Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 review

Latest version of Defy goes disc-only for carbon models

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £1,899.00 RRP | AUD $2,899.00

Our review

Classy chassis is a true winner that the spec can’t quite match
Skip to view product specifications

Giant’s Defy Advanced is a bike we’ve always recommended for its blend of endurance comfort and thrilling handling. For 2015, though, Giant has made a bold statement: all its carbon Defy models will be disc brake only.

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  • Highs: The Defy is both tough and smooth, a remarkable achievement
  • Lows: No getting around cable discs in a hydraulic world
  • Buy if… You’re looking for an exhilarating ride that’s stiff yet smooth

The new frames are designed around such stoppers, not just standard models with added mounts, and are no heavier than the previous versions, with the Pro frame weighing around a kilo.

The D-shaped carbon D-Fuse seatpost adds rear end comfort
The d-shaped carbon d-fuse seatpost adds rear end comfort: the d-shaped carbon d-fuse seatpost adds rear end comfort
Robert Smith

The D-shaped carbon D-Fuse seatpost adds rear end comfort

Giant has retained and refined its Overdrive 2 front end combination of 1 1/4-1 1/2in headset and full carbon fork with tapered steerer, keeping it free of any movement that would hinder steering precision. Precise is exactly what you get. The way the Defy handles high speed corners and challenging switchbacks is truly impressive; on our test loop we smashed a PB descent with some challenging corners by more than 20 seconds, and that was on a wet, foggy winter ride.

Pedal response is just as impressive, with Giant’s massively stiff PowerCore bottom bracket shell and robust chainstays translating every turn of your legs into pulsing pace. And although it feels significantly firmer than the previous model, the Defy isn’t any less comfortable, with the new D-fuse carbon seatpost making the rear end smooth, aided by the Fizik Aliante saddle, still our sportive seat of choice.

The Defy is a little stiffer than before, but remains comfortable as well as nimble and precise
The defy is a little stiffer than before, but remains comfortable as well as nimble and precise: the defy is a little stiffer than before, but remains comfortable as well as nimble and precise
Robert Smith

The Defy is a little stiffer than before, but remains comfortable as well as nimble and precise

The finishing kit elsewhere is spot on for the money: a stiff stem and great ovalised compact drop bar from Giant’s own Contact SL range; the SL-1 disc wheels are typical Giant quality – smooth, tightly-built hubs with a mid-height disc-specific rim (no brake track) matched to supple 25mm Giant tyres that offer great grip in the wet or dry; and a full Shimano 105 11-speed drivetrain that provides snappy and speedy shifting that’s smooth and practically silent with it.

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The one obvious spec compromise to keep the overall price down are the brakes. Rather than Shimano’s matched hydraulics you get TRP’s cable-operated Spyres. They’re the best performing cable discs we’ve tried, but they can’t quite match SRAM or Shimano’s hydraulic systems. To get that with your slice of Defy goodness you’ll go a price bracket up and look at the Advanced Pro 1.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Defy Advanced Pro 2 (15)
Brand Giant

Brakes TRP Spyre mechanical disc Alloy arm 160mm
Saddle Fizik Aliante
Weight (lb) 18.3
Year 2015
Wheelset Giant SL-1 Disc
Weight (kg) 8.3
Stem Giant Contact SL
Shifters Shimano 105 22 speed
Seatpost Giant D-Fuse carbon
Rear Tyre 25mm Giant P-SL1
Cassette Shimano 105 11-28
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105
Handlebar Giant Contact SL
Front Tyre 25mm Giant P-SL1
Front Derailleur Shimano 105
Frame Material Carbon
Fork Carbon
Cranks Shimano 105, 34/50
Chain KMC X11SL
Frame size tested L