Giant Defy Advanced 2 road bike review

The Giant Defy Advanced 2 is a comfortable endurance model with disc wheels and plenty of zip for days when speed is of the essence

Giant’s Defy range has always been enormously popular. Perhaps not as racy as its more senior Giant TCR line, it’s still zippy enough to feel fast but brings all day comfort to boot.

The Giant Defy Advanced 2 is no different, and the fact we wanted to push further and further every time we rode it is exactly why it’s on the Cycling Weekly Editor’s Choice 2017 list.

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BMC, Giant, Specialized – under varying names, on different frames and at different times – are are all brands that have employed the same dropped seat stay design on their bikes. It really is the current, on the money 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.

Of course, 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, helps create smaller triangles. Giant claims this is a lighter and stiffer way to build a bike.

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Steering in overdrive

Giant has also equipped the Defy with its Overdrive head tube, 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. We did find these squeaked a little when rubbing together in the frame – but this could be rectified with some time in the workshop.

Regardless, it is a well rounded creation and the Giant Defy Advanced 2 looks like a thoroughly modern bike, and most importantly, rides like one too.


Rides like a thoroughly modern bike

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.

Larger-footed riders might want to be aware that we did find our 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.

Lots of scope to upgrade

At £1,700, this particular model sits a little lower down the Giant Defy range, but that doesn’t mean it has lower performance. 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 but the frames the same, so there’s a lot of scope to upgrade.


Shimano 105 and Giant PR 2 Disc wheels on our model

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 are tubeless ready and the bike is set up and ready to go out of the box. The wheels are solid performers with a nice bit of depth to them and come with Giant’s Gavia AC1 tubeless 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.