At this point, it seems that just about every bike brand has a gravel model somewhere in its catalog. Until recently, female-specific bike brand Liv had been one of the more high-profile holdouts. But patience is a virtue, and we’ll always prefer a brand that waits to put out a model until it’s ready for primetime instead of just riding the latest wave for the sake of it. The result of that extra time spent designing and deliberating is the Liv Devote Advanced series—and it is worth the wait.

THE DETAILS

Designed using Liv’s 3F design philosophy—fit, form and function—the Devote Advanced 2 is a versatile gravel bike made for long days off-road. To that end, Liv gave it a comfortable, stable ride, but one that can ratchet up the intensity when needed. In a size XS, it features a longer wheelbase of 101.3cm and a slack head-tube angle of 70.5 degrees, as well as a bottom-bracket drop of 80mm. An oversize steerer tube helps make the turning a bit more responsive while an oversize bottom bracket adds stiffness.

The secret sauce for Liv is in the carbon layup, which is specifically tuned to a woman’s anatomy based on reams of data the brand has collected on body dimensions, muscle activity and where power is delivered from. Naturally, Liv guards the trade secrets of how exactly it is making frames, but the brand believes wholeheartedly in the benefit of a female-specific bike adapted to take advantage of the differences between men and women. After developing a carbon layup and geometry in which the brand was confident, the bike was then finetuned and given approval through the most important of metrics: real-world testing.

Liv is also interested in making bikes that look as good as they ride. The brand has impressed us with its paintjobs before, and the Devote continues that trend. The “Rosewood / Reflective Dark Eclipse” paint is understated yet beautiful, with subtle details in the paint that only reveal themselves on close inspection. For extra durability, the paint gets covered with a guard on the underside of the down tube to protect against rogue gravel. And with internal cables, the bike has clean, uninterrupted lines.

gravel crusher
gravel crusher

With versatility in mind, this bike is packed with plenty of accessory mounts, including three water bottles mounts and, on top of the top tube, a bag mount for easy access to snacks and essentials on the move. Additionally, there are mount points on the fork—which, speaking of versatility, can clear 45c tires—as well as rack and fender mounts. It’s perfectly outfitted for big weekend adventures or quick rides after work.

Our Devote Advanced 2, the entry-level carbon version of the Devote priced at $2,500, weighed in at 20.84 pounds (9.45 kilograms) for a size XS without pedals or cages; and it comes stocked with a Shimano GRX mechanical 2x group, Giant gravel wheels and 40c Giant CrossCut tires. On the spec, Liv earns high marks for stocking appropriately sized components, especially at the smaller end of its range. The size XS comes equipped with Giant Contact XR D-Fuse handlebars in size 400mm and a 2x Praxis crank in 165mm, making it a perfect fit for our test rider.

THE RIDE

One of the most noticeable aspects of the Devote is its comfort. It puts you in a position that’s more upright than Liv’s road models, one which is readymade for endurance riding. But can be appreciated over any length ride.

When riding for hour after hour over gravel terrain, stability becomes an essential aspect of a bike’s characteristics, and the Devote Advanced 2 has it in droves. That stability is a huge benefit when loaded down with extra equipment, or when fatigue sets in on the latter half of a mammoth ride and you need to go on autopilot. And speaking of fatigue, this bike does a good job of staving it off by mitigating road vibration at the seat post as well as the handlebars (especially because they’re wrapped in cushy, all-weather handlebar tape).

Often, the flip side of a stable ride is slower steering that needs more input from the rider, and that is true of the Devote. A nimble navigator of technical turns it is not. But at the same time, it has an unexpected amount of pep out of the saddle for how stable the ride is and the ability to pick up speed over the flats, making it an adept gravel crusher.