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Liv Langma Advanced 1+ Disc review

Liv’s women’s specific race bike gets lighter, stiffer and more aero

Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ review
(Image: © Aoife Glass)

Our Verdict

A race-ready, climb-loving road bike that’s efficient, fast, aero, but most of all fun to ride all day

For

  • Lightweight, fast, climbs well
  • Packed with aero features
  • Noticeably stiffer chassis
  • Comfortable over distance

Against

  • Size large not available in the UK

First launched in 2017 ahead of the Giro Rosa, the Langma is Liv’s race bike designed for race speed and climbing ability, and the original form had enough wins to prove its pedigree including La Course, the Tour of Norway and at Giro Rosa itself. 

For 2021, it’s had some serious upgrades: aero tubing throughout, a frame that’s been re-engineered to be stiffer and lighter, new handlebars and wheels, and disc brakes throughout the range. The changes have been made based on feedback from riders, ambassadors and of course the pro racers of the Liv Racing WorldTour Team, and eagle-eyed race fans may have spotted the new Langma gain its first win of 2021 at Les Samyn Des Dames, piloted by Lotte Kopecky. 

The Langma Advanced Disc 1 sits at the top of the entry-level Advanced Disc range; above this is the mid-tier Advanced Pro line, and above that, the range-topping Advanced SL bike, but UK riders will have to wait until later in 2021 for that to become available.

Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

(Image credit: Aoife Glass)

Design and aesthetics 

Liv Cycling is a rare thing: a bike brand dedicated exclusively to women, which bases its design and engineering solely around women’s fit data and feedback with a team of female engineers and designers. This, Liv says, allows it to give women a better fitting bike with components such as handlebars, cranks, saddles and levers chosen to suit the rider and complement a women’s specific frame design. 

One immediately noticeable update on the original Langma is the presence of on-trend aerodynamic features across the whole bike. The tubing shapes on pretty much every part of the frame from head-tube to seat-tube, and including the fork blades, has been engineered into a truncated ellipse or Kamm-tail shape. This comprises a curved forward-facing surface with a flat rear surface that’s designed to reduce speed-sapping turbulence and drag. Internal cable routing and wide spacing around the wheels serves a similar function, allowing a smoother passage of air in and around the frame, components and accessories like bottle cages and bidons. 

Looks-wise, the Langma has the sleek, fast aesthetic you’d expect from a race-ready bike, and the Advanced 1 build’s Cold Gloss Iron and Brushed Chrome is a colourway that’s right up my street.

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Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

The new Langma has updated aero tubing for hitting high speeds (Image credit: Aoife Glass)
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Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

The truncated ellipse tubing is designed to reduce speed-sapping turbulence and drag (Image credit: Aoife Glass)
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Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

Liv has opted for a more customisable modular cockpit rather than an integrated one (Image credit: Aoife Glass)
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Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

Internal cable routing keeps everything neatly tucked away (Image credit: Aoife Glass)

Specifications

We’ve covered the aero elements, so where does the lighter weight and stiffness come into the redesign? The frame is now constructed from longer continuous pieces of carbon material. This means less carbon and bonding material is needed overall, which in turn saves weight. Those longer pieces also have greater structural strength, hence the increase in stiffness. In this, the Advanced model, the weight saving in the frame is a not-insignificant 25g over the original Langma, with a further 120g saving in the fork and a reported 6.6 per cent more torsional stiffness. 

The Advanced 1+ is built up with a Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, a 105 11-30t cassette, and Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes. 

Liv has also unveiled a selection of new parts in addition to the Langma, including the new aero-shaped composite Variant seatpost. Meanwhile the updated Contact handlebars are designed to be optimised for women, offering a size-specific width and drop. 

Last, and certainly not least, the Langma Advanced Disc 1+ features Giant’s new SLR 2 36 Disc Wheelsystem. This has a hookless rim design that gives a more rounded tyre profile and therefore better traction when cornering. Wheels are fitted with Giant Course 1 tyres set up tubeless from the factory. 

In terms of comparative value for money, the Liv Langma Advanced 1+ is on a par with its price-point peers, offering similar specs to the Trek Emonda SL6 Disc.

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Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

The drivetrain is Shimano Ultegra... (Image credit: Aoife Glass)
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Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

...mixed with a 105 11-30t cassette (Image credit: Aoife Glass)
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Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

Giant's SLR 2 36 Disc wheels are mated with its Course 1 tyres set up tubeless from the factory - just add sealant (Image credit: Aoife Glass)
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Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

Liv's Approach saddle is designed from using women-only fit data (Image credit: Aoife Glass)

Performance

While the stiffness increase in the entry-level model isn’t as significant in the Advanced SL models — which the pros will be racing — there is some increase and in my experience it’s noticeable, possibly partly because I am not a lightweight rider myself. I’ve ridden previous incarnations of the Langma, and gone is the slight flex in the frame when really pushing through power, but it’s not become a harsh, brittle-feeling stiff machine. On the contrary, it feels exceptionally well balanced. 

This is also partly due to elements like the chunky bottom bracket area and the brilliantly named ‘Mega Drive’ — Liv’s name for its squared, voluminous downtube — which add rigidity and power-transfer efficiency to the chassis. Put in a pedal stroke, and the Langma feels like it’s turning every watt into momentum with very little lost along the way, and the acceleration is thrilling. 

Combine that with its lighter weight and comfortable ride position that’s racy but not cramped, and the Langma does indeed fulfil its queen-of-climbing ambitions. Get it up to speed on the flats, and it hoons along at an exhilarating pace. 

Handling is exceptional; precise, intuitive and responsive without being nervy. It’s agile in a surefooted way, inspiring trust and confidence on descents, helped by reliable and powerful Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes that allow you to trim speed with supreme, subtle control. 

The Langma is also a bike that is comfortable to ride for long hours or long miles, with its efficiency staving off fatigue. While some stiff race-focussed bikes have a brittle, chattery feeling, the Langma manages to feel... well, not plush, but somewhere just on the edge where taut efficiency meets vibration-damping comfort. It’s a delicate balance that Liv achieves impressively. 

One gripe is sizing, and more specifically availability. While globally available in XS, S, M and L, not every territory — for example the UK — is bringing in the L which means taller women and those on the cusp of sizes have limited choice. At 5ft 8/172cm, I find the medium fractionally too small, though some fit tweaks could rectify this. 

Tubeless tyres are having a mixed response in the road cycling world and while I’ve used this system for years in mountain biking this is my first experience with a tubeless setup on a road bike, and so far they’ve run well for me. 

The Liv Approach saddle is a women's specific model designed for road cycling and more forward on-bike body positions. It has a central cut-out pressure relief channel and flared rear platform that supports the sit bones. While saddles are, of course, a very personal matter, I found this one very comfortable.

I’m also a fan of the cockpit, with the handlebars feeling comfortable and natural with a drop that’s easy to reach and allows me to have good control of the shifters when riding in a variety of bar positions. I also like the fact that it's a modular rather than an integrated system, which allows for more customisation for fit or performance reasons.

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Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

The handlebars feel comfortable and natural with a drop that’s easy to reach (Image credit: Aoife Glass)
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Liv Langma Advanced Disc 1+ Review

The new Liv Langma Advanced Disc feels exceptionally well balanced (Image credit: Aoife Glass)

Verdict

The new Langma does what the original Lagma did, but better. It’s faster, more efficient and racier without losing its surefooted handling, stable but exhilarating ride feel or its comfort over distance. If you’re a fan of fast riding, you’re looking for a race bike, or you want something that will help you conquer climbs while remaining versatile enough to handle leisurely outings, the Langma could well be the bike you’re after. 

The Langma Advanced 1+ is available to buy now, with good availability on sizes as of time of publishing. 

Tech Specs: Liv Langma Advanced 1+

  • Price: £2,999 / $3,500 / AU$4,499 
  • Size options: XS, S, M* (*tested)
  • Weight: 7.96kg
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