turn of the pedals.
Liv purposefully designed the motor and battery combo to reduce weight over its previous models in response to feedback that they were too heavy. Even on a lower power setting, this bike didn’t feel as heavy and clunky as other mountain e-bikes (even its predecessors).
It’s powered by a 400Wh EnergyPak Panasonic e-bike-specific battery tucked into the down tube. This low and central location kept things balanced and light without sacrificing power. The battery also keeps the Fox Live Valve suspension topped off, so charging for the entire rig is all integrated.
Even more impressive is the ability to fine-tune the power response based on rider needs and terrain through the RideControl App.
The motor felt extremely powerful on its highest setting, giving me two takeaways. It would be great for recovery days and recovery intervals when my legs are already sore and lacking (or preserving) energy. And it would be perfect for new riders who haven’t developed their climbing fitness or abilities.
In that regard, it makes mountain biking more accessible for riders of any skill or fitness level. And for the more highly skilled riders, it provides just enough oomph to get over even the steepest climbs when the legs fade.
How Long Does the Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1 Battery Last?
We rode for a couple of hours — albeit not full gas and not consistently at full power — and I only managed to drain the battery by half. Liv provides a range estimate of 37 miles on the extreme ends of things, about 74 miles for average use, and 118 miles for the ideal or more moderate to light usage.
This battery is compatible with the EnergyPak Plus 200 range extender for rides and riders that need more juice. But for most rides, I’d say the battery life is more than sufficient.
Custom Power Profile Through RideControl App
We’re not one-size-fits-all riders, so we don’t want a one-size-fits-all motor. That’s the idea behind the RideControl App.
While the app wasn’t available for us during testing, Liv provided a prototype and screenshots to show how it works. They also pre-set each of the bikes through the full range of power settings to give us an idea of how the system integrates with the bikes.
The bike turns on via a button on the top tube, and there is a control panel with 5 LED lights. These correspond to the motor’s power (set up by you via the app).
There are two ways to “control” the bike’s power output — the top tube panel or the RideControl Ergo unit on the handlebar grip. The handlebar control can be mounted on either side.
After setting up the power profile, the buttons swap between each mode (or completely shut it off). There is also a Smart Assist (adaptive power support mode) that lets the bike do the thinking for me. This option was a good choice for newer riders, but as an experienced rider, it felt a little too unpredictable, especially when I needed precision on technical climbs.
If you’re a lady who likes to go without worrying about another piece of technology before a ride, this might sound like a little much. At times, trying to decide what setting I needed or wanted to be in was another thing I had to manage while riding this bike.
Walking Assist for Hike-a-Bike Help
There’s a built-in Walk Assist function that activated the motor when I was off the bike for those climbs that I didn’t quite make up, whether because it was a little too techy or because I had to bail in the middle.
It’s not something you think about too much, but walking your bike up a hill is straight-up exhausting. It was nice to know that I didn’t have to bear the full burden of doing that with this bike. It is still an e-bike, so it’s much heavier (my small size weighs 41.4 pounds) than a normal mountain bike.
I controlled this through the handlebar RideControl Ergo unit. It was easy to activate when off the bike and pushing it from the side. It was an absolute game-changer in rugged terrain.
Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1: Women-Specific Geometry, Mullet Setup, and Extra Features
If you’re familiar with the Liv brand, you already know that Liv makes bikes designed specifically for female riders. The Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1 is no exception.
This bike is designed by women for women. Riding was a blast because the work had already been done on the backend to ensure that experience. Its geometry made it lively and responsive. It had a comfortable-yet-aggressive feel on the trail. Most importantly, it is highly adjustable to accommodate a wide range of sizes. This was most notable at the dropper post, where I could add 30mm of adjustment beyond the recommended frame limits. This helped immensely, as I needed the full 30mm to fit.
The mullet tire setup features a 29-inch wheel in front and a 27.5-inch in the rear for all sizes. I had plenty of rollover ability on the front. And the slightly lighter weight and responsiveness in the back kept things lively.
Mullet setups can be controversial — deciding this route on the Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ line might be slightly divisive. I had never ridden a mullet setup before this bike (typically, I ride 27.5-inch), so I wasn’t as familiar as some other riders with the handling characteristics.
I found its downhill performance outstanding, but I struggled on the uphills. My petite frame had difficulty getting over the front wheel on steep pitches. That said, I only had the option to ride a small-sized frame due to production limitations. An extra-small frame would’ve been a lot better for me.
I loved the Liv Maestro Suspension and Fox Live Valve setup. The suspension balance and the way the bike sailed over rocks and cornered smoothly around them were as close to perfect as they could be. It has 150mm of travel in the front and 140mm in the back, so it was aptly prepared for all but the most aggressive downhill adventures.
A welcome bonus is the addition of Flip Chip tech in the upper rocker arm of the rear suspension. The Flip Chip allows changes to the head tube angle, seat tube angle, and bottom bracket height to tune handling characteristics quickly.
If you’re not ready to dish out a lot of cash, though, you won’t experience the Fox Live Valve — it’s only on the highest-end “1” model, naturally. This version has an MSRP of $10,000. But you still get the same size-specific specs on all models, so you’ll enjoy your ride no matter which of the line you choose. The other two models have MSRPs of $6,000 and $7,200.
Liv Intrigue X Advanced Elite E+ 1 Review Conclusion: It’s a Solid Ride
So what does it feel like to ride this thing, and more importantly: Should you buy one?
You will probably feel lost and weirded out if you’ve never been on an e-bike. The motor kicked in when I pedaled, and for a sport that goes by feel and body awareness, that took some getting used to. Once I got accustomed to the motor being just another tool in my quiver, I figured out how to use the bike to achieve my objectives.
There was a lot of technology to manage, and that’s definitely something to be mindful of. Again, it’s just another tool to customize your experience and preference, which can be both a blessing and a curse depending on your desires.
Women of all skill levels will appreciate what the Liv Intrigue X Advanced E+ Elite 1 offers. Experienced women looking for a solid downhill shredder will love this bike, especially when headed back up the mountain. Women with beginner to moderate skill levels will have many opportunities to progress and expand their capabilities.
If e-bikes aren’t your thing, or if you love to climb and ride super technical features, I’d probably skip them for obvious reasons. It’s not that this bike cannot do that type of riding, but you will probably enjoy it more on a lighter bike.
I will say that riding this bike never once felt like cheating — I still had to earn my keep with skill and fitness. It just made me feel less tired. And let me tell you — that can be a huge win, especially when you’re out enjoying the day with a fantastic group of women and want to have some energy left to socialize.