In theory, the GIANT Defy Advanced SL checks all the right boxes: low weight, plenty of comfort, and a sporty, puristic look. With a maximum tire clearance of 38 mm, it’s not just suitable for all-road use, but will also venture off-road. Can the bike deliver with its in-house components, cool style, and ample compliance?

Giant Defy Advanced SL | 7.2 kg in size M | € 11,999 | Manufacturer’s website

This bike was tested as part of the 2024 all-road shootout – you can find an overview of the test field here: 2024 all-road shootout – The four hottest all-road bikes head to head.

As giants in the bicycle business, GIANT cater to almost every bike category. From ebikes to road, mountain, trekking, city, and gravel bikes, they have an almost endless range of models in their portfolio. That’s not even counting Liv, which is their in-house brand for women’s specific bikes. GIANT also offer a wide range of components via component brand CADEX. As big as the GIANT brand is, the 2024 GIANT Defy Advanced SL makes some equally big promises. It’s claimed to be very light and also very efficient. This is thanks to functional purism – no bells and whistles. Indeed, the flagship model Defy is the lightest bike on test, weighing in at just 7.20 kg, and for € 11,999, it’s not even the most expensive option. Can the GIANT Defy do more with less?

What is the 2024 GIANT Defy Advanced SL capable of?

The 2024 GIANT Defy Advanced SL certainly delivers in terms of looks! There’s no way you’ll just pass it by. Upon closer inspection, the colour gradient reveals three different colours. The silver reflectors on the fork and seat stays are very striking, too. They look a bit like they’ve been stuck on at the top, but fade out nicely at the bottom. Most of all, they provide increased visibility, which is especially helpful on long-distance and night rides. The silver accents of the SRAM RED drivetrain also match perfectly. Moving along, the tube shapes result in a unique design language with contrasting elements. You’ve got an oversized head tube, paired with slender seat stays and fork legs. The head tube is very tall too, measuring 175 mm in size M/L, which is another visually striking feature. All the frame’s surfaces and lines emphasise the chameleon finish. But the branding is a bit over the top, especially compared to the FOCUS PARALANE. The frame and fork have very generous maximum tire clearances of 38 mm – just two millimetres less than the Specialized Roubaix SL8. However, you wouldn’t guess so looking at the bike.

Fits snugly
The included bottle cages fit snugly against the frame.
Some bolts on the GIANT Defy look like something out of the hardware store, not suitable for a high-end superbike.
Is that a RED cassette? Nope! RED cassettes are not available with 10–36 t, though it makes perfect sense for long rides.

The components of the GIANT Defy Advanced SL look and feel high-end. They’ve got a premium finish and boast excellent workmanship. Apart from the drivetrain and brakes, everything is sourced in-house. This includes the D-Fuse SLR handlebar and D-Fuse SLR seat post. D-Fuse refers to the use of D-shaped tubing with one rounded and one flattened side, which is said to offer increased compliance and therefore comfort. Thanks to the GIANT Contact SLR stem, you’ve got semi-integrated cable routing. The CADEX 36 Disc Tubeless wheelset also stands out amongst the components. With an internal rim width of 22.6 mm, the rims are quite wide for road wheels. However, they’re very light and therefore agile, nonetheless, spinning on ceramic bearings. You’ll also hear the freehub from a mile off. They’re paired with 32 mm CADEX Classics tires. SRAM take care of the shifting and braking with the RED eTap AXS HRD groupset. Consisting of a 46/33 t crankset and 10–36 t cassette, the drivetrain provides sufficient gear range for long climbs. To top it off, you’ve got perfectly matching bottle cages and a matching computer mount, as well as neatly hidden mounting points for mudguards, making for a solid, well-specced build.

The reflective strips on the seat stays and fork are part of the flashy finish.
Just for looks?
While the D-shape seat post offers noticeable flex, we can’t say the same of the handlebar.

Giant Defy Advanced SL 2024

€ 11,999


Fork Advanced SL Vollcarbon Gabel
Seatpost GIANT Contact SLR D-Fuse Carbon
Brakes SRAM Red eTap AXS HRD 160 mm
Drivetrain SRAM Red eTap AXS 2 x 12
Chainring 46/33T
Stem Contact SLR Aerolight Carbon 100 mm
Handlebar GIANT Contact SLR D-Fuse Carbon 420 mm
Wheelset CADEX 36 DISC TUBELESS 12 x 100/12 x 142 mm Through Axle
Tires CADEX Classics 700 x 32c 32
Cranks SRAM Red D1, 46/33T 172.5 mm
Cassette SRAM Force 10-36T

Technical Data

Size S M ML L XL

Specific Features

very responsive and efficient ride feel
cool, sleek look
form fitting bottle cages included
generous tire clearances

How does the 2024 GIANT Defy Advanced SL perform on the test track?

The GIANT Defy Advanced SL offers a very balanced and only slightly stretched riding position. It falls in right between the compact Canyon Endurace, and the FOCUS PARALANE. This all-road bike certainly hasn’t got anything to hide when it comes to comfort, especially on asphalt. However, while the D-Fuse components offer plenty of compliance, it’s not always sufficient for long off-road excursions. For that kind of riding, we recommend taking full advantage of the 38 mm tire clearance. It’s the front end in particular that feels somewhat stiff. When it comes to the handling, the bike has two faces. The GIANT Defy Advanced SL offers plenty of straight-line stability, but only at high speeds. This is great for long, open corners, long straights, and fast descents. Tight corners, on the other hand, require effort to keep the bike under control, quickly feeling nervous. As such, the handling is rather demanding, with the steering feeling very agile at times and sluggish at others. Navigating tight corners requires a steady, experienced hand, as well as getting used to. You can’t just hop on and blast down mountain passes.

Blasting up mountain passes, however, is well within reach. The GIANT Defy Advanced SL feels very efficient and quick to accelerate. It picks up speed with ease, which makes it a blast to ride. It’s very lively, especially compared to the FOCUS PARALANE. Furthermore, the Giant Defy is the only all-road bike on test with a gear ratio of less than 1 – the lowest in the shoot-out. Both your knees and you will be happy about this on steep climbs after a long day in the saddle. However, the cheap-looking bolts on the stem and seat post are a bit of an eyesore. They’re exposed, and they don’t match the premium look and feel of the rest of the bike. It’s particularly unfortunate in the case of the stem because it’s always in your field of view. Another minus point is the slightly too short handlebar tape, limiting the functionality of an otherwise great cockpit.

GIANT prove that practicality and sexy looks aren’t mutually exclusive with the 2024 Defy Advanced SL.

Helmet MET Trenta 3K Carbon MIPS | Glasses Mellon Optics Kingpin | Jersey POC ESSENTIAL ROAD W’S | Bib POC PURE BIB SHORTS VPDS | Shoes FIZIK Vento Stabilita | Socks DHaRCO Crew Socks

Who is the 2024 GIANT Defy Advanced SL 2024?

If you’re planning to ride on different surfaces, though predominantly on asphalt, and you value comfort, the GIANT Defy Advanced SL is a safe bet. Thanks to a maximum tire clearance of 38 mm, it makes for a versatile all-road bike that will also take on the occasional gravel outing. Considering its quick and efficient acceleration, it will serve you well on race day, too. It’s a bike to stand out from the crowd, especially with such a loud freehub and striking finish. Due to its low weight, the GIANT Defy Advanced SL is ideal for fast rides with lots of elevation gain.

Tuning tip: Wider, grippier tires for more off-road suitability, like a pair of 35 mm Schwalbe G-One RS

Riding Characteristics



  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Fun factor

  1. boring
  2. lively


  1. firm
  2. comfortable

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data

Defy Advanced SL

Size: S M ML L XL
Weight: 7.2
Price: € 11,999

Indended Use

Smooth tarmac 1
Allroad/Gravel 2
Everyday/Commuting 3

Our conclusion on the 2024 GIANT Defy Advanced SL

The GIANT Defy Advanced SL is a sporty all-road bike for everything from poorly maintained asphalt to well-groomed woodland paths. Ultimately, however, it’s not as puristic as GIANT claim. The D-Fuse handlebar, seat post with a cut-out, special bottle cages, and flashy, lightweight frame are anything but. However, that’s not a bad thing at all! The final result is an excellent and fun endurance road bike in a league of its own – understated or not.


  • racy, stylish, and modern look
  • efficient acceleration
  • excellent climber
  • high fun factor


  • lack of attention to some small details like the stem bolts
  • bar tape is too short

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Words: Martin Staffa Photos: Jan Richter