Giant Defy Advanced 3 £1999

Top all-round road bike

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

Compared with the Defy Composite, the Advanced frame has a higher modulus Toray T700 filament carbon fibre that saves 20 per cent on the chassis weight.

  • Highs: Excellent lightweight, responsive and accurate ride that’s still mileage-friendly
  • Lows: You can find lower quality frames with better quality components for the same money
  • Buy if: You want a superb composite chassis with decent current kit and serious upgrade potential

The result is a light frame, and that’s clearly communicated when you press on the pedals. Thanks to the basic laws of physics this is even more obvious in a climbing context, letting the Defy defy gravity more easily than many other bikes.

Increased stiffness from the press-fit ‘Powercore’ bottom bracket, oversized down tube and chunky chainstays lets you properly attack hills too. The only obvious flex comes from the handlebar and stem if you’re really labouring them brutally. Every time we ended up wrestling the front end that hard we realised we were already well clear of the competition, though, so it’s definitely not a big deal.

There’s certainly no flex from the big diameter Overdrive 2 full-carbon fork and front end when it comes to carving a line through turns. The more upright position of the Defy means we didn’t naturally kamikaze dive into corners like we tend to on Giant’s more race-orientated TCR bikes, but we repeatedly found ourselves able to tighten and turn in a lot harder than our original entry-apex-exit estimations. 

We found that the front and rear-specific Giant own-brand tyres are reassuringly trustworthy even in wet conditions, and the fat bar gives a reassuringly stout connection to the road as you strain your neck looking for the line out.

So far we’ve painted a picture of a more upright bike in positional terms, but with a fairly aggressive ride. The real quality of the Defy Advanced is how Giant have built a bike that’s happy to play hard and fast with the chaingang or kick hard on climbs but doesn’t deliver a beating in return. 

Fizik’s Aliante saddle is one of our favourite places to spend a day’s riding too, with the curved shape providing both a relatively comfortable ‘on the rivet’ position as well as a raised tail to push a seated gear against.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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