First Impression: Giant Contend SL 1 Disc 2017

Words by Mark

on 05/10/2016 11:17:23

Fresh off the boat, we've managed to snag ourselves one of the new Giant Contend SL 1 Disc Bikes to put through its paces.

Chances are you haven't heard of the Contend before, but I'm sure it'll look familiar. For 2017 Giant have split the range of Defy bikes into two models, with the Carbon models remaining as Defy, and the popular aluminium models now being deemed worthy enough for their own name: Contend.

The Contend SL 1 Disc is the show stopper, coming in at £1148.99. A more affordable disc version is available below £1000 and two standard rim models are available, so the Contend SL range has something for everyone. For those looking for an even better bargain, the standard Contend range offers the same geometry, with a less advanced frame.

First Impressions

The first chance I got to put the Contend SL 1 Disc through its paces was on the way home - a short blast that definitely highlighted the sporty nature of the bike. Acceleration felt snappy and when up to speed the Contend SL 1 Disc was perfectly happy to roll over just about any road imperfection with poise and comfort, with only the worst craters being transferred through the frame.

Further rides have reinforced just how comfortable the Contend SL 1 Disc is, especially for a sporty aluminium bike. The comfort seems to come at no loss to the performance either, with the Contend handling high speed descents with confidence, while the climb back to the top is actually enjoyable, thanks to the stiff feeling underfoot.

The only downside that has shown itself so far is the lack of room on the handlebars for mounting a light due to the junction box - which must contain some form of black magic - that transforms the mechanical 105 shifters to control the hydraulic callipers. Giant have included a selection of mounts for Garmin and other popular accessories which I've yet to try in the short test period, so I'll look forward to seeing if that will solve this slight issue.

Surely there must be some black magic at work inside here

Overall, the Giant Contend SL 1 Disc has left an overwhelmingly positive impression from the hand full of rides I've taken it on so far. Keep your eyes peeled towards the end of the month for a full review, when I've had time to get to the real meat and potatoes of what this bike is like to live with.

Product Featured

Giant Contend SL 1 Disc 2017

The Giant Contend is for Ambitious road riders aiming to take it to the next level. Longer, faster rides and more fun are around every corner.

  • Frame - ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminium
  • Fork - Hybrid Composite
  • Drivetrain - Shimano 105 22 Speed
  • Brakes - Giant Conduct Disc