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Premium Member
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a new ride. Been on a '95 Cannondale (pre CAAD) for a while and it is beating me up. Looking for something I can ride longer than an hour and half and do some centurys and fast riding on.

I've really like the Trek 5200 and have pondered Litespeed but don't think I can afford it.

Some of the Dean specs look really impressive and I know they've been around for a while but have never heard any opinions on them.
 

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aka Zonic Man
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593 Posts
Look elsewhere. Dean are notorious for breaking and taking WAY OVER their quoted lead time to get to you, including lies and deceptions.

From what I've read over on MTBR, there's no way I'd deal with Dean if I were paying.
 

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Old, slow, and fat.
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3,897 Posts
I like my steel Dean...

weasy said:
I'm looking for a new ride. Been on a '95 Cannondale (pre CAAD) for a while and it is beating me up. Looking for something I can ride longer than an hour and half and do some centurys and fast riding on.

I've really like the Trek 5200 and have pondered Litespeed but don't think I can afford it.

Some of the Dean specs look really impressive and I know they've been around for a while but have never heard any opinions on them.

...but then again, I paid $140 for the frame...

Seems to be well-built, decent-riding.

Dunno about their Ti frames, 'cause I don't have one.

Mike
 

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Juanmoretime
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2,203 Posts
Past Dean owner.

weasy said:
I'm looking for a new ride. Been on a '95 Cannondale (pre CAAD) for a while and it is beating me up. Looking for something I can ride longer than an hour and half and do some centurys and fast riding on.

I've really like the Trek 5200 and have pondered Litespeed but don't think I can afford it.

Some of the Dean specs look really impressive and I know they've been around for a while but have never heard any opinions on them.
I've had 4 Deans and they are great bikes. My first was a Dean Oscar that was an aluminum frame and sold it when I bought a Dean Colonel, titanium, which I had owned for three years. I started having some back problems and sold the Colonel for a Dean Jester, once again, a great bike although I needed more suspension for my back so I sold it and went to a Santa Cruz Superlight.

Now onto the road bikes. I don't know why Jed had problems and don't know if he actually had owned a Dean but I did have a 1998 El Diente. The El Diente was a great frame also and would still have it if I didn't come a cross a great deal on the Vortex that I still own. I did sell the El Diente to a friend of mine who is still riding it and plans to ride it forever. I guess he likes it. I hope to be able to buy it back from him some day.

Dean's a small company and expect the frame to take almost twice as long as they tell you it will take. Dean ranks right up there with the best bang for the buck and quality too. Buy yourself a Dean.
 

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Done
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I Dig Mine....

weasy said:
I'm looking for a new ride. Been on a '95 Cannondale (pre CAAD) for a while and it is beating me up. Looking for something I can ride longer than an hour and half and do some centurys and fast riding on.

I've really like the Trek 5200 and have pondered Litespeed but don't think I can afford it.

Some of the Dean specs look really impressive and I know they've been around for a while but have never heard any opinions on them.
I have been riding a Dean El Diente CTI for about a year now -- and I love it. My prior "good" bike was also a Cannondale, a CAAD3 for me.

The Plusses:

Nicely made, clean welds, alignment was good

You can get a semi-custom at no charge -- they will tweak with tubing gauge (wall thickness) to match your weight and desires. I'm big (190 lbs.) and like a stiff bike, so they beefed up the down tube and chain stays.

Comfortable geometry -- it's more stable than my Cannondale, and very comfortable over the road. Stiff in the bottom bracket, yet compliant. It has big tubes, like my CAAD3, so I think of it as my titanium Cannondale.

Service -- I had an "issue" with a stuck seatpost (it wedged itself immovably in the seatpost sleeve that Dean sticks in the seat tube -- I got the post out only after the sleeve parted company with the frame). Dean repaired the sleeve at no charge, sold me a new seat post (an Easton, to replace the Campy that got stuck) at their cost, and had the bike back to me in a week.

John and the guys in the shop are great to talk to and work with.

The Minuses:

Delivery was a nightmare. My frame took a trip to Spectrum for powdercoating, and it is claimed that this caused the delay in getting my bike. Basically it was three months late from when it was promised.

The Powdercoating: It looks killer, but it isn't bulletproof. It's very strong up to a point, but when you pass that point it chips pretty bad. I may take it off at some point.

The decals suck. They are vinyl. "Suck" may be a bit strong, because so far they are holding up. I'd prefer decals. And the headbadge is hideous.
 

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well, i don't know if it's *that* bad....

i don't know anyone whose Dean broke, per se. mine has a warranty issue that it needs to go back for (i've got an Ace 3.0 full suspension mtb), and they did take a ridiculously long time to get the frame to me initially, but i'm really pleased with the product and have no complaints about the ride. for the most part, everyone i know who owns a Dean has said they are happy with their bike, but hated the wait to get it.

i think Dean has undergone some restructuring so they may be a bit better about getting thing out, but don't quote me on that!

rt

ps - mine is a custom frame for which they did not charge me extra!
 

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I am surprised to hear a bad comment about Dean. I have had only positive experiences with them and would definitely buy from them again.

I have had an El Diente titanium road frame for 3 years. Best bike I have ever had and I expect to ride it for the rest of my life. I got the frame custom for just a little extra:shorter top tube, longer seat tube, an extra braze-on. They built it up exactly as requested. Their service and responsiveness was great. I am 2,000 miles away so my only contact was by phone. Their delivery was a little longer than they originally quoted but not too much. I think they build most of their bikes to order and it is a small operation. These things take time.

The bike is great. The welds are clean and consistent. The facing and alignment are perfect. The ride is smooth and the frame is plenty stiff. (I am 6'1", 190 pounds and a gear masher.) They used a huge downtube and chainstays on this frame and it works for me. My frame is unpainted and I would recommend you do the same with a titanium frame. The decals have held up very well. There is no clear coat. One decal peeled this year where the seat tube rubbed on a trunk rack during a trip. My mistake. Luckly, the decal only partially peeled off. I was able to reapply it and it looks fine. I probably have about 10,000 miles on my Dean bike. Good luck.
 

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..............
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I like my Dean MTB, and I just ordered road bike

I've been on a Dean Ti hardtail mtb since 99. I've been very happy with it. I bought it from them direct on closeout. They have been great to deal with from a customer service perspective. They were prompt when shipping that bike originally without any hitch. Then, in 2001 I sent it back to them to have a disc tab welded on and the frame refinished. They were great to deal with then, did an excellent job and turned it around quickly.

I just ordered an El Diente CTI from the "Specials" page on their website. They shipped it quickly and were great to deal with once again. Once I got the frame, I noticed it had some alignment issues with the rear triangle. I called them up, described the problem, and they were very apologetic. They told me to box the bike up and take it down to UPS and have them ship it back using Dean's account #.

Once they got it, they turned it back around and shipped it out within a day. It's in transit now, so I'll have to see how well they fixed the alignment issues.

Since both of the frames I bought from them were already built when I bought them, I didn't have any of the long wait issues that you hear about. But I can say that they have been great to deal with when I have. I've talked to 4 separate people there, and they were all good to deal with.
 

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Bored beyond belief.
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The time issue lies with their painter.

weasy said:
I'm looking for a new ride. Been on a '95 Cannondale (pre CAAD) for a while and it is beating me up. Looking for something I can ride longer than an hour and half and do some centurys and fast riding on.

I've really like the Trek 5200 and have pondered Litespeed but don't think I can afford it.

Some of the Dean specs look really impressive and I know they've been around for a while but have never heard any opinions on them.
I've never heard about a frame failure, either with their ti or their steel. Dunno about their aluminum. The problem with time, however, is usually with Spectrum Powderworks, their paint contractor. Spectrum does first-rate work, but they can be snail-pace slow and don't have accurate time estimates.

In the end, though, I think Dean makes a terrific product.
Scott
 

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..............
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I've seen two of their MTB frames fail in races

sn69 said:
I've never heard about a frame failure, either with their ti or their steel.
I've seen two Dean mtb frames fail in races. I think both were mostly operator error/crashes though which is a different story. The first was back in maybe 1994, it was a ti-lugged frame with carbon tubes. A guy pile drove his front wheel into a ditch and snapped the front end of the bike clean off at the head tube lugs. Rider ended up with a broken shoulder, and after witnessing the impact, I'm not sure any other frame would have done much better. I broke a pretty stout gusseted aluminum mtb frame in similar fashion.

The second instance was two years ago at a mtb race where a guy had snapped off the derailluer hanger on his Ti hardtail. I think Dean specs 6/4 dropouts and hangers on all their bikes. If the guy broke that one off, I'm guessing he would have broken off just about anything. A replaceable hanger may have saved the frame, but it doesn't seem like many Ti builders spec replaceable hangers.

I have no worries about the quality of Dean bikes based on my experience with my Ti Hardtail MTB. I've thrashed it and crashed it and it's not the worse for the wear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thanks for the input....

So if I am not concerned about the wait for delivery of the frame, it seems like a good and reliable deal. I'm still in the saving stage of my new road bike project, so I have some time before I make a decision.
 

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time delay not always a paint issue

my mtb frame is unpainted and it still took them 5 months to deliver.

regardless, i love the bike so it was worth the wait.

rt

ps - a custom road frame with a yellow paint job ordered at the same time as my frame arrived 3 weeks before mine
 

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You guys are scaring me with the lead time...

I ordered a Dean hardtail about a month ago through Wrench Science. It is supposed to ship this week...probably shouldn't hold my breath based on what everyone has been saying. I have known several people who have owned Dean's and everyone of them had nothing but good things to say. If I am satisfied with the hardtail I plan on purchasing a road frame through them as well.
 

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my experience was a direct order thru Dean

scary slow said:
I ordered a Dean hardtail about a month ago through Wrench Science. It is supposed to ship this week...probably shouldn't hold my breath based on what everyone has been saying. I have known several people who have owned Dean's and everyone of them had nothing but good things to say. If I am satisfied with the hardtail I plan on purchasing a road frame through them as well.
i don't know if ordering through Wrench Science speeds the process up any, but when i ordered directly the lag time was much longer than promised. as i said in one of my earlier posts though, i think they have improved their operations recently. there was a period of time where it was difficult to even get someone on the phone. however, this has absolutely not been a problem recently.

enjoy the new ride when it arrives!

rt
 

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I bought mine through Wrenchscience

*rt* said:
i don't know if ordering through Wrench Science speeds the process up any, but when i ordered directly the lag time was much longer than promised. as i said in one of my earlier posts though, i think they have improved their operations recently. there was a period of time where it was difficult to even get someone on the phone. however, this has absolutely not been a problem recently.

enjoy the new ride when it arrives!

rt
And while I had a positive experience with Tim and his team, the delay was still fairly long. To their credit, Dean was up-front about the delay both with me and with Tim at WS. The problem was with Spectrum--they mispainted the first time and had to redo the frame. Dean even went so far as to apologize in a seperate email after the bike was finally delivered. Again, I don't think Spectrum does bad work; on the contrary...I'm still delighted with the powdercoating (electric blue). They are, however, slow.

Scott
 
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