Giant Defy Advanced 1 Road Bike

Available At:

Burn up the pavement with amazing speed on Giant's Defy Advanced 1. But wait, did we mention it's one of the most comfortable road bikes you'll find...

User Reviews (13)

Showing 1-10 of 13  
Brooke Willson   Recreational Rider [Aug 25, 2014]
Strength:

Components, frame, comfort, price

Weakness:

Only that I need to lose 40 pounds to do this bike justice

I'd been waiting to lose more weight before upgrading from my 2009 Trek 2.3 (Shimano 105), believing that I just couldn't justify riding a CF bike until I was lighter myself. Upon retirement, I finally took the plunge on the blue 2014 XL Defy Advanced 1 that had been sitting in my LBS for the last nine months waiting for me. I still need to lose the weight, but . . . oh my goodness, what an incredible bike!

First, and most importantly, in my dotage I've decided that all other things being equal, SERVICE is the difference in buying anything important and/or expensive. One of the reasons I bought the Giant is because that's what my favorite Richmond, VA bike store -- Pedal Power Bikes -- sells. It's not the biggest LBS in Richmond, but Randy, Sean, Travis, and Latane know me by name and give me the frequent flyer discount. They never try to sell me more than I really need. If I have a problem, I know they're going to resolve it quickly and well.

That being said, after spending a year researching classic/plush/endurance road bikes, it was clear to me that Giants are consistently specced better than similarly priced bikes. I suspect that's because Trek, Scott, and the other bikes actually made by Giant have to pay Giant for the frame, so they cut corners on the components to match Giant's prices. That shows up especially in cranksets, wheels, saddles, and handlebars. The Defy Advanced is 100% Ultegra gruppo, a CF seatpost supporting a Fizik Aliante pro-level saddle. I did move my FSA Wing Pro handlebar upgrade from my Trek to the Defy, but that's the only upgrade I felt I had to make. If you're comparing the Defy Advanced to similarly priced bikes, look carefully at the components. Trust me, a FSA crank does NOT shift as well as an Ultegra. Trek's stock saddles are horrible. Compare apples to apples.

Riding this bike is just astonishing. Once I got the fit dialed in by putting a shorter stem on it, the bike "disappeared beneath me." That's a cliche from bike magazine reviews, but once in a while cliches are true. The day after I bought the bike I rode the same 30 mile loop I rode the day before I bought the bike. I was 1.1 mph faster on the Defy Advanced. Not only did I climb hills faster, I descended hills faster. I can explain the first, but not the second. More importantly, at the end of the ride I wasn't worn out by the road buzz from my old aluminum frame. From my hands to my butt, I felt so much better I couldn't believe it.

The Ultegra group is wonderful. Shifts are crisper and quicker than 105, with shorter lever throws and less effort. The brakes are everything I could ask for and more.

I was amazed at the out-of-the-box comfort of the Fizik Aliante saddle. On the Trek, I went through three saddles before finding one I could live with (Bontrager Affinity RL). I have no need to swap out this saddle, and it gets better with every ride.

I see that Giant is tweaking the frame for 2015, and going all-out on disk brakes. Obviously, they know something about the UCI. My recommendation is that unless you really need disk brakes, and your ego requires the latest-and-greatest of everything, don't hesitate to snatch the current Defy Advanced while you can. As the British would say, this bike is brilliant.

Similar Products Used: 2009 Trek 2.3
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
Jon Wallace   Recreational Rider [Nov 29, 2012]
Strength:

This bike is very smooth on the road and incredibly comfortable. Very responsive and has fast acceleration. The frame engineering of this bike is quite impressive. Ultegra components.

Weakness:

None yet.

I am a older rider and wanted a comfortable endurance road bike. Tried two models of the Specialized Roubaix which were quite nice but the 2013 Giant Advanced 1 was smooth and comfortable from the first time I rode it. This bike fits me beautifully and is a great value.

Finding one of these bikes to ride is a problem. I tried multiple Giant dealers who said they would order what ever I wanted but had nothing in stock...until I called Newbery Park Bike Shop in Newbery Park, CA. They had one in their warehouse and built it just so I could test it. They seemed confident that once I rode it I would buy it and I did. I am extremely happy with this bike!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Ross   [Nov 18, 2012]
Strength:

Comfortable for long rides, accelerates quickly, precise handling, good climber

Weakness:

None

Purchased the 2013 model, and can't believe how responsive this bike is. It easily allows me to stay in the saddle for hours longer than before and be able to increase my average speed by 2-3mph as well. The shifting and steering are precise. Very happy with this bike!!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
lexterlinx   Recreational Rider [Oct 06, 2011]
Strength:

Descending, cornering, all around balance

Weakness:

Not the most responsive climbing bike, but still awesome.

I have a Taiwan version of the Defy Advanced 1. I have the same experience of this bike COASTING faster than other bikes. So many races and challenge rides where I discover the same thing.
This bike is great. Corners and descends amazingly. I have a triple crank and just love the huge range of gears for the tough Taiwan mountains. Did a 400km ride across the Taiwan Central Mountain range, and couldn't have been happier on this bike.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Martin   Recreational Rider [Aug 21, 2011]
Strength:

Ultrega group is light and efficient. Frame is AMAZING: somehow stiff and efficient AND comfortable and smooth. (How did they do that?!) Wheels are just right - light enough, stiff enough - perfect.

Weakness:

Well, it did cost 3 grand.

OMG. I'm too old to use that abbreviation, but my Giant Defy Advanced 1 is making me feel like a kid again.

I turned 50 this year, and I thought that my road riding days were really over. I'd been riding a 1996 Bianchi EL/OS with a Campy Chorus group, but lately I'd been experiencing more pain due to the bike beating me up. 10 years ago I was putting thousands of miles on a bike every year, but this had dwindled down to a hundred miles each year. The 2001 Giant Defy Advanced 1 has changed all that. If I had no other responsibilities, I would ride this bike 50 miles every day.

Similar Products Used: 1996 Bianchi EL/OS w/ Campy Chorus (Similar, but there's no real comparison; the Giant Defy is soooo much better.)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
MiamiSasquatch   Recreational Rider [Aug 19, 2011]
Strength:

Faster than it feels, plush without being sluggish, climbs like a billy goat compared to my Trek 1200, holds up to the abuse my 250lbs frame puts on it.

Weakness:

Giant DT Swiss 1800 wheelset.

Base Fizik saddle.

Feels slower than it is.

Just picked up this bike a couple of weeks ago after having the stock compact crank swapped for a standard double.

I love this bike!

After spending the last 3 years on a Trek 1200 aluminum bike (that I still love) I wanted to make the jump to carbon so I wouldn't feel so beat up after 50 miles. I wasn't sure if I should buy a racing bike or a plush bike, so I rode the Defy A, TCR A, and Madone 5.2 extensively to figure out which one I preferred. I wanted to keep a feel similar to my 1200 because I love the speed and handling of the race derived bike. The Defy A was the perfect balance between the racy TCR and the slightly too sluggish Madone.

I've only had the chance to put about 200 miles on the bike so far, but so far it's been great. I didn't have a spedometer for the first few rides, and I worried I had actually slowed when compared to my Trek because the bike just didn't give the same feeling of quickness. I was soon shocked to find that where I had felt like I was going 17 on my Trek, I was pushing over 20 on the Defy.

The compact road design where they shorten the chainstays is brilliant. Acceleration is quick, climbs are efficient, and handling isn't racing crisp, but is still quick.

The TCR is a full race rig, and handles like a Lotus. The Defy is more of an BMW M3, still very fast, but gives up true race performance in lieu of leather seats.

The only complaint I have so far is the DT Swiss wheels. I noticed they weren't quite true so I swapped them out for a set of Mavic Equipes I have on my Trek. During the swap I noticed that I'd already dug into the freehub casing under some hard pulls, clocking half the gears out of alignment. Freehubs are NOT an acceptable place for a low grade anodized aluminum. I wish Giant had opted to keep the Mavic wheels used in previous years.

Similar Products Used: 2006 Trek 1200

2011 Trek Madone 5.2 (extensively rode for comparison)
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
AlexCad5   Recreational Rider [Apr 05, 2011]
Strength:

Comfortable, but agile. Does a good job soaking up front end vibration without feeling mushy. Superb in descent. Fantastic paint/graphics. Remarkable attention to detail (many red anodized parts) which they didn't need to do. Great fit and finish. Ultega 6700 group is better than the Dura Ace 7800 I last used. Excellent value for this level of bike.

Weakness:

The good DT Swiss wheelset is a little heavy, but they do feel solid, and I haven't switched them out with a lighter wheelset I already own. That says something, though I'm not sure what. The bike doesn't have that quick feel under acceleration, although we all know it's in our heads and the bike is only as fast as we are. It doesn't feel really stiff, but if it did, it wouldn't have such a nice ride. You can't have it all. Overall, I don't think I could have bought a better bike; just another bike.

This bike is great for me because it fits like a glove. I like that it has pretty lively steering (especially compared to my last bike a Specialized Roubaix Pro,) and feels solid in a descent. It is very comfortable, but on the flip side, sometimes the trade off is stiffness. It is stiffer than the Roubaix which had a rear end that flexed on rough pavement (not a bad thing per se.) The Giant has very fine fork blades, and I think that it lends the bike it's gentle ride. I don't have a lot of experience on descent on this bike yet, but I was loving it's intuitive feel this past weekend, carving it up on Mt Diablo in Northern California. I totally forgot it's a new bike to me, letting it run free and passing a number of other riders. It felt fast and fluid. Under acceleration, it doesn't feel as fast as the Pedalforce RS2 I had, but I'm not in as good of shape either. I'm certainly used to a stiffer bike, but I can't find fault in the Defy Advanced in any way.

Similar Products Used: Owned: Cannondale Caad 5 2001, Look 231 2000, Fuji Professional Aluminum 2004, Motobecane Le Champion 2006, Eddie Merckx Team SC 2004, Pedal Force RS2 2008, Specialized Roubaix Pro 2009
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
runner855   Recreational Rider [Jun 03, 2010]
Strength:

Price and comfort

Weakness:

Can't think of any

I am 56 and an ex college middle distance runner who had a hip replacement due to an auto accident in 1976. Had to give up running, seriously, after hip replacement (total) in 2000. Finally convinced by friends to take up road biking and am still in the learning curve since buying the Giant Defy 1 in October 2009. It is, from what I can tell, every bit as good as the Specialized Rubaix but about a grand less because of the fact that Giant is possibly the largeest manufacturer of bicycles in the world. I have the Fizik saddle which is the most comfortable seat I have ever experienced on a road bike (years ago borrowed bikes for triathlons and might as well been on a Schwin Stingray as I had no knowledge of how to ride a road bike). In any event, for some reason, my Defy 1 coasts faster than some of the more expensive bikes that are owned by people with whom I ride. That is not to say that I don't get spit out by more experienced riders who have slower coasting bikes, but I have noticed it on almost every ride I have taken non solo. Hightly recommend this bike. Never thought I would pay about the same as my first new car, and it is still not considered a really expensive bike compared to other plush road bikes.

Similar Products Used: None
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
tifosi521   Recreational Rider [Aug 20, 2009]
Strength:

More bang for the buck: 16.1 pounds without pedals, faster than the Cervelo, better wheels, better seat, better looking paint job, a few Dura-Ace components too

Weakness:

If there is one weakness it would be its availability. This bike is tough to find for a test ride, but you can ride a Defy Advanced 2 or 3 and get the feeling of it before buying the Advanced 1 with all the goodies.

This review is for a beautiful 2009 Giant Defy Advanced 1. I rode a lot in my youth and did the Solvang Century twice, and now I'm getting back into cycling and hoping to do the century again. Unfortunately, I started off all wrong by buying a Trek 1000 in the wrong size and it was killing my lower back and shoulders. I decided that I wanted a bike that was comfortable enough to do the century and fast enough to still ride competitively. That's when I discovered the new modern catagory of "plush bike" and read all about the Giant Defy Advanced 1 from the Bicycling.com editors choice awards. For those who don't know it, the Defy Advanced 1 won the #1 Plush Bike of 2009 against the Cervelo RS and the Specialized Roubaix. I made it my goal to test ride all three of these bikes and come to my own decision about which was best. The Roubaix was the first bike I rode and stepping off the aluminum Trek 1000, the Roubiax felt completely unresponsive. It did soak up the vibrations in the road nicely, but it felt like a heavy bike and much slower than my Trek 1000. The Cervelo RS was my next test ride and I immediately felt that it was more responsive and quick compared to the Roubaix. As far as the vibrations it felt like it was worse than the Roubaix, but much better than Tarmac Expert (which I also tested). The Cervelo RS was good, but it didn't wow me or captivate me to the point that I was convinced that spending $3000 for only a slightly smoother ride than my $600 Trek was actually worth it. In fact, I was actually leaning toward the Tarmac Expert because of the fireworks I felt on acceleration and giving up on the idea of "plush" entirely. But my lower back, shoulders, and wrist brought me back to my senses. I really wanted to test ride the Giant, but finding one seemed impossible because every dealer I called didn't have one in stock and said it was a special order bike only. I finally called Orange Cycle and talked to Zach who explained that a Giant Defy Advanced 2 and 3 had the same frame geometery and I could come by and test ride one of them. Thank God I did...I immediately noticed the difference in riding position and comfort compared to the Cervelo RS. I got those little tingles all over the place that told me it just fit perfectly and this was my bike. The Giant felt alive, nimble, and a lighter bike than the Cervelo. It dampened the vibration as well as the Roubaix, but felt responsive like the Tarmac Expert when I sprinted with it. Zach followed me on his S-Works and led me down a rough concrete path through a parking lot, which is the closest thing to cobblestones I've ever felt. The Giant absorbed the vibration as I smoothly glided across the pavement and Zach said I was doing a lot better than he was on his S-works as his teeth rattled like rocks in a can. Remember, I was riding an Advanced 3 which is heavier than the Advanced 1. As soon as I came back from the ride I placed my order. The bike is amazing and everything I dreamed it would be. But don't take my word for it...go ride a Cervelo RS and then compare it to any of the Giant Defy Advanced bikes. Have you seen the Defy Advanced 1 paint job in person? Look at the top of the frame near the head tube and your jaw will drop.

Similar Products Used: Schwinn Peleton (1987 version), Raliegh Tech, Trek 1000
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rick from Guam   Recreational Rider [Jul 13, 2009]
Strength:

Everything but I have no experience on other road bikes.

Weakness:

Nothing so far.

I just purchased a 2009 Giant Defy Advance 1, (My first road bike), I have ridden Mountain Bikes for a number of years. I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable the ride was and I have been logging in quite a few miles in the two months I've owned it. I recently won my first road race on it also. I have no experience on other road bikes so there is nothing I can compare it to.

Similar Products Used: None
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 13