Strengths: This was my second 29er and my first Ti mountain bike (Litespeed road beforehand). The folks and Dean build a product that rivals or surpasses the other "big" names in the Ti industry. I have had my Colonel for over 2 1/2 years now and it has seen used as a SS, loaded tourer, 100-miler and weekend racer. The Geometry was setup to my preference (I stick to relative norms and am of a standard build), frame was setup to accept a 100mm fork (suspension or not) and the rear wheel hugs the seat tube. The frame is made of straight gauge tubing, uses Paragon bits wherever needed, features a straight 1 1/8 head tube and standard BB. It has the perfect amount of flex, I feel the need to reiterate that. Dean's straight gauge Ti frame is certainly not flimsy, it provides feedback, even with a rigid fork the bike copes excellently in Northeast rooted and rock littered singletrack. When it comes to quick out of the saddle climbs the rear triangle responds with a solid feel. The satin finished frame is worry free and the aluminum sleeve for the seatpost is also a great detail; assuring that your post won't seize to the frame. The welds are unbelievable and I attribute much of the frames longevity and beauty to their consistency, the welds on a Dean Ti frame are textbook examples.
Weaknesses: None in quality. I personally wish I ordered sliding dropouts.
I want another Dean. This bike is undeniably a solid performer from a super nice and extremely talented frame builder who hasn't succumb to fancy marketing trends to promote his product.
Similar Products Used: Homegrowns(break easily), Air 9, Voodoo's.
Bike Setup: Rigid Dean Fork, Dean Stem, Dean Road Ti seatpost, Stans Arch Wheelset, X0 groupset,
a Weekend Warrior
from Concord, CA USA
Date Reviewed: December 2, 2010
Strengths: Beauty, welds as good as my Moots Vamoots, lasts "forever", unicrown rear end, gusset at downtube, headtube badge in copper, Paragon Machine Works sliders, tubing selection, looks, pedigree.
Weaknesses: Not for those that want aluminum rigidity or carbon numbness.
I ride with singletrack slayers on full suspension geared bikes, I ride with CX national champions on carbon geared drop bar race bikes. It's not about the bike, it's about the rider.
Similar Products Used: Rocky Mtn Element Tsc, SS GF Rig
Bike Setup: SRAM triggers, WTB Nano's, Reba
a Cross Country Rider
from Boiling Springs, PA USA
Date Reviewed: August 8, 2006
Strengths: Great frame geometry, nice welds, best handling bike I've ever owned! Excellent price for a high quality Ti frame.
Weaknesses: Very tight chainstay clearance, 2.1 tire barely clears and must be kept true! LONG wait and poor communication from Dean. Promised 2 months, took SEVEN.
I'm 6'-2" and have been mountain biking for almost 20 years now. This is the first bike I have owned that truly fits me well and it handles like a dream. My hill climbing times are >10% better on this bike vs any others I own. The rear wheel is tucked in very close to the seat tube which is one reason the tire clearance is such an issue but it makes the balance and liveliness of the bike work extremely well. I can ride this bike through rock gardens that I could clear before on a hardtail. The folks at Dean were nice on the phone and I believe they had good intentions but they seem to have no production planning skills. I'm very glad now that I waited but don't order one if you can't do without it for an unpredictable time period. Overall, an excellent bike. It would be perfect if they would improve the chainstay clearance.
Similar Products Used: Litespeed 26" bike, Ibis Mojo & other 26" bikes. I also ride an Asylum F-S 29er for rougher trails.
Bike Setup: XTR der's, 8-spd Grip shift, Race-lite ceramic rim wheels, Avid Ultimate rim brakes, Cane Creek Thudbuster ST seatpost, FSA carbon bar & Ibis bar ends, Marzocchi fork.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 29, 2006
Strengths: I had DEAN custom build me a 29er S.S. with an ebb (with setting screws) and a rigid suspension corrected ti fork. The rigid fork has quite a bit of flex, but that's a positive in my book. I took it to Moab and rode 6 different (hard core) trails...and the bike rocked! While it may not be the best setup for flying down Porc Rim, the bike is actually so fast on the climbs it's comical. It has so much snap to it, but it also tames the bumbs (being Ti) much more than my Rig did. I don't think the other Ti makers can match the value OR craftsman ship of this bici.
Weaknesses: the wait. ohhhhhhhh the long wait!!!!!
Bike Setup: King head, King hubs, Salsa disc specific rims with dt comp. spokes, Hope mini's, White Ind. 180's with a 32/20 gear. Endless Bike Co. alloy cog, hallowtech SRAM chain.
a Cross Country Rider
from Portland, Oregon
Date Reviewed: January 14, 2006
Strengths: I have the Colonel XLite 29er (with the carbon overlay) Very light, feels unlike anything else I have ever had or been on. I love it. I can't detect any flex in the frame riding, but my back is much better than it felt riding other frames. It is the best hardtail I have owned. Frame for a large(ish as there was a bit of custom geometry) was 3.05 lbs. This is with the modular dropouts
Weaknesses: Although I was very specific when speaking with John at Dean regarding the fork I was using, a Reba, and that I was concerned with the fork hitting the down tube, it still did by just a hair. I removed the very top part of the poploc floodgate knob and that fixed the problem. They were great at offering solutions, but I wish they had not cut it so close with the clearance. If they had just added an extra 1/8" there would have been no issue at all.
Although the guys at Dean where very nice, and responded to all of my many emails and phone calls, they were about 8 to 10 weeks late with the frame. Regardless, the bike is all that I hoped it would be. I would buy from them again, I just would make sure to have a bike on hand until it arrived at my door. There is nothing worse that being without a mountain bike for 2 months like I was because they said it was going to be finished in a couple on weeks only to have it arrive 10 weeks later. Luckily I had my road bike and cross bike to ride until then.
That said, I love this bike!! For the price it is worth it when compared to the prices of other butted ti frames like Seven, I.F. etc. Just remember that there may be a hassel along with your order, which isn't that big of a deal.
I still give it 5 chilis because it rides just so damn well.
Similar Products Used: This is my first ti frame. I have had some custom Curtlo frames, a Niner One 9, Cannondale 1FG, Ellsworth Id and Truth, Santa Cruz Heckler, Rocky Mountain slayer, Fisher 293, Fisher Sugar, and on and on and on and on.
Bike Setup: XTR, King wheels, Reba, etc. All sweet stuff
a Cross Country Rider
from Del Mar, CA
Date Reviewed: July 6, 2004
Strengths: A light and fast yet comfortable frame that has impressed me from day one. The welds are right on and the disc mount was aligned to perfection. The Dean seatpost is superlight and helps to make the ride even more comfy.
Weaknesses: Some people do not like decals but I think it is an advantage. The frame is not painted, just raw titanium, which means that I can change the look of the frame whenever.
My first ride on a 29r was on a Surly Karate monkey. It was heavy but it convinced me that 29rs are the way to ride. The Dean Colonel 29r is all that the Karate monkey was but in a much lighter and faster package. The bike is perfect for me and my type of riding here in So Cal. John at Dean bikes is a very helpful and kind person who helped me to endure the wait (long) for the frame. Titanium frames are expensive but Dean frames are reasonably prices. Combine that with a total attention for details and you have in my opinion the perfect 29r hardtail.
Picked up a Colonel in the classifieds and have started the build up. Things are going pretty well...I will post the details latter.
But I am looking for some feed back on which front derailleur works best with this frame.
The wheel set that was swapped in has Fast Traks, which makes things ... Read More »