Giant Defy Road Bike Review

Giant Defy Review

Price

Pros​​​​

Headset bearings, tube shape, variety of sizes

Cons

No pedals, difficult part replacement/cable repair

Summary

These are dedicated, performance-oriented bikes designed for long rides - and that's the only purpose you should buy them for.

Our Rating

80/100

Manufacturer

Giant's Defy line is a set of rugged, performance-oriented road bikes

The 2018 line includes three different models: The Defy Advanced 1, 2, and 3. Each version is designed to offer outstanding performance over the longest, roughest rides, making these bikes most suitable for endurance challenges.

Here are the rest of the details you need to know.

Tech specs

FRAME SIZE: 38.7 to 40.8 inches
BRAKE TYPE: Giant's Conduct Line Of Hydraulic Disk Brakes
SHIFTER: Shimano 105/Shimano Tiagra
RIMS: Giant PR-2 Disc
TIRES: Giant's Gavia AC 1 Tubeless Tires 700x25
PRICE RANGE: $1,700 to $2,400

The three models of the 2018 Defy line have distinct specs.

Frame Size

Each of the three models comes in either five or six frame sizes. Measuring the wheelbase (the distance between the center of each wheel in a straight line), the frame sizes are:

  • Advanced 1: 39 to 40.8 inches
  • Advanced 2: 38.7 to 40.8 inches
  • Advanced 3: 39 to 40.8 inches

The frames are sized for riders from 5'2" (Extra Small, Advanced 2 only) to 6'4" (Large, all models). Giant strongly recommends that you check with an authorized dealer to determine which frame size is most appropriate for you.

The Advanced 2 is most notable for being the only frame that goes down to 5'2" riders - the others start at 5'6".

Brake Type

All Defy models use Giant's Conduct line of hydraulic disk brakes. These are designed to work in both wet and dry environments, allowing for a consistent level of stopping power no matter how bad the weather gets.

Shifter

The Defy uses two different models for the Shifter.

  • Advanced 1: Shimano 105
  • Advanced 2: Shimano 105
  • Advanced 3: Shimano Tiagra

Both of these are lever-based shifters, which integrate with the brake levers and make it easier to change gears at a moment's notice. More importantly, this type of integration means you don't have to take your hands away from the brakes. If you haven't used these types of shifters before, spend some time practicing with them before you go on any dangerous rides.

Rims

All models use the Giant PR-2 Disc, a tubeless system. This is an essential part of the bike's overall theme of durability.

Tubeless tires are better over rough terrain, and that's a critical factor to consider if you're planning to take the Defy to its limit.

Giant Defy Review
Giant Defy On The Road

Tires

All models use Giant's Gavia AC 1 Tubeless tires, a 700x25 size that can be folded.

This makes it easier to carry a spare on the off-chance you need to change your tire in the middle of a ride.

It's worth noting that while tubeless flats are rare, they're more likely on bikes like this because of the intended use: long rides on rough terrain. We strongly recommend carrying at least two folded spares on any long trip.

Price Range

Each of the models is priced differently. Giant's MSRP for each model - as of this review- is:

  • Advanced 1: $2,375
  • Advanced 2: $1,950
  • Advanced 3: $1,650

Discounts may be available from individual retailers, but the price of each model isn't likely to change much until next year's models come out.

Giant does allow a monthly payment plan (from $209 to $146 per month, depending on the model you get).

What We Like

The Defy line is a group of bikes that make no compromises - and with this price range, they shouldn't be. We were particularly impressed with the composite frame, which features a blend of carbon fibers and resin to create a stiff, low-weight material. It's not obvious to the eye, but this composite also has a variety of vibration-absorbing particles, which is critical for maintaining comfort on long, rough rides.

Other things we like include:

  • Smarter tube shaping that helps reduce rider fatigue
  • Oversized headset bearings that improve steering
  • Internal cable paths, which improve the look of the bike and reduce the chance of cables getting caught on something
  • check-circle
    A variety of sizes for each model, clearly designed to provide maximum performance for riders of different heights

What We Don't Like

While these are excellent bikes in general, there are a few issues we have with them. The biggest issue is the price - these are not cheap bikes. That said, you can get a high-quality, performance-oriented bike for considerably less than Giant is asking. The only reason to spend $1,650+ on a bike is if you want everything it's offering.

Other points of concern for our team include:

  • Difficult part replacement, since many of the components are unique and may not be available outside authorized retailers
  • Difficult cable repair, since they run through an area that's not easy to access
  • Lack of pedals (they need to be bought separately)

Buying Advice

Price alone pushes the Defy into a relatively narrow niche of machines.

These are dedicated, performance-oriented bikes designed for long rides - and that's the only purpose you should buy them for. Any other purpose - up to, and including, shorter rides over similar terrain - means you should look at a different bike instead.

That said, if you're in the target audience for this bike, it is a solid choice. Everything about these bikes, from the design of the seatpost to the choice of tire styles, is focused on the main goal of ensuring comfort and performance during long rides over rough terrain.

One other thing to note is that the three models honestly aren't that different from each other. A few components (most notably the Shifters) change between the models, but you're probably going to be fine with the Advanced 3 (the low-priced version) unless you take a close look at the specs and find something you need on the other models.

Also, you'll need to purchase pedals along with the bike.

Conclusion

The 2018 Giant Defy line features a series of solid, performance-oriented road bikes. While they're not the cheapest available, they're worth looking at if you want a bike that can handle any terrain.


This post was last updated on June 2nd, 2018 at 05:59 pm

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

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