Contend AR Cycling Plus Review

04 August 2023

Reviews & Product News

“Whether for year-round training, commuting or just enjoying, the AR1 is a great all-road bike that’s fun to ride.”

Giant's latest edition of the Contend AR was put to the test by Cycling Weekly editor, Robin Willmott, awarding the bike an impressive 4 out of 5 stars.

One of Giant's most adventurous road bikes, the Contend AR, is capable of handling tougher road surfaces and can accommodate tyres with a width up to 38mm. Thus, the Contend AR must be considered if you're looking for a bike that combines the greatest aspects of endurance, all-road, and gravel.

Willmott immediately became drawn to the Contend AR once he began riding, with his initial assessments of its compliance and capability being favourable. “The first miles aboard the Contend AR demonstrate its willing, positive ride feel, and impressive road-smoothing ability.”

On the first day of testing, Willmott ran tyre pressures of 65psi (rear) and 60psi (front). He revealed that over the following 10 days he didn’t once reinflate the tyres, instead he tackled the terrain on lower tyre pressure each day, concluding that it didn’t affect his performance. “Even when they were noticeably soft, my average speed didn’t seem affected, but the degree of float over tortured tarmac was very impressive.”

Willmott enjoyed riding the Contend AR, finding the handling effortless, particularly when cornering or tackling more technical terrain. He writes “With all that grip and comfort, the Contend’s handling is endlessly forgiving, making light work of technical, rough corners, and reacting rapidly to steering inputs and weight shifts.”

Wilmott was able to evaluate how the all-road model would fare on harsher terrain, such as light gravel. Thanks to its adaptable riding capabilities, it even offers a great option as a commuter model. He sums this up by stating “If you want to use the canal towpath for your commute, then why not? Larger tyres and beefier rims increase rotational mass, affecting acceleration, and that’s the case here.”

Willmott summarises the Contend AR with the following statement, “Whether for year-round training, commuting or just enjoying, the AR1 is a great all-road bike that’s fun to ride.”

If you want to read more, check out the Cycling Plus magazine edition 408.

Learn more about the Contend AR range.