Now I've been careful with it, but it's been ridden from west spain to east denmark, been on a couple of planes, carted around on more trains than I can remember, and left to defend for itself in the back of a transit with 10 mtb's (gang bang!). It's also just gone through a Glasgow winter, which means freezing nights, being drenched in salt water (road grid) daily and potholes like nothing I've seen the western world. I also think I've done about 5000km over about 8 months.
The only changes I made to the bike before touring was a pannier rack (yes the defy and scr ranges are drilled for pannier racks) and spd-cleats.
This was the first bike I had with cartridge brakes. Me no like. Stopping power is pants, and they need replacing quite frequently. And it costs 5 quid for a new pair. Will be looking to replace these with some v-brakes. Some of the problem was the front rim became so scratched (by crap stuck in the brake pads) that it slices through pads at a rate. This means a whole new whole front wheel to replace as well as the back with a bust hub...
When I was touring (15-20kg of gear, but I'm only 65kg) the back wheel lost 2 spokes every 3 days for a fortnight before it was replaced (with a Mavic Aksium). Bit annoyed with this, it might have been shunted while in the airplane hold (above)...but nothing visible and it was really well packed up. Original front wheel has held up with minimum hastle tho.
I was really impressed with the Mavic Aksium replacement back wheel. No dents or creases and at it has straight pull spokes (not the j-ones) which are awesomely hard to break. So hard, in fact, that the hub gave out last weekend (after 6 months) when one of the steel spokes was pulled through the aluminium fastening - the spoke still looks like new, the hub is a write off (seems to happen to other people as well). Still I rode 80 miles one spoke short (after some spoke-key persuasion, and disconnecting the back brakes to allow for 1.5cm of wobble) and it didn't get any worse. I'm going to try and repair the wheel, so that says something about how much I like it.
Was totally shocked when the rear mech hanger gave out on me for no good reason 7 months in, leaving me stranded on the edge of town. Was torn in two at what looks like a weak point where one of the nuts went through. Thing is you never check the condition of the hanger, because you can't see it and lets face it, it's a inanimate lump of metal. Was cheesed off tho, because when it went it snapped the chain, meaning new chain and rear cassette. Plus my back wheel locked up in the middle of a busy junction...but that's another story. There aren't many giant dealers around, and normal bike shops don't carry mech hangers for all bikes, so in the end it was a mail order job. Because I'm paranoid, now I carry a spare hanger.
The bundled tyres also weren't up to too much either. They ate tread quickly and punctured easily. Ended up replacing them with some kevlar (Vittoria Rubino Kevlar Tyre) ones that are holding up well, and their yellow nicely matches the panniers.
Running costs for 8 months (pounds sterling):
20 misc spokes
30 Replacement pads (front and back x 3 at five quid each)
25 Rear cassette
15 Rear mech hanger
75 back wheel - Mavic Aksium
130 for touring wheel pair - Deore hubs and Mavic A719 rims (300g heavier, but am fed up about going through rear wheels so fast.
So that's a non-trivial 340 to keep the bike on the road for 8 months, about 3/4 the cost of the bike. Then again it's about 7 pence per km, or 7 pounds for every day out/100km. That's about the cost of fuel for a car doing the same distance. Other (optional) stuff I've brought includes:
Last week my left shifter barfed out in the middle of a tour (10 months after purchase) stranding me in bottom gear for two days before I botched on a temp thumb shifter. It would have been another £150 on that list, if it wasn't for the fact that I managed to get home to the dealer the bike came from, and got him to get giant to buy me a new shifter.
25 Saddle bag
60 SPD pedals and shoes
20 Pannier (+90 for Panniers, indestructible and fantastic Ortliebs)
60 Lights (already had a helmet)
30 Lock (that was certified by the insurance company, and is too heavy to really carry around)
235 in accessories and vanity goods... but these are by choice.
Stuff I still want
- V-brakes - Glasgow eats cartridge brakes for breakfast and they're fuppin expensive.
- A saddle bag not made by topeak (both of these have crapped out on me very quickly - if you buy anything by topeak, expect all the plastic catches on it to crap out quicky (two saddle bags and a multi tool have fallen this way))
- New front light (Cateyes turn out not to be waterproof)
I guess the long and short of it is that a road racer isn't a tourer. Racers are for 2 hours every weekend, instead of going to the gym. Touring bikes are heavier and can take extended punishment. I want both, but am poor, generally I'm leaning towards a tourer now. For all it's problems I've liked the bike and it's been a great introduction to serious biking etc... & it's been a whole lotta fun :)