For many years the Giant Defy models and their predecessors the Giant OCR range have provided road bike riders with an alternative to the harsh riding hunched over position of most road bikes. An alternative where comfort and ease of riding are the priorities and where outright performance, although still important is not the be all and end all.
Some other companies now recognise the merit in Giants decision to cater equally toward recreational riders as they do competitive riders. However most of their offerings are merely an alternatively equipped version of the race model and only a couple have actually gone to the extremes as Giant have of designing and building frames specifically for those riders who rate ride comfort and ease of use above pure speed.
Frame geometry is where Giant have excelled with the Defy range of bikes, providing frames that are comfortable for both the occasional rider, who's body never quite gets the amount of saddle time required to become fully "acclimatised", and the more regular rider who is often out for hours at a time. The longer wheelbase, increased wheel clearances, higher head tube and shorter top tube and slightly more relaxed angles place the rider in a position less likely to suffer the aches and pains often experienced upon a thoroughbred race machine. With rider comfort as a priority, the Defy frame geometry allows for a more upright position than is available on purely competition bikes. This more relaxed position results in less back and neck fatique, easier handling and a less harsh ride,and the use of carbon fibre further enhances the ride quality, benefiting the regular long distance rider and the casual weekend warrior alike. Coupled with cleverly selected components, all Defy bikes will provide a ride of unsurpassed ease and comfort.
We will all have heard of the saying "Built for comfort, not for speed", well this doesn't exactly apply to the Defy Advanced 2. They are certainly comfortable, but with their blend of lightweight frame with quality components they can be as quick as your ability allows.
The Advanced frame is the icing on an already very tasty cake, further enhancing ride comfort due to the T-700 carbon used in its construction. This shock absorbing material also results in a very low weight while maintaining the strength that allows Giant to provide a lifetime frame guarantee. In fact the Defy Advanced frame is on a par with the race proven TCR Advanced, albeit with the more rider friendly geometry. So even someone who wants to race, but with a slightly more upright riding position won't be disadvantaged upon a Defy Advanced.
The 2014 Defy Advanced 2 is available in 6 sizes, from extra small right through to extra large, so virtually anyone can take advantage of this fantastically priced package. At $2699, some brands would be supplying just a frame and fork of this quality, but thanks to Giants "in house" carbon fibre manufacturing facility, prices are minimised and value for money is maximised, allowing Giant to supply a full Shimano 105 ensemble and a lightweight performance wheelset which results in a very rideable, very likeable, very affordable road bike.
The Shimano 105 20 speed compact gearing system is ideally suited to this style of frame and the type of riding conditions most recreational riders experience. The top end gearing still permits a high top speed, but the real advantage is at the other extreme where the low gears allow the "non elite" riders amongst us to pedal reasonably comfortably up some pretty serious climbs. This thoughtful option eliminates any need for swapping of parts or other compromises as almost every hill climbing challenge can be accomplished with the 34 tooth small chainring coupled to the 28 tooth large rear sprocket. All of the component specifications are listed below, but the main features to be noted include the Vector carbon fibre seat post, the Connect SL oversize handlebar and stem, the Fizik saddle, the Giant P-SL1 wheelset and the integrated "Ridesense" wireless data transmitter which sends speed and cadence information to any ANT+ compatible computers such as the Garmin Edge 800 and Edge 500 models, making for the simplest and neatest computer set-up possible.
The Defy Advanced 2 is a real no nonsense bike that will satisfy the needs of many both in performance terms and importantly, when considering the purchase cost.
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