Part of Giant's LiV Women's Series and made in Holland, The Giant Avail Composite is billed by many as the female specific version of the men’s Giant Defy Composite. However it would be incorrect to assume that Giant have simply shortened the men’s version and stuck a ladies saddle on top. A Shimano Tiagra 20 speed groupset and an excellent set of Giant's own brand wheels, wheels which DT Swiss had a hand in, makes this incredible value for money.
The Avail Composite frame series are part of Giant’s new ‘Liv’ brand which in their words ‘includes everything from specially designed bikes, gear and accessories to retail stores, events and ambassadors who inspire us to lead happier, healthier, more adventurous lives through cycling’. As such the Avail is a complete departure from the Defy, with an alternative ethos behind the brand.
The way we understand it is that Giant have finally recognized that Women’s cycling is on the whole catered for only by way of altering the sizing in the Men’s range slightly and painting it pink. We understand that female cyclists want all the same things out of it as their male counterparts; kit needs to fit perfectly in order to do its job appropriately and bikes need to perfectly suited to one’s body and cycling needs, making the most of your strengths and supporting your weaknesses.
Converse to many Women’s specific bikes the Avail is designed to cope with the forces that women put through them, the specifics required in frame geometry and finally ensure that all the finishing kit such as saddle, bars and stem are women specific.
As with all their carbon frames Giant is attempting to re-educate the customer into the importance of good quality carbon fibre. Giant are very aware of the prevalence of cheap carbon fibre that is flooding the market these days and the misconception that a carbon bike is just that when the opposite is true. A cheap carbon frame will be a colossal removal from a Giant ‘Advanced SL’ carbon for example. The £2500 frame price is not due to the fact that Giant is an expensive brand, or representative of a small brand with low production capacity. Rather Giant are a colossal company, the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world in fact, manufacturing for many other big names. The asking price is therefore representative of the countless hours put into both research and development as well as manufacturing, on top of the high quality materials that go into each frame.
Giant use a Torayca T600 fibre in all their 'Composite' models. This they buy as a raw fibre from Torayca who manufacture for aerospace amongst other industries. A good quality carbon such as this will be far less prone to failure, have a longer life due to fewer imperfections in the layering process as well as being - from a performance perspective - far lighter, stiffer and smoother than the competition.
As such in order to produce high quality carbon frames at a low quality price point both Giant and us the dealer, have altered the business model in order to educate the public as to the importance of this. For both us and Giant themselves this has meant a significant drop in profit margin, a drop that we are both happy to accept if it gets more people out on the roads on quality carbon which will make all the difference to the ride..
The bike is designed for riding distance and is ideally suited to the narrow twisty hills so prevalent in the British Isles. The head tube is relatively long so the body is in a relaxed and upright position so as not to put excess pressure on the spine, hamstrings or hip-flexors. The bike is also relatively long so will tend to settle into a straight line a little easier than its shorter counterparts, similarly although you will have to take them marginally slower, the line it holds through the turns will be steadier and more confidence inspiring.