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New Bike - Dean El Diente CTI(9 posts)

New Bike - Dean El Diente CTIGregory Taylor
Dec 23, 2002 8:58 AM
Now that I've finally got some miles on my new Dean, I thought that it was high time to pass along a "New Bike Report." Based on the discussion threads over the last two weeks -- Are Carbon Seat Stays Evil? Ride Tuning, Custom Frames And Impotence - You Decide! -- I've conjoured up a bike that should have something on it to annoy everyone.

First, the frameset. Its a Dean El Diente CTI - seamless 3/2.5Vr radial titanium, Columbus Carve carbon fiber seatstays. I don't have a digital camera, so here's the link to Dean's website:

I added a couple of tweaks to the basic framset. On the aesthetics front, I'm not a fan of nude ti, so the framset took a trip to Spectrum powderworks and came back a beautiful canary yellow with polished chainstays. Black decals finish it off.

Structurally, the bike is beautifully built. The Dean Dudes used beefier chainstays and, I suspect, downtube. They did this for me on the steel Culebra that I bought (and destroyed) earlier this year. The result of the powdercoat and beefier build is a frame that is a tad bit heftier than the advertised weight of 2.9 lbs. More like 3.5. lbs.

This added weight is fine as the bike rides beautifully. I go an honest 190 lbs., so I don't want a stupid light-bike. I want a bike that rides smoothly, handles torque from sprints and climbs, and has sharp handling. Mission accomplished on these points. And at 18.8 lbs with pedals, the bike is plenty light.

Oh, the components. Campagnolo. I call it the "poseur's pick" gruppo. Record shifters, derailleurs, and seatpost (in other words, all the flash carbon bits), Chorus crank, hubs, bottom bracket. An Ouzo Pro fork tops it off, with a King headset. The wheels are 32 spoke Open Pros (black) -- nothing fancy.

So far, I really like it. The Campy stuff works beautifully -- very different feel than the Shimano. The Campy has a very distinct mechanical action when shifting, while the Shimano mechaninsm just seemlessly insinuates the chain between gears. The Campy shifting reminds me of the way some automotive writers describe the shifting on a Ferrari -- a smooth yet distinctly mechanical action that benefits from a firm hand. The Italians seem to revel in tactile feedback that you get from controlling a beautiful machine. I like the Campy feel, and I suspect that it will get smoother with more miles.

One thing I did notice is the difference in feel between the front and rear brakes. Campy put a single-pivot brake out back (weight savings) and a dual pivot out front. The rear takes a bit more of a squeeze, that's all.

The Dean frame is wonderful. There IS a difference in that intangible ride "feel" with a titanium frame. I cranked up the tire pressure to 120 psi and went for a ride this Sunday...smooth, with most of the low level "chatter" seemingly damped out. Stand and honk it up a big hill, and there is little to no deflection in the bottom bracket, no annoying chain rub. The guys at Dean steered me to a carbon seat stay to stiffen the bike without destroying the ride -- I suppose that it worked, because I'm not complaining.

The handling seems to be pretty sharp. I haven't pushed it really hard yet, but the feedback so far is encouraging. Nothing nervous or skittish.

All in all, I like the bike.
Watch out for teenagers and stopsigns. ;-)........nmMB1
Dec 23, 2002 9:12 AM
Big Dean fan.Juanmoretime
Dec 23, 2002 9:57 AM
Gregory, I've always been a big fan of Dean and have owned 4 of them although my current main ride is a LS Vortex. It sounds as though you have an excellent bike and I hope you get many years of enjoyment out of it. I've always rode Shimano Dura Ace but your description of a Campy Groupo is making that little voice inside me to talk a little louder. It's saying; "you really should have a full Campy bike'.
dood. Can't wait to see it. Sounds lovely. Although, youbill
Dec 23, 2002 10:38 AM
know you f-d up by not getting the Record crank. That's the first thing I notice on a Record-equipped bike -- that jewel of a crank. Although that would only have brought unwanted attention to those hairy stumps you call legs.
Yup. Tragic Omission. Merry Christmas, you hoser...(nm)Gregory Taylor
Dec 23, 2002 10:44 AM
Dec 23, 2002 11:10 AM
Nice ride, nice report. Please get some pictures scanned at Kinko's. I think we'd all like to take a look. How much did the paint job cost?
Thanks!Gregory Taylor
Dec 23, 2002 11:30 AM
I seem to remember the Powdercoat being $100, but that sounds very low. I negotiated this a while ago...but backing out the cost of the fork and frame from what I paid, I come up with $100 for the color. Not bad! The only downside to the powdercoating was that it delayed getting the frame by about 6 weeks. Another RBR'er, SN69, had a similar experience. Spectrum gets backed up. The yellow turned out very pretty, though.
Me to- El Diente CTi Semi-Compactcogmaster
Dec 25, 2002 12:39 PM
Greg, I just received my custom Dean frame 12/23 after a 4 month wait(just in time for X-mas), it was worth it. I went with a bright brushed CTi with a semi-compact geometry and all Dura Ace. This bike is super fast and stiff. I found the carbon stays to do little to dampen the ride, but instead gives awesome rear end stiffness. This thing climbs like a monkey with its a-- on fire. Hope you enjoy yours. For the other readers, Dean is a good custom Ti alternative to Serotta, Seven, etc.. They do great work. You have to be a little more patient and to deal with a lower level of customer service as the larger companies as they are a small shop and the staff builds in addition to working the phone.
Way sweeet! As for the customer service....Gregory Taylor
Dec 26, 2002 8:24 PM
...I actually found the Dean Dudes to be pretty responsive. Yes, I had to wait for my bike, but given the fact that they are very small, I have no complaints. In fact, compared to some of the other small custom shops (with bigger reputations), I was treated rather well.