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Dean Bikes Anyone?

Old 07-14-21, 06:06 PM
  #1  
Steve_sr
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Dean Bikes Anyone?

Hello,

I am in the market for a new Ti gravel bike. A friend recommended Merlin. However, my research has shown that the Merlin brand has probably changed hands 4-6 times over their lifetime and are now apparently owned by Dean Bikes. Based on my physic I will probably be needing custom geometry so off the rack sizing won't be possible.

Apparently Dean has also gone through some changes in the last few years and it appears that some of the original folks like John Siegrist have moved on. So do any of you have any knowledge of the current lineup at Dean's with regard to service, quality and workmanship?

Are there any other bike companies / frame builders that I should be looking at?

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 07-14-21, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve_sr View Post
Hello,

I am in the market for a new Ti gravel bike. A friend recommended Merlin. However, my research has shown that the Merlin brand has probably changed hands 4-6 times over their lifetime and are now apparently owned by Dean Bikes. Based on my physic I will probably be needing custom geometry so off the rack sizing won't be possible.

Apparently Dean has also gone through some changes in the last few years and it appears that some of the original folks like John Siegrist have moved on. So do any of you have any knowledge of the current lineup at Dean's with regard to service, quality and workmanship?

Are there any other bike companies / frame builders that I should be looking at?

Thanks,
Steve
Davidson Cycles in Seattle offers Ti. Ti Cycles near Portland Oregon would be another. Both have 35+ years in the business designing and building bikes
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Old 08-04-21, 03:18 PM
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I have started the process to get a frame from Dean: first stages but nothing out of the ordinary for the moment - certain slowness in the communications but that is to be expected with small operations. They seem really nice and knowledgeable

I have been talking to KFried in the forums who had his Grays delivered, and is super happy with the result

This is the thread

Dean Torrey Gravel/Grays All Road Riders?

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Old 08-04-21, 06:07 PM
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Dean just changed ownership again and has raised prices significantly and a lot of the previously include (or free) options like internal cable routing and custom geometry are no longer free. I put a deposit on a Merlin Sandstone. Hopefully everything will work out.
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Old 08-06-21, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve_sr View Post
Hello,

I am in the market for a new Ti gravel bike. A friend recommended Merlin. However, my research has shown that the Merlin brand has probably changed hands 4-6 times over their lifetime and are now apparently owned by Dean Bikes. Based on my physic I will probably be needing custom geometry so off the rack sizing won't be possible.

Apparently Dean has also gone through some changes in the last few years and it appears that some of the original folks like John Siegrist have moved on. So do any of you have any knowledge of the current lineup at Dean's with regard to service, quality and workmanship?

Are there any other bike companies / frame builders that I should be looking at?

Thanks,
Steve
I know some of the folks there (local shop for me), and have heard some complaints. If you have to have Ti, maybe talk to Rodriguez?
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Old 08-06-21, 09:18 AM
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My two cents, and reiterating that I haven't received the bike yet, but I must say that they (Yo, from Dean) are being fantastic in the preliminary discussions...really great communication and service and overall great guy

If you don't want to go with Dean or Merlin, Carver does an allroad frame which looks nice, or VanNicholas maybe? or these guys I found while checking other options

Terlingua Titanium Gravel / All Road 700c / 650b Plus — Titanium & Steel Gravel, Mountain & All Road Bikes | Chumba

No idea whether they're good or not though
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Old 08-06-21, 12:43 PM
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Holland Custom Ti Cycles in San Diego has one of the best reputations in the business. Not well known outside of San Diego since he sells enough bikes here to cult-like loyal customers. I've seen a whole bunch of these riding around and craftsmansip/welding is some of the best I've ever seen. Been building Ti frames for 30 years and steel long before that. Not cheap though. Holland Titanium Bicycle Holland Cycles
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Old 08-08-21, 03:20 PM
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Dean and Merlin and another brand were recently reported sold to an investor as read on Bicycleretailer site.
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Old 08-16-21, 07:05 PM
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I somehow missed this thread. I recently took delivery of my Dean Grays All Road fframeset and could not be happier. I built it out with an Ultegra R8000 groupset. It looks great, and now that I have it dialed in it rides beautifully. I did my first century last weekend and I finished the ride feeling very fresh. My previous bike (a Charge Plug steel frame/fork) always left me feeling like I had been in a street fight. But the Dean rode smooth all day--due also to the Rene Herse tires and carbon seatpost--and I was thrilled. There was one significant muck up on the frame. I had asked for a T47 BB and this was listed on the final CAD drawing. But the frame was delivered with a BSA. For me, that's not a deal breaker but it might have been for others. But again, just totally happy with my Dean.

I should also note that the builder who oversaw my frame has now moved on with the sale mentioned above. But I was told the new lead welder coming in had decades of experience and they expected no drop off in weld quality.


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Old 08-16-21, 07:41 PM
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The previous welder (and previous owner as I understand it) is now welding for Mosaic
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Old 08-25-21, 10:42 AM
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I'm very interested in the Grays All Road bike from Dean. I am local to the Denver metro area, so liked the idea of working with a local builder and was considering doing a bike fitting and possibly a custom frame. I would want them to build an entire bike for me as I don't have the knowledge or tools to build the bike myself.

Is there any reason to stay away from this company due to all the recent turn over?
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Old 08-25-21, 10:57 AM
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As I've posted earlier, I really like my Dean and it rides like a dream. But that doesn't really answer your question about turnover. And on that, I can't really say. My bike was done just before the announced sale, and when I asked my contact point there I was told they had a new lead welder coming on with decades of experience working with Ti and they expected the same high quality as before. Again, that's what was communicated to me.

My two cents: I will say that it seems Dean has a habit of bringing in talent. The previous lead welder (and owner, I believe) of Dean now works at Mosaic. And Mosaic itself was founded by a previous lead welder/builder at Dean. So there does seem to be a talent pipeline, which is a positive. Of course, that's no guarantee of future quality.

My suggestion would bee to reach out to Yo at Dean and start a conversation and/or lurk around the website to see what you can glean about the new welder coming in.
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Old 08-26-21, 10:53 AM
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A buddy of mine bought a VanNicholas 27.5 ti bike and it is beautiful and the welding is top notch. I have a secondhand Moots and Indy Fab they are awesome. I got a screaming deal the Moots as its a 26" otherwise they really hold their value.
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Old 08-28-21, 02:08 PM
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I guess that the most important things for getting a custom bike from Dean (or anyone else for that matter) is the guy that turns your fit measurements into a bike frame design and then the guy that takes that BikeCAD drawing and does the actual fabrication.

In talking with Yo not to long ago the Bike CAD guy is John Seigrist who has been with Dean for quite some time and who I think is still there. I think that John may have actually started Dean. Dean's main fabricator was a guy named Ari who may or may not still be there. It would be nice if someone can confirm this.
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Old 08-28-21, 04:57 PM
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Last I saw, Ari Emmett said he is at Mosaic. Sorry for the huge picture
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Old 09-14-21, 12:43 PM
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Yo is also leaving, so don't really know who is left: in my case I have asked for the deposit back and the whole thing to be scrapped - I still hadn't received the CAD so at least they hadn't spent too much time with me/my project/frame.

I'm absolutely bummed out - I don't doubt that whoever is left in Dean is very capable, but I'm not risking $3k on an unknown team/welder - wish them all the best
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Old 09-15-21, 11:19 AM
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So I may have been a bit hasty in my alarm: Yo is leaving but John, the founder, is still working there and they have been in contact to assure me all is well and no need to worry.

Not ecstatic on the whole ordering the bike while in the middle of a firmwide reshuffling, but at least they have been in touch and sound reassuring. So back on track with the order I think...it's being an interesting process
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Old 09-17-21, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by msr_78 View Post
So I may have been a bit hasty in my alarm: Yo is leaving but John, the founder, is still working there and they have been in contact to assure me all is well and no need to worry.

Not ecstatic on the whole ordering the bike while in the middle of a firmwide reshuffling, but at least they have been in touch and sound reassuring. So back on track with the order I think...it's being an interesting process
I think that Yo is already gone. John actually answered the last email that I sent to Yo.
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Old 09-17-21, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve_sr View Post
I think that Yo is already gone. John actually answered the last email that I sent to Yo.
Yeah, he was starting in his new job on Monday, so I imagine he took Friday off, or John has taken over all Yo's open projects - btw, John told me he still does most of the welding, and the new guy he's brought in used to work for Yeti, so it seems we're in good hands
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Old 12-12-21, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by msr_78 View Post
So I may have been a bit hasty in my alarm: Yo is leaving but John, the founder, is still working there and they have been in contact to assure me all is well and no need to worry.

Not ecstatic on the whole ordering the bike while in the middle of a firmwide reshuffling, but at least they have been in touch and sound reassuring. So back on track with the order I think...it's being an interesting process
So have you heard anything from DEAN lately? I see a Nov 21st post on FB but haven't heard anything regarding my build in the past 6 weeks.
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Old 12-12-21, 09:39 PM
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Hi Steve

Try contacting Mara - mara@januscyclegroup.com

She took over when Yo left and she handled the last steps of my order - super nice and super helpful

They have a parts shortage, but that's a common issue right now with all bike builders, so I'd advise patience; also, bespoke craftsmen take their time - I am now into a '96 Kona restoration project with Bilenky and I don't expect the frame to be ready until March, and I'm fine with that - - actually I wish I had the frame now to start building it over Xmas, but you know what I mean
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Old 12-13-21, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by msr_78 View Post
Hi Steve

Try contacting Mara - mara@januscyclegroup.com

She took over when Yo left and she handled the last steps of my order - super nice and super helpful

They have a parts shortage, but that's a common issue right now with all bike builders, so I'd advise patience; also, bespoke craftsmen take their time - I am now into a '96 Kona restoration project with Bilenky and I don't expect the frame to be ready until March, and I'm fine with that - - actually I wish I had the frame now to start building it over Xmas, but you know what I mean
Thanks for the update. Does Mara have a phone number that is answered (and if so, what is it?) At least Yo would answer the phone. I finalized the build kit with Brad on 10/18 and last heard from him on 11/1. Two recent emails are a week unanswered so far. Looks like I need to try to get hold of Mara

I was in communication with John in early-mid October and I thought that he was going to start on my frame. Then all of a sudden silence. I don't know what happened or maybe they finally realized that finishing a frame was irrelevant without components to mount to it. However, they have known that my build would be a GRX build for a long time and should have had parts on order. Based on current lead times had they been ordered they should be in soon.

BTW, when is your bike due?

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 12-13-21, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve_sr View Post
Thanks for the update. Does Mara have a phone number that is answered (and if so, what is it?) At least Yo would answer the phone. I finalized the build kit with Brad on 10/18 and last heard from him on 11/1. Two recent emails are a week unanswered so far. Looks like I need to try to get hold of Mara

I was in communication with John in early-mid October and I thought that he was going to start on my frame. Then all of a sudden silence. I don't know what happened or maybe they finally realized that finishing a frame was irrelevant without components to mount to it. However, they have known that my build would be a GRX build for a long time and should have had parts on order. Based on current lead times had they been ordered they should be in soon.

BTW, when is your bike due?

Thanks,
Steve
I think your assumptions about parts' availability is not what might be happening. Frame builders have various demands on them from more than just their customers. I wonder if other demands took over for a while. I'll also add that I have known of some builders that would drop the customer if they pestered them too much and others who just do a poor job at communication beyond the amount needed to get the design down. I guess that having been on the other side of the shop counter and have had customers state their expectations when some of the situation is beyond my control, I have some empathy for the builder here. Andy
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Old 12-13-21, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve_sr View Post
Thanks for the update. Does Mara have a phone number that is answered (and if so, what is it?) At least Yo would answer the phone. I finalized the build kit with Brad on 10/18 and last heard from him on 11/1. Two recent emails are a week unanswered so far. Looks like I need to try to get hold of Mara

I was in communication with John in early-mid October and I thought that he was going to start on my frame. Then all of a sudden silence. I don't know what happened or maybe they finally realized that finishing a frame was irrelevant without components to mount to it. However, they have known that my build would be a GRX build for a long time and should have had parts on order. Based on current lead times had they been ordered they should be in soon.

BTW, when is your bike due?

Thanks,
Steve
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Mine was just the frame & fork, so it was much faster - got it a month ago approx and finished the build last week - and came down with a flu (pending COVID test) during the weekend, so it remains unridden. Just my effing luck.

Not wanting to be a buzzkill, but I wouldn't expect the build to be finished before next year - I don't know if wholesale has better access to parts (which I imagine they will) but from friends that have been waiting for over a year for Trek Madone's (as an example) to this article I saw the other day

https://road.cc/content/tech-news/ri...-delays-288505

seems that complete builds are rarer than unicorns tears right now.

All I say it's worth the wait.

Good luck and hope you get it soon
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Old 12-13-21, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I think your assumptions about parts' availability is not what might be happening. Frame builders have various demands on them from more than just their customers. I wonder if other demands took over for a while. I'll also add that I have known of some builders that would drop the customer if they pestered them too much and others who just do a poor job at communication beyond the amount needed to get the design down. I guess that having been on the other side of the shop counter and have had customers state their expectations when some of the situation is beyond my control, I have some empathy for the builder here. Andy
Agreed - not that I am saying Steve_sr is been pestering John, but I know I've been guilty of wanting stuff done for yesterday and that can be annoying, to say the least - this is a guy in a shed building one off bikes and we should all cut artisans some slack.

Not that it makes the wait any easier, but it'll make it the more rewarding once you get it.
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