Giant Defy 2
Giant 0115 977 59000 www.giant-bicycles.com/uk
Defy bikes are Giant’s entry-level performance clan, with the Defy 2 sitting second in their five-bike range. In short, superb alloy alchemy from Giant gives it class on the road where it’s at the front of the pack.
The quality of the Defy ride is obvious from the off. Press the pedals and the bike feels extremely taut and instantly responsive. There’s an undeniably direct connection between sole and road, and even big riders wrestling the super-wide bars were impressed with the stiff transmission of their efforts.
The use of a state-of-the-art 1 ¼-inch bottom/1 1⁄8-inch top tapered steerer-tube fork for extra stiffness means it’s very precise in the way it picks a line – and holds it. We could push the pace in confidence even on gritty back road routes spiced up with occasional ice patches.
Giant’s skill in metallurgy is demonstrated in the smooth, silky ride of the Defy. Big divots still clang through, but rough sections and even unsurfaced short cuts don’t sting anything like as much as they would on most alloy bikes. And it doesn’t bounce or jump under low rev power like other similarly priced efforts.
The carbon-bladed and -crowned fork also soaks up road shock really well, without twitching, fluttering or under-braking when you push it hard through corners. Even on long rides in the stretched position, our back and wrists survived unscathed with no
buzz or numbness.
As one of the largest alloy bike makers, Giant is in the rare position of actually producing its own frames and controlling every aspect of their manufacture. That direct involvement and attention to detail is self-evident, not least thanks to the lacquered naked alloy finish. Giant was also the first major manufacturer to introduce ‘compact geometry’; the sloped top tube and tight, straight-stayed rear end of the evolved layout are very clear.
Giant hasn’t lost sight of everyday practicality, though, and the Defy comes with threaded rack mounts and slotted head-tube guides for a very clean, easily serviced cable run. No room for mudguards, though.
One thing to be aware of is that our large-sized Giant was absolutely vast. It comes with a super-long stem and enough seatpost to suit a stilt walker. Even with all the spacers removed, you’ll struggle to create a low aero position with the tall head tube. Even test riders well over six foot were asking for a shorter stem and shallower bars.
But we’ve no complaints about the rest of the kit. The Tiagra stop-and-go gear was faultless and the compact chainset provides realistic rather than knee-wrenching ratios. Mavic’s CXP 22 rims are a proven workhorse, the Giant hubs ran very smooth and the Kenda tyres rolled well. To finish off, the ‘proper’ carbon seatpost helps drop weight impressively low.
Giant has delivered a ride that kicks like a mule when you need it to, but is a comfortable cruiser when you don’t.
Frame Aluxx SL aluminium, fluid-formed
Forks Advanced Composite Overdrive, 1 1/4in–1 1/8in aluminium steerer
Groupset Shimano Tiagra
Wheels Mavic CXP 22 rims (custom for Giant); Giant hubs; Kenda Kriterium L3R 700 x 25mm tyres
Cockpit Giant Anatomic OS bar; 3D forged stem
Seating Giant Performance Road saddle; Giant Advanced Composite seatpost
Weight 8.99kg (19.84lb) without pedals
Sizes 43, 46.5, 50, 53.5, 55.5, 58.5cm