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.
  • 01-24-2011
    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".