Giant Defy Advanced SL 0
Credit: Chris Milliman

Giant Defy Advanced SL 0

Every biker wants the speed of a race bike with the comfort of an endurance ride. For a performance machine that won’t beat you up, the no-gimmicks 2015 Defy Advanced SL 0 from Giant does the trick.

The Defy has been in Giant’s line for a number of years, but the 2015 model is a different beast. The award-winning geometry remains the same, but its build and the way it rides is all new: Take the carbon frame – the Advanced SL 0 is the lightest road frame Giant has made, yet it has total energy transfer, which means its frame stiffness and pedaling stiffness from a large steerer tube and downtube make any trip more manageable.

But the Defy also has superior compliance. Its D-Fuse seatpost, which is part of the frame, cuts vibration to prevent fatigue. The hollow seat stays add even more shock-absorbing flex. And for complete control, its disc brakes provide stop-on-a-dime precision.

At less than two pounds for a size M frame, we took it for a 70-miler on rough, single-track roads in rural Scotland. While we were looking forward to sipping a whiskey at day’s end, we still had the legs, shoulders, and ambition to ride farther. With a frame and wheels that can take 28mm-wide tires and possibly 30mm-wide tires for adventure riding, you’ve got a head-turning machine you can ride anywhere. [$10,300; giant-bicycles.com]