Giant's new entry-level road bike: the Contend

Alloy frame and rim or disc brakes

Giant’s new Contend is pitched as the brand's latest entry-level alloy road bike, sitting beneath the Defy in the line-up.

Available in both disc and rim brake versions, the Giant Contend includes a hybrid fork with an alloy tapered steerer tube and carbon fork legs. Unlike the Defy and the TCR Disc, the Contend sees quick release skewers in lieu of thru axles.

At the pedals the Contend sees an oversized bottom bracket shell, PF86 bottom bracket and asymmetric chainstays in an effort to transmit every bit of power coming through the pedals.

Geometry-wise the Contend and Defy are extremely similar. In fact, they share the same head angle, seat angle, reach, and stack through all six sizes, with the only real difference being the Contend's 10mm shorter chainstays and, in turn, shorter wheelbase.

Contend SL Disc

The Contend is Giant's new entry level alloy road bike
The Contend is Giant's new entry level alloy road bike

Made with Giant’s top-grade ALUXX SL aluminium, the Contend SL Disc sits on the top of the new range of frames.

Both Disc versions of the Contend include flat mount brakes, but interestingly the SL 1 Disc gets a semi-hydraulic braking system. Cable actuated brake levers are combined with a converter mounted as the face plate of the stem, and the lever pull is converted to hydraulic braking force to squeeze the pads. While this does allow any brake lever to be used, there’s a small weight penalty — and the converter looks a bit silly.

To get semi-hydraulic brakes the Contend SL 1 Disc uses this cable to hydraulic converter on the stem
To get semi-hydraulic brakes the Contend SL 1 Disc uses this cable to hydraulic converter on the stem

Ready to tackle rough road surfaces, both versions of the Contend SL Disc see 25c tyres (though they say it can take up to 28s) and Giant's composite D-Fuse seatpost. They also get Giant’s updated seat clamp, where the pinch bolt has been moved in front of the seatpost to minimise grit and grime getting inside the bolt.

At their showcase, Giant told us that this year they have really worked hard to make their bikes look great. From what we’ve seen so far they've nailed it, but the addition of internal cables to the budget-friendly Contend SL Disc helps keep the aesthetic clean.

The Contend also gets integrated rack and fender mounts, and is available in 105 and Tiagra builds.

The Contend SL 1 Disc is set to retail for US$1,315 / AU$1,899 and the Contend SL 2 Disc for US$1,025 / AU$1,599 and is available now. UK pricing and availability is still to be announced.

Contend

The rim brake Contend 1 is a stripped down version of the SL Disc
The rim brake Contend 1 is a stripped down version of the SL Disc

The rim braked version of the Contend is slightly stripped down and made with a cheaper ALUXX aluminium frame. Being the least expensive version of the platform, the Contend comes equipped with Tektro dual pivot brakes and is available in Shimano Sora or Claris builds. It doesn’t include internal cable routing, and comes with a round 27.2mm alloy seatpost. That said, it does get integrated rack and fender mounts.

The Contend 3 starts at US$600 in the US, the Contend 2 starts at AU$899 in Australia and the Contend is priced at US$880 / AU$1,099. UK pricing and availability is still to be announced.

Colin Levitch

Staff Writer, Australia
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Colin now resides in Sydney, Australia. Holding a media degree, Colin is focused on the adventure sport media world. Coming from a ski background, his former European pro father convinced him to try collegiate crit racing. Although his bright socks say full roadie, he enjoys the occasional mountain bike ride, too.
  • Discipline: Road, mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Tarmac mountain climbs into snow-covered hills
  • Current Bikes: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Trek Top Fuel 9
  • Dream Bike: Mosaic Cycles RT-1
  • Beer of Choice: New Belgium La Folie
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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