Our Giant Defy Advanced 2 review, in which we put Giant's mid-ranged endurance offering through its paces
Giant’s Defy range has always been enormously popular. Perhaps not as racy as its more senior TCR line, it’s still zippy enough to feel fast but brings all day comfort to boot – and the Giant Defy Advanced 2 is no different.
Throw in an updated frame design and powerful brakes and we’ll happily wish Giant continued success.
The Giant Defy Advanced 2 Frame
BMC, Giant, Specialized – under varying names and incorporated into frame at different times, are are all brands that employ the same dropped seat stay design on their bikes. Making it the current, on the money, trendy design for modern road bikes.
The D-Fuse seatpost – Giant’s take on the design – is completed with an integrated seat clamp and is supposed to make the ride extra comfortable.
But there are some Giant-specific features to the bike, too. Most notably, the sloping “compact” geometry, first pioneered over 17 years ago by the company. It’s not just style either, the sloping tubes help create smaller triangles that Giant claims is a lighter and stiffer way to build a bike.
Giant has also equipped the Defy with its Overdrive head tubes, boosting the frame’s stiffness and, according to Giant, improving the handling.
What’s more, despite this particular model occupying a lower tier of the Defy range, the frame is still “electronic” ready, should you wish to upgrade in the future.
The cabling is also internal, which gives the frame a nice clean look to it, even if it does occasionally mean the cables squeak a little when rubbing together in the frame – something I discovered when driving out the saddle and rocking the bike side to side.
Regardless of the cable squeak, the bike is well rounded and the Giant Defy Advanced 2 looks like a thoroughly modern bike, and most importantly, rides like one too.
This particular model sits a little lower down the Giant Defy range, although you’ll still have to fork out over £1700 to get it. It comes with the Advanced moniker, but doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of the Giant Defy Advanced Pro or the Giant Defy Advanced Pro SL.
As a result, you get Shimano 105 and miss out on the tubeless-out-the-box additions of the higher tiers. Happily, though, the frames the same, so there’s a lot of scope to upgrade.
What’s more, the 105 is bombproof and the choice of drive chain for plenty of cyclists, it just carries a bit more heft that its more senior Shimano Ultegra equipped sibling. Still, the compact chainrings and the 11-32 spread on the back make winching yourself up and over anything fairly painless.
The Giant PR 2 Disc wheels may not be tubeless ready, but they are solid performers with a nice bit of depth to them. These come with Giant’s P-SL 1 tyres and have 12mm thru-axles which add plenty of stiffness to the frame and support the extra stopping power nicely.
Another happy discover was the Giant Contact Neutral saddle, which I found to be plenty supportive and perfectly comfortable.
Watch: Which pro has the fastest aero bike?
The proof is in the pudding, or so they say, and out on the road the bike feels great, proving that Giant’s frame fettling has worked. The ride is plush and comfortable despite the frame’s performance carbon makeup.
There are a couple of minor niggles, but happily they don’t amount to much more than that. There’s the aforementioned internal cable squeak, easily rectified with a bit of time with the bike in the stand.
A bit more alarming is the fact that big footed folk like myself might find their heels coming into contact with the thru-axle on the rear wheel.
It’s a problem we also found on the more senior Giant TCR Advanced Pro Disc, but on both occasions it was only when riding out of the saddle, and it was never enough to undo the quick release.
On the whole, the bike really feels like each part is working smoothly with the rest. Whether that’s the frame taking the sting out of the road, or the disc brakes inspiring confidence on the descents, or simply the bike having the necessary zip when you want to put the power down, the Giant Defy Advanced 2 has been a total pleasure to ride.
Giant has a pretty comprehensive lineup for its Defy range, and the Giant Defy Advanced 2 shares a stable with two other models. It sits squarely in the middle but is the same as the top model in all but drive chain, and for £200 more you can get yourself an Ultegra equipped machine.
In terms of the competition, it squares up nicely, with Canyon’s Ultimate CF SL Disc which sits at the same price point, with the same drive chain, although it does come with the stellar Mavic Aksium wheels.
The Giant does, however, undercut the likes of Specialized, which for similar money offer an alloy Specialized Allez with Shimano 105.
The Giant Defy Advanced 2 has really nailed the frame, and Giant's frame design clearly works, proving that there is a reason behind the current trendy dropped seat stay design. Throw in the discs and the ride really comes alive.