Liv Langma Advanced Pro Disc 1 review
The Liv Langma is the chassis of choice for the brand’s WorldTour team, Liv racing. It’s said to be entirely independent of the TCR, which comes from Liv’s sibling brand Giant. However, the two frames share a great many similarities, not least, that they’ve both had gold standard reviews from Cycling Weekly.
The Langma sets its sights on low weight, a blend of stiffness and compliance to suit riders who want to race, with a pinch of aero optimisation – but not so much that it impacts ride quality. Coming from Giant, which has the benefit of producing both its carbon and moulds in house, it also represents better value than competitors.
The Liv Langma Advanced Pro Disc 1 sets out to be a race bike that accelerates fast but keeps fatigue on the down-low – and it succeeds.
Liv Langma Advanced Pro Disc 1: frame and components
The Liv Langma is built ‘from the ground up’, as the saying goes, for female riders. At the very least, that means smaller frame sizes, and components to suit the average female rider within the frame’s expected height range. Regardless of whether you believe in a need for female specific geometry, frames and components that fit statistically average females can only be a good thing.
I think it’s fair to say that I didn’t personally fall in love with the inaugural 2018 model. The rim-brake bike I rode was exceptionally lightweight and very comfortable, but I felt it lacked the stiffness required of a race bike. Liv appears to have agreed because the 2022 model received a stiffness boost at the fork. The brand says the (top end) SL fork was bolstered by 50%.
We don’t have comparison data between the Advanced Pro (non SL) of 2018 vs the 2022 Advanced Pro. However, we do know that the frame torsion stiffness (measured from the head tube to rear dropout) is only 5% greater on the Advanced SL Disc vs the Advanced Pro Disc, and when frame pedalling stiffness is compared (measured from BB to rear dropout), it’s 7%.
If all this talk of pedalling stiffness has you envisaging a bumpy ride, then there’s little need for concern. The Langma Advanced Pro provides clearance for tyres up to 32mm.
The rolling stock in this instance is Giant’s own SLR-2 36 disc wheel system. This is a hookless carbon clincher, suited to climbing. It’s paired with Giant Course 1 tubeless tyres, that are labelled 25mm, but plump out to a 28mm effective on this rim. Giant has put its full weight behind tubeless tech for the road – so all bikes are sold set up with sealant. The hookless rim does lock you in to using tyres that are compatible with this construction, though the list of such tyres is growing, with Continental having joined the party with its GP 5000 S TR recently.
The geometry is that of a race bike, my size small features a stack/reach of 531.8mm/376.5mm, with a head angle of 72 degrees. The seat angle, at 74 degrees, positions your body over the bottom bracket whilst the 977.2mm wheelbase is snappy. All of this adds up to quick, responsive handling. I did test this bike with the stem slammed – this preys on my mind slightly, as I typically opt for a mid-stack; it makes me wonder if those after a very aggressive ride might wish for more drop. However, the Langma geo is no less aggressive than its TCR brethren, so perhaps I was simply confident and comfortable enough on this bike to want to get lower.
The Langma also sports a Giant Variant seatpost: this is proprietary to the frame, but it will go some way to cancelling out vibration, and the brand does continue to stock seatposts well after a corresponding frame has been out of production.
Whilst the Langma sports largely round tubes, a plus for me – as these tend to yield greater ride quality – there are some nods to aerodynamics. Truncated ellipse tubing reportedly outperforms a traditional teardrop shape in real world (read, windy) conditions – though we have to take Liv’s testing on this, due to a lack of dedicated Cycling Weekly wind tunnel.
The cables are external at the bar, making their way to their destination via ports on the top and down tube. This doesn’t look as neat as a fully integrated option, but it drastically cuts the cost and time involved in maintenance. I did think the cable routing could have been a little neater, but that’ll come down to the build.
The bars are round, so you could fit any model of your choice, and they’re carbon too. Carbon bars are stiff and can be more compliant, but I do tend to prefer aluminum for racing. On the plus side, these will have a higher RRP so represent a great deal, and the female specific nature of Liv increases the chance of a good fit.
The groupset on this build is Shimano Ultegra mechanical – which is pretty much the most sensible racer’s choice, in my mind: performance oriented, but not disproportionately expensive to replace. The 52/36 semi compact chainset pairs with a wide 11-30 cassette. Incredibly, you get a Giant PowerPro crankset thrown into the mix on this bike, too.
Giant is sticking with press-fit bottom brackets, despite much of the industry turning its back in favour of threaded interfaces.
Liv Langma Advanced Pro Disc 1: the ride
The difference between the outgoing Liv 2018 chassis and the 2022 version is marked. Granted, I did not have the opportunity to try a disc version, but – unless my memory is deceiving me – the increased pedalling and handling stiffness in this newer incarnation is absolutely undeniable. This is a bike that tempts me to push over the crest of climbs, even on days I’m meant to be taking it easy.
Riding the Advanced Pro Disc and the SL back-to-back on my local roads, it was clear that the difference was minimal. Sure, the shifting on mechanical Ultegra is never going to be as sharp as that of eTap AXS (or Dura Ace Di2), and the slightly heavier wheelset mutes a tiny bit of excitement. The overall weight differs by just under 1kg – and that’s always going to be noticeable. However, the actual difference in performance was minimal – my average speed hovered around 18.5mph on both bikes for the same routes, and both paired confident but fast handling with light footedness for an extremely enjoyable ride.
One of the most enjoyable elements of Liv’s Langma is its ability to pair pedalling stiffness with compliance. In the last year or so, I have tested a number of race bikes that have felt – to me – just that bit too stiff. Getting the balance right is a difficult task, especially considering that much of the market is catering primarily towards the ‘average’ customer, who is male, and therefore likely to be heavier and producing more finite power (watts/kilo is another topic). Be it due to its female specific design, or just a difference in opinion from Liv, the Langma blends these two requirements perfectly.
Of course, wide tyres and their tubeless set-up help. This is an area of some contention for me: a hookless rim still seems somewhat of a divisive choice, as not all riders will want this set up. Similarly, I do think that a race bike suits deeper rims: a 40-50mm depth would be my preference, but that’s a fairly minor criticism.
The Langma Advanced Pro Disc 1 does wear more robust tyres than its more expensive sibling (the Advanced SL Disc) – and I did find these held up much better. I didn’t experience any non-sealing punctures as per my experience on the more racy Cadex rubber. At 60 TPI, you could be forgiven for expecting a slightly less supple ride, but pumped to 60 PSI (I weigh ~57kg, +/-1 depending on time of year and, as female readers will understand, month) these felt spot on to me.
A minor grumble on the gearing: Liv has chosen to spec a 52/36 with an 11-30 cassette. This wide cassette provides plenty of range, which will suit those who need a ‘get out of jail’ gear on tough climbs. However, the jumps between gears were too jarring for me – particularly when riding on the rollers indoors. This is a matter of personal preference, I will concede.
Liv Langma Advanced Pro Disc 1: value and conclusions
The Liv Langma Advanced Pro 1 disc comes in at £3,999 (no US availability), sporting Shimano Ultegra mechanical shifting, with a crank-based power meter, and mid-section carbon wheels, weighing 7.6kg. The touchpoints are female specific, and so the likelihood of the rider needing to fit an alternative bar/stem/saddle is reduced, which saves on the cost of swaps.
The likes of a Cannondale SuperSix Evo Ultegra will set you back £3,950 with carbon finishing kit and wheels – so Giant’s value isn’t notably different there, aside from the power meter addition. Look to Trek, and the Emonda SL6 Disc Pro sports Ultegra, with alloy handlebars and carbon clinchers for £3,800 – the weight is less competitive at a claimed 8.03kg (admittedly – in a size 56), and again there’s no power meter.
In this guise, the Liv Langma Advanced Pro 1 isn’t head and shoulders ahead of the competition in terms of value, but it does offer an overall better package, due to the additional power meter.
- Frame: Advanced-Grade Composite,
- Fork: Advanced-Grade Composite,
- Handlebar: Liv Contact SLR, Composite,
- Stem: Giant Contact SL XS:80mm, S:90mm, M:100mm, L:110mm
- Seatpost: Giant Variant, composite, XS:357mm, S:357mm, M:357mm, L:357mm
- Saddle: Liv Alacra SL
- Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 8025 11 speed, hydro brakes, 160mm front, 140mm rear
- Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 8000 11×30 brake, 52-36 with 11-30 cassette and Giant PowerPro crank
- Bottom bracket: Shimano, press-fit
- Wheels: Giant SLR-2 36 Disc WheelSystem
- Tyres: Giant Course 1 Tubeless, 700x25mm (28mm effective)
- Weight: 7.6kg (size small)