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Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 review

The ruler of the road returns

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0
GBP £3,999.00 RRP | USD $4,550.00 | EUR €4,599.00
Pack shot of the Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 road bike

Our review

The very definition of what a top-class endurance bike should be
Pros: Top-quality ride, great components and excellent handling
Cons: Some may want faster tyres
Skip to view product specifications

Giant’s Defy has always been the Taiwanese brand’s most user-friendly road bike. Its geometry hits the ideal balance between an upright riding position and a sportier, more slammed stance.

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The Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 comes with an endurance-friendly low bottom gear, cooling Ice-Tech rotors and a raft of Giant-branded kit. This includes the carbon bar, D-profile seatpost and carbon wheels fitted with 32mm tyres.

It’s a comprehensive and very attractive package for the price.

Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 kit

Giant hasn’t taken any chances when it comes to shifting and braking. Its mechanical Ultegra is as reliable as ever, and the 50/34 chainset and 11-34 cassette provide a 1:1 bottom gear that will get you up the steepest climbs. Braking is equally impressive.

Giant’s D-Fuse D-shaped seatpost has long been a feature on many of its bikes, and similar profiles have since been adopted by numerous brands.

The shape retains the lateral rigidity of a round post but allows for some fore-and-aft movement that absorbs road buzz and vibrations.

Ice-Tech rotors let you scrub speed without overheating.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Giant has now incorporated D-Fuse into the handlebar, with the D-shape orientated so that the compliance comes into play when you hit a rough surface. Giant claims this offers 10 per cent more compliance than its standard carbon bar.

But when you’re sprinting, the bar is impressively stiff – Giant claims it’s 30 per cent stiffer in this direction than its standard bar. A neat balancing act.

The Pro 2 Giant wheels are based around a new 42mm-deep hookless rim, which makes fitting a tubeless tyre a doddle and sealing the tyres easier. Hookless rims are also stronger and lighter, which helps explain their light weight.

At just 1,545g a pair they’re a healthy 250g lighter than last year’s model. Freehub pick-up is fast and the big-volume tyres balloon out nicely thanks to 19.4mm internal-width rims.

Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 geometry

The Defy’s geometry – with its 605mm stack and 390mm reach – delivers a balanced riding position, which is sporty rather than overly relaxed. Personally, I think Giant has got the Pro 2’s dimensions absolutely spot-on for this style of bike.

Compared to the other bikes on test, on like-for-like sizing the Felt VR Advanced Ultegra Di2 is a centimetre taller while the Kinesis GTD V2 has a 5mm lower stack and 5mm longer reach.

Seat angle (degrees)74.57473.5737372.5
Head angle (degrees)70.571.872.572.572.572.5
Chainstay (mm)420420420420420420
Seat tube (mm)410445480515535565
Top tube (mm)515530545560575595
Head tube (mm)120140160185205225
Fork offset (mm)505050505050
Trail (mm)71.363.
Bottom bracket drop (mm)757575707070
Wheelbase (mm)995995998101010251040
Standover (mm)731760786816835856
Stack (mm)522546567586605624
Reach (mm)370374377381390398
Handlebar width (mm)400400420420440440
Stem length (mm)8090100100110110
Crank length (mm)170170172.5172.5175175
Wheel size (mm)700C700C700C700C700C700C
Shimano Ultegra delivers dependable shifting.
David Caudery / Immediate Media

Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 ride impressions

On the tarmac, the Defy’s figures translate to a high-quality ride. It’s smooth over bumpy roads and the big tyres also coped admirably with some gravel road excursions.

The bike is stable at speed and through corners but never feels laborious.

When you put the power down you can feel the tautness of the frame, while the excellent power transfer when you’re sprinting shows the influence of the Giant TCR.

In terms of pure road speed, it’s not a pro-Tour bike but a lot of that is down to the 32mm tyres. Personally, I’m happy losing a little top-end speed in return for the Defy Pro 2’s all-day comfort, but you could go down to 28mm rubber.

Another part that increases comfort is the new seat. I was never a big fan of Giant’s Neutral saddle, but the short Fleet is excellent.

It’s a wonderful companion on fast descents; the total package from tyres to tape is of the highest standard.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

I also appreciated the accessories Giant includes in the package. There’s a carbon bike computer mount with fittings for the major GPS brands, and this integrates into the stem for a very clean-looking front end.

At the back, there’s a Bluetooth Ridesense sensor that transmits speed and cadence data to a head unit, and a neat removable composite bridge for mounting mudguards; frame and fork both have hidden mudguard mounts.

If Giant added a bottle cage – which many of its rivals do – it would be ready to ride straight out of the shop.

It’s stable at speed and through corners but never feels laborious, and you can feel the taut frame.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 bottom line

As one of the best endurance road bikes, the Defy is pretty much flawless. The ride quality exudes comfort, the handling is pure class and the specification doesn’t leave you wanting for anything other than a bottle cage or two.

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It’s extremely good value and, with its subtle black-grape hue, it looks every inch a superbike. Not only that, this Defy is very definitely a super distance bike.

How we tested

With the best aero road bikes getting lighter, race bikes getting more comfortable and the best gravel bikes becoming so road capable, the endurance bike category is often overlooked. But we think endurance bikes offer some of the best all-round rides.

So we put four of the best new endurance bikes for around £4,000 to the test to find out which offers the total package.

Also on test

Product Specifications


Price br_price, 5, 3, Price, EUR €4599.00GBP £3999.00USD $4550.00
Weight br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 8.3kg (L), Array, kg
Brand br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Giant


Available sizes br_availableSizes, 11, 0, Available sizes, XS, S, M, M/L, L, XL
Bottom bracket br_bottomBracket, 11, 0, Bottom bracket, Shimano press-fit
Brakes br_brakes, 11, 0, Brakes, Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc
Cassette br_cassette, 11, 0, Cassette, Shimano 11-34
Chain br_chain, 11, 0, Chain, KMC X11SL-1
Cranks br_cranks, 11, 0, Cranks, Shimano Ultegra 34/50
Fork br_fork, 11, 0, Fork, Advanced-grade carbon composite overdrive 2 steerer
Frame br_frame, 11, 0, Frame, Advanced-grade carbon composite
Front derailleur br_frontDerailleur, 11, 0, Front derailleur, Shimano Ultegra
Handlebar br_handlebar, 11, 0, Handlebar, Giant D-Fuse SLR, composite
Headset br_headset, 11, 0, Headset, FSA Sealed cartridge 1.5 x 1.25in
Rear derailleur br_rearDerailleur, 11, 0, Rear derailleur, Shimano Ultegra
Saddle br_saddle, 11, 0, Saddle, Contact Fleet SL
Seatpost br_seatpost, 11, 0, Seatpost, Giant D-Fuse SLR, composite
Shifter br_shifter, 11, 0, Shifter, Shimano Ultegra
Stem br_stem, 11, 0, Stem, Giant Contact SL
Tyres br_tyres, 11, 0, Tyres, Giant Gavia Fondo 1, tubeless, 700 x 32c
Wheels br_wheels, 11, 0, Wheels, Giant SLR-2 42 carbon disc wheels