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  1. #1
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    Need advice: 2012 Giant Defy 2 Composite or 2012 Cannondale CAAD10 4

    Hi guys, I was hoping to get some input on selection for my first road bike. I have a deal lined up for either a 2012 Giant Defy Composite 2 or a Cannondale CAAD10 4 for the same price. I know the best advice is whatever one feels better, but the CAAD10 is 4 hours away, so I can't just casually ride them both. I can't find much on the Defy, but every thing I can find is positive. It seems to me that the Cannondale is much more known and well reviewed, and I would get a Rival group instead of an Apex. So... for the same price is it better to go with the composite frame Giant or the Cannondale with the better group? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I had a Trek Domane 2.0 last year and made the mistake of riding a Giant Defy Composite 3. Great ride felt like I was flying up hills. So I went to a local LBS and tried the Giant Defy, Scott CR1, Felt Z5.
    I ended up with the Felt but would have been very happy with the Giant Defy. I haven't tried the Cannondale but the aluminum crit 3.0 I had for the past 20 years was a good bike but a bit jarring ;)

    Do try to try several bikes, as the one that fits you best will make you want to ride and ride.

  3. #3
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    Well I did end up trying the Giant today. I really like how the bike felt on the road, but the Apex group felt really clunky to me. I don't know if the bike still needed an initial tune, but it didn't feel right.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzac View Post
    Hi guys, I was hoping to get some input on selection for my first road bike. I have a deal lined up for either a 2012 Giant Defy Composite 2 or a Cannondale CAAD10 4 for the same price. I know the best advice is whatever one feels better, but the CAAD10 is 4 hours away, so I can't just casually ride them both. I can't find much on the Defy, but every thing I can find is positive. It seems to me that the Cannondale is much more known and well reviewed, and I would get a Rival group instead of an Apex. So... for the same price is it better to go with the composite frame Giant or the Cannondale with the better group? Thanks.
    I only tried the Cannondale CAAD10 4 and I have nothing but good words to say about it, Great bike, very smooth riding...

  5. #5
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    Hmm, that's a tough question.

    -The wheelset on the CAAD is better. Fulcrum Racing 7's aren't exactly high-end wheels, but the reviews on the Giant PR-2's have been spotty at best.

    -The Group set on the CAAD is obviously better, though I don't think there's many functional differences between Apex and Rival. Though I will say that the 11-28 on the Defy may suit you better than the 11-26 on the CAAD.

    -CAAD's gonna have better resale value. There's a thriving used market for the latest generation CAAD's--whether it's crit racers or weekend warriors upgrading.

    -CAAD's may survive a crash better, but that's hard to predict.

    -People sing the praises of the CAAD's ride quality, but I'm thinking the carbon Defy will probably feel a little bit smoother, and will be a more relaxed geometry/position. the CAAD is pretty aggressive, where the Defy is meant to be a "relaxed" bike like the Roubaix.

    I'm not sure you can really make this decision without test riding both bikes.

  6. #6
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    Thanks charlox. I really did like the smoothness of the Defy, but as of right now I might be leaning a little more toward the Cannondale. When you say you don't think there is much difference between the group on the Cannondale, do you think it would be at least enough to take out some of the clunkiness that I was feeling on the Apex group with the Defy?

  7. #7
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    Expand on what you mean by clunkiness?

    It's been a couple years (2011), but when I was riding a force equipped bike, I rented an Apex equipped bike while on vacation, and found that for the most part, Apex felt alot like Force in terms of shifting, though the front felt slightly less immediate (since Force had zero loss on front shifters). I think Rival and Apex should be quite similar in terms of construction/functionality, so I don't think that you're gaining much by going to rival, except a few grams of weight savings.

    SRAM isn't known for buttery shifts, but when it's tuned right (and that takes a little more effort than I preferred, specifically the FD), it works as well as any of the other group sets.

    I will also say that while I dislike BB30 bottom brackets and have heard of plenty of BB30's failing on Cannondales and Felts, I have zero confidence in SRAM GXP BB's at all. My outboard bearing GXP team BB failed in something like 600 miles--so having a pressfit GXP BB on the Giant sounds like a nightmare to me. Though, in fairness to SRAM/Truativ, they did redesign the GXP Team Outboard BB to be a little bit more robust and protected from grit in 2012, iirc. So perhaps they've learned their lesson and have applied those same design philosophy to their press fit BB's.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlox5 View Post
    Expand on what you mean by clunkiness...
    Well when I would shift it would feel like it was slamming into gears. It was loud and rough. It also seemed like the front derailleur was very tricky to get moving. After reading your post I think this must just be in need of a good initial tune. It was hanging up on a wall and I think my ride was the first time it was ever taken down, so it might have went up there straight out of the box.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzac View Post
    Well when I would shift it would feel like it was slamming into gears. It was loud and rough. It also seemed like the front derailleur was very tricky to get moving. After reading your post I think this must just be in need of a good initial tune. It was hanging up on a wall and I think my ride was the first time it was ever taken down, so it might have went up there straight out of the box.
    Yeah that wouldn't surprise me at all. As a rule SRAM drivetrains don't shift as smoothly as Shimano, but shifts should be immediate and not so rough as to cause alarm.

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