Team Sunweb debuts new featherweight Liv race bike at Giro Rosa

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With women’s cycling only grand tour, the Giro Rosa, as its launching pad, Liv is introducing an all-new race bike ready-made for the mountain passes of Italy: the Langma.

Spotted at the Giro Rosa, the women of Team Sunweb are the first to showcase the bike in the coming 10 days of racing.

Giant launched its sister brand, Liv, in 2012 with the Envie aero bike topping the line of women’s specific bikes. Some of the best female cyclists like Marianne Vos, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Anna van der Breggen and Coryn Rivera rode to victory aboard the Envie, but for courses where the roads turned up, some riders found the aero bike to be limiting.

As the Rio Olympics with its demanding and hilly race course neared, the demand for a lighter climber’s bike grew. So much so that Liv-sponsored riders ended up riding the Giant TCR instead.

“On a course like that, the bike simply needs to be lighter,” Lucinda Brand told Ella CyclingTips. While not present in Rio,  Brand has been a member of a Liv and/or Giant sponsored team for the past five years and helped develop the new Langma.

“I guess the bike came one year too late but we are super happy to have it now. It was definitely missing from our bike options,” Brand said.

The commercial version of the 2018 Liv Langma Advanced SL 0.

A first look at Langma

At 6.05 kilograms (size small) and named after the tallest peak on earth –Mount Everest or “Qomolangma” in Tibetan –the Langma is meant to give riders an advantage whenever the roads turn up.

“With this bike, climbing will not be an obstacle for you,” Liv founder Bonnie Tu told Ella CyclingTips.

With the Langma, Liv aims to offer riders a race bike with a complete package: the weight to conquer hills, aerodynamics to power through flats, and the stiffness for responsive handling.

Still, weight was at the forefront in creating the Langma, which is the lightest bike Liv or Giant has ever made.

Langma’s light weight is achieved through combining Liv’s highest grade composite material with a new narrow tube shaping, an integrated seatpost and innovative construction techniques. For an added aero advantage and weight saving, the downtube is significantly slimmer than any other Liv bike, yet tapers at the bottom bracket to maintain bottom bracket stiffness.

Langma’s compact frame and material-saving manufacturing process allows for further weight savings.

The front triangle (consisting of the downtube, headtube, seattube and toptube) is constructed of larger, and therefore fewer, sections of composite material. The individual parts are then molded as one continuous piece. This process, called modified monocoque construction, eliminates the need for an outermost woven composite sheet and saves weight without compromising stiffness.

The Langma also features a new Contact SLR Flux stem. Prevously seen on the Envie and various Giant bikes, a new aerodynamic shape is credited for decreasing drag by 1.75% while improving the stiffness to weight ratio for precise handling.

The bike’s stiffness and handling was of great importance for the Team Sunweb riders.

“As a rider, I gain a lot of my advantages through corners and on descends. [Liv engineers] used as little material as possible to make it so light, so for me it was very important to know that it remained stiff. Is it stiff at speed? If I descend at high speeds, does it start feeling wobbly? If I really put power in my pedals, is there flex in the bottom bracket? Those are the things I was looking for while I was testing the bike,” said Brand, who is well-known for being a fearless descender and one of the best bike handlers in the women’s peloton.

“In my testing, I think [the new Langma] performs better than the Envie in cornering,” Brand concluded.

Sprinter Coryn Rivera also worked with the Liv engineers to ensure that the bike had the adequate stiffness and handling to perform in the finale of a race.

“It’s agile and rides really well,” said Rivera.

The Langma will not be replacing the Envie as Sunweb’s team bike. Instead, going forward, the riders will simply have a choice of which bike to ride in each race.

“It’s nice that we get the choice of using both now. I can imagine that there are races like the windy spring classics where we will continue using the Envie. Or even here, in the Giro, Coryn might opt for the Envie for the stages that have a flat run-in to the sprint finish.”

Liv is launching the top-end Langma Advanced SL 0 in a rim-brake options only. However, other models in the Langma line do offer flat mount disc brakes with thru-axle wheels.

The Langma range consists of three levels: Langma Advanced SL, Langma Advanced Pro Disc, Langma Advanced Pro and Langma Advanced. The SL line features Liv’s highest grade composite frame with an integrated seatpost. All other models have a composite frame with a conventional seatpost. Pricing starts at the entry level model, the Langma Advanced 3, at USD $1700, and rises to USD $9500 for the Langma Advanced SL 0, which comes equipped with SRAM eTap, a Quarq power cranks and tubeless Giant SLR 0 Composite Wheelsystem.

Team Sunweb will be the first to showcase this bike at the 10-day Giro Rosa this week.

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