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Rachel's Demo Envie!

June 12, 2017

At Giant Sheffield, we have a fantastic demo programme allowing our customers to try out the latest 2017 bikes before purchasing. Read Rachel's take on the womens specific aero road bike, the Liv Envie Advanced

I was lucky enough to have the demo Giant Liv Envie Advanced Pro 1, Giants women’s specific aero road bike, for the bank holiday weekend. Complete with Ultegra DI2 electronic shifters and Giant’s own SLR 1 Aero carbon wheels it was set to be a fast paced weekend, saddened only by the fact I had hurt my knee so had to ‘take it easy’.

I picked the bike up on the Thursday from the Giant store in Sheffield. On my arrival I was warmly greeted by the most passionate sales assistant Lisa. She was equally as excited as me about the biking experience and made me feel like a local celeb when she exclaimed ‘are you Rachel Rutherford, I’ve seen you on Strava.. I can’t believe I got to meet you!’ After mentioning my knee pain, I was directed to an advert for a bike fit. Turns out the Giant Sheffield store offer a £30 pitstop bike fit, and if this still isn’t sufficient you can upgrade to the full £100 fit for £70. Seemed ideal. After a brilliant chat about cycling crazy distances, commuting and weird routes through Sheffield, Lisa set up the Envie for me and I set off on my way to Southampton for the weekend.

Following a very rare lie in on Saturday morning, I left for the uber flat New Forest. From the outset, the bike rode like a dream. However the geometry of the bike felt different to my current road bike leaving me with very sore quads (and bum) after about 20 miles. But this seemed to settle down as the weekend went on so was just something to get used to. The carbon frame was beautifully stiff; I could really feel the direct power transfer through the pedals pushing the bike forward, especially on the flat. The DI2 shifters definitely held the originality factor, and gave very smooth effortless gear changes. The carbon deep sectioned wheels complimented the frame perfectly, making the bike a beauty to ride. The bike accelerated really well on the flats making smashing parts of the route very fun. Sadly my Garmin broke and I lost the statistics for this ride. But I could really feel the power this bike offered and knew it was a fast ride.

Sunday had rain on the forecast so I went out for a 40 mile spin in the morning. This route had more climbing, which highlighted one of the limitations of the aero design for me. The hills, while not hard, required slightly more effort than my all round race bike. But to give the bike a fair review, I would be interested to take her for a spin up some of the big hills in Sheffield and compare times. Interestingly, it was significantly windier, making the deep sectioned wheels a lot more challenging, however having had experience riding these before it wasn’t an issue. I found the Giant SpeedControl SL brakes very reactive, significantly better than the Shimano Ultegra brakes on my current road bike.

Monday I was due to drive back to Sheffield so went out for another hillier 40 miler early in the morning. Even windier today, but naturally un-phased, I had another fun ride. The bike flew as normal and it was a great end to my weekend of having the Envie, or so I thought. Somehow while driving back to Sheffield I ended up in Birmingham and out on another ride.

At this point my legs were a (big) bit tired but the Envie still made me feel powerful. The wind had picked up again by this point, but having lived in Sheffield for a few months I was used to dealing with very strong winds so it was actually a lot of fun. My friend had the Giant Propel, so it was interesting discussing how he thought the bike rode, and ironically thought the complete opposite to me in terms of the bikes hill climbing ability.

The overall appearance of the bike is beautiful, very fierce while remaining feminine. The aero frame shape looks unique compared with a lot of other brands, making it appealing in terms of standing out from the crowd. I have seen a few of these frames at a number of triathlons/ sportives this year, indicating the popularity of the bike among female riders. I see the bike being well suited to triathlons and time trials and would be very easy to add some tri-bars to have an all-round bike, without buying a dedicated time trial bike.

One of my favourite features was the Giant SpeedControl SL brakes, I liked the fact they are hidden behind the fork, making the front and rear of the bike look subtle and elegant. They remained highly effective, and felt significantly more reactive that any other rim brakes I have used. To conclude, the naturally smaller women’s frame fit me like a treat, and I really liked the short stem the Envie had, making it much more comfortable for me to sit in the drops, something I still find hard to do for long periods on a ride.