DEAN Bikes, WTF?

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  • 02-24-2010
    DEAN Bikes, WTF?
    In case you are considering a DEAN for you next bike. Here's a cautionary tale... Please note the kudos to Carl Strong and Siren Bikes. Consider them.

    Below is a letter I sent to the owner after several email exchanges and phone conversations where I was assured that the bike was being worked on. It's been 3 months and it still isn't done. When I first bought my frames, I expected to wait awhile. However, when they arrived one had the wrong decal set and the other one happened to be the bike that they built up for Interbike and shipped to me accidently. WTF?

    Then when the frame failed in 2007, it took them 4 months to get me a replacement.

    When it cracked again (in the same place) in 2009, this is what I am dealing with. I realize that it is a small shop, but I don't feel like waiting for 3 months is acceptable, especially when I've been told by John, the owner, on several occasions that it would be done by 'X' date. Each time, the days have come and gone, but still no frame.

    Great workmanship, but the WORST customer service of ANY company that I have ever had the displeasure of working with!

    I mean, seriously, WTF?



    I am so incredibly frustrated with you and your company. You have shown that you have absolutely no regard for customer service and continue to just push the limits on delaying my frame repairs, further and further. When we last spoke on the phone, you assured me that Sam would get working on it "right away" until it was done. That was several weeks ago. When I inquired about its status in an email (a week ago Monday), you said Sam would most likely finish and ship it out by last Friday, February 19th. Now, you are hedging against the NAHBS and "will keep me posted" in hopes that Sam will get it finished before you depart this Friday.

    My friend had his Carl Strong frame shipped out, with a cracked head tube and top tube. It was repaired and shipped back to him in 10 days! You've had my frame for 11 weeks and 2 days. I am not a frame builder, but I do know that it doesn't take that long. I know you claim to be busy, but rest assured so is Carl Strong. Fortunately for my friend, Carl had the courtesy to repair a customer's frame in a timely manner and not make excuses along the way. He just repaired the frame promptly and stood behind his work. The same goes for another custom frame builder, Siren Bikes. They repaired a second friend's frame, in January, and had it back to him in under three weeks.

    Things have been different with you and your company. You told me on several occasions that it would be done by "X date", and each time it wasn't. When I first spoke with you, I was explicit in asking if it would be done by the time I had my 24 hour endurance race in mid February. You assured me that it wouldn't be a problem. You even had the audacity to tell me in late December that my frame was actually in the jig and being repaired at that moment! I was told it would ship out the first week of January. Obviously, that was not the case. But what's worse is that you didn't get my frame back to me before my race in February. Even with 2 months of lead time!

    So, here we are. Its February 24th and you are not sure that my frame will be repaired and shipped before you head to the NAHBS on Friday. I have been without a frame since the second week of December and have missed a good majority of the riding season in Arizona. Not one person that I have spoken to thinks that this situation is even remotely acceptable. Riding partners have been using the Dean name as a slang term for when someone wrongs you or screws you over, as in "Dude, you got Deaned!" Its laughable to an absurd degree.

    Standing behind the quality of your work is one thing, but providing quality customer service to your existing customers is essential to your company's success. I simply do not understand how you can proceed the way you have in regards to repairing my frame and expect that this is good for you and your company. I belong to three mountain biking groups in Arizona, and not one person from those groups feels that this is within bounds for a frame builder, custom or not. It is simply unacceptable.

    If you can't find it in your company's best interest to repair my frame (per our discussions - see attached) and ship it out to me via next day air (before the NAHBS), then please refund the original purchase price of the frame to me so I can purchase another frame from a more reputable frame builder. At this point, I am considering posting this letter, our prior email correspondence and recaps of phone discussions to and other mountain bike sites to let the community know just how poor your customer service has been.

    With deepest frustration,



    Here's a recap of what we discussed.

    1. Frame will be repaired by replacing the entire top tube and the upper portion of the seat tube (with a thicker-walled section of ti tubing) to just above the bottle cage mounts.

    2. Repair/fill, as needed, the driveside chainstay where chain suck has gouged out the tubing. File smooth.

    3. Frame will be refinished in 'brush finish'.

    4. New 'carbon panel' decals will be applied.

    5. Include an extra rear derailleur hanger with frame when shipped.
  • 03-06-2010
    hope you resolve it asap

    Quite bad news for a handcrafted cycles brand: if there's no extra service it's better any Trek/Spe/Can...
  • 03-11-2010
    Customer service? They actualy have some?
    hcooper your story is bad.
    My experience with Dean is worse.
    Try adding another 6+ years to your story
    Imagine 6+ years of trying to deal with guys like John?
    Whats crazy is that they have stopped answering the phone simply to screen the mailbox which is often full.
    If anyone reading this is considering or knows someone considering purchasing any DEAN BICYCLES product please do your research. Its been a pure hell ride since the very beginning.
    Thank you

    The rider with the most expensive high end ride in town who can only show it to people when they see it apart leaning against the wall.
  • 03-16-2010
    Note this about Dean and other builders...
    ...Dean is a custom builder, but his business model is (relatively speaking) high volume/low prices. Yes, the bike he eventually makes you will be pretty nice, but what you are trading dollars for is the long wait and mitigated after sale support.

    Relative to many other custom builders, his prices are much lower, but because of this he can't or won't provide the after sales service you would get from Strong, Kirk, Vanilla, etc. To get that kind of service you are going to have to write a bigger check. :thumbsup:

    Anybody considering custom should always read the link below before choosing a builder. In my view it's the best advice anybody has posted for somebody looking for a custom frame. Though written by Carl Strong, I believe it does not advocate for a specific builder, and it will help keep people from making big mistakes.
  • 04-09-2010
    steel fan
    DEAN has been this way forever. I remember the same kind of stories 10 years ago. Nice products, poor communication and trouble meeting deadlines.
  • 04-23-2010
    Same song
    Two broken Dean frames for me (both aluminum). First one took 9 months to replace, second took 18 months before I gave up and just had them build me a steel hardtail instead. Granted, they did replace both frames, but that was 27 months of constant annoyance. Sold the hardtail on Craigslist and will never deal with Dean again.
  • 06-01-2010
    Mark M13
    I had a Dean ACE for 5 seasons before I gave up on it.
    It had a total of over 1 year down time due to manufacturing errors.
    Misaligned frame, bad BB bearings/bushings. The guys on the phone
    are very pleasent while they flat out LIE TO YOU. There is no exageration,
    bending of the truth, they just lie. :madmax:

    The best thing I ever did with my Dean is sell it for my Yeti.
    Which on top of it all; rides soooooo much better.

    Good luck. JUmp ship ASAP,

  • 07-19-2010
    Add me to the list. Thankfully I got out before I got one it seems.
  • 09-16-2010
    Sir Francis
    bad sucks... i looked at dean and others when looking for a ti bike. decided on merlin and im extremely happy. its been over a year since i bought it and ive ridden it pretty hard and as of right now i couldnt be happier. sure am glad i looked the other way and didnt buy a dean.
  • 11-09-2010
    another bad story. We had a customer wait 6+ months for a custom FS 29er. Well 6 months is pretty understandable coming for a custom bicycle company BUT when we got the frame at the shop the BB30 bottom bracket shell was warped from welding and the linkage bolts looked so shittty in quality. (had almost a 1/4" of thread protruding past the cheap nord lock nut) DEAN sucks in my book.

    Didn't even send the frame back to DEAN for them to fix it because of the wait. It went straight to paragon machine works where the BB was manufactured.
  • 12-02-2010
    When does Paragon Machine Works weld titanium frames?
  • 12-03-2010
    There is a nice DEAN CX bike on ebay right now if anyone is looking.
  • 12-03-2010
    After reading this, how do they stay in business?
  • 12-03-2010

    Originally Posted by AlexanderSupertramp1969
    After reading this, how do they stay in business?

    Because of people like my friend Mike. He's got a Ti hardtail Dean. He has had it almost this side of forever and it just keeps going. He loves that bike. 2 Broken RF carbon cranks, but the frame has been bulletproof.

    He was willing to wait for his CX bike, which had to be another Dean. It just fit him right, and he loves the ride.

    I don't know if it was a fluke, he got lucky, or the magical feeling he associates with the bike is normal.

  • 12-03-2010
    @AlexanderSupertramp1969: Because Dean has been around for decades. This isn't some garage band. I remember when I was a kid and the middle-aged dreamer was riding those rainbow color logo'd dream bikes. The dream lives on.
  • 12-03-2010

    Originally Posted by illnacord
    @AlexanderSupertramp1969: Because Dean has been around for decades. This isn't some garage band. I remember when I was a kid and the middle-aged dreamer was riding those rainbow color logo'd dream bikes. The dream lives on.

    yeah I know DEAN has been around forever but with customer service like what has been shown in this thread, I don't see how they have survived for this long. Misfit just screwed up on 2 broken FE frames and look what a shatstorm it caused over in the 29er forum.
  • 12-06-2010
    Dean sure is consistent
    Glad to see Dean is consistent. I ordered a Colonel SS July of 05 and was told six weeks for delivery. After phone calls and emails that were rarely returned and delivery dates that came and went, I cancelled the order late November, Within hours of cancelling they left voice mail and emailed pictures of the completed frame and asked me to reconsider. I called back the next day, they were appologetic and tossed in a Ti seatpost, free shipping, and knocked $50 off the price. I love the frame but hated the aggravation.
  • 12-28-2010
    It took Dean a couple of months to deliver a Colonel model that I ordered back in 2007. I expected the delay so the wait didn't bother me. I've ridden it over 3000 miles since then and haven't had any problems. Great Bike!
  • 01-17-2011
    Dean Duke
    I own an 02' Dean Duke. Apparently Ti is forever because I've abused it regularly for 9 years with no problems. This frame has untold miles on it from 3-5 times a week riding southern rocky mountain alpine and foot hills trails. I've even crashed it a few times and the down tube has a small dent as evidence, but no problems. Only now has the original Stratos XC Pro rear shock given out, but I'm not disappointed after the abuse it has endured. Other than that, I've never had a reason to deal with Dean customer service on this frame, only a few specific set-up questions that were answered quickly by email.
    Unfortunately, I'm finding out today that Stratos went out of business in 06' or 07' so rebuilding is not an option. So far, it looks like my only choice is to buy a new Risse Racing shock for $198 because the fitting at the seat stay is a special Dean design that only Risse Racing makes.
    Still, I love this bike and will fix it, one way or another, and plan to get many more miles out of it.
  • 01-25-2011
    Click Click Boom
    I am thinking about ordering there ti rigid fork for a single speed build. Do they deliver on time for these types of things?
  • 02-04-2011
    @clickclickboom: Please feel free to call or email DEAN Ultimate Bicycles if you have questions. DEAN Ultimate Bicycles is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm M.S.T. To place an order and/or tech. questions = 303.530.3091
  • 02-14-2011
    You know how to pick a winner.

    Pol Pot was a SSer too, maybe he should be your icon.
  • 02-24-2011
    Mr. IROC-Z
    It amazes me that this type of customer service occurs, especially in the ultra competitive bike market. There are so many other bike manufactures/builders that would love to have your business! I'm not even sure what's so special about these frames or the builder. The bikes look very boring and from reading these posts, the quality is sub par.
    I hope this guys hits rock-bottom in his business model so that he can rebuild his business model from the ground up.
  • 02-25-2011
    Kinda like dining out at a micro brewery: The awesome beer makes you forget the food and service suck.

    I removed the decals from my custom colonelSS after receiving it way later than promised. I don't feel the need to advertise for Dean. But god how I love that frame.

  • 02-26-2011
    mr iroc z clearly doesn't own a Dean. Hasn't seen one either. You can look through MTBR and see how many popular boutique builders did their early work at Dean. The lineage goes back far. Not saying that is an excuse for Dean's lack of punctuality, but if you start talking about the quality and the craftmanship, gotta check ya. Oh, one of the builders that comes from Dean is "Black Sheep".
  • 02-27-2011

    Originally Posted by illnacord
    You can look through MTBR and see how many popular boutique builders did their early work at Dean.

    And you can also see how quickly they left...

    During my last wait for a warranty replacement (18 months) I think that there were two almost entire turnovers in staff. It gave them lots of new names to lie to me with: Week 1 -"Bubba almost has it done", Week 4 - " Tim has it next on his list", and so on.
  • 08-02-2011
    Sorry to hear about so many bad experiences with Dean, but I have found their service to be nothing less than exceptional!

    Earlier this summer I noticed a small crack beginning to form on one the welds of my 06 Dean Colonel. One phone call and a couple of emails later, I was told to ship the back back to them, they would cover it under warranty, and have it back to me three weeks after they got it. FedEx dropped it off today - more like two weeks after they got it. They even paid shipping.

    When ordering the bike, John was super easy to work with and guided me through all the options and customizations. Promised delivery date was eight weeks, but arrived a few days earlier.
  • 10-09-2011

    Originally Posted by YeahWhatever View Post
    It took Dean a couple of months to deliver a Colonel model that I ordered back in 2007. I expected the delay so the wait didn't bother me. I've ridden it over 3000 miles since then and haven't had any problems. Great Bike!

    Similar story here,
    wait took a few months more than promised,
    but the frame still looks and functions great after thousands of kilometers, and some aggressive riding that most other XC bikes would not allow.
  • 10-10-2011
    True Story, Bro
    Common question, "Wow, haven't seen one of those for years, Dean still making bikes?!" Titanium Dean Colonel Single Speed 29er hardtail still mashing the singletrack on the regular. True story, bro. :cool:

  • 10-10-2011
    1 Attachment(s)
    Hey Illnacord, can we see pics of the whole bike? I'm a fan of the rainbow logo bikes myself. I have a Dean winter project that I'm still searching parts for.
  • 11-06-2011
    Distressing to hear that Dean fell on its sword here for the initial poster. Personally, Dean has been really good to me. I got my first Dean, a Duke soft tail in 1999, it has been an amazing bike, with it's only issues centering around its shock, a Stratos. Stratos went out of business, so service became a hunt. Luckily, Rissie Racing makes a replacement or can service yours. The Duke is tough, really tough. It has popped off car racks off road, been piled up and bounced down hills, rebounded off trees and and hit by a car. It still looks great, I look like sh*t. A little scotchbrite and WD40, a little rubbing and you have a new looking bike.

    Since I have put over 14,000 miles on the Duke and it is getting a bit long in the tooth, I decided time to enter the newer realm of equipment. I ordered a new one from Dean. I am really intrigued by the new curved tube design and straight pivot link shock interface. John Seiegrist and Adam at Dean have been great to me, passing drawings and such for a custom fit. They are even doing some mods on my old Duke to update some fittings for more modern gear and an possibly a Roloff hub. They have done great work for me at exceptionally decent prices especially for custom Ti.

    I own a facility where we re-build damaged aircraft, mostly regional airliners (small turboprops). Not a monsterious facility, but moderately large. Some project keep tossing you curves. Personal issues from a few employees can screw up an entire scedual. Not much solace to the customer, but you get more family like with under 50 employees, so if anything becomes an issue, actually firing somebody who is screwing the system up is a difficult action. I would cut them some slack on the judgements. Run your own business for a while, especially a small one before you cast too many spears. Anybody got a warranty claim, settled with, let's say Mavic for example. I personally will never buy a big company's bike, except for maybe; my kids. China gets enough of our money as it is.

    I'd post a pic of my original Dean Duke, but my post count does not meet the minimum yet for posting links, you can see it in my gallery. The Duke is one cool bike.
  • 11-06-2011
    I've been riding a Dean Colonel for the last 4 yrs or so and have been impressed by the ride. Admittedly, getting the order right and waiting on the frame took some time, but I'm glad I was patient because ultimately i got a good deal on a sweet frame. Still havent broken it but I'll keep trying!
  • 11-19-2011
    dta tx
    My experience with Dean is completely different. I have owned 4 Dean Colonels: two 26ers and two 29ers. I've been riding Deans for about 15 years. Last summer I broke a 29er the morning before Laramie. It was the first time I'd ever broken a Dean frame and I'm a big guy. I called John at Dean. He asked when I could be there. I said about two hours. I showed up at about 10am. He let me use his stand and tools to take my bike apart. He rewelded the frame for me while I waited, and I now have another 1000 off-road miles on the bike with no problems. It's the best customer service I've ever received - and I started working in a bike shop in 1984.
  • 11-19-2011
    Got enough posts to post a pic of my 1999 Duke:
  • 11-20-2011
    Yeah Dogpilot! Original decals with a front WTB tire that matches the color scheme!
  • 11-20-2011
    You know, I never noticed the matchup on colors. Of course I am usually on the bike. It must be some strange fluke, my wife claims I have less style than junkyard dog. I kind of love the WTB Velociraptors, cheap, tough and work well for the conditions here in Flagstaff. I toss them every season. But, since you pointed it out, actually match the bike's scheme. Now if I could only have the same accident with my clothing, which tend toward brightly colored flightsuits.

    Seriously, I like the uniqueness of the Dean. I also have a 1951 O1-G, which there are only 300 left in the world, also unique. It is a hoot to fly and perhaps the slowest way between 2 points, but it always attracts a crowd when you land (which it only needs 200').
  • 08-20-2012
    My beloved Duke has developped a crack at the BB. I guess I'll get to experience the Customer Service everyone has been complaining about in this forum.
  • 08-20-2012
    I got my new Dean Duke in June. It was about 3 1/2 months later than they promised but really was worth the wait. THe new one does not have stickers, rather the logos are etched into the titanium. The new geometry is smoother and the bike just rides better than my other Duke (which I thought was great).

    So you do need to ride them a bit, ok a lot, to get things done, but there are only 4 people there. I hear Da Vinci was moody as well. They are not unpleasant, just overworked.
  • 08-23-2012
    The secret to Dean is to buy them on ebay :)

    Been pounding my Colonel for 11 years and thank goodness I haven't had a single issue with it

  • 09-19-2012
    1 Attachment(s)
    O.K, my DEAN Duke has returned from service for some chain suck damage and 4 cracked welds ; 2 cracks at the BB and one at each drop out. Much to my delight, they said it would take less than 2 weeks and I got it back in 1.5 weeks! They were super nice on the phone and emailed updates. The price was reasonable (I'm not the original owner - bought it 9 yrs ago) and they refinished it with DEAN etched into the Ti instead of new decals (which looks really cool). It looks like a new bike and rides as great as it ever did. I was nervous after reading this post, especially since the riding season in NM is far from over in Sept., but apparently they've gotten the message. DEAN gets a big thumbs up from me for their customer service. Happy trails...
  • 10-18-2012
    Kevin Regan
    2 Attachment(s)
    My Dean Scout
    All you guys complaining about your Dean's and the customer service, I only wish I could be so lucky as to be able to complain about mine, after 17 years of riding over 3000 miles a year on my Scout, converted to a single speed, it got stolen 2 weeks ago in Oakland CA. I absolutely loved that bike, never had a problem with it(I did crack the drop out, but that was after 16 years of tough abuse) and only wish I could have it back. If any one happens to see one pop up for sale drop me a note!
  • 10-22-2012
    A bike stolen in Oakland? How unusual! I have a friend who just moved there. He's had 2 bikes stolen since June 2012. One while he was asleep upstairs!
  • 12-11-2012
    i second that
    everything mentioned here, i've experienced. what a nightmare. the owner seems like a nice guy, but just blatantly lies to your face. it takes 5 phone calls and emails to get a response, and when you do it's the same one you've been getting for months - "your bike is in stage x, will be ready in y amount of time". it makes no difference how long you go between asking the answer is always the same. i have never experienced anything so unprofessional. i hear he builds great bikes - if you can wait. but his customer service gets a zero. there are LOADS of great builders, go elsewhere if you want honest communication and a realistic turn around time. or pester him a million times and by the million and one you MIGHT get your bike. good luck. i thought i was getting a good deal, saving a bit of money. not worth it, my time is worth more than that.
  • 04-20-2013
    2000 26 Scout geared upgraded w/ disc mounts
    2002 el Diente.
    2010 Colonel SS
    2012 Colonel geared
    2013 Tori cx disc

    Daughter rides a Scout, as well.

    Yes, John is frustrating. But his bikes must have some kinda mojo on me.
  • 12-05-2013
    Well I read through this thread a while ago before ordering a new Dean "El Diente Super Lite" and put aside all the bad comments because the Dean "El Diente" standard that I currently own is such a nice bike.
    Lucky for me here in Australia I ordered it through an importer, because after spending $3700 I ended up getting a piece of misshapen junk!! not a patch on my existing frame which I bought 10 yrs ago for $1800. Lucky !!! well as luck would have it the importer gave me back my money, phew I was so glad to give it back. So the new wheels, groupset and all the other bits & pieces will now go on my standard "El Diente" & I will just have to work a bit harder on losing the 200g that the Super Lite is supposed to weigh less.
  • 06-10-2014
    Hey bud,
    sorry to hear about that, but you have to remember that john is a human too. He has a family, two kids and a wife. I can bet you, you have never tried to built a bike by hand. Not only build one bike but at the same time build 5-20 other bikes at the same time. I'm sorry but you are no more than an impatient ignorant prick who doesn't have the slightest bit of empathy of other HUMAN beings. There is a reason that company has won so many awards. The quality of the frame is superior to all other hand built bikes. If you where really needing that bike now maybe you shouldn't have purchased a local hand built bike... Next time look for some factory built TREK from Sports Authority.
  • 06-10-2014

    Originally Posted by vitus View Post
    Hey bud,
    sorry to hear about that, but you have to remember that john is a human too. He has a family, two kids and a wife. I can bet you, you have never tried to built a bike by hand. Not only build one bike but at the same time build 5-20 other bikes at the same time. I'm sorry but you are no more than an impatient ignorant prick who doesn't have the slightest bit of empathy of other HUMAN beings. There is a reason that company has won so many awards. The quality of the frame is superior to all other hand built bikes. If you where really needing that bike now maybe you shouldn't have purchased a local hand built bike... Next time look for some factory built TREK from Sports Authority.

    I am sure John is as human as you or me, but hopefully not as rude as you. I actually love the Dean El Diente that I currently own. Unfortunately the one that I ordered had - The bottle mounts 4mm off to one side on the down tube (3/16''). The rear dropouts were 2mm (almost 1/8") out of line. The seat stays were visibly misaligned at the brake bridge by about 2mm on one side and almost 4mm on the other. For a top of the line frame this was just not good enough by any standard. So if (waiting 12 weeks) after putting down my $1,000 deposit for a frame at $3,800 with so many faults shows a lack impatience and empathy then I am guilty by your judgement, so be it.
    Oh and as a ps I have just bought 2 new great Lynsky 650b Ti frames for $1600 that are not their high end frames. They say they are made in Chattanooga USA & they are really good frames. Lynsky is where I would go were I to want another Ti frame
  • 01-23-2015
    3 Attachment(s)
    purchased a '98 Jester in '12 & inspected the welds before handing over the $$$.after checking again in the sun there were 2 welds that pulled away-hairline cracks under the BB.contacted the manuf. & they quoted $ I visited the local welder who re-tigged the welds for $15. & now its totally unnoticeable.EZ to get hold of the builders to ask questions,try that with specialized or Trek.