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Fuji Grand Fondo 2.1 vs Giant Defy Advanced 2018

Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Fuji Grand Fondo 2.1 vs Giant Defy Advanced 2018

Old 02-14-18, 12:11 PM
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nwrig004
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Fuji Grand Fondo 2.1 vs Giant Defy Advanced 2018

Hello all!

6'2.5" 188lbs strong non racer rider but I ride and train with a group that races (mix of Cat 1-3) if that makes sense. In short I like to ride long and varied terrain faster than a typical avid rider.

After a few thousand (nearly 7,000) miles on my trusty Fuji Roubaix Im ready to move to a new bike. There are a few features I want for those long miles in the saddle and all the climbing event I do:
1. Wider tires
2. Disc Brakes
3. Carbon frame to help with sustained vibration taking a toll
4. Lighter overall bike

I initially wanted to upgrade to lighter wheels on my Roubaix with wider tires but my frame can only handle 25s and I cant convert to disc.

So i bought my Fuji and loved it so i started their first and landed on a Fuji Gran Fondo 2.1 (2018)

Full Ultegra minus the rear cassette (I have a Ultegra 11-32 on my roubaix with less than 500 miles that ill swap) decent finishing kit.

Then I was riding in a mountain timed trial ride and this guy i was pacing with was on a Giant Defy, after the ride I asked how he likes that bike etc he said it was great and he was similarly built to me (body wise). So I took a look at the Giant Defy Advanced Range (2018)

Mix of 105 and Ultegra, I like the 11-34t and the Giant finishing kit gets good reviews. Also its a Giant so I recognize there is some level of industry prowess baked in to the bike (carbon layup methods, polish, fit and finish etc) vs the Fuji.

What I do not like about the


Giant is:
The press fit bottom bracket, after years on a alloy frame and Ultegra BBs not sure about the whole press fit standard.

The Giant Connect Brakes, since those arent Hydro levers I assume they use a cable actuated caliper system.



The Fuji is:
The crank really. Its Oval 500 which might be a rebranded RS-500 crank?? Sure its fine but my first fuji had a oval crank and it wasnt ever true so it would undulate into the FD on the big ring and the teeth wore out of tolerance after about 2500 miles ( I do train and ride a LOT in the mountains)







Price is about the same and I would add DT Swiss 1400 Dicuts + a ISM PN 3.0 saddle to either bike (I have the wheels and saddle already) in addition to my Wahoo Element and Speed and Cadence since that level of Giant doesnt have the built in sensors.

Any experience with either would be helpful
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Old 02-14-18, 12:48 PM
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Dean V
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I have had a few Giants and never had an issue with the press fit BB.
Never had a Defy but you might want to check tyre clearance. I don't think they will take much more than a 28, which is fine if that is all you want, but there other brands out there with more clearance if you need it.
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Old 02-14-18, 02:07 PM
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Thanks I would ideally like to run 30s on my DT Swiss 1400s since they are 18mm wide rims. And that is good to know about the pressfit. What is the service life on them? And ill check to see the max tire width on the Giant and Gran Fondo respectively
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Old 02-14-18, 02:19 PM
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Just checked on the stock tire size:

Giant 700x25
Fuji 700x30

Also on the BB

Giant- BB30
Fuji - PF30


So with that both are press fit, so I would need a couple extra tools to service at home, no problem there. But you may be correct the Giant might not be able to run 30s and the full Ultegra group is attractive.
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Old 02-14-18, 03:04 PM
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See if you can find a 2017 Giant in your area - they have complete hydro systems instead of the cheaped-out hybrid system (which has a converter mounted on the stem). The only downside is that the wheels will not be tubeless ready, but they're probably the first thing that you'd want to replace, either way.
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Old 02-14-18, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by nwrig004 View Post
Just checked on the stock tire size:

Giant 700x25
Fuji 700x30

Also on the BB

Giant- BB30
Fuji - PF30


So with that both are press fit, so I would need a couple extra tools to service at home, no problem there. But you may be correct the Giant might not be able to run 30s and the full Ultegra group is attractive.
Giant uses PF86, rather than BB30. For your purposes, still press fit, but no better or worse than the Fuji.
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Old 02-14-18, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
See if you can find a 2017 Giant in your area - they have complete hydro systems instead of the cheaped-out hybrid system (which has a converter mounted on the stem). The only downside is that the wheels will not be tubeless ready, but they're probably the first thing that you'd want to replace, either way.
Thanks I will look around for a Giant dealer!
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Old 02-14-18, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by raisinberry777 View Post
Giant uses PF86, rather than BB30. For your purposes, still press fit, but no better or worse than the Fuji.
Thanks for the clarification
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Old 02-14-18, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by nwrig004 View Post
Thanks I will look around for a Giant dealer!
I haven't looked that their site in a while, but you used to be able to select a model/size/color on the Giant USA site and they would tell you if there was a shop nearby with it in stock. It wasn't always right, but it's someplace to start.
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Old 02-15-18, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
See if you can find a 2017 Giant in your area - they have complete hydro systems instead of the cheaped-out hybrid system (which has a converter mounted on the stem). The only downside is that the wheels will not be tubeless ready, but they're probably the first thing that you'd want to replace, either way.
I just purchased a 2017 Defy (Advanced 2) for this very reason. Plus it was on sale so a fair bit cheaper than the 2018 model.
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Old 02-15-18, 08:56 AM
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I have a 2012 Giant Defy Advanced with thousands of miles on the first BB and not a single squeak from it. Bike has been fantastic and when I do eventually upgrade I will probably get another Defy Advanced. Great bikes.
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Old 02-15-18, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by nwrig004 View Post
Hello all!


Mix of 105 and Ultegra, I like the 11-34t and the Giant finishing kit gets good reviews. Also its a Giant so I recognize there is some level of industry prowess baked in to the bike (carbon layup methods, polish, fit and finish etc) vs the Fuji.


The Giant Connect Brakes, since those arent Hydro levers I assume they use a cable actuated caliper system.


Big assumption here. While Giant makes Fantastic high level bikes they cut corners on their lower models to meet price points. I doesn't make it for a bad bike by any means but it's far from a "PROWESS".
The fork is carbon but the steer is aluminum which is a bit heavier and in theory transfers more vibration.
I say it in Thery because from everybody I've talked to who owns one say it is a great bike...

... but so is the FUJI.
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Old 02-15-18, 09:16 PM
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Yeah after reviewing both again I am leaning towards the Fuji. It a tad bit more bike for the money and for the base price it get me 95% of the way to the bike I have in my head vs the Giant.
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Old 02-16-18, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by nwrig004 View Post
Yeah after reviewing both again I am leaning towards the Fuji. It a tad bit more bike for the money and for the base price it get me 95% of the way to the bike I have in my head vs the Giant.

Why are you limiting your choices to Giant and Fuji?
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Old 02-16-18, 02:51 PM
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All the Treks and Cannondales I look at are $3500 or similar. While im no brand loyalist at $2500 most bikes are going to be very similar hardware wise (I hope ) so at that price point to full a well reviewed and like carbon frame and full hydro Ultegra group is a good deal. I also have more wiggle room for lighter than stock wheels and other finishing bits (saddle, tubeless conversion and maybe a power meter).
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Old 02-16-18, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by nwrig004 View Post
All the Treks and Cannondales I look at are $3500 or similar. While im no brand loyalist at $2500 most bikes are going to be very similar hardware wise (I hope ) so at that price point to full a well reviewed and like carbon frame and full hydro Ultegra group is a good deal. I also have more wiggle room for lighter than stock wheels and other finishing bits (saddle, tubeless conversion and maybe a power meter).
Trek has two Domane disc bikes at $2500, the SL 5 Disc and the SL 5 Gravel. The SL 5 Disc is 105 whereas the Gravel has Ultegra-level levers and calipers. Other than that, the paint jobs and stock tires, they are the same bike. The Disc is a good value, the Gravel is a great value (I'm biased, of course).

Cannondale has the Synapse Carbon Disc 105 @$2500 as well.

If you're willing to go the mail-order route, the DB Century 5 Carbon has full Ultegra 6800 for $2k.

When it comes to 105-level vs Ultegra-level hydro levers/calipers (I own both), I don't think that there's a lot separating them, other than a scant few grams and the aesthetics of the levers (and, actually, I'd take the 5801 front derailleur over the FD-6800), so I wouldn't give too much weight to the Fuji for those bits, specially as it's missing the crankset.
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Old 02-16-18, 06:55 PM
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Why are you going from a race style bike to a "fondo" style bike? And why do you need to put wider tires than 25mm on your bike?

If you're riding as hard and as fast as you say you are, your bike choices are counter intuitive.
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Old 02-16-18, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Why are you going from a race style bike to a "fondo" style bike? And why do you need to put wider tires than 25mm on your bike?

If you're riding as hard and as fast as you say you are, your bike choices are counter intuitive.
You ride enough 100 mile races on alloy on these rural VA roads and your back will tell you what to buy next After riding a few bikes i like the all around nature of that category bike, it climbs well, is stable, is nimble, is light and is comfy around mile 80
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Old 02-16-18, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Trek has two Domane disc bikes at $2500, the SL 5 Disc and the SL 5 Gravel. The SL 5 Disc is 105 whereas the Gravel has Ultegra-level levers and calipers. Other than that, the paint jobs and stock tires, they are the same bike. The Disc is a good value, the Gravel is a great value (I'm biased, of course).

Cannondale has the Synapse Carbon Disc 105 @$2500 as well.

If you're willing to go the mail-order route, the DB Century 5 Carbon has full Ultegra 6800 for $2k.

When it comes to 105-level vs Ultegra-level hydro levers/calipers (I own both), I don't think that there's a lot separating them, other than a scant few grams and the aesthetics of the levers (and, actually, I'd take the 5801 front derailleur over the FD-6800), so I wouldn't give too much weight to the Fuji for those bits, specially as it's missing the crankset.


Thanks I will review each!
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Old 02-17-18, 01:15 AM
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With the disc brakes the level of bikes you are looking at may not be lighter than what you already have.
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Old 02-17-18, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by nwrig004 View Post
Yeah after reviewing both again I am leaning towards the Fuji. It a tad bit more bike for the money and for the base price it get me 95% of the way to the bike I have in my head vs the Giant.
Might come down to personal choice.
Have no feedback on ride(yet).I have A older 2003 TRC that is still going strong.

I was looking at maybe buying A Defy with 105 maybe latter this year.
For my size the geometry and fit are very close.The Defy has A little longer wheelbase and CS over Fuji.


I also like the Fuji as your can buy one from Performance (good return/exchange policy) and the cost savings.
Even though Giant are good value.I have almost everything to upgrade my next bike.

Would be interest in what the stock wheel weight is for each bike.As for cranks,I did not upgrade them on my last bike.this time I might go ULTEGRA ,as some good deals going on now.

We are about the same height.I have A short bike inseam for my heigh,so the 58(large) fits me better.
what size did you get?
And enjoy the bike.

With the disc brakes the level of bikes you are looking at may not be lighter than what you already have.
I'm testing out A Fuji Gran Fondo 2.3(105) tomorrow.I thinking it weighs about 20lbs.
But I'm interested in the weight of the frame and what carbon fiber they use..etc

Last edited by Joeyseven; 02-17-18 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 02-17-18, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Joeyseven View Post
Would be interest in what the stock wheel weight is for each bike.As for cranks,I did not upgrade them on my last bike.this time I might go ULTEGRA ,as some good deals going on now.
If you're talking about upgrading an existing crankset, keep in mind that you'll want a new front derailleur if you go to an R8000 (or R9100) crankset. The ring spacing is a little different and only the FD-R9100, FD-R8000 and FD-5801 accommodate that spacing.
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Old 02-18-18, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
With the disc brakes the level of bikes you are looking at may not be lighter than what you already have.
My current Roubaix, as configured, is lighter than either new bike.
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Old 02-18-18, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Joeyseven View Post
Might come down to personal choice.
Have no feedback on ride(yet).I have A older 2003 TRC that is still going strong.

I was looking at maybe buying A Defy with 105 maybe latter this year.
For my size the geometry and fit are very close.The Defy has A little longer wheelbase and CS over Fuji.


I also like the Fuji as your can buy one from Performance (good return/exchange policy) and the cost savings.
Even though Giant are good value.I have almost everything to upgrade my next bike.

Would be interest in what the stock wheel weight is for each bike.As for cranks,I did not upgrade them on my last bike.this time I might go ULTEGRA ,as some good deals going on now.

We are about the same height.I have A short bike inseam for my heigh,so the 58(large) fits me better.
what size did you get?
And enjoy the bike.



I'm testing out A Fuji Gran Fondo 2.3(105) tomorrow.I thinking it weighs about 20lbs.
But I'm interested in the weight of the frame and what carbon fiber they use..etc

Yes Performance is my go to shop you can't beat the deal. And as I was comparing models I found a 2016 Gran Fondo 2.1 61cm on clearance ~$1650 Ultegera + 105 mix full hydro also none of that TRP stuff. I had $311 in reward points also from buying parts for my Roubaix.

I thought about the 58cm frame also as there are some nice 2017 2.5 Gran Fondos on sale in that black and neon yellow but no one carries much over a 56 here in NoVA.
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Old 02-18-18, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
If you're talking about upgrading an existing crankset, keep in mind that you'll want a new front derailleur if you go to an R8000 (or R9100) crankset. The ring spacing is a little different and only the FD-R9100, FD-R8000 and FD-5801 accommodate that spacing.
Good to know.
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