One of the most popular road bikes lines in the Giant product line-up, the entry-level contend series of aluminium road bikes has been updated. With a focus on versatility and performance for all, and a new all-road version added, join us as we take a look at the Contend SL Disc and Contend AR series’ of road bikes from the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer, Giant.
Contend SL Disc
Improving on the capable Contend platform that debuted back in 2016, keeping the performance and price reasonable was always going to be a tough ask, but with the overhauled Contend, Giant looks to have done just that. The road-focussed SL Disc features a new frameset, complete with updated quick-release thru-axle compatibility, flat-mount disc brakes and increased tyre clearance. A sign of the times, disc-equipped models dominate the range.
The new contend frameset is manufactured from Giant’s own ALUXX SL aluminium, with the hydroformed tubes taking on a slightly different shape to its predecessor. A composite D-Fuse seatpost is included as standard on all models, which is said to improve comfort and reduce weight compared to a standard round alloy post.
The Contend Disc SL series is comprised of two models;
Contend SL Disc 1
The Contend SL Disc 1 makes use of an ALUXX SL aluminium frame, Composite fork, and a D-Fuse composite seatpost. Shimano provides a full R7020 105 Disc groupset, while the connect aluminium handlebar, contact stem, PR2 disc wheelset and Fondo 2 28c tubeless tyres are all inhouse.
- Price: £1399
Contend SL Disc 2
The SL Disc 2 makes use of the same overhauled ALUXX SL frameset, composite fork and D-Fuse seatpost, save for some mild component tweaks to keep the price down. This includes a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset, a Giant Conduct semi-hydraulic disc-brake system and a slightly heavier SR2 wheelset wrapped in 28c tubeless rubber.
* Price: £1099
All-new for 2020, the Contend AR takes the overhauled frameset from the SL Disc and injects a little more versatility, boosting tyre clearance and improving comfort. With the refined flat-mount discs and massaged frame and fork shapes, the Contend AR is claimed to swallow tyres up to 38mm wide.
To keep pricing modest, the frame itself a manufactured from Giant’s base-level ALUXX aluminium; however it still features flat-mount disc brakes, thru-axles, internal cable routing and a tapered headtube.
The range is comprised of 3 models starting at £949:
Contend AR 1
The flagship option of the Contend AR range is packed with value, and should serve those in the market for a versatile entry-level road bike well. With an aluminium frame, composite fork, D-Fuse seatpost and a D-Fuse handlebar as found on the more expensive [Defy Advanced] endurance and [Revolt] gravel bikes, the AR 1 is not short on comfort features. Shifting and braking come courtesy of a Shimano 105 disc brake groupset, whilst Giant PR2 aluminium wheels wrapped in 32c tubeless rubber complete the fit-out.
- Price: £1499
Contend AR 2
Next in line, the Contend AR 2 features an identical build-kit to that found on the Contend SL Disc 2 detailed above, save for wider Giant Fondo 2 32c tubeless rubber as standard. The white paint job also looks the business in the metal too, sure to stand wherever you ride.
- Price: £1099
Contend AR 3
Sitting as the entry-level option to the entire Contend product line, the AR 3 is loaded with features sure to appease those in the market for a wallet-friendly, versatile performance road bike. Outfitted with an 18-speed Shimano Sora groupset, mechanical disc brakes, durable aluminium wheels and high-volume tubeless tyres, the Contend AR 3 needs nothing more than a willing rider perched atop it.
- Price: £949
Contend SL & Contend
While other markets have completely abandoned all rim brake models, 3 rim brake models will be available in the UK.
Contend SL 1
The range topping rim brake model, is equipped with Giant's ALLUX SL aluminium frame set, a D-fuse seatpost, a shimano 105 groupset and Giant's PR2 wheelset fitted with house-brand 700x28c tyres.
Aimed at budget conscious riders the the Contend 1 is built using Giant's standard ALLUX aluminium tubing. The frame is still packed with many thoughtful features for an "entry-level" model. Giant's D-fuse seatpost trickles down and clearance for up to 32c tyres is sure to add comfort and confidence for less experienced riders. Shimano's 18 speed sora groupset is a reliable option and an 11-34t cassette and compact chainset provide plenty of low end gears for tackling the steepest hills, albeit foregoing some of the mid range gears found on the more expensive models.
Giant's entry level model share's the same ALLUX frame as the Contend 1 but come's equipped with Shimano's claris level Groupset. This bike is aimed at first time road bikers or those looking for a fast but no frills commuter and while outfitted with basic components it still represents fantastic value for money. Like on it's more expensive siblings the contend 2 benefits from Giants d-fuse technology, a carbon fibre fork drops weight and Shimano's entry-level 16 speed Claris groupset has been thoughtfully configured with an 11-34t cassette providing low gears for the steepest hills. Like other models in the range clearance for 32c tyres allows riders to prioritise comfort or speed and is great to see at this price-point.