The Intrigue LT Advanced Pro is Liv Cycling’s longest travel mountain bike, rolling up with 150mm in the rear paired with a 160mm fork. Replacing the 27.5″ Hail, intentions of the mullet-capable Intrigue LT are broad-brush. With three possible geometry configurations and an MX or 29″ wheelset, Liv position the Intrigue LT as a bike for park laps, backcountry singletrack and enduro racing.
You can get it in aluminum or carbon. Models made of the former are simply named the Intrigue LT, while the lighter carbon options are filed under Intrigue LT Advanced Pro. Across that spectrum, you can expect to pay anything from £3,199 to £12,499. The Intrigue LT Advanced Pro 0 reviewed herein is that £12,499 model.
Indeed, over the last 2 months, i’ve had the pleasure of testing this eye-wateringly expensive trail bike that is pure dripping in high-end componentry. From Zipp 3Zero Moto Carbon wheels to Fox Live Valve suspension, the Advanced Pro 0 is aimed at those who aren’t short of a bob or two.
Liv Intrigue LT Advanced Pro 0 | An Overview
- Bike: Liv Intrigue LT Advanced Pro
- Fork Travel: 160mm
- Rear Wheel Travel: 150mm
- Frame Material: Carbon
- Size Availability: XS-M (+L in USA)
- Price as tested: £12,500
- Weight, as tested: 13.69 kg (tubeless, without pedals or bottle cage)
The Liv Intrigue LT Advanced Pro runs Giant’s Maestro suspension platform, a dual-link affair where the shock-driving rocker and the lower link both rotate clockwise as the rear wheel is displaced through its 150mm travel.
For such a long-travel bike, Liv has done well to keep weight to a minimum; our small test bike weighed in at 13.69 kg. That’s partly owing to the lightweight carbon frame, constructed using what Liv call their Advanced Composite Technology. But, the Zipp carbon wheels, lighter EXO casing Maxxis tires and the SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain with carbon cranks will all be major contributors.
In line with its gravity-based intentions, the Intrigue LT gets powerful brakes in the form of the Shimano XTR four-piston variety, with a 12-speed Eagle drivetrain and wide-range cassette for winching to the drop-in.
Liv has endowed the Advanced Pro 0 with the lesser-spotted Fox Live Valve Suspension System, wherein the fork and shock dampers are able to automatically adjust oil flow as you ride along, with the aim of firming-up or softening the suspension to meet the demands of varying terrain. We get into the details of that later on.
Another bonus feature of the Intrigue LT, that is also present on the more affordable alloy models, is the built-in storage. Accessed via a door on the downtube is a discreet compartment complete with velcro-secured foam bag that can be used to keep hold of whatever you deem most important. For me, that’s been a multi-tool and puncture repair plugs.
Sizing & Geometry
Liv sells the Intrigue LT Advanced Pro in XS-M in the UK, with a size L also available to US-based customers. That four-strong range covers riders from 150 cm to 181 cm, according to Liv’s sizing chart. The XS & S bikes ship with an MX wheelset (29″ front, 27.5″ rear), while the M & L bikes both comes as a complete 29er. That said, the option remains to run a 27.5″ rear.
Notably, only the reach and seat tube length increase as you move up through the frame sizes. Indeed, all get the very same chainstay length of 442mm which, particularly in the context of the XS frame’s 402mm reach, is rather generous. While many brands have moved towards a more proportional approach to geometry, increasing rear-center length with reach, Liv and Giant are yet to go down that path.
They do, however, steepen the seat tube angle for the larger frame sizes. That helps to offset the rearward bias that taller riders, with their taller saddle height, would otherwise be subjected to in the seated pedaling position.
Regardless of size, the Intrigue LT has a 65.1° head angle. That number pertains to the middle flip-chip position, which the bike is meant to arrive in. Strictly-speaking, a 5mm Allen key is all that is needed to adjust the geometry, though I have to say the job was made immeasurably easier with the use of a bike stand.
Though it can be done, the intention isn’t that you adjust geometry mid-ride. The flip-chip is there to give riders freedom to choose the geometry that works best for them and the type of trails they ride most.
The low position slackens the head and seat tube angles a little while concomitantly lowering the bottom bracket by 4/5mm. Here, the bike is better-configured for descending on steeper terrain. On the other hand, no one will be blown away to read that the high position steepens the head and seat tube angles, while raising the bottom bracket. Here, ground clearance is greatest, which should prove beneficial for climbing over choppy ground.
Liv Intrigue LT Advanced Pro 0 | Ride Impressions
I tested the Intrigue LT in a size small; at 163 cm tall, I am smack bang in the middle of the rider height range for that size.
The £12,500 Advanced Pro 0 model was shipped to me with the tires set up tubeless. Sans pedals, it weighs in at 13.69 kg which is impressively light for a bike of this travel bracket.
As per, I cut the 760mm Giant Contact SLR Trail handlebar down to my preferred 740mm – many of my local trails run through dense plantation forest. It has a 20mm rise. Happily, Liv left the fork’s steerer tube long, offering plenty of scope for moving the 50mm stem up and down to dial-in ride height.
The dropper seat post came in its 120mm drop position. With my saddle height of 620mm (with the stock 170mm cranks), I was able to take full advantage of the longest travel setting with 150mm drop. Very pleasing indeed. The only other change was to replace the Liv Sylvia saddle with my preferred SQlab 6OX Infinergy Ergowave Active 2.1 saddle.
Liv shipped the bike with its flip-chip set to the high position. That’s the geometry position that offers the most ground clearance, the steepest head tube angle (65.5°), and the steepest seat tube angle (77°). It also gives the longest reach of 421mm, and the shortest effective rear-center length of 440mm. In the context of the long travel bikes I have tested recently, that reach number is very much on the shorter end of the spectrum. And, in the context of other brands’ recommendations for a 163 cm rider, it is again relatively short.
Liv recommend a sag of 25-30% for the rear shock. I ran it at 29% sag, and never felt a need to deviate from that. I set up the fork as per the weight-based recommendations on the back of the fork leg; that’s 68 PSI for my 60 kg, with the rebound damping dial set to 14 clicks from fully closed.
For the first ride, I headed straight up to the local enduro trails via the fire road. The first thing that hit me was the effortless speed provided by the fast-rolling tires and the low weight of the bike overall. The two combined make pedaling feel like a breeze. After a summer of riding the comparatively heavier and slower-rolling YT Capra Core 3 enduro bike, this was pleasantly refreshing.
For the sake of getting to grips with how the bike’s handling is in its acoustic state, if you will, I left the electronics of the Fox Live Valve system off – at least for the first few rides. For seated pedalling, the rear suspension does bob up and down a fair bit – something that can be rectified with the Live Valve System switched on – i’ll go deeper on that later.
In both the high and low geometry positions, the Liv Intrigue LT felt like a spritely climber of technical terrain. While its fast-rolling rear tire was energy-saving on fire roads, it did have a tendency to break traction over wet or loose rock, especially when the gradient tipped up.
When grip was maintained, the relatively long chainstay came in handy for climbing steep sections. I did feel the seat tube could have been a little bit steeper to bias weight even further forward, but it wasn’t too bad with the saddle pushed forward on the rails. I’m not really a fan of 170mm cranks, and I reckon Liv could have easily justified use of shorter 165mm cranks on this small frame – only the XS gets those.
The low geometry position isn’t so low that I had any issue with regular pedal strikes, even with those 170mm cranks.
Descending – High Geometry Position
Dropping into a steep, technical enduro trail, the bike immediately felt like a handful. Its light overall weight and the lightly damped suspension combined to make it feel lively and too energetic for my liking. On steep sections, the conservative 65.5° head angle of the high position made itself apparent. On the whole, the bike was out of its depth.
Thankfully, slowing down the rebound speed on both the fork and shock improved matters greatly. The bike was now more calm, and less of a rocking-horse on the rougher, chunkier sections of trail. That made it a lot more manageable.
The bike felt really well suited to trails with comparatively less gradient. It is a quick handler, and really shines on the nibbly, technical tracks that snake down the hillside with compressive, swoopy turns, and off-camber rooty sections that seem to come at you relentlessly.
Flicking and slotting the bike into tight turns was a real pleasure. The Intrigue LT invites you to have fun with it, squaring off turns in the knowledge that it will effortlessly pick up speed again thanks to its light frame and wheel combination.
On the flip-side, the bike was not the most confidence-inspiring on fall line sections. Beyond a certain gradient, the geometry felt unbalanced, throwing me forward onto the fork. There was little drama to report, however, owing to the fact that the Fox 36 proved to be very supportive in those scenarios. Despite the fact that the low speed compression was set to fully open, the fork remained confidently high in its travel.
Descending – Low Geometry Position
Still, the sensation was a little unsettling, and so I switched the flip-chip to the low position in the hope that a slacker hand angle (now 64.6°) would improve the situation. And, it did, but not as much as I was hoping.
While it was comforting to see more wheel out front, the sensation of being thrown onto the fork was not greatly diminished. Looking at Liv’s geometry table, I can hazard a guess as to why that is. Moving from the high to the low position increases the bike’s rear-center length (to 433mm) while simultaneously reducing the reach (to 413mm). So, the rear wheel trails further behind, while room in the cockpit is slightly reduced.
That simply didn’t work well for me, and a feeling of vulnerability remained. I also felt that, on the exit of compressive turns, I had a tendency to sit my weight back into the bike, looking for a middle that wasn’t quite where I was expecting it to be.
I find bikes that are more equally matched in their reach-to-chainstay length ratio, or those where the reach slightly exceeds the chainstay length, feel more balanced overall, and deliver a more confidence-inspiring ride when the trail gets very steep.
It’s worth pointing out that my experience on this small frame may not be at all consistent with a taller rider’s experience on the medium or large frame. On the medium, the rear-center length and reach match at 442mm apiece. On reflection, I could likely have tolerated the longer reach of the medium quite well, but at the expense of losing out on bum-to-saddle clearance that would come with the 30mm taller seat tube.
In line with the bike’s intentions, I did pilot it around the local enduro race. The only spec change I made was at the rear tire, where the Dissector EXO was replaced by a Continental Kryptotal Fr Enduro which offers improved braking traction and a more puncture-proof casing.
The bike impressed on the flat-out, chunky sections of track where carrying speed is paramount. Pumping through features was generously rewarded. It again impressed when the track demanded short, sharp, out-of-the-saddle efforts. As alluded to earlier, it fell short of expectations when pointed down the steeper tracks, forcing a certain tentative approach from its rider.
Fox Live Valve | An Overview
Fox Live Valve is the electronically-controlled suspension damping system that launched back in 2018. Still, very few bikes are equipped with the system, the Liv Intrigue LT Advanced Pro 0 being one of them.
It comprises an accelerometer on the fork arch, an accelerometer near the rear axle, and a 3-axis accelerometer on the main control unit that, on the Liv Intrigue LT Advanced Pro, is positioned on the underside of the top tube.
The fork and swingarm accelerometers report on the severity of bumps occurring at each wheel, while the central unit’s device reports on gradient; i.e. it tells the system whether the bike is rolling along the flat, pointing up a climb, or pitched down a trail.
Collating that information, with measurements taken 1000 times per second, the system makes decisions on whether the suspension’s mid-to-low speed compression damping circuit should be open or closed. There’s an electromagnet inside the dampers that controls the valve, opening it or closing it within 3 milliseconds; i.e. much faster than you or I could operate a remote lockout.
So, Live Valve can control whether the bike’s suspension is firm, or whether it is plush, the former being preferable for outright pedal efficiency, and the latter being preferable for bump absorption when descending. There is no intermediate position; the valve is either open or closed.
It is user-tuneable, though. One can use the Live Valve App, or the control unit on the bike itself, to move the system between settings 1-5. To explain, i’ll use the two extreme ends of the spectrum.
First, it’s important to note that in all settings, Live Valve is biased to the closed position, delivering a firm suspension feel. It will “look” for reasons to open the damping. In setting 5, the Live Valve system needs to experience the biggest bumps in order for the compression damping to open up. In setting 1, the bump threshold is much lower, so smaller bumps you might find on a gravel road should be sufficient to open the valve, softening the suspension.
After the threshold-exceeding bump has triggered the valve to open, it will revert to closed again after a certain amount of time has passed – unless another threshold-exceeding bump is hit again, in which case the timer starts over. In setting 5, the specified time is relatively short, while in setting 1, the specified time is much longer, allowing the damping to remain open for longer. The system also adjusts the timing based on whether or not you are climbing or descending. We are also told that the decision-making for the shock and the fork can be separate, depending on the situation.
How did I test the Intrigue LT Advanced Pro 0 Fox Live Valve System?
I spent an afternoon riding the same 90 second descent over and over again, changing the Live Valve setting between runs. The track is mellow in its gradient, but littered with roots, rocks, steps and compressive turns. Altogether, there’s a lot going on, with only two or three (very brief) smooth, flatter sections to speak of.
Following that test session, there’s no doubt in my mind that Live Valve executes on its promises. Differences between the Live Valve settings are appreciable, particularly when switching between the two extremes; going from setting 1 to setting 5.
Riding a continuous descent, there is no tangible ride feel difference between Live Valve in setting 1, as compared to riding the bike with the system switched off entirely. Descending is totally uncompromised.
Switching from setting 1 to setting 3, a very subtle difference is detectable. Over the course of that 90 second descent, i’d say there were just two or three occasions where I felt the suspension revert to closed. That was felt as a sudden, surprise harshness, and on both occasions the result was a less well controlled run.
Then, going to setting 5, the suspension was obviously reverting to closed more frequently. Runs in setting 5 were harsh and tiring, and finding the best line proved more difficult. For uncompromised descending, you’ll want to depart from Liv’s recommended setting 3, and run it in setting 1 (or possibly 2, but admittedly this was not tested).
A second test scenario involved rolling out of a steep, rough downhill trail, into a smooth, slightly uphill fire road sprint. Here, I was looking to see how quickly the system would revert to closed, firming up the suspension to provide an efficient pedaling platform for rapid acceleration.
Unsurprisingly, setting 5 was the best setting in this scenario. Only setting 5 reacted sufficiently fast enough after the transition onto the fire road, with settings 1 and 3 both keeping the valve open, and the suspension soft, too long for my liking.
For a gentle climb on a smooth fire road, I found that setting 5 was the best for removing the pedal-induced bobbing of the suspension. Settings 1 and 3 both allowed the shock to oscillate freely about the sag point.
Is Fox Live Valve worth it?
This is an important question to answer, especially considering that it is likely a contributing factor in the sky-high asking price for the Intrigue LT Advanced Pro 0. Unfortunately, my answer has to be no.
In the context of this bike and its intentions, I feel there is no place for a system as complex as Live Valve. If I had found a single setting wherein continuous descending was uncompromised and the damper firmed up quickly enough for a fire road sprint, then things might be different. As it is, I found no such Goldilocks setting.
I get the impression this system would find a better home on a XC race bike where efficiency is everything. Those tracks tend to continuously undulate, and the demands placed on the suspension can change many, many times over the course of a lap. In that scenario, the hands-free experience brought by live Valve stands to be advantageous.
Ultimately, I feel the Intrigue LT and its rider would be better-served by a mechanical suspension lockout in the form of a remote on the bar. That way, the rider would be able to lock out the suspension on the climbs, and during a sprint, opening it up again before dropping into the next descent. Sadly, the frame does not provide routing for that simpler solution.
On the whole, the Intrigue LT in a size small does feel quite compact for this 163 cm rider. The short reach lends itself well to trails where rapid changes of direction require the rider to duck and dive about the cockpit. I would however, strongly advise anyone taller than 163cm to consider up-sizing to the medium, especially if they feel the 420mm seat tube would be manageable.
That said, I found the bike was abuzz with agility, also owing to its light damper tune. To my mind, this custom-tune is what gives Liv an edge over some of its competitors. An over-damped shock tune is a common complaint of mine – examples here and here – so it has been thoroughly refreshing to ride a shock that is better-suited to my weight, and to be able to appreciate the wide range of adjustment offered by the external dials. It’s worth noting that not every model of the Intrigue LT has the same shock tune, but they are all custom-tuned with feedback from the same rider in the interest of consistency.
As for Live Valve, I have a hard time finding justification for it here, especially as the Intrigue LT is marketed more toward the winch-and-plummet crowd.
Ultimately, I feel Liv would’ve done well to shorten the rear-center length on the small frame (and the XS) to balance things out a little. Liv’s off-road product manager, Ludi Scholz, explains that the lack of size-specific chainstays is down to a matter of resource availability. This more proportional approach to geometry is something that other brands such as Juliana, Cannondale, Norco and Privateer appear to be having success with.
- Very light for a 150mm travel MTB
- Fast-rolling bike with a lively character
- Adjustable geometry
- Appropriate shock tune for the lighter rider with a good range of adjustment on offer
- Adjustable-travel dropper seat post
- Lifetime warranty
- More of an all-round trail bike than an out-and-out enduro race bike
- Geometry feels a little unbalanced (size small)
- Insufficient chainstay protection
- Frame storage door rattles when loaded with cage and bottle
- Internal cable routing is not fully guided
- Fox Live Valve offers no tangible benefit on this bike
- Fox 36 Factory Live Valve Fork with FIT4 Damper – Smooth, supportive, with meaningful damping adjustments readily available.
- Liv custom-tuned Fox Factory Live Valve Shock – Delivers a lightly-damped tune which proved excellent for this light rider, with a broad range of adjustment readily available.
- TranzX Travel-Adjustable Dropper Seat Post – Super easy to adjust drop length without the use of any tools whatsoever. The post was smooth, and performed flawlessly throughout the test period.
- SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS Drivetrain – Shifting was flawless out-of-the-box. The rear derailleur clutch is sufficient, and I have no dropped chain incidents to report.
- Zipp 3Zero Moto Carbon Wheelset – The wheels performed flawlessly. They’re both light and quiet, and the ZM2 hub delivers quick engagement thanks to its 132 POEs. And, the rims did not manage to pinch any holes into the relatively lightweight EXO casing tires.
- Giant Contact SL Stem 50mm Stem – No real qualms, though I wonder whether the speed of front-end handling may have benefited from a slightly shorter option.
- Giant Contact SLR TR35 Carbon Bar – No qualms.
- Liv Tactal Pro Single Lock-On Grips – Nice short length (110mm on XS & S), appropriate for smaller hands. Rubber is quite hard though, and I found the heavily textured pattern made me squeeze the grips tighter than was strictly necessary.
- Shimano XTR Four-Piston Brakes – Great to have tool-free adjustment of reach, with bite-point adjustment available with use of a screw driver. Brakes were powerful enough for the intended use, and did not require any bleeding over the course of the test period.
- Front Tire – 29″ x 2.5″ Maxxis Minion DHF, MaxxTerra, EXO Casing – Strikes a good balance between grip and rolling resistance. A higher grip option would be the MaxxGrip equivalent, coming at the expense of rolling resistance. That said, I found that grip was always plentiful.
- Rear Tire – 27.5″ x 2.4″ Maxxis Dissector, MaxxTerra, EXO Casing – Offered very little rolling resistance, but also lacked braking traction with a tendency to lock up and skid quite easily. For enduro, I feel the bike would benefit from an upgrade to the Maxxis Minion DHRII tire of the DoubleDown casing variety. That said, I am happy to report zero punctures.
- MRP AMg V2 chainguide: I have no dropped chains to report. The bash guard portion took a few knocks, but is still in great condition.
- Liv Sylvia Saddle – Not tested.
The Value Proposition
Given that the Intrigue LT Advanced Pro 0 is several thousands of pounds more expensive than the Intrigue Advanced E+ eMTB, its £12,499 ($12,500 USD) price tag seems utterly stratospheric. Consider that the latter also gets a full carbon frame, Fox Live Valve suspension, as well as an 85 Nm mid-drive motor.
Comparing it with the more affordable Intrigue LT Advanced Pro models, again the price seems wild. The next most expensive offering is the Advanced Pro 1, coming in at £5,999 ($7,000 USD). It lacks the Fox Live Valve system, and is downgraded to the Performance Elite suspension components from Fox. It also loses the Zipp 3Zero Moto wheels in place of Giant’s own TRX carbon wheelset, and loses the AXS drivetrain for the SRAM GX Eagle cable-operated version.
Still, the price difference between the Advanced Pro 1 and Advanced Pro 0 seems wholly unjustified from a performance perspective.