I’m certainly a fan of the Giant Defy – I have a couple. So when my local bike shop, Wallington Cycles, said they had one of the new Defy Advanced Pro’s for testing I had to have a go. As you have probably read, all the new carbon Defy’s have disc brakes. Across the range they have a combination of mechanical and hydraulic systems. The “2” which I rode uses the TRP Sprye SLC mechanical system, which has two moving pistons, unlike most other systems which have only one moving piston. Read about TRP on road.cc.
Whether you think disc brakes are needed on a road bike is certainly a matter for debate. Friends have been dubious of the benefits and I’ve not been an advocate of them by any means. The benefits to those of us that don’t have a team car following or the pleasure of riding on closed roads are pretty clear. Rims wear out with rim brakes, that’s just a fact. Perfectly good wheels have to be discarded because the braking surface becomes too thin. This isn’t a problem with discs. Wet weather braking is improved too. The consistency is so much better. It’s not about stopping quicker, but knowing what is going to happen when you pull on the brake levers. Although I didn’t ride this bike in the wet, the brakes were very predictable.
This is stiff I rode a fairly short 16 mile ride around some of the worst roads I know of. As it was short I went pretty hard and managed a couple of Strava PR’s too, so while it wasn’t long it was rough. I took in some short, sharp climbs and descents, to see how it would handle on our lovely Surrey roads. The thing you notice right away is how stiff the bottom bracket is. I compared it to my current Defy Advanced and it is bigger, but the down tube is much bigger too and that looks like where the stiffness comes from. When out of the saddle, you feel like all your energy is going into the tarmac. That doesn’t mean it is uncomfortable though. Duncan at Wallington Cycles, told me to ride over all the potholes I could find, just to see how stable it is. Like most, I tend to avoid the potholes on my own bike so I couldn’t refuse that offer. Not only is it stable and comfortable but the general road buzz is all but eliminated. When you hit an especially rough stretch of road, you don’t feel like you have lost your rhythm. Whether that is down to the frame, the tires, the wheels or the D-Fuse seatpost, I have no idea. My guess is that the combination of all four. The 11-speed 105 is slick as a slick thing covered in baby oil and cooked in butter . Changing gear is perfect, especially compared to the old 10-speed 105. My first few gear changes were horrendous, as I was switching down several gears at once, not being used to such smooth changes.
The only problem you may have with the latest Defy range is actually getting hold of one. Even at the top level SL range, there are limited numbers. Some of Advanced Pro range are close to selling out for this season. You may have to wait a couple of months to get hold of one, such is their popularity. This is not unusual for Giant Defy’s. Even in 2013 I had to wait three months to get hold of my Advanced. Being named bike of the year almost every year by a variety of bike magazines is partly to blame. Having a product with a great reputation is going to help too.
Giant aren’t everyone’s choice. Some feel they lack the flair or romance of say a Bianchi or Pinarello. But if you want to ride a bike that is technically excellent, performs outstandingly and will give you many miles of pleasure, you can’t go wrong with one of these. It looks pretty nice and at £1899, the price is shockingly good value too. Would you get one?