a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 13, 2004
Strengths: handfinished workmanship, paint is the best, pierced seat tubes are silver soldered to maintain tubing heat treatment
Weaknesses: Flash,watch it or someone will steal it.
I bought this bike for singletrack, started doing more bike touring. I had Dekerf weld on some rack mounts (also toured with a Bob trailer) and toured the pacific coast highway, new zealand, and australia east coast. The bike and component group was flawless, I carried a pretty heavy load for eight months of every day touring and in between did lots of road riding and fire roads. I never had one problem, not one component broken, the wheels stayed true, I found the paint to be durable unlike other reviews. The best bike I have owned, now gone, stolen 2004. I'd buy another dekerf in a second. I have tried other bikes but the ride of the 853 tubing the way chris has put them together makes for a really comfortable ride, climbs well, and likes the singletrack. I had trouble justifying the money for the XTR in the beginning but I put over 10,000 km's on the bike and the shifting is still crisp and I'll say it again not one broken part in all those km's. The XTR rapidfire shifters do not wear out. Spend the money if you ride alot, you'll have it for years!
It a Generation 1997. Paint is no good at all: looks very nice (petrol), but falls of like dandruff in a breeze. Else: best bike! I am 230 lbs, and it keeps me going. From the feel it is nearly as stiff as the Zymotic, but somehow it is much more comfortable. The geometry is very fast indeed. I put in a Bomber with its 80mm and is still razor sharp. Also its handling is verrryy precise. In comparison, the Zymotic (=Indian fire Trail) takes stiffness to unhealthy extremes, the Trek Carbon has its point, too. It is still softer on the trail, but its handling is much less wel defined.
Similar Products Used: Trek 9900 OCLV '98, Hot Chili Zymotic Aluminium hard core hardtail at present, in the past: Marin Indian Fire Trail
Bike Setup: Marzocchi Bomber Atom 80, Shimano XT, Magura 10th Anniversary, Mavic ceramic rims...
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 30, 2001
Strengths: Strong, light, stiff
Weaknesses: Yeah, the paint sucks
Well folks this takes a story, I go out for a ride with some friends. We drive to the trailhead with no problems. It's a great day for a ride, the trails are dry and challenging, and the bike is amazing. We ride for the afternoon until my friends are getting tired, but not me because this frame is so forgiving. So we load up the cars to go home, with my bike on the back of the other car. Well as we are traveling down the highway at a hundred km/h I watch with horror as my bike slides off the back of the other car. I see it bounce, and bounce, then complete anarchy reigns around it as it spins and flips down the side of the road. I think my conversation at the time went like this: ME "that's my bike" CHRIS (he is driving) "What?" ME "that's my bike" CHRIS "Oh my God" Then silence as we slowed down and pulled over. I get out of the car and walk down the shoulder, images of tacos and pretzels going through my head. I reach my bike, pick it up and spin the rear wheel, it's still true. This is a good sign. We throw the bike in the back and take it home. After going over my bike with a fine toothed comb all I could find wrong with it is a broken rear shifter, front deraileur and a bent rigid fork. The frame is still true for which I am extremely grateful as Dekerf is no longer brazing frames. Now I know I will never crash hard enough to abuse my frame the way it was pushed during that slight mishap, I would need to land sideways at 30 which just won't happen. So I am now quite convinced that this frame is ultra strong, as well as being the nicest riding bicycle I have ever owned. As for the rating I give it a five all around.
Similar Products Used: Norco, Specialized, Rocky Mountain
Bike Setup: Eclectic Shimano, XT hubs, levers and BB; XTR brakes; LX shifters, derailleurs and cogs; Deore cranks. Frogs, cheapo post, ti bar, Rhyno light rims.
Date Reviewed: November 14, 2000
Strengths: Sweet, Agressive Ride; Beautiful Workmanship; Light and Strong
Weaknesses: High Cost
The “Nerf”. I love this ride.
It's more bike than I ever thought I would ever own (or need for that matter), but when my lbs owner offered me HIS bike, slightly used (6 rides, no scratches, slight scuffs on crank arms) at a great price, I could NOT pass it up.
After I rode it once, even my girlfriend, who does not understand MTB at all, saw that it was a nice deal and I had fallen in love with it (and she pestered me until I bought it).
Sure, it was more than I had planned on spending on a bike (or will ever spend again). But considering it had all of the extras (King, Ibis, XTR), I HAD to have it. I was also considering the Klein Attitude Comp with some upgrades, but after those adders, it ended up being the same price.
After 2 days of hemming and hawwing, I took him a check and never looked back.
This bike loves tight, technical singletrack and loves to be pushed. It handles like a dream (as long as you have sufficient meat to hook up to the trail) and takes all my 200+ lb fat a$$ can dish out. It encourages me to ride harder and to push my own envelope.
This bike has been all over Texas with me, and has made side trips to New Mexico and Colorado (it carried me to a 2nd to last place finish in Leadville this year) and I looooove riding it.
Although it is a great bike, I would be hard pressed to spend more on it than I did. For the same money, you can get a lot of bike these days. But the Nerf rocks, and I love it.
As Ferris Bueller says, "If you have the means, I highly recommend picking up one."
As Jack Nicholson would say, "It makes me want to be a better rider."
4 Value Chilis for the price (I'd go lower, but I don't want to skew the overall results) and 5 Big Bad Chilis for the Overall Rating.
Bike Setup: Team SL; Z2 Atom Bomb; King Heasdet; Ibis Bar & Ends; Control Tech Post; Ritchey Stem, Seat, Speedmax; XT Cranks, BB, Shifter/Lever, Rear Der; XTR Brakes, Rear Der; 517/XTR/DT rev handbuilt by yours truly; and the oldest 737's still in operation.
from Toronto, CANADA
Date Reviewed: September 14, 2000
Strengths: Light! Strong! Stiff! This frame gets used for technical x-country and trials riding, and has been as smooth as silk to ride (rigid!!!!). Very agile & responsive, with a aluminum like climbing ability.
Weaknesses: The built-in seatpost collar isn't great for my use, but for a light steel frame a couple of grams saved is good.
If you want a high performance frame that rides like it's on rails, is stronger than a s*#t brickhouse, and you can climb like it's aluminum, then this is the frame for you!! Steel is smooth to ride, & Chris Dekerf's beautifull welding and the wishbone seat-stays make this frame one quick feeling ride! Airbourne has the style right but they will never touch the incredible strenght of the DeKerf welds! If you x-country ride and want a light bike the can be built a around the 23-24 lb. mark no problem. For trials it's a bit pricey, but you can't take it with you......
Similar Products Used: '97 DeKerf Generation frame, '94 TBL Ozone Pro frame, and an old school Ritchey frame (great frame, U-brakes suck!).
Bike Setup: 4130 Cro-mo fork, Race Face everything except for the hdst, Chris King, Mavic rims, Shimano XT & XTR drive, and brakes, Paul's brake levers, Ring God cring guard, Shimano DX platform pedals.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 12, 2000
Strengths: handling traits,craftsmanship,unique design,weight(relative to steel),spectacular "looking paint".
Weaknesses: price,poor paint (in terms of durability
Best hardtail I've ever ridden.......hands down. I am a bit of a steel connosieur, and this is where it is at, sorry if'ers. My only complaint is the paint job, which looks great, but flakes oh so easily. Plus, I wouldn't have been able to afford it had I not gotten a deal, which also sucks for most people, yet it it worth it if you can muster the coin. I would recommend riding some lesser quality steel for a long time before getting this frame, then you will appreciate the finer qualities that much more.
HR (I rated it so high on value, because I believe you can't put a price on singletrack nirvana.)
Similar Products Used: Fisher Xcal 97' 853 Cuda a2b tange SPec M2
Bike Setup: Race Face, Sram,Maggies, and Hugi
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: August 24, 2000
Strengths: looks + craftsmanship weight durability that oh so wonderful steel ride
I bought this frame through the used marketplace on this website, so in the end I ended up paying half the price, and the frame happened to be this wonderful army green, custom powder coated paint job so I don't have any durability issues with scratches. Excellent ride quality, and workmanship may make the cost justifiable for a unique custom bike frame, but I don't think I would have been willing to pay that kind of price.
The bike has a quick race geometry so it takes a while to get used to it at first, I'm using a 63mm travel fork which doesn't help, you may want to go with a longer travel to slacken the head angle. Otherwise it handles and climbes like a dream and my 21" frame doesn't feel like as big as it is. Much more nimble and comfortable to ride than my friends 20" Kona Explosive, who has his bike comparably specked.
Bike Setup: Bomber Z3 light, Race Face LP crankset and bottom brkt, Bontranger Mustang XT hub wheelset, XTR rear der., LX frt, XT rapidfire shifters, LX brakes, ESP 9.0 brk levers, Bontranger seatpost and bar
a Cross Country Rider
from Seattle, WA, United States
Date Reviewed: June 9, 2000
Strengths: Awesome design & craftsmanship on the steel frame. The rear seat stays are so rigid I gave my rear brake booster to a friend.
Weaknesses: None.I bought my bike to ride, not show off the paint job in a museum.
The frame design is 1 of-a-kind. The seatstay's are drilled and welded together - not bent. This makes them strong & they do NOT flex. Check out their web site: http://www.dekerf.com/ to find a dealer near you. Do NOT buy any other frame until you look at one of these. I have never seen so much detail on welded steel tubes. The frame is built right & built to last. I would keep my bike in the house - to admire the quality details...if only I could keep all of the dirt off it.
I am riding with 3" (100mm) travel on the front/rear (seatpost). The suspension soaks up all of the small bumps off-road or even on the road. I don't want to let any more of my friends take a test ride on my DeKerf..it takes forever to catch them & throw them off so I can ride it.
Similar Products Used: Every other frame material on the market. Nothing compares to a steel frame.
Bike Setup: Easton Monkey Lite bars, 8 speed XTR brakes & shifters, Race Face stem, Chris King headset, Marzochhi A Bomb front shock, Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost, Mavic 217 ceramic rims.
a Weekend Warrior
from Dorset, Enland
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2000
Strengths: ('99 Team SL)Fantastic design, attention to detail and build. Inspiringly smooth and fast ride sensation
Weaknesses: Yes the lush paint soon chips and scratches too easily and touch-up paint not available. My seat tube was poorly reamed and integral seat collar is neat but not as convienent as quick release type
Undoubtably Mr DeKerf has created a timeless masterpiece. A work of great pipe wizardry and I have to confess when I first got my Viper Blue Team SL I lovingly gazed for hours at all those neat unique details. But it's not just a pretty face, some in-depth structural thinking went into shaping this frame's beautifully welded tubes. But if like me you think the finish is smooth, wait till you ride it. Silky smooth, as it just seems to sail over ever trail trama. Leach like traction and not a moments drama as you try and keep up with a bike begging for the next gear. A bike for connoisseurs that excels as an all-rounder, but it's real show piece is scorching your favourite singletrack faster than you ever thought possible.
Similar Products Used: Other bike is a Kona Kilauea
Bike Setup: Canadianised with Race Face headset,stem,seat post, xt/ESP drive train and excellent British Pace EvoII forks (stiff, plush and British weather proof!)
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 25, 2000
Strengths: Fairly compliant ride, nice frame detail/design and 'exclusivity'(not really that useful in real terms)
Weaknesses: The paint quality on a frame of this price is absolutely scandalous- paint chips really easily and with steel this is not a good look, especially when you live in this kind of changeable climate. The stiffness of the front triangle is also a bit of an issue- the physical flex is almost scary and makes for bad tracking over roots, tight turns and rutty stuff. Only really suitable for short-=travel(63mm)suspension forks.Also super easy to dent.
This frame is not worth the money. Dont get me wrong, it is a nice frame and rides ok-good for long rides etc. but these qualities can be gained for a lot less money(even though i got a staff discount).Too many drawbacks to justify it, and the *its a dekerf-wow!*(~lots of dosh)thing is not a justification for this. On reflection, would have bought a Ti frame instead- stiffer and more durable.
Similar Products Used: cannondale, trek, marin etc.
Bike Setup: hope disks, z2 xfly, hope wheels, xtr
a Cross-Country Rider
from Sacramento, CA
Date Reviewed: December 4, 1999
Strengths: Follow up to review below.
I didn't hear from Chris but Paul did respond. He had been out on sales calls for weeks and apologized for the lack of communication. On his next road trip south he stopped by the shop (unfortunately I wasn't there) with 2 bottles of touch up paint and some other goodies. Jason (the shop owner) said Paul was genuinely concerned with the lack of service DeKerf had provided and really wanted to make sure everything was now OK. Thank you Paul, I feel much better now knowing someone cares. I now feel DeKerf will provide service if I ever need it so here goes with the new rating. Due to the initial problems I can't rate it a 5 even though the overal ride is worth it. New rating is 4. Very nice bike. Thanks Paul, hope to meet you next time you make it down this way.
a Cross-Country Rider
from Sacramento, CA
Date Reviewed: October 30, 1999
Strengths: Awesome design and construction (other than see weaknesses). Perfect alignment on rear disc mount.
Weaknesses: Dekerf does not respond to email or calls about problems. Paint chips easily. Paint chipped on head tube and B/B out of box. Damaged thread on B/B and bad ream on seat tube out of box. Paint on underside of seatstay at seat tube is poor. Rene is gone.
I started dealing with Rene @ Dekerf and he was very helpful and answered all questions promptly. He left before my frame was ready to ship. I'm sure I would not have had any of these problems if Rene was still there. He was great. I have called Dekerf and left messages on their machine (during the daytime) 3 times but no call back. The owner of the shop I work at part time called about a new frame and got a call back the next day! Chris Dekerf told him he would call me about the problems but hasn't (approx. 2 weeks). I have emailed Dekerf MANY times since late August (still have all the copies) and still no response to the above problems. Also, still no touch up paint. I will repost an updated review if I ever hear from Dekerf. Chris, PLEASE call or email me! Awesome frame other than above problems, would have been 4 or maybe 5. It rides as well as all the reviews below say. The bitterness of ZERO customer service on a $1200+ frame drops it to a 2.
Similar Products Used: Bontrager Race Lite Bontrager Race Moots Ti Moots steel (early'90's)
Bike Setup: RST air fork XTR der & shifters RaceFace cranks, headset Magura Louise discs & wheelset
a Cross-Country Rider
from Houston, Texas
Date Reviewed: June 17, 1999
Strengths: Race geometry Fairly light Agile like a mountain goat Cool colors from which you get to pick Can paint your fork legs to match the frame for small $
Weaknesses: Wimpy Derailleur Hanger
All I can say is YEE-HAW! (I'm not actually from Texas, but the lingo is easy to pick up) This bike is fairly light (24.5 lbs) and rides like a dream. Slices through tight singletrack like a male squirrel during mating season. Climbs well and tracks well through rocky technical sections. The only gripe I have is with the derailleur hanger as I have had to re-adjust it a few times. No problems with the paint as mentioned in several other reviews, but she's just a pup (i.e. I've only had the bike for six months). I'd recommend this frame to anyone wanting a custom steel frame. I've been riding aluminum frame bikes for the last 6 years, and it is nice to get back to cro-mo. KUDOS to Chris, Renee, and everyone else at DeKerf!
Similar Products Used: Trek 8000 and 8500 Gary Fisher
Bike Setup: Marzocchi Z2, 9-speed XT/XTR drivetrain, XTR V-brakes, Race Face bars, stem, seatpost, King NoThreadset, Mavic 517 w/XTR hubs
Date Reviewed: June 8, 1999
Strengths: this bike is fast, climbs like a demon and is a great racer. I have the team st and i loved it until it broke. it,s now in vancouver being repaired.
Weaknesses: i broke the frame through no fault of my own. it broke where the titanium is bonded to the steel. dekerf says it,s a manufacturing problem. also the paint chips off like crazy, it shouldn,t!!!
i loved riding and racing this bike but i am now worried about the softtail design and if it is possible to bond titanium to steel. i paid alot of money for this bike and now i am forced to ride around on a low end i-drive gt.I WANT MY BIKE BACK!!!!!!