First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

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First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby eightsixboy » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:57 pm

Hi all,

Im looking at getting my first road bike 8) . Im tossing up between the TCR and Defy (both advanced and normal alloy).

What I would like to know is if I went the Defy would the frame geometry be more easily adaptable to do everything then the more racey TCR. My one concern with the TCR is comfort on longer rides but im not sure how much difference in speed there would be between the two.

A mate had a defy 3 and when he went to a TCR his speed jumped an extra 3-4kmh without trying, not sure if its from the change in frame geometry or components. My worst fear would be to buy either bike and it be a compromise in one area, I really want to get a bike that I can race but also do 100km+ rides.

What do you guys think?

Cheers.
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by BNA » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:58 am

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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby Sydguy » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:58 am

Comfor tfor long rides is a myth, I've done 160.3 and had no issues on my TCR. Averaging 350+ kms a week no comfort issues.

In fact I am super glad I am down out of the wind and more comfy than the upright lesser evolved bikes who struggle along in 'comfort'

Get a TCR or you will be wishing you had.

JM
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby cyclotaur » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:13 am

Depends entirely on the condition of your lower back.

If you're under (...say..pick an age ...) 40yo, and/or your lower back and neck are still good and flexible, get the TCR. If you've ever had any lower back issues, or carry a bit of residual stiffness from old injuries or age then maybe go the Defy.

Having said that, I had minor lower back injuries in my 20/30s and when I started riding a road/race bike in my late 40s and had big problems with my lower back every time I tried it. Eventually I persisted and adapted, to a point, to the aggressive riding position. The longest ride I did on it was around 100kms but I was wrecked for a few days afterwards. Then after riding a full carbon Defy on a touring trip for a week I flipped the road/race bike stem and made a few other minor adjustments and I can now ride it quite happily for decent distances in reasonable comfort with no after effects.

I now ride a newer CX bike 90% of the time, which has Defy-like geometry and is very comfortable. But I still ride the race bike now and then (eg. yesterday :) ) on shorter faster rides. Both my bikes are alu frames and the CX has a carbon fork. I believe full carbon bikes are inherently less fatiguing (comfort and fatigue being related, but different, issues), and my brief experience on the Defy bears this out. I have a mate who is very happy with his Defy Composite.

So if you have no back issues, and you can get a comfortable position, and you want to do some racing then go for the TCR. I would think there is plenty of adjustment available there anyway.

This is just my experience and opinion - hope you find it helpful. :)
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby eightsixboy » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:37 am

Thanks for the replies.

Im only 27 so flexibilty isn't really an issue, I wasn't sure if the TCR was really a back breaker or not. I spoke to a mate at work who has a TCR and he basically said the same thing as you guys. He said there wasn't a massive difference between the defy and TCR but he has no problems on the TCR in terms of comfort on long rides.

Im going to go try out a TCR 1 and 2 very soon but I think I will try the defy aswell just for comparision sake. I guess I wont actually know untill I ride one.
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby BrisVegas » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:17 am

I suspect you could adjust them both to be pretty much the same riding position. Buy the one that looks the best and makes you want to ride it. 8)
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby __PG__ » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:49 pm

I tested both of them back to back.

First up was the TCR. It felt like a rocket. It had sharp turn in, it put the power down instantly and often the front wheel would pop off the ground when accelerating.

The Defy felt a bit ponderous. It didn't turn in and it didn't feel quite as responsive or 'alive'. The TCR was much more fun.

I checked my Strava traces for both rides (which included a short but steep hill). My times with both bikes was identical. After the test rides I had a think about what I 'felt' and what caused it. The TCR has a much shorter wheelbase which helps with turn in and steering response. However, it also creates a much more rearward weight distribution, which is why the front wheel would get light and sometimes lift under acceleration and climbing.

The Defy has a longer wheelbase which makes it more stable. No popping of the front wheel when climbing. But its just as stiff and fast.

If you are racing crits I'd chose the TCR. If rapid steering response and quick direction changes are important to you, get the TCR. If you were riding recreationaly and doing lots of long climbs, personally I'd go for the Defy. Not because it's an 'old man's bike' or a 'comfort bike', purely because the longer wheel base helps create a more stable platform. It's much less work for climbing and I would imagine that for high speed descending it would be easier as well.
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby __PG__ » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:25 pm

Also, you have to think about the historical reasons why bike were built with shorter wheelbases (and in particular, shorter chainstays). In order to get as much stiffness as possible in the rear triangle, manufacturers stuck with chainstays of 40 cm or so. Longer chainstays were used for touring frames for various reasons but a road/race bike had to have as short a chainstay as possible subject to tire clearance.

These days, modern materials mean that you can have slightly longer stays while still retaining adequate stiffness. If you look at the dimensions of a Trek Madone, or a Colnago for example, they have stays that are just over 41 cm.

For the record the TCR chainstays are 40 cm, the Defy are 42 cm.

Taking an opportunity to ride a Defy/TCR back-to-back is a great exercise to work out how frame geometry affects the bicycle 'experience'.
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby cyclotaur » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:38 pm

__PG__ wrote:I tested both of them back to back.
...

__PG__ wrote:Also, you have to think about the historical reasons why bike were built with shorter wheelbases (and in particular, shorter chainstays).

Interesting stuff ... in both posts.
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby Crowz » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:42 pm

I'm only 20 but have pretty low flexibility (never been able to touch my toes) so I went down the Defy (Composite) route and am loving it. Very comfortable bike. I think you'll also have trouble at first with the riding position if you've never had a road bike before.
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby Gerry.M » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:46 pm

__PG__ wrote:Taking an opportunity to ride a Defy/TCR back-to-back is a great exercise to work out how frame geometry affects the bicycle 'experience'.


so _PG_, did you end up buying either bike? And if so which one?

I'm thinking of buying either of these, the same as the OP, and would like to know more peoples opinions of the differences.
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby Yoda junior » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:10 pm

Hi,

I was in the same position too.

Tested both the TCR Advanced and Defy Advanced.

The TCR Advanced felt a bit twitchy for me whereas the Defy Advanced was stable and comfortable. It is lighter than the TCR Advanced and climbs like a goat.

Both are equally fast. It is really the engine that counts when comparing these two bikes..

The thing about flexibility is over-rated.

There are spacers to allow you to adjust the height of the handlebars..

I bought the Defy Advanced and lower the height of the handlebars by removing some spacers. It gives me a more aero position than most TCRs people are riding. You can even slam the stem if you need to get even more aero.

And I can raise the handlebar height gradually as I get older and less flexible. It will still look the goods..

Can you imagine a TCR with stacks of spacers under the handlebar? Not a good look.

One more thing - The Defy Advanced just won the Bike of the Year 2013.
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby __PG__ » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:38 pm

Gerry.M wrote:
__PG__ wrote:Taking an opportunity to ride a Defy/TCR back-to-back is a great exercise to work out how frame geometry affects the bicycle 'experience'.


so _PG_, did you end up buying either bike? And if so which one?

Nope. Initially I preferred the TCR but that only came with a standard crankset (I wanted a compact). It was only in retrospect that I thought the Defy was better suited to what sort of riding I do.

I test rode the Trek 4 Madone previously. If I had ended up buying a carbon frame I probably would have bought a Trek Madone as its geometry is in between the Defy and TCR. The Giant bikes represent two extreme ends of the spectrum. Also, there was a 2011 Madone 5-series frameset hanging from the roof of an LBS in my size.

After riding the Giants I test rode a Moots CR. This didn't feel 'fast' at all, in fact it felt downright boring. However, looking at the Strava data said otherwise :lol: That was an interesting test case in how tube shape can affect bike feel.

After the Moots I went and spoke to Darren Baum. As the Romano was basically the same price as the Moots (but with custom geometry) I decided to get a Baum. Then I test rode his Corretto. That was another interesting experience. It felt nothing like the Moots at all, and more like a carbon bike. Again, it's down to tube shapes affecting bike feel.

I've got a Corretto frame which is similar to my current bike, but with longer chainstays, less fork rake and more relaxed seat tube angle. Overall wheelbase is the same as is the bottom bracket drop. I haven't ridden it yet, I'm still getting the components together.
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby __PG__ » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:40 pm

Yoda junior wrote:I bought the Defy Advanced and lower the height of the handlebars by removing some spacers. It gives me a more aero position than most TCRs people are riding. You can even slam the stem if you need to get even more aero.

You could also get a -17 degree angle stem to lower the bars even more.
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby eightsixboy » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:20 pm

Damn it, now theres even more to think about :D

My mate with the TCR did say it was really twitchy, maybe thats not a good thing especially if your decending at speed.

If there was no real difference in speed say climbing or on a flat road then is having a shorter wheelbase required? Will there be that much of a difference in handling?

One of my concerns was to buy either and have compromised in some way, so the defy might be great but handles very dull, or the tcr might be to twitchy or awkward on long trips.

Im going hopefully tomorrow to ride both so Ill let you guys know what I think. It will literally be the first time I have ridden a road bike so it should be interesting to compare the two.
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby Alien27 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:55 pm

eightsixboy wrote:Damn it, now theres even more to think about :D

My mate with the TCR did say it was really twitchy, maybe thats not a good thing especially if your decending at speed.

If there was no real difference in speed say climbing or on a flat road then is having a shorter wheelbase required? Will there be that much of a difference in handling?

One of my concerns was to buy either and have compromised in some way, so the defy might be great but handles very dull, or the tcr might be to twitchy or awkward on long trips.

I'm going hopefully tomorrow to ride both so Ill let you guys know what I think. It will literally be the first time I have ridden a road bike so it should be interesting to compare the two.


I bought a cheapish second hand aluminum Defy with 105 group-set as my first bike. I love it but 9 months later I'm starting to get the itch for more aggressive geometry, carbon and Di2. I just got bumped up to C grade and promised myself a new bike when that happened so I'm on the lookout now and will prob go a TCR. The way i figure it, I have the best of both worlds, a sturdy is commuter that didn't break the bank and soon I'll have a nice shiny weekend race bike. Plus I wont have to keep taking all the commuter lights, tool kits etc off and on for race days and weekend rides.

Grab a good quality, couple of years old, second hand bike like a defy, make all your mistakes on it, and lets face it not many beginners don't have at least a clip stack or other newbie type crash (3 for me, 2 at walking pace one at 60kmph). Use the shiny new race bike as a reward for achieving some sort of goal and end up with two bikes 8) .
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby eightsixboy » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:07 pm

Just thought I'd update this as I bought a TCR advanced 2.

I rode a mates TCR on friday and loved it, it was drastic difference between it and my mtb obviously. After riding it and then going and been fitted up to a TCR in my LBS today I honestly didn't even bother looking at the Defy. I came to the conclusion that if I wanted a plush road bike I'd just save a few dollars and buy the defy 1, but I liked the TCR's geometry, and also think the black and blue looks mint, I like the white and blue of the defy but the TCR looks more stealth.

I rode it around the block a few times before, still cant get over how much different it feels in terms of speed and handling, Im so glad I made the jump into a carbon TCR :)
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby Sydguy » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:22 pm

Awesome - you will love it. The frame does look awesome - in fact I think that frame looks better than the TCR Adv 0!

Giant should seriously look at offering the 3 frame colours with what ever groupset you want, so you buy a TCR ADV 0 and like the white frame, they throw the TCR 0 bits on the white frame and your away. They could charge more for that type of service, and lots of people would jump at it. With the amount of bikes Giant shift surely they could do it.

JM
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby Sydguy » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:44 pm

Thought I also might add the Bike Radar review, 4 stars!

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/cate ... 2-13-47055

Cut and paste link, looks like you made a good choice.

JM
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby Yoda junior » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:07 am

Giant Defy Advanced - 5 Stars - 2013 Cycling Plus Bike of the Year

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/cate ... 2-13-47086
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby aditwahyu » Tue May 07, 2013 9:10 am

hi! been on the same position like you! i ended up buying tcr because it has a bit sloping top tube that makes it very comfy for a longer ride! good luck to your first road bike!
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Re: First road bike - Giant TCR vs Defy

Postby Slvr32gtr » Tue May 07, 2013 11:39 am

eightsixboy wrote:Just thought I'd update this as I bought a TCR advanced 2.


Nice choice! One of my bikes is a TCR Advanced SL limited edition and the thing is a rocket ship. Its significantly stiffer than both my Argon 18 Krypton and Merida Reacto 907, and you can really feel the difference when putting the power down.

I like the responsiveness (twitchyness) of the TCR's and have a lot of confidence pushing it through the corners and on fast descents.
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