I bought myself a used CAAD9 a few weeks back and a Giant Defy 2 for my wife last week.
To my surprise, I prefer the Defy in almost every way, but most reasons (excuse the pun) Defy logic.
The Defy is much more comfortable (as predicted), but also:
- it seems quicker to respond to acceleration than the CAAD9 (the CAAD9 is supposed to be the elite racing frame)
- it seems lighter than the CAAD9 (although it's 1kg+ heavier)
- it feels more 'alive' than the CAAD9 (same wheelbase, so I can't think why it should)
- the CAAD9 seems to have big rolling resistance... since I bought it I've been stopping to look if the brakes are touching... really odd - never had that feeling before....
- the Defy seems to glide along in comparison
(Kenda Criterium on the Defy - Conti 4 Seasons on the CAAD9 - both 25c)
The Defy has a compact chainset and the CAAD9 a 105 triple... would that account for a perceived difference in acceleration in top?
I've only done 20 mile rides so far, but the Defy is a dream.
(It takes it's own Defy fenders and a rear rack too.)
Ya shoulda test rode a Defy before you bought the 'Dale! IME, the 'Dale's frame is probably too stiff.
Yeah, I know, I'll get flamed beyond belief over that statement, but BFD. "There's no such thing as too stiff!" "Frame flex is EVIL!!" Blah, blah, blah... Then please 'splain me why Sean Kelly (one of the great classics riders of all time, and a sprinter par excellence) routinely kicked @$$ while riding a Vitus aluminum frame, one of the flexiest fliers out there. And while you're at it, tell me why I climb faster (and go faster in general) on my Kogswell P/R than my Gunnar Crosshairs and Roadie, and why my legs feel better after riding the Kog. (Same gearing on all bikes, thanks. In fact, all of the components on the Kog came from the Crosshairs.) And not only is the Kog flexier than either of the Gunnars, it's heavier to boot.
Seems most racing-style frames these days are built to handle the power output of a Pro Tour rider. Not the best choice for most of us mere mortals. After 35 years of "serious" cycling, I've come to the conclusion that there's an optimum level of rigidity for a given rider size and power output. And too stiff is at least as bad as too flexy, not to mention being far more common these days.