A great endurance bike with a bit of zip to it
Established in Taiwan in 1972, Giant has been supplying high quality bikes to professionals – such as WorldTour team Giant-Alpecin – and amateurs alike for over 40 years. Part of Giant’s success has been the ability to create bikes that perform well in real life, not just in a wind tunnel.
The Defy Advanced is a classy disc-equipped endurance bike that can be ridden and raced over the harshest surfaces, which is why we crowned it the best endurance bike in the Cycling Weekly Bike of the Year awards.
Made in Giant’s composite factory, the frame uses the company’s own advanced-grade composite- which includes high-performance T-700 raw carbon fibre. Giant says the frame is designed to achieve the right balance between saving weight and stiffness, whilst still providing a compliant ride.
As with most endurance bikes the Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 has a fairly relaxed geometry. However, to further improve comfort on long rides the Defy uses Giant’s proprietary D-Fuse composite seatpost, which does a good job of absorbing vibrations from the road.
To improve front-end precision and provide enhanced handling, the full composite fork is married with a huge head tube that is no less than 19cm long.
For a bike costing £2,300 the Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 has some impressive components. The Shimano Ultegra front and rear mech, cassette and crankset, all performed reliably- I can’t recall a poor shift.
Disc brakes are making waves in the endurance bike world and the Defy continues this trend. It comes with Shimano’s impressive RS785 hydraulic disc brakes, which are combined with Giant’s own SL Disc wheels.
An interesting feature that may appeal to some is the chainstay integrated, but removable, wireless data transmitter. The ‘RideSense’ unit sends wheel speed and cadence data directly to any ANT+ compatible computer.
When riding the Defy you quickly appreciate that although it is built for long days in the saddle, the light and stiff frame provides a ride with far more zip than you might expect from a bike weighing 8.44kg.
The long wheelbase, relaxed geometry and the proprietary D-shaped seatpost do a good job of absorbing road vibrations.
The carbon frame has a compact design. The sloping top tube reduces the size of the front and rear triangles to create a lighter and stiffer bike. This, when married with the lighter rims of disc specific wheels, allows you to accelerate quickly, be it out of corners or sprinting for signs.
The Defy’s consistent handling married with the impressive Shimano disc brakes meant I could descend the technical Honister Pass with confidence. Likewise. with a compact 50/34t chainset and an 11-28t cassette choosing the best gear for ascending or descending is easy. The only criticism is that although the D-shaped seatpost dampens road buzz, there are more comfortable endurance bikes on the market.
The mid-range sportive market is very competitive. Nevertheless, the Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 stands out from the crowd thanks to its quality frame, top end componentry and the use of innovative technology – you get a lot of bike for a competitive price.
The Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2 hits the nail on the head when it comes to endurance bikes. It's comfortable, but not to the point where it isn't fun to ride, and there's always a bit of zip there for when it's time to put the hammer down.