Comfort, it’s one of the biggest criteria pushing the development of modern road bikes, at least when we talk about sportive and endurance road bikes. Bikes like this Giant Defy Advanced 3 are designed to provide a comfortable riding position and cushion you from the roughest roads you might care to cycle along.
For £1,549 this particular Defy, freshly unboxed in the road.cc office, provides a full carbon fibre frame and fork with disc brakes and 12mm thru-axles at both ends, and a Shimano Tiagra groupset with proper Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. On paper it’s a good package for the money and we’ll look to find out how it performs once we get it out of the road.cc office and onto the open road.
Giant has given the Defy a shorter reach and higher stack to provide a more upright riding position than its TCR or Propel race bike. That’s a good thing, less strain on your back you see. While some manufacturers invest in fancy gimmicks to add features that can absorb vibrations from rough roads, Giant has worked with the layup of the carbon fibre and the shape of every tube to ensure a compliant ride. The most obvious outcome are the seatstays, they are seriously skinny, plus the D-shaped seatpost, which together are able to provide a bit of impact absorbing deflection.
A mostly Giant branded list of equipment includes the 25mm tyres on aluminium clincher wheels, and nicely shaped handlebars and a comfortable looking saddle. We’ve never had any issues with Giant brand components on other Giant bikes we’ve tested, it’s all solid and dependable kit.
The groupset comprises a Shimano Tiagra groupset, and while it’s 10-speed and not 11-speed like 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace, the shifting quality is as good as the expensive groupsets with the same excellent ergonomics. Shimano’s most affordable hydraulic disc brakes, RS405, are combined with 160mm disc rotors. On the scales it comes in at 9.5kg (20.94lb).
The Defy faces some stiff competition but it’s well prepared with a smartly designed frame and good specification and price, and proven ride performance. It’ll need to fend off the likes of the Trek Domane, Specialized Roubaix, Merida Ride, Cannondale Synapse, BMC GranFondo and Canyon Endurace to name a few key rivals.
You can see some more contenders in this competitive category in this buyers guide
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.