The 2019 Defy range includes the Defy Advanced Pro and Defy Advanced series, both handcrafted with Advanced-grade composite framesets. Both also feature updated frame geometry to optimize performance with higher volume tires, along with other key innovations to deliver engineered compliance, total control and versatility for endurance road riders.
“The Defy has long been a favourite among endurance road riders as well as gear editors and testers around the world,” said Nixon Huang, Giant’s senior global road category manager. “So we were already starting from a strong position with this project. We focused on finding new ways to give it an even smoother, more refined ride quality to help minimize fatigue, but without compromising its efficiency and high-performance feel on the road.”
Over the past two years, Giant engineers experimented and tested various concepts to address those goals and ultimately achieved breakthrough results by expanding on existing D-Fuse technology. Initially presented in 2014 as a proprietary seatpost for cyclocross bikes, D-Fuse was created to absorb shocks and vibrations, giving cyclocross riders and racers more control on rough roads and dirt. The heart of its design is a distinctive tube shape with a round front and flattened rear section. Following its success on TCX cyclocross bikes, including multiple world championship titles, the D-Fuse seatpost design was adapted by the Defy range in 2015 to help minimize fatigue on long road rides.
Now, for the first time ever, Giant is bringing this D-Fuse technology to the front half of the bike in an all-new handlebar. The expanded role of D-Fuse, as a system, is to significantly improve compliance at key contact points while at the same time maintaining a high-performance ride quality.
The new composite Contact SLR D-Fuse and aluminium Contact SL D-Fuse handlebar models use similar D-shaped tubing as the seatposts. Tests show that the composite version has 10 percent more “pushing” or downward compliance and 30 percent more “pulling” or upward stiffness compared to the round-shaped Contact SLR composite handlebar. The Defy Advanced Pro model also features a new stem, the Contact SL Stealth, that improves aero performance and gives the bike a cleaner, more streamlined look.
“The result is that we now have a handlebar that is more comfortable over rough terrain, while also remaining stiff and efficient enough for hard climbing and out-of-the-saddle sprinting,” said Huang. “Plus, it works in unison with the D-Fuse seatpost to add compliance at two key contact points, the handlebars and the saddle, without the unwanted complexity or weight associated with pivots or inserts.”
Frame geometry on new Defy models has evolved slightly to allow higher volume tires up to 32c. The bottom bracket has been dropped 5mm to compensate for higher tire volume, giving riders the option to run larger tires for a smoother ride on rough roads or mixed terrain. All Defy models also feature disc-brake integration with flat mounts and thru-axles, along with Giant’s Tubeless System, which includes tubeless wheels and tires already set up out of the box.
Beyond the frameset and D-Fuse innovations, this year’s Defy range also marks the debut of Giant’s Power Pro system on the top-end model, the Defy Advanced Pro 0. This integrated, dual-sided power meter measures power output and delivers accurate data to help riders track, analyze and improve performance. With multi-axis left and right crank arm sensors, it pairs with the Giant NeosTrack GPS computer to display vital information including power (watts), pedal balance, force angle and cadence. The Power Pro is also compatible with other popular ANT+ head units.
Here’s a look at the two new series in the 2019 Defy range:
Defy Advanced Pro: This all-new, high-performance frameset is handcrafted with Giant’s Advanced composite frame material and a full-composite fork for endurance road riding. With the perfect blend of stiffness and compliance, it delivers a smooth, fast ride quality for long, hard rides. Its innovative technologies include a Giant D-Fuse SL composite seatpost, Contact SLR D-Fuse composite handlebar, and the new Contact SL Stealth stem for improved aero performance These cockpit components work as a system to add compliance and reduce road shocks and vibrations. The frame is also integrated for disc brakes, with flat mounts and 12mm front and rear thru-axles, plus added clearance for high-volume tires up to 32c. The oversized and tapered OverDrive 2 steerer tube boosts cornering precision, while the PowerCore bottom bracket delivers precise handling and best-in-class pedaling efficiency.
Defy Advanced: Engineered with Advanced-grade composite material, the Defy Advanced features tube shapes that are optimized to absorb road shocks and vibrations. The frameset is made with a specific carbon layup process for a compliant ride quality that preserves stiffness and pedaling efficiency. It features integrated disc brakes with flat mounts and 12mm thru-axles. The D-Fuse SL composite seatpost and Contact SL D-Fuse aluminium handlebar system help reduce road vibrations, and the full composite OverDrive steerer produces precision cornering capabilities. Frame and fork clearance has been increased, so riders can now run larger tires up to 32c.