Giant’s Defy can often be overlooked in the Taiwanese brand’s arsenal.
But dismiss the Defy at your peril, because you’ll be missing out on something truly special.
In the past, the Defy has been a proving ground for some of Giant’s tech ambitions.
It was the first mainstream road bike to go disc-brake only, it debuted the D-shaped vibration-crushing seatpost – with BMC, Cervélo and Specialized among those to go down that route later – and it broadened tyre clearances for the best road bikes too.
The geometry is more than sporty enough for most. My large test bike comes with a 605mm stack and 390mm reach, and with 58mm of trail, the Defy has stunning handling.
Bigger Giant Gavia Fondo 1 tyres take a little of the edge off that handling when you’re right on the limit.
In fact, this Defy is so well equipped that it outclasses bikes such as the Cannondale Synapse Carbon 4 and the Cube Attain GTC SL that I’ve also tested recently.
Giant Defy Advanced 0 geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||74||73.5||73||73||72.5|
|Head angle (degrees)||71.8||72.5||72.5||72.5||72.5|
|Seat tube (mm)||445||480||515||535||565|
|Top tube (mm)||530||545||560||575||595|
|Head tube (mm)||140||160||185||205||225|
|Fork offset (mm)||50||50||50||50||50|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||75||75||70||70||70|
|Handlebar width (mm)||400||420||420||440||440|
|Stem length (mm)||90||100||100||110||110|
|Crank length (mm)||170||172.5||172.5||175||175|
Giant Defy Advanced 0 ride impressions
The Defy has such a beautifully composed ride: the generous 32mm tubeless tyres roll over rough tarmac and leave you feeling oblivious to vibrations. Giant sends its bikes out tubeless, not just tubeless-ready.
The tyres, with their textured tread, may theoretically be a little slower than lightweight slicks, but on my test loop, and in a non-scientific comparison, this Defy nearly matched the average speed of my own Giant TCR running 28mm Continental 5000 tubeless tyres.
Any excess rolling resistance is more than made up for in the way they cope with badly maintained road surfaces.
You could say the same for the chassis and components. At the back, the slender frame combines with the D-Shaped post that’s topped off with Giant’s comfortable Approach saddle.
The result is a bike that glides over poor surfaces and wasn’t even fazed by short forays over Salisbury Plain’s gravel roads.
Giant has revamped its entire wheel line and done it really well. This Defy gets the mid-range PR2, which has a new rim with a big tyre-friendly 22mm inner width and tubeless compatibility. It’s also nearly half a kilo lighter than the original version.
The Defy climbs superbly: the frame is stiff and responsive when you’re powering down on the cranks, but is up to the job when you give it full beans on a descent.
Now we get to the real star of the show – the SRAM Rival AXS groupset. I’ve a lot of recent experience using it, and though it’s SRAM’s most cost-effective wireless electronic groupset, I’m very pleasantly surprised to see it on a bike at this price.
It’s especially surprising when you consider the current price escalation on bikes and components.
The drivetrain’s shifting is so slick, outperforming the mechanical Ultegra on the Cube with ease, and leaving the Synapse’s 10-speed Tiagra a distant memory of how gear shifting used to be.
The clutch-equipped rear derailleur makes the chain smooth and silent, even when you’re shifting out of the saddle when stomping up the steepest climbs.
The braking matches Ultegra in feel and power. However, the tech-connected appeal of Rival edges out all of its rivals here because, through SRAM’s free AXS app, you get a record of every shift, how long you spent in each gear and a data-filled breakdown of your ride. If you want to do so, of course…
Giant Defy Advanced 0 bottom line
I genuinely found it hard to fault the Giant Defy Advanced 0.
The Defy has always been a great example of an endurance bike, but this model, with its combination of superb chassis and sharp, smart spec, is in my opinion the best endurance bike you can buy right now for less than £3,000.
How we tested
Endurance road bikes, at first glance, look much like the bikes you’ll see professional cyclists riding, but look more closely and you’ll see there are some subtle but significant differences, which make them more suitable for the likes of you and I.
An endurance bike is made for day-long comfort, for example, with a more upright geometry to suit. They will often be designed with versatility in mind, too, with clearance for wider tyres and mudguard mounts for winter riding.
In this test of three of the best endurance road bikes around £3,000, each machine was set up and checked over by our workshop manager, Will Poole, before going to our senior road technical editor, Warren Rossiter.
Warren tested all three on his go-to roads on Salisbury Plain, including a high-tempo, two-and-a-half-hour ride to dial each bike in, before multiple outings on an 82-mile (132km) loop.
For good measure, and to see just how versatile the latest gravel bikes are, Warren also took in some of Salisbury Plain’s wide gravel roads.
- Cannondale Synapse Carbon 4
- Cube Attain GTC SL
- Giant Defy Advanced 0
|Price||GBP £2899.00USD $4350.00|
|Available sizes||S, M, M/L, L, XL|
|Handlebar||RGiant Contact SL D-Fuse 44cm|
|Tyres||Giant Gavia Fondo 1 tubeless 700x32c|
|Stem||Giant Contact 110mm|
|Seatpost||Giant D-Fuse composite, 14mm offset|
|Rear derailleur||SRAM Rival|
|Grips/Tape||Stratus Lite 3.0|
|Bottom bracket||SRAM Dub pressfit|
|Front derailleur||SRAM Rival|
|Cranks||SRAM Rival D1 Dub 33/46|
|Chain||SRAM Rival D1|
|Cassette||SRAM Rival 12-speed 10-36|
|Brakes||SRAM Rival hydraulic disc, Giant 140/160mm MPH Rotors|
|Wheels||Giant PR-2 22mm inner width|