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I might want a Road bike, maybe a Giant Defy 1, please advise :)

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I might want a Road bike, maybe a Giant Defy 1, please advise :)

Old 06-13-14, 08:39 PM
  #1  
Mr. Tuff Dandy
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I might want a Road bike, maybe a Giant Defy 1, please advise :)

I think I would like to buy my first Road bike.

I want to buy a bike for the following purposes:

- To commute around via the roads of the city.

- To take long rides (i.e. 6-10 hours per ride) on paved trails during some of the weekend days of the summer.

Is a Road bike the best type of bike for me, or should I consider another type instead?

The reason I ask is because I am not exactly sure what the differences are between a "Road bike" and a "Comfort bike," other than that a Road bike has lower handlebars and thinner tires.

I am considering to save up money for a Giant Defy 1. I have read a lot of good feedback about that bike on this site and elsewhere. I have these questions about it:

Question 1: Is the top tube of the Giant Defy 1's frame strong enough to withstand impact? I.e. Might the top tube break if I fall off my bike and the bike crashes into the pavement?

I know very little about bikes, so I am not in a position to judge whether the top tube is structurally sound or not. My question arises purely from my gut instinct: when I look at the top tube, I get the unsettling feeling that says, "that top tube looks awfully thin & brittle on the side that is closest to the seat tube."

I'd appreciate honest feedback about this point either way (that is, to confirm or deny the validity of my fears, whichever is realistic).

Question 2: If I spend $1399 CAD plus tax for a Road bike, is the Giant Defy 1 literally the best bike that I can possibly buy for that amount of money?

If not, what other bikes (brands and models) are either better, or comparable, for that amount of money?

For this question, I am asking about brick & mortar stores that I can physically go to, located either in or near Toronto, Canada. I know that Bikes Direct and Performance Bike have some great deals, but in my case, since I live in Canada, the shipping costs plus illegitimate costs that are added by courier companies to cross-border shipments would nullify those deals.
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Old 06-13-14, 08:45 PM
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NormanF
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The difference between a road bike and a performance hybrid are the bars.

And performance hybrids offer a more upright position than a road bike.
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Old 06-13-14, 09:54 PM
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I think the Giant Defy 1 offers great value for the money. You'll get years of use out of that bike. 105 are good quality components. Another model that is similar and should have similar price is the Felt Z85, if you can find one.

I would not worry about structural integrity of the top tube. Bikes are engineered to withstand some impact. I've fallen over on my bike a couple of times with no damage.

Head out to your local bike store and do some test rides. Personally, I much prefer a road bike with drop bars, but everyone is different.
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Old 06-13-14, 11:08 PM
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These are all endurance road bikes like the Giant Defy 1.0 :

1) Trek Domane 2.0

2) The Jamis Ventura Race

3) The Jamis Quest Comp

4) The Cannondale Synapse 6 Tiagra

5) The Traitor Reuben

6) The Raleigh Revenio 3.0

7) The Schwinn Fastback 2.0

8) The GT Corsa 1.0

9) The Surly Pacer

10) The Diamondback Century 2.0

* The Giant Defy 1.0 is gonna be hard to beat!

Last edited by WestPablo; 06-13-14 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 06-14-14, 12:08 AM
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See the above answers for a lot of great info, including road bikes in general and various options.

But when all is said and done, I think you will absolutely love the Defy 1. It's a great bike and will serve you for many, many miles. It's not only comfortable, but it makes riding just plain fun.
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Old 06-14-14, 04:15 AM
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Had my Defy 1 for going on 3 years now, and have put in roughly 8,000 miles... It is one of the lightest bikes in its class, and I have loved riding it. I have only a few minor quibbles:
1. The geometry puts me in a little too relaxed position - most of the guys I ride with are in a more aggressive race-style position (flat back nearer parallel to the ground, which is how I used to ride in my youth)... I haven't been bold enough to start radically altering my Defy by dropping the stem down lower- I'm not even sure I could obtain a race-style position with the relatively shorter top tube... As it is, I have pushed the saddle back pretty far, and rolled the handlebars down a notch.
2. The saddle, while looking good, wore out after a year.
3. Cheap tires.

Otherwise, it has served me well thus far, and while not the sexiest or most expensive bike on the road, it offers a great ride and features for its price.
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Old 06-14-14, 05:08 AM
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I have a Giant Defy 1 and am very pleased with it. I found that it was the best equipped of all the comparably priced bikes at the time. However, test ride a bunch of bikes in your price range and get the one that you are most comfortable on. All of the major manufacturers have a comparable offering (someone listed them above) so there are lots to choose from. Giant is the best value in my opinion.
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Old 06-14-14, 05:40 AM
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Take a ride on a $1400 road bike. Then take a ride on a $1400 hybrid. See which feels / fits better. You can do long rides on both. You can do them faster on a road bike. You can do them more comfortably on a hybrid.
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Old 06-14-14, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Jaeger99 View Post
Take a ride on a $1400 road bike. Then take a ride on a $1400 hybrid. See which feels / fits better. You can do long rides on both. You can do them faster on a road bike. You can do them more comfortably on a hybrid.
Drop bars cost about $300 extra!

Therefore, take a 60 mile test ride on a $1200 road bike and a 60 mile test ride on a $900 hybrid. Then come back and report which one was both faster and felt more comfortable.
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Old 06-15-14, 03:34 PM
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Thanks for the great info, everyone.

I took into consideration the feedback from this thread, and then I went to talk to my Giant rep again.

When I was younger, I always hated drop handlebars. Perhaps I still do, but I haven't ridden a bike in some years, so I'm not sure. I will keep in mind that I should test drive some bikes before I purchase them. However, right now I do not yet have enough money saved up to get a bike and the other things I need to put me on the road. So I am going to wait until I have enough money before I test drive bikes...especially since if something goes wrong during a test ride, my credit card would be charged for that bike.

Because I have in the past much preferred riser handlebars, I asked my Giant rep if I could potentially order a Defy 1 yet change the handlebars to riser handlebars like on the Giant Escape models. He said that they could do that, but he does not recommend it, because the geometry of the Defy 1 is designed to work with drop handlebars.

I then asked him if, in his opinion, I would probably be more comfortable during long paved trail rides on a Giant Defy 1 with its drop handlebars, or on a Giant Escape. His opinion was that I would be more comfortable on the Defy 1 because I could go lower to combat wind, and because I have a wider variety of possible positions that I can put myself into with drop handlebars.

Do you guys concur with that line of thought? Or might I be more comfortable on long paved trail rides on an Escape with its riser handlebars? Would test drives allow me to be on each bike for long enough period of time in order to determine that?

I also asked the Giant rep about replacing the CF fork on the Defy 1. I am wary of CF because many members here claim that UV radiation will damage it over time and that can lead to catastrophic failure.

Moreover, I am especially reluctant to use CF forks after reading this thread and seeing the pics in its OP:

Giant Warranty Issue - CyclingNews Forum

Can you guys please tell me what you think about the CF fork that got sheared in half in that situation? Is that indicative of a problem with CF material itself possibly being unsafe?

Even if that CF fork broke due to the OP of that thread abusing of his bike, I still would like completely to avoid CF forks if something like that might happen to my bike and thus possibly cause me to endure great injury or death. Do you think me not wanting to use a CF fork is reasonable based on the CF catastrophe detailed in the thread to which I linked?

When I asked my Giant rep if they could replace the CF fork with a non-CF fork, he said it is possible, but problematic, because he would have to find a compatible steel fork that will fit into the Defy 1's headtube (I forget his exact words and the precise technical explanation that he gave me to point out why this is a problem), and he didn't seem to know of any off the top his head. Does this problem make sense to you guys? Do you know of steel forks that would work with the Defy 1?
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Old 06-15-14, 03:39 PM
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6-10 hour ride is pretty ambitious.

S
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Old 06-15-14, 09:10 PM
  #12  
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I don't think Giant has experienced any fork failures specifically due to manufacturing faults.
Any fork from any manufacturer could be damaged and or fail n a crash, whether it be steel or carbon, it just depends on the type of impact.
You could die from the slightest impact/crash if you were unlucky, there are a lot of unknowns which you can't really protect yourself against.

With the drop handlebars you can position your hands on the hoods or on the tops, it would give you some positions similar to that of the riser bars.
Drop bars are a more flexible proposition.

It sounds like it would be better for you to go with the Escape model, which is designed for more comfort and less performance than the Defy 1, it would be easier to handle if you don't have any bike handling skills.

Last edited by kleng; 06-15-14 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 06-15-14, 09:33 PM
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If you crash hard enough to break the top tube, your bike will be the least of your worries
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Old 06-16-14, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Tuff Dandy View Post
Thanks for the great info, everyone.

I took into consideration the feedback from this thread, and then I went to talk to my Giant rep again.

When I was younger, I always hated drop handlebars. Perhaps I still do, but I haven't ridden a bike in some years, so I'm not sure. I will keep in mind that I should test drive some bikes before I purchase them. However, right now I do not yet have enough money saved up to get a bike and the other things I need to put me on the road. So I am going to wait until I have enough money before I test drive bikes...especially since if something goes wrong during a test ride, my credit card would be charged for that bike.

Because I have in the past much preferred riser handlebars, I asked my Giant rep if I could potentially order a Defy 1 yet change the handlebars to riser handlebars like on the Giant Escape models. He said that they could do that, but he does not recommend it, because the geometry of the Defy 1 is designed to work with drop handlebars.

I then asked him if, in his opinion, I would probably be more comfortable during long paved trail rides on a Giant Defy 1 with its drop handlebars, or on a Giant Escape. His opinion was that I would be more comfortable on the Defy 1 because I could go lower to combat wind, and because I have a wider variety of possible positions that I can put myself into with drop handlebars.

Do you guys concur with that line of thought? Or might I be more comfortable on long paved trail rides on an Escape with its riser handlebars? Would test drives allow me to be on each bike for long enough period of time in order to determine that?

I also asked the Giant rep about replacing the CF fork on the Defy 1. I am wary of CF because many members here claim that UV radiation will damage it over time and that can lead to catastrophic failure.

Moreover, I am especially reluctant to use CF forks after reading this thread and seeing the pics in its OP:

Giant Warranty Issue - CyclingNews Forum

Can you guys please tell me what you think about the CF fork that got sheared in half in that situation? Is that indicative of a problem with CF material itself possibly being unsafe?

Even if that CF fork broke due to the OP of that thread abusing of his bike, I still would like completely to avoid CF forks if something like that might happen to my bike and thus possibly cause me to endure great injury or death. Do you think me not wanting to use a CF fork is reasonable based on the CF catastrophe detailed in the thread to which I linked?

When I asked my Giant rep if they could replace the CF fork with a non-CF fork, he said it is possible, but problematic, because he would have to find a compatible steel fork that will fit into the Defy 1's headtube (I forget his exact words and the precise technical explanation that he gave me to point out why this is a problem), and he didn't seem to know of any off the top his head. Does this problem make sense to you guys? Do you know of steel forks that would work with the Defy 1?
I've got a Defy 1, so I can address a few of your concerns.

First, the bars. One of the big advantages of drop bars over riser bars is the variety of hand positions you can use. If you do indeed start taking 6-10 hour rides like you want to, you'll want the flexibility to ride in the tops, drops, and hoods. If you're really worried about comfort, get a stem with a positive angle and spend a lot of time on the tops/hoods.

Now, the fork. There is a ton of misinformation out there about carbon. It's an incredibly durable material. It would be an extremely rare occurrence for the fork to just catastrophically fail due to UV exposure (if it could happen at all). Swapping out the carbon fork for another might mean you're losing some ride comfort. I've got a few thousand miles on my carbon fork, including some significant distances on washboarded dirt roads, and I've got no qualms about taking it out and riding hard. Don't be afraid of carbon!
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Old 06-17-14, 06:13 AM
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I will add to WestPablo's list the Scott Speedster 20 - while I have not ridden one, if I had encountered it at my local dealer before I bought my Defy at the Giant dealer, I could have easily hone with the Scott - similar componentry and price range, with a more classic looking geometry. My only beef was the white saddle, but that's a cheap change
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Old 06-17-14, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Spartannia View Post
Don't be afraid of carbon!
Thanks for the feedback.

Although, I have been reading a Giant Bicycle Owner's Manual, and it has given me more reasons to fear carbon, and seems to confirm that effects like the CF fork shearing in half due to a crash are not abnormal.

I quote from that manual here:

What Are The Limits Of Composites?
...Carbon fiber composites are not ductile. Once a carbon structure is overloaded, it will not bend; it will break.
...
If You Hit Something Or Have A Crash, What Can you Expect From Your Carbon Fiber Bike?
...if the impact is hard enough, the fork or frame may be completely broken.
I interpret those quotations to be sensible reasons to stay away from CF.

However, the same part of the manual also argues that the frame or fork breaking due to a crash is a moot point, because the rider is guaranteed to fly over the front of the bike anyway, if at the time of the crash, he or she was going at a speed "above a fast walk."

Do you guys agree that a crash at a speed "above a fast walk" guarantees that the rider will fly over the front of the bike?

Last edited by Mr. Tuff Dandy; 06-17-14 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 06-17-14, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Tuff Dandy View Post
Thanks for the feedback.

Although, I have been reading a Giant Bicycle Owner's Manual, and it has given me more reasons to fear carbon, and seems to confirm that effects like the CF fork shearing in half due to a crash are not abnormal.

I quote from that manual here:



I interpret those quotations to be sensible reasons to stay away from CF.

However, the same part of the manual also argues that the frame or fork breaking due to a crash is a moot point, because the rider is guaranteed to fly over the front of the bike anyway, if at the time of the crash, he or she was going at a speed "above a fast walk."

Do you guys agree that a crash at a speed "above a fast walk" guarantees that the rider will fly over the front of the bike?
Again, if you crash hard enough to break your carbon frame , the bike will be the least of your worries. If you have the same crash on a steel bike you are still going to the hospital. There is some risk involved in riding a bike. Most people's concerns with carbon fiber are the risk of catastrophic failure while riding that causes a crash not damage from a crash. If you crash your carbon frame lightly or drop it there may be hairline cracks that you don't notice that cause a catastrophic failure down the line. Same can happen with aluminum. Google it. Plenty of people have had aluminum frames crack in half while riding. People have had stems crack in half while riding and send them over the bars and to the hospital. Even steel can fail if it ridden after a crash. Any of these things can happen with any bike but they probably won't. Odds are in your favor. Millions of people ride all kinds of bikes every day without them imploding
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Old 06-17-14, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Tuff Dandy View Post
Thanks for the feedback.

Although, I have been reading a Giant Bicycle Owner's Manual, and it has given me more reasons to fear carbon, and seems to confirm that effects like the CF fork shearing in half due to a crash are not abnormal.

I quote from that manual here:



I interpret those quotations to be sensible reasons to stay away from CF.

However, the same part of the manual also argues that the frame or fork breaking due to a crash is a moot point, because the rider is guaranteed to fly over the front of the bike anyway, if at the time of the crash, he or she was going at a speed "above a fast walk."

Do you guys agree that a crash at a speed "above a fast walk" guarantees that the rider will fly over the front of the bike?
You're being overly cautious here, and that might be a big understatement. Trust me, carbon forks do not just shear on impact in a crash. It's an extremely strong material. I've got some racing experience, been in a couple high speed crashes myself. My carbon fork has survived without a worry. I've seen guys hit the deck at 30+ MPH, grab their bikes, and keep going without an issue. They have to put that stuff in the manual to cover themselves.

Like others have said, if you crash hard enough that your CF catastrophically fails, you'll have other issues to worry about (and probably a sizeable hospital bill.) A crash that destroys a carbon fork is probably going to be serious enough to destroy a steel fork as well. Of course, you might be planning on ending every ride by riding headfirst into a brick wall, in which case the chance of CF failure is going to increase.

There is no reason to be scared of carbon fiber!
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