Review: Liv Avail 1 Disc

When you buy this women’s bike, you’re buying into a community as well.

There are a lot of things that go into choosing a new bike. In my opinion, some people fixate too much on brands, the drool level of the parts, weight and appearance, and forget about other important aspects which determine how much they enjoy using it.

Tthe 2016 Liv Avail 1 Women’s Disc is so much more than the sum of its (well thought out) parts. For new riders this alloy, Shimano 105 specced, AU$ 1,799 disc model is an entry point into a whole new community. In Australia, there are regular rides in most capital cities, and a quick look at the #LivBeyond hashtag on instagram will show you how big this community is becoming on a global scale.

I tested the Avail 1 Disc for the Summer 2016 issue of Bike magazine (Australia). The bike itself has a robust and instinctive ride feel with a frame geometry that encourages comfort and stability. A PDF copy of the full review is here. An excerpt and a gallery of extra images from the very first ride are below (so clean!). Double tap the images to see them bigger if you’re reading from your mobile.

Road riders often look to the pros for insights into trends and technology. Disc brakes, by comparison, benefit regular riders more than hardened competition types. As many racers eagerly await a rule change allowing discs into competitions, they’re likely to be looking at some of the recreational bikes on offer with envy of their own.

Mechanical disc brakes are a new and welcome addition to the alloy Liv Avail Disc 1. In comparison to rim brakes, they offer better performance in the wet and more modulation without locking up the wheels in the dry. A plus for women is that they require less hand strength for a controlled and reliable braking feel.

Like many other features of this bike, the discs point to rider goals and experiences that have little to do with chasing start guns and finish lines, at least in the short term. The alloy Avail won’t break the bank if you choose to upgrade later, the geometry and spec is designed to enhance control, and options for wider tyres and rack mounting points make it equally well suited to commuting or light touring. Read more.

For an industry overview on the research and thinking behind bikes designed for female riders, with insights from Liv, Specialized, Trek and Yeti, this link will take you to an article I wrote for BikeRadar.

Images: Kath Bicknell.