Specialized vs giant

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by TomSynnott, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. TomSynnott

    TomSynnott New Member

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    Hi all... I am looking to get a Road bike that I will use on about 4 sprint triathlons per year but mainly this will be for weekend road rides and occasionally to work.

    I am looking at:

    Defy Advanced Pro or SL

    Specialized Roubaix (Not sure the model)

    Any thoughts? I know there is not too much love for these brands but I am happy with them as a start!

    I love the look and feel of Specialized , they 'seem' to have more features on the bikes and are a little more innovative but I am only a noob at this, looking for some opinions from the community.

    Thanks all in advance!
     
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  2. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    The Roubaix has the cantilevered cutout sections in the fork blades, seat stays, and seat post, filled with "zertz" polymer inserts. The cutouts soften the ride and the inserts are said to absorb vibration. On the other hand, I've talked to riders whose inserts had fallen out, and they reported no change in the way their bikes rode. So my guess is they're for filling the gap and inspiring confidence among those who might be alarmed at how much carbon material appears cut away. The Roubaix also boasts extreme brand loyalty from the riders who have them, and an extremely tall head tube, especially in sizes larger than 56 cm. I presume this is because Specialized founder and CEO Mike Sinyard is tall, rides hard, but does not like a standard road bike cockpit geometry. This is pure conjecture on my part. The Roubaix's ride and handling, I'm told is "stable."

    The Giant Defy takes a more conventional approach to "endurance" bikes, by simply slackening the head angle, slimming the seat stays, and adding some fork rake and wheelbase behind the bottom bracket. Height added to the head tube is a little more modest, too. Giant is unabashedly a Chinese company, based in Taiwan. Its president and CEO is an enthusiastic rider, too. The ride of the Defy, I'm told, is nimble, in comparison. Nearly all owners of Defies whom I have met are equally enthusiastic about their bikes and riding them, although I don't detect the level of fanaticism that Specialized inspires.

    If it sounds like I favor Giant's approach, you're probably hearing me right. My idea of an endurance bike is to start with a racing bike and "relax" it a bit. Personally, having long arms, I find overly extend head tubes and tall stems ridiculous and uncomfortable, but if you're built like a tyrannosaurus this might be your ticket. And zertz sounds like a gimmick. Besides making its own bikes, Giant manufactures for numerous other brands, including Trek. Aside from a run of questionable TCR carbon frames from around 2007, which were duly warrantied, Giant makes fine bikes.

    So does Specialized. Test ride them and base your decision on that. And let us know what you decide, because nosy minds want to expand our databases.
     
  3. TomSynnott

    TomSynnott New Member

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    Amazing thank you for the feedback!
     
  4. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    OBC is correct. Look at the components, sure, but analyze the frame geometry charts carefully. Very carefully. And never be afraid to take a tape measure to bikes on the showroom floor.

    Eyeball the stays and the home position seat setback...realizing a different seatpost, stem and/or handlebar is always available for tuning the fit and ride (somewhat).

    Then go test ride them both. Take your pedals and shoes and go wring them out.

    If you are going to be doing tri's I would favor the Giant Defy, but even it has a 185 MM headtube in the 56 CM Top Tube size. If you are looking for an aero position on the bike you might want to shop down a size and use a longer stem. Again, your body measurements and personal preference will factor in your decision.
     
  5. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    Giant is unabashedly a Taiwanese company. Specialized is 49% owned by a Taiwanese company (Merida). :D

    Merida builds all of Specialized's better frames in Taiwan.

    Taiwan makes great frames. No worries there.

    Just ride both and decide which on works better for you. Try some other makes, too. Trek had the Domane and the new Emonda (which, in the H2 fit, is somewhat more like an endurance frame), and Cannondale has the Synapse, which handles pretty snappily for am endurance frame.
     
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  6. TomSynnott

    TomSynnott New Member

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    Thanks guys! Amazing feedback!

    Are there other brands I should look at? I have 'heard' Bianchi is a good bike?
     
  7. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Nearly every major brand has bikes that hit this segment--Bianchi with the Infinito range, Felt with the Z series, Scott with the Solace and CR-1, Raleigh's Carbon Revenio, and Trek's Domane, to name a few. I have friends who love their Domanes and Infinitos, we have customers who've selected the Solace over the Domane and vice-versa, and I demoed a Revenio and found it delightful. My favorite of these, though, is Scott's CR-1. It's an older design and most like a race bike without being too demanding.

    My advice is to ride the ones that are available in your locale, identify the characteristics that push your buttons, and select a bike that hits them best. Look at the dealer, too. You want one who's interested in your needs, getting you off to a good start, and cultivating your repeat business and referrals.
     
  8. TomSynnott

    TomSynnott New Member

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    Thanks all as always!

    I road a Willier today, very nice. Anyone have any info on these?
     
  9. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Wilier was a turn of the century English company that was bought by an Italian dude in 1906 and moved to Trieste, near Slovenia. It has a long and storied history of racing in Europe, but mainly in Italy. Their website has some information on it well worth spending some time reading even if you don't want a Wilier.

    I own a pair of Wilier Izoard XP's and owned a third that cracked about one year into ownership. It was replaced under warranty; no questions asked and a sincere apology was offered. Like almost every carbon frame these days, they are made in mainland China. Xpace did the mold development and layup schedules. The paint and decal work are as good as any of the top end frames...stunning accuracy and finish quality for the low price of admission.

    The straight 1-1/8" steerer and headtube on the Wilier is stiff and tracks perfectly through turns. Once you're flying along it's an intuitive steering bike and input requires little thought. Just set it up, lean it over and shoot out the other side...just the way it should be.

    Wilier builds some of the best racing geometry bikes on the planet and IMO the Izoard is one of them. It's dirt cheap. Competitive Cyclist sells frames and complete bikes as do several of the UK web re-resellers.

    The handling is quick. It is a point-and-shoot type of steering designed to be fast for those that know how to ride a racing bike and know where they want it to go. It will get you there quickly. The BB could be a bit stiffer, but I say that about 99% of everything I throw a leg over. Otherwise it's both plenty stiff and plenty comfortable for stage racing, crits and fast club rides or training. It climbs well and like any great racing bike it just disappears underneath you. Four years on Campy Chorus equipped Izoards now and I'm still not looking for anything better.

    I highly recommend the Wilier line despite that first one cracking. My main Izoard now has a bit over two years on it and it's holding up to the abuse I dish out. The Izoard lacks the latest feature such as a tapered steerer and internal cable routing/electronic group wiring capability, so think about going upmarket to a Cento (drool!) if you're into that.

    I bought a TREK Emonda S Series last December for use as a winter beater training bike. I only have a few hundred miles on it due to the Ice Age we're only just now leaving behind, but initial impressions are that it is stiff. Very stiff. And I like that.

    It does NOT have a low front end and I DON'T like that. I've got the bars slammed after special ordering the lowest headset top cap I could get out of FSA and they could still be 10 MM lower. The H2 fit 'may' fit a pro rider or two, but it's too tall for an aero position on the bike for even this old man with a bad back. Again, think about shopping 'down' a frame size if it takes that to get a head tube length to fit your positioning goals.

    The Emonda's seat stays are stiff and it's a bit buzzy, but it scoots when you press hard on the pedals. So, pretty good in the stiff rear end department. Despite the 'S' series frame being a tad on the heavy side it climbs well...again, the stiffness is noticeable and appreciated. The overall handling is neutral. Neither a twitchy fast turner nor dead, it is just very stabile and sure footed.

    Just a word on the new shimaNO 5800 105 11-speed...and I despise shimaNO stuff on general principal...it's pretty good. shimaNO pedals are good, the cheap 105 shifts well and the brakes work well. It's smooth running, the crankset is stiff (if a bit crude in the machining of the rings) and the BB86 bottom bracket is quiet (so far).

    The OEM Bontrager Paradigm saddle is actually both narrow enough for my skinny ass and comfortable! Amazing! I did swap in a DEDA seatpost with 20 MM of setback to replace the OEM Bontrager 12 MM setback post.

    Like I said, pay attention to little details like that when buying any bike. That was $100+ to correct a small fit difference that could not be ignored. I also installed a longer stem, but that would have been required with any off-the-rack bike/brand. Another C-Note went by-by for that.

    I would buy more Wiliers in a heart beat. I don't think I would buy another Emonda without going to the top of the line SLR frame to get the H1 lower headtube fit.

    I like the Raleigh Militis line, but they are on the expensive side in my area.
     
  10. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I'd ride a Willier in a heartbeat.

    I'm another old guy who can't deal with tall handlebars. Solved that on my Madone 5 by installing a Pro Vibe bar (130 mm drop) and stem (10 degree drop). Sweet. I get a pain in my wrists up through my shoulders and neck if the handlebar is too high.

    Regarding Bontrager saddles, I think we can stop calling them ass-hatchets. Casual riders seem to be hanging on to their stock Affinities, and the Serano that Trek sent me is just as good as the Selle Italia Flite that got relegated to my 35 year old Masi.
     
  11. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The Bontrager Paradigm R1 is as hard as a rock and the 138 MM wide one fits me. I like it. I only upgraded to it from the OEM Paradigm base model to save some weight. Good on TREK/Bontrager for offering multiple models and multiple sizes.

    The Ass Hatchet line may finally be catching up to Selle Italia and Selle San Marco.

    I do scratch my head at the only 12 MM setback seatpost TREK supplies with the Emonda 'S' series. Especially with the larger frames. My knees did not appreciate that. The DEDA SuperZero seatpost with 20 MM of setback really helped the fit. Chopped lots more grams off and maybe improved the vibe by going to carbon.

    With all things cycling, fit is still king and tuning and tweaking will be needed more often than not. Now, if only I can get these new Spesh shoes and yellow shimaNO cleats to feel like home...
     
  12. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    I like the red "no float" cleats better than the yellow.

    I used to call Bontrager seats "Butt Raper". The Affinity was one of the worst ass hatchets my skinny butt ever perched on.
     
  13. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I was going to try the blue cleats for more float, but the yellow model is working well. I just don't have them perfectly dialed in yet. I need some float due to my biomechanics although I still ride the fluid trainer using standard slotted fixed position cleats. I can feel those efforts in the knees.

    I don't really like 'bike jumping' and using different pedals and different shoes. Different pedal/cleat/shoe stacks, different crank widths, different seat seatbacks or contour, different bar reach/drop/contour, different frame geometry in reach/stack/height/BB drop, etc. bother me.

    No matter how carefully I have tried over the years to duplicate frame setups and gear there has always been millimeters of difference here and there and my body can detect all of it. I must be sensitive to that stuff and my performance reaction is rarely positive.

    It takes a lot of time and rides and component swaps for me to get the adjustments 'just right' and longer still for it all to feel like home sweet home to me.
     
  14. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    I can't find the blue cleats anywhere in the Northeast. Just yellow, and red. I'd love to give the blue ones a try.
     
  15. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Going from no float to plus or minus 1 degree might not be bad.

    The British web dealers carry the blue cleats. Yellow and red appear to be the only types in our shops also.

    Edit: Competitive Cyclist (good people) have the blue cleats, as does Chain Reaction (good people) and Wiggle (good people).
     
  16. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I know I'm going to get slapped around for this comment but it is just an opinion, but for that kind of money those bikes you're looking at go for I would buy a titanium bike, but again that's just me. Lynskey has a couple of very nice bikes in that price range all custom built here in America. Yeah, I know, not everyone wants a titanium bike.

    I don't really like either of the 2 bikes you mentioned, their just mass produced generic looking bikes...in my opinion of course.

    But if you're getting a bike to do tris with why aren't you getting a tri bike? Guru makes a very nice tri bike at a very reasonable price like the CR.301, or the Cervelo P2, Cannondale Slice 5 or others.
     
  17. Kinsman330

    Kinsman330 New Member

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    Tony

    I have just bought a Defy Advanced Pro 0. I tried most of the competition including a TI bike from Enigma in the UK but the 2015 Defy was the most comfortable and fun to ride. I had been looking for well over a year and the 2015 bike felt much better than the 2014 bike which was itself a great bike. The others were very good bikes and I am sure I would have been happy on any of them including the Enigma but the Defy just felt right from the moment I got on it.

    I think the best advice has already been given, go and ride a few bikes. There are a lot of great bikes out there and it comes down to how it feels to you. I avoid listening to those who rave about this make or that as I think it is easy to get carried along by such enthusiasts and not look at each option dispassionately!

    I have owned Giant, Specialised, GT and Trek and all the bikes I have owned have been great bikes. My current collection includes a fairly old GT Edge Aero road bike, Giant Anthem 29er X 1 and the Defy. In their own way great bikes.

    Hope you find a bike you like.
     
  18. jbwillson

    jbwillson New Member

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    Almost all top bikes are made in Taiwan by one of two factories: Giant and Merida. Other brands may be designed elsewhere, but economies of scale dictate that they are manufactured in Taiwan. Even though top models by Trek, Colnago, Pinarello, and others claim to be made in home countries, the materials come from Taiwan.

    I have a 2014 Giant Defy Advanced 1. It's a wonderful bike that I expect to ride until I can't ride any more (I am 63, after all). I bought it because 1.) it fits and rides beautifully; 2.) Giants are better equipped at a given price point than other bikes because they don't have to pay themselves a manufacturing royalty (mine is full Shimano Ultegra -- a Trek, made by Giant, at the same cost is going to save money on the crankset or wheels or saddle), and; 3.) my favorite LBS sells Giant.

    Like oldbobcat, I think the dealer is crucial. Here in Richmond, VA, most of the bike shops aren't interested when a 63 year old chunky customer walks in the door. My favorite LBS (Pedal Power Bikes) greets every size, shape, age, and gender customer warmly, and doesn't try to sell anyone something they don't need. They do free fittings and lifetime service on new bikes sold. They took my Trek in trade. As a regular, they greet me by name at the door. When I needed stronger wheels for my weight, they helped me get the right ones (Velocity Deep-V) and extended their service warranty to the wheels.

    Don't overthink one bike brand over another -- they were probably made next to each other. Find the bike that feels right, that you can afford, that you'll be proud to line up in a fondo or tour, and comes from a bike shop that is more interested in developing a relationship with you than in just making a quick buck.
     
  19. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Those are triathlon/time-trial bikes, not comfort-oriented or endurance road bikes. The slapping has begun.
     
  20. andy531pro

    andy531pro New Member

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    The Giant wins everytime for me - you get far more for your money. Personally I think Specialized are over priced and under specced for the money - yes, their frames are things of beauty but the components are always one group behind Giant.
     
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