Liv Intrigue E+ 2 Pro on the Great Lake Taupō Waihaha section

I’ll say it straight: this was one of the most enjoyable day rides I’ve done — and I’ve done most of them. It’s a 30km Grade 3 ride through stunning scenery with glimpses of waterfalls, massive pools, the great lake Taupō, an echoing rock and finishing on a lake beach. Then the uniqueness of hopping on a boat with your bike to finish back at Kinloch. The trail is well built by machine, so it is nicely graded on rock and pumice with enough natural contour to keep it interesting.

Practically, you need to book transport to the start and a boat from the finish. We booked both as a package through Ted at Tread Routes and it worked out great. Ted was helpful and gave us good information including a handout to help identify the ‘must see’ features of the trail. We were picked up at 9.30 and met the boat at 3pm. The timing was spot-on.

The other star of the day was the 2020 version of the Liv Intrigue E+. Exactly a year ago we rode the Timber Trail on the 2019 versions of the Liv and Giant-branded siblings, and ElectricMeg has ridden hers since. Her 2020 version is freshly minted (yes, it is has minty green metallic flecks through the paintwork) and this was its maiden weekend. The current model has undergone some subtle upgrades. The most apparent is the refinement of the Yamaha-sourced Syncdrive Pro motor. Now with extra sensors, it is quicker to respond and much quieter. Not quite Brose quiet, but quieter than the equivalent Shimano or Bosch. Getting started on an uphill is much easier thanks to better sensitivity of the torque sensor.

The next obvious change is to a Rock Shox front fork. There was nothing wrong with the Suntour Aion in the 2019, but the Rock Shox lends the bike a sportier feel. Tyres have changed to the enduro rider’s choice of Minion DHF/High Roller II still in 2.6″ width. I love that Liv supply the bike with the full tubeless conversion kit. It was easy to do the conversion — the hardest part was getting the tyres unbeaded to remove the tubes. Normally you’d ask your dealer to do that for you.

Other little tweaks include an ‘Auto’ mode on the controller — like the eMTB mode on Bosch and Trail mode on Shimano, a move for the speed magnet to the rear hub for durability, and a 11-50 12sp SRAM drivetrain for more gear range. The battery remains at 500Wh and the controller also remains one of the best around, combining minimalism with great function. Bluetooth connectivity to Giant’s app lets you fine-tune motor response and track battery usage more accurately. The motor tune option in the Android app is currently broken with no timeline to fix. It also sends ANT+ outputs for the nerds like me who use cycle computer or GPS watch to track our rides.

The Intrigue E+ 2 Pro remains the eMTB of choice for the smaller (5′) rider with a size XS option (at the time of writing Liv’s website doesn’t show it as an option but that’s a typo). And for 2020, it is better in many ways including the paint job. Mint!

RRP is $6599

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