Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Huff Bike Review

So, we've got some '09 entry level Giant road bikes in, at both
the Minnehaha store, and the west bank location. The women's all
bike we have is called the "Avail3", and the men's bike
is the "Defy3". The price for both bikes is $750.00 These bike are
kind of amazing to me in the frame technology available at this
price, and the questions about gender, and marketing that they invoke.

intransitive verb: to be of use or advantage: serve transitive verb: to produce or result in as a benefit or
advantage: gain
— avail oneself of also avail of
: to make use of : take advantage of

archaic : to challenge to combat2: to challenge to do something
considered impossible : dare3: to confront with assured power of
resistance : disregard 4: to resist attempts at
: withstand

What goes on at Giant marketing meetings? Another marketing decision
to wonder about is the feminization of paint schemes. Giant has got a
lot of color choices for both genders. The men's road bikes are the
bright side of earth tones with gray accents. The women's colors are
fruit candy with silver accents. In the defy/avail3 bikes that we have
in I think that the avail3's teal/white/silver with paisley like
tracery wins, over the defy3's blue/black/white "I don't look right on
this bike without spandex" scheme. Of course paint is subjective. So
come in and, have your own ideas, and test ride these bikes.
Erika and I took these bikes out for quick first impression
rides. Being people with bodies at opposite ends of the size spectrum,
I feel that we are a good test of how these fit.
Erika is 5'0" and 100lbs. rode the Avail3 X-small size. Her feedback
is that it fit well, and was comfortable, but that the 8 speed
shift/brake levers were large for her hands. Do they make road levers
for smaller hands? Googling "women's road components" I was unable to
find any road levers for women. Don't blame Giant for that one, they
don't make brake/shifters.
Giant has 38 women's specific models in the '09 catalog. Giant
for women, designs bikes according to their '"5 point" plan, which is
concerned with, styling, geometry, sizing, construction, and
components. It will be joy to be able to sell these bikes to women
without having to swap out stems to make them fit. Women specific
bikes, with shortened top tubes, shorter cranks for the the small bike
sizes across almost Giants entire bike range is something I haven't
seen any other bike company do. Maybe women actually like fruit candy
colored bikes, what do I know I'm a man.
I test rode the large size Defy3. I am 6'3" and 230lbs
and, I prefer bikes smaller than the size most people would put me on.
For those of you who follow giant bikes, the Defy/Avail series is
replacing the OCR line of bikes. These bikes are the relaxed side of
road geometry. The Defy3 is somewhere between a racing bike and a
touring bike in it's agility although it is definitely lighter than
your typical touring bike. A medium size Defy3 weighed 22.01 lbs. This
bike feels like a comfortable all day bike. I found the frame to be
very stiff laterally at the bottom bracket, but I have a qualifier. I
am recovering from fractured ribs, and am quite weak right now.
Probably best that I just describe the technology that goes into
making these frames stiff, rather than reviewing the results.
The entire Giant '09 road line now has frames with conical head
tubes. The top of the integrated headset is 11/8th inches, and the
bottom is 11/4 inches. It's all about having a wider more stable base
at the fork/frame, head tube/ down tube juncture to resist flex. All
the front end tubes on the Avail/ Defy frames are heavily shaped
through hydroforming to improve ride quality. This frame has also
received a lot of tube manipulation to soften it's aluminum ride. The
top tube and seat stays are curved to act like a spring to keep the
sting off your butt. This is a lot of work done to a frame on a bike
that only costs $750.
So, here's the skinny on the rest of the components on these
bikes, that I feel are worth mentioning. A 3x8 Sora drive train that
would climb anything, composed of a FSA Vero crankset 53/42/30, and a
SRAM PG 850, 11/26, 8 speed cassette. The drive train is nothing to
rave about. It worked, which is all you can expect at this price
point. The carbon composite fork is the same one you get on all but
the top of the line Giant road bikes. The wheels are 32 spoke, 3 cross
in the rear, and radial in the front. The rims are ALEX, DA22's, which
at a claimed 435 grams are only 20 grams heavier than the lightest
aluminium rims I could find on the web. The wheelset is what I really
like about these bikes. The 3 cross spokes on the rear wheel makes
the Avail/Defy3's
functional commuter/light touring bikes. The frame also has eyelets for
racks, or fenders, that also make it good everyday rideable bike.
In conclusion I feel that these are a great choices for an entry
level road bike. The frame and wheels could be the base of a more
expensive bike. So if you wore out these components the frame and
wheels would support a component upgrade. You could also improve your
motor keep the same components and embarrass people who spent a lot
more on their bikes।
After some research, I almost feel गिल्टी complaining about Giants marketing towards women. Giant has more women
specific models than any other builder that I could find, and a
women's cyclist web site with a lot going on.

Next I think I'll review The 2009 KHS flight 220 another entry
level road bike we now have that also comes in a men's and women's

peace, chuff

P.S. Shimano road levers are converted to women's levers by inserting
a shim that shortens the reach. Shimable levers are not available at
the Avail's component spec. level.

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