The Giant Defy range has always been created with endurance rides at front of mind. With three different frame options – the Giant Defy Advanced, Giant Defy Advanced Pro and Giant Defy Advanced SL – there’s a total of seven models with varying specifications.
Where once the range consisted of aluminium and carbon bikes, the Giant Defy line up for 2017 is exclusively carbon only and all models sport disc brakes. The compliant frame material and promise of effective braking in all conditions are both features that will bring smiles to the faces of all-weather riders looking to log the miles across the seasons.
The Defy places a focus on comfort – and as a result the geometry is designed around a slightly longer head tube and shorter top tube – this will place the rider in a more relaxed position to suit long days on the bike.
This said – there’s plenty of zip in the frames. Indeed, with Giant supplying Team Sunweb with their race winning bikes, the Defy Advanced SL is the team’s bike of choice for tough roads and one-day classics.
OverDrive Steerer and D-Fuse Seatpost
Across the Giant Defy range, you’ll find their OverDrive steerer – which is set apart by the use of oversized headset bearings and a tapered steerer to provide greater stiffness – 15 per cent better than a standard design, according to Giant. The Advanced Pro and SL models use the OverDrive 2 which the brand claim is 30 per cent stiffer than the original design.
All riders investing in a Defy will enjoy Giant D-Fuse Composite technology at the seatpost – which means the tubes are shaped to create a ‘D’ shape which dampens vibration to offer a smoother ride.
When we last tested the Giant Advanced Pro 2, the handling and agility stuck out to us as being particularly good – and it was noted that though the frame’s geometry and compliance boosting D-Fuse seatpost lent it to endurance duties, it’s far from a complete armchair of ride.
If you want an aggressive, race first bike, you’d be best placed to look elsewhere or at Giant’s own Propel or TCR. If comfort is first on your lips, then perhaps the bike for you is the Specialized Roubaix with its front end suspension, or the Trek Domane and its adjustable IsoSpeed decoupler. The Giant Defy is a healthy compromise between the two camps.
If you’ve decided that’s what you’re looking for, then we’re here to help you differentiate between the level standards in the range.
Giant Defy Advanced
Beginning with the Advanced 3, the basic Giant Defy range shares the same frame as those higher up the ladder, with identical geometry and the brands ‘Advanced-Grade Composite’ material. Across all three models, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes are used with 160mm rotors and 12mm thru axels secure the front and rear wheels for the best handling experience.
At this point the OverDrive steerer is provided, and at Advanced level the material is a hybrid, as opposed to the full composite OverDrive 2 found elsewhere.
In all cases, the handlebars and stem are Giant’s own Giant Connect, with a Giant Contact saddle in Neutral.
Giant Defy Advanced 3 – £1549
Giant Defy Advanced 3
The Advanced 3 comes with Shimano Tiagra derailleurs, as well as a matching crankset with 50/34 chainrings and a Tiagra wide ratio 11-32 cassette.
A Shimano press fit BB features alongside Giant’s own SR 2 Disc Wheel Set and 25mm Giant P-SL 1 tyres.
Buy now at Tredz for £1549
Giant Defy Advanced 2 – £1775
Giant Defy Advanced 2
Available as pictured above, or with a bold orange paint job, the Advanced 2 swaps Tiagra for Shimano 105 across the majority of the groupset, with the same gear ratios. The wheels are one step up, with a Giant PR 2 Disc Set.
Buy now at Tredz for £1775
Giant Defy Advanced 1 – £1999
Giant Defy Advanced 1
At this level, Shimano Ultegra derailleurs sit alongside a 105 cassette, whilst the wheels and brakes remain at the same level.
Buy now at Tredz for £1999
Giant Defy Advanced Pro
Moving into the Defy Pro range, all three models enjoy an OverDrive 2 full composite steerer. Across the range, you’ll find Giant SLR 1 disc wheelsets. The tyres are tubeless ready Giant Gavia SL in 25mm and the bikes come with some tubeless sealant to keep you going.
Since we’ve moved up a rung, the finishing kit – handlebars and stem – are all Giant Connect SL and the saddle is the Giant Contact SL – representing a slight weight saving.
All three models feature Giant’s ‘RideSense’ – a new chainstay integrated wireless data transmitter that uses ANT+ to transmit wheel speed and cadence information to a cycling computer, saving you investing in a cadence sensor if you’re not getting this info via a power meter or other mode. Some newer computers use Bluetooth only so it’s worth checking your capabilities.
Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 – £2499
Giant Defy Pro 2
Kicking off the selection is the Giant Defy Pro 2, with Shimano BR-RS505 hydraulic disc brakes featuring 160mm rotors. Derailleurs, cassette and crankset are all Shimano 105, with 50/34 chainrings and 11-32 cassette.
Buy now at Tredz for £2499
Giant Defy Advanced Pro 1 – £2899
Giant Defy Advanced Pro 1
The key change here is the use of Shimano Ultegra, and the brakes move to 140 mm rotors with Shimano BR-RS805 hydraulic disc brakes.
The wheels, finishing kit, and gear ratio all remain the same.
Buy now at Tredz for £2899
Giant Defy Advanced Pro 0 – £3875
Giant Defy Advanced Pro 0
The biggest change represented by the price hike is the introduction of Shimano Ultegra Di2. Whilst all the frames are electronic shifting ready, at this level the bike comes with the system ready fitted.
Buy now at Tredz for £3875
Giant Defy Advanced SL
Top of the tree and available in only one iteration, so the SL (super light) creation.
The professional grade carbon features through the frame and steerer, and the OverDrive 2 steerer is joined by a ‘MegaDrive’ downtime and ‘PowerCore’ bottom bracket shell. This additional stiffness means that this is a more race driven bike than the other horses in the Defy stable.
Giant Defy Advanced SL 1 – £3699
Giant Defy Advanced SL1
Where the Advanced Pro 0 boasts electronic shifting, though this frame is equipped to be set up so, it uses Shimano Ultegra in its mechanical form with BR-RS805 hydraulic disc brakes, 140mm rotors.
The same Giant Gavia SLR Tubeless tyres are used, with Giant SLR 1 Disc hoops.
Buy now at Tredz for £3699
Which model should you go for?
All of the Defy models will provide you with an enjoyable ride, if – albeit slightly more buzzy than most endurance bikes offer – comfortable ride quality is what you seek.
The more you favour a slightly more aggressive edge to your ride, the more likely it is you’ll be happier moving up the models. The Advanced Pro and SL’s OverDrive 2 steerer will provide that little extra kick when you want to smash it out of a corner or red the red line on a descent.
At the top end, the Advanced SL saves you a little weight thanks to the adjusted carbon layup – so it’s a bike to be considering if you’re at a point when the seconds really do make a difference to you – or if you plan trips abroad in search of long and laboured climbs.
For commutes, club runs and sportive duties, the basic Defy will probably tick your boxes – buy it might be worth upping the spend if beating your mates to the town sign is the difference between a good weekend and a bad one.