We travelled to Italy last month to check out the Langma, Liv’s new women’s-specific road bike. The lightweight, top-of-the-line spec model features a full carbon frame and fork and SRAM Red eTap drivetrain, with the Liv Sunweb pro team using the flagship bike.
A few years ago, the road bike offering at a top female level was a very different place to today. Female roadies will know that not too long ago, the argument for women-specific bikes was a much quieter one. Getting a good bike was a case of finding a unisex frame and tweaking it to find a better fit for a woman’s body. A high performance road bike, built from the ground up for a female body, either sat only at the uber-expensive custom level, or felt simply non-existent.
Nowadays, the movement for female-specific frames is growing, along with consumer demand. Recently we went out to Follina in Italy with Liv, one of the bike brands that changed the female market, to catch up with the developments on this interesting discussion and meet the company's new offering, the Langma.
First Impressions: Liv Hail and the Liv Pique
Liv is a brand that lives and breathes women’s cycling at every level, putting time and engineering into making high-end performance bikes using bespoke female geometry, based on a global body dimension database, the expertise of top female engineers and guidance from a team of pro riders.
Langma, the most recent offering from the Liv school of thought, is a bike two years in the making and it claims to be developed for riders who need the lightest of bikes for racing, offering the kind of climbing efficiency that will help you ‘fly to the summit’. Joining the Envie and Avail in Liv’s line up, the Langma fills the super-lightweight model space for the company.
Over our two days of riding, one thing about this new bike became clear, the Langma is definitely more than capable when facing a climb. As we tackled the mighty Passo San Boldo, a 10km beast with 18 switchbacks and an average eight per cent gradient, the Langma came into its own, thanks to a super-lightweight frame and fork weight of 1.155 kg and complete bike weight of 6.05kg (size small). Both smooth and responsive, the bike provided a stiff platform when tackling tough climbs. For such a light bike, the frame also manages to feel surprisingly tough and stays nimble when climbing out of the saddle, without feeling twitchy.
Liv has done very well in its ambition to create a climbing and racing bike with absolutely no sacrifices in weight, with the complete Langma apparently coming in 1.5kg lighter than the Canyon Ultimate WMN CF SLX. The low weight of the Langma's frame has been made possible through the use of Giant’s top-level carbon fibre, with size-specific layups to ensure each frame provides the exact balance of low weight and responsiveness. Liv has also made sure material is only used where it's needed, giving the frame its slender profile while also ensuring it has the stiffness required for racing - something Liv calls 'tuned stiffness'
The top-of-the-range Advanced SL frame also uses Liv's ‘continuous fibre technology’, a process that results in fewer junctions to create a sturdier frame while also saving precious weight. In short, this bike is crazy light, without any sacrifices in strength.
The most noticeable thing that I took away from my two rides on the Langma was that for a bike primarily designed for racing, it provided outstanding comfort on tough climbs and long rides, giving real weight to the argument for female-specific frames.
For such a light bike, it never felt flimsy on the hard climbs and although it has a fairly aggressive racing position, I didn’t feel bent out of shape or have any aches or pains after hours in the saddle. Liv has managed to find that thin line between comfort and stiffness, providing the optimal amount of each.
The Langma's lightweight frame, subtle aerodynamic features and racing setup made it a really enjoyable bike to ride on the long climbs and fast descents of our initial test rides.
The Langma is available in a number of different models with varying colourways, specs and price tags (take a look below). For more information on the bikes, head over to the Liv Bikes website here.
These are just out first impressions from two days of riding. Further testing would certainly reveal a lot more of the nuances and strengths of the Langma, but so far this looks to be an exciting new model from Liv.
The Liv Langma 2018 line up
- Langma Advanced SL 0: $9, 800
- Langma Advanced Pro 0: $4, 600
- Langma Advanced Pro 1 Disc: $3,250
- Langma Advanced Disc: $2,375
- Langma Advanced 1: $2,300
- Langma Advanced 2: $1,700