by Greg Evans
My first interactions with titanium bikes involved the handmade machines of Dean Bicycles.
I recall my early mechanic days when one of their bikes would roll into the shop for service. My eyes were always drawn to the primary colors used in the brand’s logo. The craftsmanship was apparent, even with the older models.
Dean came to this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show with a handful of monochromatic bikes to display. That’s not to say that monochromatic is a bad thing. But the four, bright letters on the down tube were long gone, replaced by far more subtle bead-blasted graphics. The bike that piqued my interest was the gravel bike perched atop of one of the booth’s tables.
While getting a closer look at Dean's The Torreys, I was introduced to the company’s owner Ari Leon, who gave me some details on the bike. Leon is Dean’s new owner, having purchased the company from former owner John Siegrist. Leon informed me that this was only his third trade-show as the owner of Dean, and while he said he wasn’t quite used to the often hectic nature of these events, he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself.
The Torreys is—like several other Dean models—named after a peak in the Rocky Mountains. The inspiration for the model names is more easily understood knowing that Dean produces most of their bikes just shy of the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado. Not every Dean is named after a mountain top. Dean also produces a fat bike called the Farva Fatty, appropriately named after the iconic “Super Troopers” character, but that's for another bike profile.
Dean's The Torreys is made from size-specific 3/2.5 seamless, cold worked, stress-relieved titanium tubing. The Torreys, unlike their Antero 'cross bike that we saw last year, is a fully custom US-made affair, and each one is built-to-order per the customer’s requirements.
This particular frame features an oversized headtube, a split seatstay, Paragon sliding dropouts, disc brake compatibility and two water bottle mounting points. The rear brake cable runs along the underside of the top tube, which would make shouldering difficult if this bike were to lead a double life as a ‘cross machine. However the full-custom aspect gives plenty of opportunity to move things around.
The bike Dean brought to the show was built with an Enve fork that rotates on a Chris King InSet headset. Braking power is supplied by a set of TRP HY/RD disc brake calipers (although not the new flat-mount version) paired to a set of SRAM Rival shifters.
The drivetrain consists of a 55-tooth Gates CDX sprocket that’s belted to a Rohloff Speedhub. This particular Speedhub is taking advantage of the Gebla Rohbox, an aftermarket add-on that allows the Rohloff to be used with STI-style levers. Ari explained that set-up of the Gebla is pretty straightforward, and only requires slight modification to the indexing pin on the SRAM shifters so that the right shifter controls all the upshifts while the left shifter handles the downshifts.
As for the tire clearance, a set Clement X’PLOR MSO 700x40c tires leave plenty of room to spare at the stays. The tires are fitted to an unmarked alloy wheelset, with the front wheel laced to a Chris King ISO hub. The cockpit is a mix of interesting parts including an older Hope Tech XC stem, an unmarked titanium setback seatpost and a uniquely-shaped Grand Cru handlebar.
Dean's The Torreys frames start at $2500.00 USD, or $2750.00 USD with the Paragon dropouts. Complete builds with a Rohloff drivetrain start at $6000.00 USD.
Dean Torreys Custom Spec Highlights:
Frame: Dean Torreys Custom, 3/2.5 seamless titanium
Fork: Enve Cyclocross Carbon Disc, quick release
Headset: Chris King InSet
Shifter/Brake Levers: SRAM Rival
Brake Calipers: TRP HY/RD
Rotors: Sram Centerline (front), Rohloff 4-bolt (rear)
Drivetrain: Rohloff Speedhub with Gebla Rohbox and Gates sprocket.
Crankset: FSA SL-K, carbon
Chainring: Gates CDX, 55t
Stem: Hope Tech XC
Handlebar: Grand Cru Chris’s Rando Handlebar
Seatpost: Unmarked titanium, setback
Saddle: Selle Italia SLS Flow
Wheels: Unmarked alloy clinchers
Hubs: Chris King ISO (front), Rohloff Speedhub (rear)
Tires: Clement X’PLOR MSO 700x40c
More info: deanbikes.com