Giant Defy Advanced 3 2021
Giant's Defy Advanced 3, the most affordable Defy in the current range, is an endurance road bike that offers a smooth ride and the precise power of hydraulic disc brakes, and it's very good value.
This isn't an especially lightweight bike, weighing in at 9.1kg, but the fact that it's so comfortable means you can happily keep ticking off the miles all day long.
As ever, the geometry has a huge effect on the Defy Advanced 3's character and comfort. The Defy Advanced is fairly relaxed. It isn't bolt upright – far from it – but the handlebar is positioned higher and closer to the saddle than on a more race-focused bike, meaning you don't need to bend your back as much or extend your neck to the same degree for a clear view of the road ahead. If a standard race bike geometry leaves you aching, perhaps this setup, dialled back a couple of notches, will work better for you.
Even putting geometry to one side, the Defy Advanced 3 is a really comfortable bike. For a start, it comes fitted with 32mm Giant Gavia Fondo 1 tyres which we measured at nearly 34mm on Giant’s S-R2 Disc wheels. The maximum tyre size that Giant recommends is 35mm – not enough for full-on gravel riding but sufficient for everything short of that.
The S-R2 Disc wheels are a little heavy but they’ve proved to be reliable over a test period of several months. The 2020 Defy Advanced 3 featured Giant Conduct disc brakes but these have now been ditched in favour of Shimano Tiagra hydraulic disc brakes that work on 160mm rotors to provide loads of smooth, easily regulated power. Tiagra-level shifters are a whole lot better looking than they used to be too, the hood shape having been refined.
Tiagra is a 10-speed groupset and here you get a wide-ranging 11-34-tooth cassette matched up with a 50/34-tooth chainset. The shifting is brilliant and the braking is powerful. There's really a lot to love.
The Giant Defy Advanced 3 isn't a gazelle of a bike like the more race-focused TCR but it's certainly not dull either. It handles superbly, it's highly comfortable, and with space for tyres up to 35mm, it can take you off the beaten track too.