I’d first seen the Ti Fat-bike fork from Dean Titanium at last year’s NAHBS event in Charlotte and harbored thoughts about how it would work on my personal rig. Fast forward to a few days ago and I have one to test!
BTW, Dean Bikes has a new owner as of last October named Ari Leon who is continuing the Dean tradition that stretches all the way back to 1990. I talked to Ari a bit about the Titanium Fat-bike Fork and learned that Dean had been making a MTB version of this fork for some time and the lessons learned there were incorporated in the wider fat-bike fork.
One of the problems the guys at Dean had found with existing uni-crown Ti forks was that they typically flexed a lot more than many riders are comfortable with. Using large diameter legs and a forged aluminum crown helped tune the design to give riders the coveted damping ability of Ti while allowing for a less flexy fork.
In addition to the large diameter legs, there is internal stiffening to provide the desired ride characteristics.
One of the cool things about how Dean constructs the fork is that both length and, to some extent offset/rake, are customizable. For most uses the stock 465mm length and the 40mm offset should be a good start but if you want to tweak your front end handling, Dean can help you there. My fork is a 468mm and 50mm offset to accommodate the original fork spec on my Schlick Northpaw.
If that aluminum crown and steerer look familiar that is because Dean uses an MRP crown and steerer. This helps keep the cost, while still considerable at $550, out of the stratosphere. The reliability and durability of the MRP crown is well known and kudos to Dean for finding a good solution with a local partner.
Ari let us in on a little secret! Dean will be offering this fork with a thru axle in the not too distant future. They are in the process of sourcing the dropouts so look for a new fork option soon.
My Dean fork is mounted up on my Schlick Northpaw beach bike. The weight came in at 1258 grams which is a heavier than either the 896g Sarma Carbon that was on the Northpaw prior to the Dean or the 898g White Brothers/MRP fork that I’ve used in the past but I’m not a weight weenie, especially on the beach bike. The important thing is how it rides!
With just a couple of jaunts out on the beach under my belt on this fork I am happy with how it is working. There is some flex, probably a bit more that the MRP carbon for instance, but I find that a good thing. It is definitely MUCH stiffer than the last titanium fat-bike fork I tested.
I’ve also had a couple of days to hit the trails with the Dean Fat-bike fork and, while the Northpaw is not my primary trail bike, I appreciate the controlled flex and damping that the ti construction affords.
I’ve got a lot more riding to do on this fork before I can weigh in with a final verdict but my initial impressions are positive and I am stoked with the look. Plus, check out this seat post from 1995! Yep, it is a Dean and I’ve used it on everyone of my favorite bikes for the last 20 years! Viva la, Dean!
The Dean Titanium Fat-bike Fork Features:
- Cold Worked U.S. 3/2.5 seamless titanium legs
- 7075 Aluminum crown
- Brushed Titanium with Etched Dean logo
- Custom Lengths and offset available. Stock 465 x 40mm offset
- Front Disc Spacing Compatible
- Price $550.00
I’ll weigh in later in the year. We’ve got a lot of beach rides coming up and the Dean Titanium Fat-bike Fork will be along for every one!