Updated: 22nd November 2016
Designed for riding and racing over rough road surfaces for long distances, the Giant Defy Advanced is a road bike that combines an incredibly smooth ride and comfortable riding position with immediate power transfer and confident handling. The Defy range has been slimmed down for 2017 with the new Giant Contend superseding the aluminium frame Defy models. The focus for this review is the Carbon framed Defy Advanced and Defy Advanced Pro models.
When the going gets tough this is a bike with race pedigree; In 2015, on the cobbles of the notorious Paris-Roubaix road race John Degenkolb won aboard a Giant Defy. The slightly more upright cycling position offers a more comfortable ride than a full-on road racer like the TCR or Propel, but still gives you the responsiveness of a proper road bike. As well as being ideal for riding over challenging road surfaces this is a great bike for cyclists who prefer a more comfortable, relaxed riding style.
Both the Defy Advanced and the Defy Advanced Pro share the same Advanced Grade carbon composite frame that is hand crafted in Giant’s own factory. The frame design and carbon layup offer both stiffness and compliance in all the right places. Flattened seatstays are combined with the D profile of the seat tube, to offer the bump absorbing vertical compliance that gives the Giant Defy its incredibly smooth ride.
The oversized bottom bracket area and chainstays offer great lateral stiffness, to help get every watt of leg power delivered straight to the road. The tapered head tube gives extra front end stiffness for precise steering control. Carbon fork blades also help to absorb road buzz and you get a full carbon composite fork on the Advanced Pro models.
We’ve ridden endurance bikes costing more than double the price that don’t ride as well – the Defy’s bump-smoothing ability is incredible.Bike Radar
With a compact 34/50t chainset and wide range 11-32t cassette you get a good spread of gear ratios. This is ideal for taking on all the varied gradients you may find on long distance routes. Full Shimano groupsets are fitted to each model. Starting with the Tiagra groupset on the Advanced 3 you move up to 105 and then Ultegra as you go through the range. The Advanced Pro 0 is equipped with the super-slick shifting Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic drivetrain for the ultimate in drivetrain performance.
Recognising the benefits of disc brakes on an endurance road bike, every Defy features Shimano hydraulic stoppers. The frame and fork are designed specifically for discs and you get the extra assurance of 12mm Thru-Axles to keep the wheels tracking predictably even under extreme braking.
The 12mm Thru-Axles front and rear allow you to take full advantage of the extra all-weather stopping power offered by the hydraulic disc brakes fitted to all Defy models.
Tubeless wheels and tyres allow you to dramatically reduce the risk of punctures even in the most challenging conditions. You can also run lower tyre pressures to increase grip when the going gets tough.
The disc specific wheels on the Giant Defy are optimised for climbing so they are lightweight but still strong enough for cycling quickly over very rough road surfaces. Designed as a complete wheel system and manufactured in Giants own factory, these wheels offer great performance for every price point.
The Giant SLR 1 wheels on the Defy Advanced Pros feature ultralight full composite rims, these wheels weigh in at just 1,650g for the set. The Defy Advanced models get either PR2s or SR2s which feature alloy rims, the PR2s offer improved hub reliability. All the wheels are tubeless compatible so you can take advantage of this puncture reducing technology right from the off. The Advanced Pros are even shipped with the tubeless wheels and tyres already set up.
While ideal for sportives and endurance races, the speed and efficiency of the Giant Defy mean that it isn’t restricted to gruelling rides over challenging terrain. Vibrations from riding over rough roads can be extremely fatiguing, by reducing these vibrations the Defy also reduces fatigue allowing you to ride further and faster. Less than perfect road surfaces are a reality for all British cyclists and you will notice the difference that such a smooth rolling bike makes.
The hydraulic disc brakes and tubeless compatible wheels give the Defy an edge in difficult conditions, making it ideal for all-weather cycling and as a winter training bike. With the same great frame on all models you can either decide to go straight for your dream bike or opt for a slightly lower spec model and then upgrade as time goes by.