The Envie offers up a lively ride with aerodynamic features that racers will love. Quick handling and a responsive pedaling platform are ideal for shooting through the peloton and going for finish line sprints. Every time we hopped on this bike we couldn’t resist riding fast, crushing corners, and pretending we were in the pro peloton knocking elbows with the pros.
Envie borrows the wind-tunnel-proven tube shapes of Giant’s Propel aero road bike but changes up the bike’s geometry for a women’s specific fit. A size medium Envie has a slightly shorter top tube (55cm) and taller head tube (16cm) – shortening the reach by nearly a centimeter — compared to its Propel counterpart.
Like the Propel, however, the Envie provides an equally quick, responsive, and exciting ride on both flat straightaways and through twisty descents. Part of this lively ride comes from Giant’s Overdrive 2 steerer tube technology, designed with a 1.5-1.25-inch tapered steerer (industry standard tapers to a 1.125-inch upper diameter), which Giant claims improves the stiffness to weight ratio for more precise steering. The Envie is quite stiff with only 0.38mm of head tube deflection in our lab test, and it feels a bit twitchy up front, but in a good way, making high-speed turns feel smooth and effortless.
The stiff carbon frame delivers exceptional acceleration and road feel, but it does get a bit chattery over bumpy roads. We’d opt for some 25mm tires over the stock 23mm Giant-branded rubber to make the ride a little smoother. And while the 55mm Giant SLR 1 Aero carbon wheels look great under the Envie’s aero frame, our testers found them to be a tad too deep for smaller riders in a blustery crosswinds.
The Envie really impresses where aero bikes usually falter: the brakes. Giant’s SpeedControl SL brake system outperforms every aero bike we’ve tested. And the front brake is hidden away from the wind behind the fork, adding an aerodynamic advantage along with the surprisingly good stopping power.
Hanging Shimano Ultegra Di2 from the Advanced Pro 1 model helps drop the price by nearly $3,000 from the top-of-the-line Advanced Pro 0 model with Dura-Ace Di2. Ultegra does add a touch of weight compared to its big brother Dura-Ace, but it is also capable of shifting a 32-tooth cog for more gearing options. Pair an 11-32t cassette with the Envie’s 50/34t crankset and this bike is ready for the mountains. Sure, it’s an aero bike, but at 16.5 pounds and with exceptional steering and braking capabilities, it would be shame to banish it to the flats.
Component Highlights: Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain with 50/34 crankset and 12-28 cassette; SpeedControl Brakes; Giant SLR 1 Aero wheels