The Avail line was redesigned in 2015 from the ground up, around the dimensions and needs of female riders.
The result is a geometry that differs quite considerably from Giant’s unisex Defy range, and feedback has been more than positive.
For 2017, the Avail is available in a range of the following,
Avail 3 $600
Avail 1 $810
Avail SL 2 Disc $1050
Avail SL 1 Disc $1315
Avail Advanced 3 $1550
Avail Advanced 2 $1950
Avail Advanced 1 $2375 (Pictured Above)
Avail Advanced Pro 1 $3250
The Avail Advanced 1 comes in an attractive package of silver and gold decals over a nude, matte composite frame, with full internal cable routing and press-fit bottom bracket. The frame’s robust downtube and fat bottom bracket area are balanced by elegant seat stays, while little details like an integrated seat clamp with hidden bolt tie the whole package together with a sleek overall finish. The frame itself is made of the same Advanced-grade composite material as the top Avail on the market, second-best in the Liv/Giant armory to the Advanced-SL grade. While the Advanced-SL grade boasts to having a higher grade carbon fiber, both are made using a similar construction technique. The frame is noticeably shaped around Giant’s ‘PowerCore’ bottom bracket, an oversized bottom bracket/chainstay area with a press-fit 86-millimeter-wide bottom bracket, teamed with asymmetric chainstays for stiffness on the drive side and stability on the non-drive side. Up front, the Liv features a tapered fork steerer (1 1/8-inch top and 1 1/4-inch bottom bearings) for delivering better torsional steering stiffness – 15 percent better, Giant claim, than straight steerer tubes of past. The Avail Advanced 1’s is a composite hybrid with alloy steerer.
The Avail Advanced 1 comes in three sizes, X-Small, Small, and Medium. The geometry is all about the relaxed stability associated with the ‘endurance’ concept in road bike design shorter and is built around comfort and stability. The taller headtube makes for a very upright position, which has a big influence on the handling of the bike, particularly at speed.
There’s a lot of talk about ‘inspiring confidence’, especially in women's specific bike marketing. As a rider who loves to race a traditional race roadie, but who is also frequently terrified, I’ve been pretty intrigued to see what all this fuss about ‘comfort’ and ‘confidence’ – the kind of promotional verbiage that proliferates whenever features like disc brakes are discussed for women – would actually mean for me as a rider. There’s no denying that the Avail is as comfortable as a pair of fluffy slippers. A lot of this comes down to the 25c tires, padded saddle, and composite frame design. The bike really impressed me with its muted and compliant ride, even over really rough bitumen and choppy country roads. The Avail is stiff, sure, but when looking to accelerate or drive forward I found I had to work pretty hard against its geometry: the upright position that the head tube naturally promotes, along with the long wheelbase, make getting low and aggressive a real feat in hamstring flexibility and determination, and acceleration an exercise in delayed gratification. I was nicely surprised by the Liv’s climbing ability, which is impressive. Sure, it’s not going to accelerate like a spooked cat, but out of the saddle, the long wheelbase and stiff carbon provided a balanced platform and excellent power transfer. In the saddle, I was always comfortable in the Avail’s natural, rather than aggressive, position, even when I had to grind a bit. That wasn’t often, though – the compact 34/50 crankset, combined with a huge 11–32 tooth cassette, made just about any hill spine. Giant’s PR-2 disc wheels look great and should be strong and reliable, as well as stiff with their thru axles, but they’re not particularly light, and it’s clear that much of the dollar value of this bike lies in its frame and disc spec. If you were looking to save weight for your next big sportive or epic mountain-climbing holiday, the wheels would be my first choice for an upgrade.
Most women considering this bike will be interested to know whether disc brakes are worth the expense and nearly inevitable weight penalty. The answer is: Yes…
The front fork features a low-profile flat-mount hydraulic brake
Discs are going to be very useful. They’ll save effort on very long, alpine-style descents where arm fatigue is a possibility. For those new to riding and unused to descending in the drops, one of the great things about discs is that you can still access their full power from the hoods – for rim brakes you’ll need the leverage of the drops to pull off hard braking in any kind of safety.
The Avail is going to be a popular choice with women who want to feel safe but also want good performance from a road bike. A lot is made of words like comfort and confidence in women’s bike marketing, so throughout this review, I’ve been asking myself whether I feel comfortable and whether I feel more confident. Comfortable – yes. In fact, the Avail really excelled over bumps and on rough roads, providing cushiony compliance no matter what conditions were ridden. That said, if you ride to enjoy the views of surrounding countryside, to socialize, and to stay fit, the Avail will take you as far as you want to go.
by Imogen Smith October 18, 2016, Photography by Mike Blewitt
View bike here.
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