Giant Defy 3 2014 - opinions / rear spoke issues ???

philk Posts: 5
edited January 2014 in Road beginners
Hi Guys and girls !

I am new (as of 6 months ago) to road cycling and looking to upgrade from my current / first road bike, which is a Carrera TDF. I am also new to forums etc so if this is not in the right place give me a kick and move it please :-)

I've looked around a few local shops and getting mixed opinions from the staff and looking to see if I can be pointed in the right direction.
In one shop I set out to look at a Giant Defy 5 which is lighter and appears to be better geared than my current bike but, as always with these things, my eye was drawn to the more pricey defy 3 - I like the white and carbon forks but rigt at my uppermost spending power !
- In another shop I was told that it would be best to stick with what I had unless I wanted to spend € 1,500 ish !
- In another shop I asked about the Defy 3 and was told that I would be back to the shop with broken spokes and should go for the Allez sport (€940) as I was told it has stronger wheels --- BUT above my budget !!!!

I am 6ft and around the 14 stone marker and wanting to ask would I really break rear spokes at that ?
Do I have to spend more to not break spokes ? Is this really a potential to happen ?
Do I buy the Giant, risk 'broken spokes' and swallow the repair / upgrade bill if it should happen to me ?

Long-winded question I know but don't have the cash to put into the wrong kit / something that might break

Any pointers would be greatly received

Many Thanks


  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    I have a defy 4 which I have done about three thousand miles with its original wheels including two touring holidays in France. And no probs with spokes ... I think someone has been telling you porcupines
  • philk
    philk Posts: 5
    Thanks Mikey23
    I have wondered about 'breaking spokes' on Giant bikes and have been looking online - I did find some people having issues tho'
    The thing that bothered me most was the LBS had both Giant and Specialised bikes on show and was trying to put me off the Giant like no-ones business - Margin maybe ??
  • paulorg
    paulorg Posts: 168
    Hi Phil, In the price bracket you're looking at there won't be that much difference between either model. Both are similarly equipped although it looks like the Allez has a tiny little more Sora than the Defy 3 and there really is no way to tell which is better for you other than finding an LBS that stocks them and taking them for a test ride. Never believe an LBS staff member when they tell you to buy this bike, it probably means they have one in stock that they've been trying to get rid of for a while or they sell the recommended model at a higher price ;)

    I ride a Defy 1 from a few years back so I'll tell you what I think of that, it will be a little higher up the spec ladder but with trickle down of technology from the higher end equipment it wont be that far off the current 3 in terms of performance.

    First of all I love my Giant, it's geometry isn't as racy as others in it's class which means it's very comfortable to ride as you aren't stretched out, but even with that relaxed geometry it's still able to almost fly and depending on the engine it will cruise very quickly, I've regularly sustained 25mph on the flat as long as you keep the pressure up in the tyres. The frame is very, very good and is eminently upgradable so you'll have no problems if you decide to shell out for shiny new kit to go on it and it's reasonably stiff so you get decent power transfer without having to sacrifice road handling, the fork absorbs the buzz of the road nicely and saddle is in my experience very comfortable. The best thing I can say about the Defy is that for as long as I can remember they've regularly won best in class awards across the range, usually beating the Allez.

    You do have to look out for the sizing, it's on the large side so depending on your inside leg measurement, at your height you'd expect an M/L or even M size.

    The moans for me are as follows.
    1.The tyres on mine when I bought it were like a cheese slice, shelled out £25 in the sale and got some Vittoria Rubino's to put on it. I haven't had a puncture since.
    2. There is no mudguard clearance. If you want a year round bike you probably want mudguards, Giant do some Defy specific ones but they're pricy at approx £35-40 a pair and not that easy to fit. Again I bought some Crud Road Racer 2's which are effectively best in class for bikes with no clearance and still couldn't fit them on my Defy.
    3. It's not really a moan but I've had spoke issues. I'd been riding it 2 years when 2 spokes pinged, since then I've been replacing a spoke on the rear wheel on average once a year. That said, my wheel builder/repair chappy said once one goes it's likely that the tension will transfer to the next and after a while that will go unless you have the whole set replaced at once. I don't. I use my Giant 5 days a week and weigh in at a little higher than you do with only 1 spoke going each year. I reckon £20 a year to replace a spoke and have the wheel trued isn't that great a problem. Admittedly I could just buy better wheels and avoid the problem but to get better wheel than what are on it as stock, at your price level you'd probably be looking at new bike territory. They are decent wheels all in all, good weight and stay pretty true despite UK road surfaces.

    I would happily buy a Defy any day of the week. If you can get an Allez rider to do an honest review for you and give you some of their opinions of the Allez and then go test ride and see which you prefer.
    If you buy it, they will come...

    ...up to you and say, you didn't want to buy one of them!!!
  • philk
    philk Posts: 5
    Thanks for that Paulorg.
    This kind of info is starting to settle my mind a bit
  • DesB3rd
    DesB3rd Posts: 285
    I shouldn't think any stock wheels at that price point are exactly fragile. The wheels on my (long since stolen) '09 SCR were solid 24/28 spoke affairs and I was nigh-on 13st when I was riding and they were well within their comfort zone; can't imagine Giant have brought in a new generation of uber-frail spokes...
  • Ricey83
    Ricey83 Posts: 103
    I have a Giant Defy 4 2013 and have no issues with the wheels. I've ridden around 1500 miles including a couple of 100 milers with no issue. The only problem you'll have is the spec of the gears as the 2300's need a fair bit of maintnenance/adjustment and I can't imagine the Sora's being much different. I'd def receommend the Defy for the price range.
  • Ricey83
    Ricey83 Posts: 103
    I can't imagine that the new Claris groupset would be much different from the 2300's apart from the shifters but i could be wrong...
  • Ricey83
    Ricey83 Posts: 103
    They definately have the better shifters but it's not the shifters on the 2300's that cause me problems it's having the make adjustments to the rear mech after a few rides. I can imagine that the front a rear mech are any different apart from the name. I'm looking at upgrading my 2300's for 105's at some point...
  • Jon_1976
    Jon_1976 Posts: 690
    I used to have an Allez and have a 2014 Defy 2. In my experience, the Giant wheels felt faster than the Allez wheels but the Allez felt a lot stronger. Maybe I got a bit unlucky but the rear wheel on my Defy started creaking pretty quickly and then broke a spoke. Also, when freewheeling (on a workstand) sound a bit rough and the cassette wobbled a bit. Bike shop just said it was normal to get rid of me. They rode fine though and after new spoke was fitted there was no creaking. I've since replaced them with fulcrums. I still think the giants were better than the Specialized though.

    In terms of the bikes, I loved the Allez but I used to come home feeling a bit beat up. It's not a super aggressive geometry but getting on the drops, for me, made my neck hurt. I like the defy even more though. It's my first 'relaxed' geo bike and I went in expecting it to be super upright, it isn't but compared to an Allez it's definitely more upright. Using the drops for long periods of time is now a reality and coming home from long rides with no neck/shoulder pain is a big plus. I'd pick the defy every time now.
  • Ricey83
    Ricey83 Posts: 103
    in all fairness you'd want to upgrade the stock wheels at some point anyway. I've not had any issue with spokes coming loose but it does happen. The only time I've felt uncomfortable on my Defy is after 90+ mile rides but I'm sure that's just my body letting me down not the bike...
  • philk
    philk Posts: 5
    Thanks for time spent on all the imput guys - much appreciated
  • hairy_boy
    hairy_boy Posts: 345
    I have a Defy 2 (2010) and absolutely love it. As has been said you need to see what fits you best ideally.

    If you do decide on a Defy 'Pauls cycles' have last years (2013) Defy 2 in either a compact or triple for £599.99
    The Defy 2 comes with Shimano Tiagra gears if you are worrying about Sora gears: ... oad-Racing
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749

    Seems you and I joined the road bike 'gang' at a similar time as I bought my first road bike last May. I got the Defy 5 and I love it - 1,000miles covered and I've had no problems with the wheels at all. I've replaced/upgraded nothing apart from the pedals. I get myself down all manner of country lanes with muck, gravel etc.. all over the road and alongside plenty of hawthorn hedges and the only tyre problem I've had was a pinch flat when I hit a big pothole I didn't see (it was full of water..)- otherwise the standard Giant tyres have served me well. I can't say I've had to do a lot of tinkering with the 2300 gears either.

    That said, I will buy better tyres and brake blocks when the time comes, and I kinda regret having not spent a little more to get gears that don't have thumb shifters - but you live and learn...

    I wish I was buying my bike now having seen Hairy Boy's post - that price for the Defy 2, is only £100 more than I paid for the Defy 5 last summer... :?
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • At 14 stone you'll have no issues I got on my defy 3 2012 model at around 15.5stone and have hammered out about 5000 miles with only a cassette and chain change.
    The wheels are bomb proof and I've hammered mine as the roads are shit around here.
    The dealer probably has a higher profit margin on the Spesh or has closer ties with them.