Giant Defy Advanced 2 [MY 2018] Owner Review

Giant Defy Advanced 2 [MY2018]

Giant Defy Advanced 2 [MY2018]

Remembrance Day 2017 was a new bike day here at A MY2018 Giant Defy Advanced 2 in a rather mellow (not) green has joined the bike fleet replacing my sold with regret Look 555. I have realised that I miss the challenge of longish rides, well up to 200 kilometres at least and want to get back into audax riding. I didn’t feel my Surly Long Haul Trucker was really the best weapon of choice so a new bike was on the cards 🙂  My localish bike shop [LBS], Churchill Cycles at Booragoon came to the party once again and offered me the Giant at a very nice price of $2,300 with the change out of the rear tyre to a 28 mm Mavic tubeless.

I also wish to balance my sporting activities a bit more between cycling and running so the Defy will make a nice sportive ride for sub-50 km training rides.  To setup the bike to suit my intended purposes I will be making some changes to the standard build and will document them here as they get sorted.

This blog post was last updated on November 27, 2017 and at 101.5 kilometres on the bike.

Documenting the initial bike specifications and setup.

Table of Contents


Size and Weight:Size M/L frame; Weight as purchased 9 kg
Colour:Neon green/black
Frame:Advanced-grade composite
Fork:Advanced-grade composite, Hybrid OverDrive steerer
Shifters:Shimano 105
Front DerailleurShimano 105
Rear DerailleurShimano 105
Crankset:Shimano FC-R510, 34/50
Bottom Bracket:Shimano, Press Fit
Chain:KMC X11EL-1
Cassette:Shimano 105 11x32, 11-Speed
Pedals:Not suppliedDecember 2017Shimano A600 SPD Aluminium Pedal
Handlebar:Giant Contact, 31.8mm
Seat post:Giant D-Fuse composite
Stem:Giant Connect
Saddle:Giant Contact NeutralNovember 2017Selle Anatomica X2 - Next Generation
Brakes:Giant Conduct - Mechanical/Hydraulic combination with 140mm discs
Rims:Giant PR-2 Disc, Tubeless
Hubs:Giant Performance Tracker Road Disc, Sealed Bearings, 12mm axles, 28h
Spokes:Sapim Race 14/15g
Tyre: FrontGiant Gavia AC 1 Tubeless, 700x25, Folding
Tyre: RearGiant Gavia AC 1 Tubeless, 700x25, FoldingNovember 2017Mavic Yksion Pro UST 700c x 28 mm
Lights - Front:NADecember 2017Busch & MÙller Lumotec IQ-X
Lights - Rear:
Saddle Bag:

At this early stage the bike is in standard configuration with some small changes allowing me to to set up it the way I want to ride it.



The frameset is stock Giant and reflects the specification of the Giant Defy Advanced 2 in 2018. My bike, a size M/L as supplied (no pedals) weighs in at 9 kg.  The frame rides well for me keeping in mind it is a endurance bike and not a racing bike is stable and accelerates fairly quickly and is not twitchee.

The colour is okay bright but I am already getting used to it and actually am growing to light it. It sure beats another black and red bike that is for sure.



The drivetrain is the standard specification for the Defy Advanced 2 in 2018. Namely Shimano 105 11 speed. The shifters, front and rear derailleurs and rear cassette are all Shimano 105 11 speed.  The cost cutting comes with the cranks, being a Shimano FC-R510 34/50t compact crank and the chain being a mid-range KMC X11EL-1.

The pedals on my Giant Defy Advanced 2 are Shimano A600 SPD Aluminium pedals. I have SPD on my Surly Long Haul Trucker and my Giant Defy commuter bike so I really couldn’t justify going with road pedals and another pair of shoes specifically for this bike.  The A600 SPD are the closest I can get to a SPD road style.



Giant Conduct Front Hydraulic Disc Brake

Giant Bicycles Conduct Brake System [Mechanical/Hydraulic]

Giant Bicycles Conduct Brake System [Mechanical/Hydraulic]

With the Giant Defy Advanced 2 Giant have gone with a mechanical/hydraulic disc braking system, called Giant Conduct. The front and rear disc brakes are 140 mm flat mounted disc brakes which I am pretty sure are Tektro/TRP manufactured brakes. This approach allows for standard Shimano 105 brake levers as they are mechanical but then you get the advantage of brake modulation that comes from hydraulic brakes.  The hydraulic reservoir is housed in the stem unit. So far I have had no issues with the brakes; the pads bedded in quickly and without any issues. No wet riding as yet so cannot comment on that aspect.

From what I can determine the brake pads are Giant part number 290000035 and if you want equivalent pads look for Shimano B01S (BR-M446) or their aftermarket equivalents such as SwissStop’s Disc 15 Organic pads.


Rims, Tyres & Hubs

The Giant Defy Advanced 2 as specified in Australia comes Giant PR-2 disc rims which are tubeless ready.  The front and rear hubs are 12mm through axle Giant Performance Tracker Road Disc hubs with sealed Bearings. They are 28 hole hubs. I didn’t get a chance to weigh the rims and hubs, but BikeRadar report them as weighing 2,040 grams and my front wheel will be heavier as I am going with a SON Delux 12 dynamo hub. This is something I will have on my short list to upgrade I think.

As mentioned I am swapping out the front hub for a SON Delux 12 [12 x 100] six bolt disc dynamo hub as my preference is to run a dynamo lighting setup for endurance rides which can go well into the night. As the SON Delux 12 is a centre lock hub I will be fitting a Shimano SM-RTAD05 Centerlock Adapter for 6-hole brake disc systems to match the standard Giant Defy Advanced 2 setup.

Mavic Yksion Pro UST tubeless 700cx28mm

Mavic Yksion Pro UST tubeless 700cx28mm

The tyres as supplied are 700c x 25mm Giant Gavia AC 1 tubeless tyres. I don’t know who supplies the tyres but I am running the 25mm on the front and have now swapped out the rear for a 28mm tyre, a Mavic Yksion Pro UST to provide a touch more comfort on the longer rides.  The Mavic Yksion Pro UST is a claimed 290g in the 28-622 (700c x 28mm) size.

With the Giant PR-2 rims and the Mavic Yksion Pro UST tyre being tubeless ready the swap over process was quick and easy. Sure beats my experiences with non-tubeless tyres on my Salsa Mukluk!



Giant Bicycles Contact Neutral saddle

Giant Bicycles Contact Neutral saddle

Selle Anatomica X2 Next Generation

Selle Anatomica X2 Next Generation saddle

The handlebar is the standard Giant Contact 31.8mm bar, the seat post is the standard Giant D-Fuse composite post and stem is the standard Giant Connect stem.  The saddle as fitted is a Giant Contact Neutral with matching ascents.  So far with rides up to 50 km the saddle is proving to be quite comfortable for me, but I am a leather saddle man, riding Brooks England saddles on all my bikes so for this bike I have replaced the Giant Contact Neutral with a leather saddle, but not a Brooks. This time I have gone with a Selle Anatomica X2 – Next Generation and will also use a Selle Anatomica waterproof rain cover on it during winter [BTW the rain cover also fits my Brooks B17 so an alternative to the Brooks rain cover] and treat it with Selle Anatomica’s Saddle Sauce.  I have in the past ruined a Brooks B17 saddle by not keeping it protected from the rain.  The Selle Anatomica rain cover looks like a better functioning cover than the Brooks product so hopefully I will be able to protect this new saddle.

Giant Conduct Brake System - GoPro Mount

Giant Bicycles Conduct Brake System [Mechanical/Hydraulic] with the GoPro mount fitted.

Giant’s Conduct Brake System does impose some restrictions on the handle space for accessories such as bike computers and lights.  They attempt to overcome this to some degree by providing mounts to come off the Conduct Brake System/Giant Connect Stem. In the photo above I have fitted the GoPro mount as I initially planned on mounting a Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ-X Front Light (164RTSNDI-01) from the mount in combination with a Supernova GoPro Mount.  Giant also provide mounts for a bike computer to come off the top stem bolts. The Giant Connect Stem mounts are only for Giant’s own bike computer and Garmin Edge models, not bike computers such as my Wahoo Elemnt.  Whilst I could modify the provided Garmin Edge mounts to take the Wahoo Elemnt at this stage I have mounted it to the stem and will see how works out.

In the process of sorting this out I became aware of F3 Cycling’s Form Mount which can be combined with a camera-light component mount [effectively a GoPro mount]. The F3 Cycling Form Mount is a direct stem integrated mount which comes with Wahoo Elemnt inserts and when combined with the GoPro mount is a nice neat single out front mount.  To allow me to mount the Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ-X Front Light (164RTSNDI-01) I had planned to get a Supernova GoPro mount but with no availability I decided to get one of Kevin’s custom made GoPro-dynamo light mounts.



The other changes or adds to the bike are the addition of lights, a bell (legal requirement), bidons, mirror, and as I am using the bike for endurance rides of at least 200 km a saddle bag and a frame bag.


The standard lights on the bike are a dynamo based system, so a Busch & Muller Lumotec IQ-X (164RTSNDI-01) for the front [it has the advantage of being able to be mounted upside down] and on the rear I will mount two Busch & Muller Secula rear lights. One on each seat stay.  To tick off the Audax lighting requirements when required I will also have a Dinotte battery powered front light (earlier model) and a battery powered rear light which I will mount off the Apidura saddle bag.


Bell mounted on the drops on my Giant Defy Advanced 2.

My preference is to mount a bell on the left hand drops and in past have mounted the smallest bell I had on hand such as I have done in the photo above. However I have come across Knog Oi bike bell which looks even more discreet and compact so I have one to go on my left side drops instead of the bell there now.


All my bikes have a mirror of some type, either a Zefal Spy Mirror or a Busch & Muller Cycle Star. As I am now so used to riding with a mirror I wanted one on this bike but I wanted it to be as discreet as  possible so I opted for the Zefal Spy Mirror which I mount off the right hand drops. It is not as effective as the Busch & Muller Cycle Star but it works okay and so I can live with it.

Bidon Cages

I would have liked a couple of nice carbon bidon cages but really couldn’t justify the dollars so went with a couple of Lezyne Flow bottle cages.

Saddle and Frame Bags

For endurance riding, so rides up to 200 kilometres and hopefully longer I really want some luggage capacity. With this in mind I have decided to go with a Apidura Saddle Pack (Compact) and up front for the phone, a few snacks etc a Vaude Cruiser Bag which I hang under the top-tube and off the steer tube but it can just as easily be mounted at the seat end of the top-tube.

Other Accessories

To finish off the bike and to ensure I stay mobile out on the road I have brought a new pump for this bike, a Lezyne Digital Pressure Drive. I went with this pump as it is a reasonable small package, but has a gauge, flexible hose connection and is high pressure. I also have a few Lezyne pumps and I am pretty happy with their products. I will probably supplement  the pump with a CO2 pump in due course.

The final piece of kit is my repair kit. This consists of a spare tube, a pair of gloves, puncture repair kit, tubeless repair kit, a tire patch and a small multi-tool. All this will go into the Apidura Saddle Bag.


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