Never mind the roadies…
Day One: finding comfort in the rain
Day 1 was the comfort and climbing test, lapping the scenic Lake Clywedog. Wales decided to throw all the hale, rain, ice and wind at me that it could. Right away the riding position with the frame geometry felt right, super comfortable and smooth to ride. For someone who doesn’t ride road bikes that often anymore, I was surprised that after three hours of steep climbs and strong winds I was still feeling all right, physically. The frame was certainly comfortable, but still lightweight and responsive. I even set myself a new PB with 80.1km/hr maximum speed!The Giant’s D-Fuse seat-post and handlebar are designed to absorb shocks and vibrations and certainly I found no issues with them. Hitting numerous cattle grids at speed was definitely muffled in comparison to what I’m used to. And the shape of the seat-post stopped any slippage (which us big guys and can sometimes have issues with). The hydraulic disc brakes were a godsend and offered great control, especially on severely steep roads covered in ice with an unfenced 5m drop into the lake at the bottom! Realistically I would have probably given up and walked down this one particular descent if I had been on my normal rim-braked bike, or would have risked ending up with a frozen swim.
Day Two: endurance
The weather barely improved for Day Two, which called for a 70km endurance test in the Elan Valley. It was a lot less mountainous here so I tried a few sprints and was again surprised how stiff the front end felt with my weight out of the saddle giving it full welly. Very little flex in the forks and wheels helped by the thru-axles, meant I could efficiently put the power to the ground when I needed too.Giant’s SLR-1 wheel-set had the strength (and then some!) for an endurance bike. What was a cycle-path suddenly turned to rocky, muddy track for 15min, but the bike took it like a champ. There are no issues at all with strength and comfort, even if you find yourself accidentally cycle-crossing! This was also my first extended ride running tubeless and I’m glad to say it was a happy experience. The lower than normal tyre pressures I was a little hesitant about at first, but the smooth ride that resulted without sacrificing any speed changed my thinking. I did find two visible signs of punctures after I had got home so the sealant had done its job without me noticing any problems.
So was my verdict? The Giant Defy Advanced Pro 1 is a bike you can have a lot of fun on and is a great option for someone new to road biking, looking for a step-up to carbon or just wanting to upgrade his or her existing race bike to something more forgiving. It has just the right combination of comfort and speed so that you can sit on it for hours on end. I just want one!“