DEAN Rohloff 29er



– 3/2.5 Titanium tubing
– Rohloff Speedhub 500/14
– Gates Belt Drive
– Velocity Psycho Rims
– Schwalbe Big Apples

Objective: To build the most reliable exploration touring bike

The core frame/fork design will be based on a DEAN Colonel 29er…

The drivetrain will be built around the ultra reliable Rohloff 500/14 Speedhub:

New generation drive components will accommodate the sealed 14-speed gear hub…

Gates Cog

The Gates carbon belt will eliminate the need for chain maintenance and increase component longevity…

Build Details

1) Prepping the frame for the weld.

The frame will be a compact geometry with a sloping top tube (14.5 degrees) with an extended length head
tube (23 cm) for increased comfort on long journeys. The rear triangle will accommodate up to 2.45″ tires.

Tubing diameter is maximized for increased strength and custom oversized wall thickness is chosen for
the ultimate in durability (0.154″ ST/HT, 0.086″ TT/DT, 0.135″ SS/CS). The weight penalty will be minimal
for the enhanced strength of more than double the standard wall thickness.

The tubes are cut, tapered and fish mouthed by CNC machine for an exact fit. They are added to the jig
awaiting final weld. Paragon sliders are mounted to the rear triangle for the Rohloff hub.

Triple cable guides are mounted on the underside of the Top Tube for the Rohloff Cable and rear brake. Upper and lower rack mounts, brake bridge and cable guides are added to the rear seat stay. The frame is equipped with 26/29er canti studs and disc brake tabs for maximum flexibility. The Paragon Splitter on the right stay will be used to open the rear triangle for inserting the Gates belt.

The lower rear rack mount is repositioned lower down on the seat stay to accept a standard 26″ MTB rack for lighter loads. The Old Man Mountain (OMM) Pioneer rack is fitted to the rear axle and secured to the canti studs.

Double canti studs and rack mounts are added to the front of the fork blades. Water bottle braze-ons are added to the sides of custom Ti fork. The White Industries crown is masked to protect the finish…

The final frame is being prepped for bead blast to give an industrial, matte finish. A DEAN head badge will be added to the head tube. The beautiful Rohloff hub is visible in black with white laser etching, an elegant improvement over the original Rohloff sticker. Laced to 36h Velocity Psycho rims, this Custom DEAN 29er will be a truly stout ride…

A titanium fender is fitted to the rear triangle for all weather use. All components are titanium and aluminum to deter rust.

The original DEAN head badge will be used to give a more subtle look, keeping with the nondescript image of the bike. Accessories will be black to accent the matte ti finish and matching OMM rear rack. Final assembly is at Cycle Monkey in El Cerrito.


DEAN Rohloff 29er Completed 11/19/2012

The DEAN Rohloff 29er was completed and has now been through several rides this past week. Thursday was a full day ride of 70 miles and 6k vertical feet. The DEAN Rohloff 29er faired well and ended up being one of the most comfortable extended rides.

Dean Rohloff 29er - Side View

Dean Rohloff 29er – Side View


Rohloff 500/14 Speedhub with Gates Carbon Belt Drive and Gilles Berthoud shifter
– The shifting and drive of this combination is really smooth. It’s not the crisp shift of a race bike, but for touring, comfort and reliability, it’s unparalleled.
– Tension was adjusted using the Gates iPhone app. While plucking the belt (like a guitar), the iPhone microphone picks up the resonant frequency and records it.
– Cleaning the drivetrain is a snap. Just rinse with water and you’re done, simple.

Dean Rohloff 29er - Gates Carbon Belt Drive

Dean Rohloff 29er – Gates Carbon Belt Drive

– Rear Cog 20T / Front Sprocket 46T / 118T Belt
– 18″ – 95″ Gear Inches

Dean Rohloff 29er - Rohloff 500/14 Speedhub

Dean Rohloff 29er – Rohloff 500/14 Speedhub

– Using drop bars with a Rohloff shifter is now possible with the Gille Berthoud aluminum shifter (you’ll want to wear gloves and keep a straight cable line).


Rohloff/SON28 Dyno / Avid BB7 Disc Brakes / Velocity Psycho 36h / Schwalbe Big Apple
– Velocity Psycho rims were chosen for durability and strength. Absolutely indestructible (900g each), but not for the faint of heart. Definitely a clydesdale rim.
– Road riding is great with the Big Apples. They’re smooth, roll fast and give good pneumatic suspension.
– The Avid BB7s are a must if you plan on riding in rain or mud, especially for steep descents. The actuation is linear and consistent.


– The dyno hub on the front is a must for extended treks. Driving a Supernova E3 Triple gives 800 lumen at speed. A very reliable setup.
– For trails, I would recommend the new Exposure Reflex lamp. They are cable free, high output (2200 lumen) and portable (smaller than a can of beer).

Dean Rohloff 29er - Supernova E3 Triple

Dean Rohloff 29er – Supernova E3 Triple

– Connecting up the LED lamp head wires to the dyno hub is fairly straightforward. Make sure to use spade connectors and shrink wrap (connect only the black wires to the hub).

– Rear lighting was set up with the dyno-actuated Supernova E3 tail light and the battery-powered DiNotte 400R Rear Red Light

I can’t stress strongly enough the importance of the DiNotte 400R rear light for safety. This is the brightest rear light on the market. It is a MUST if you want maximum visibility. I would recommend the 4-cell battery. This gives about 40 hours of intermittent flash.


For all weather riding, DEAN made a custom rear fender which is integrated to the rear rack. What I like about this fender is that is gives plenty of water protection without the goofy, full length fender and fender stays which always rattle around.


My favorite saddle was added for supreme comfort. The B135 is top shelf for comfort. On my 70 mile trek, only after about 8 straight hours in the saddle did I even start to feel a little bit uncomfortable. That is unheard of with non-sprung saddles. You won’t find a more comfortable long distance saddle anywhere.

Front/Rear Rack

And, last, but not least, the Old Man Mountain (OMM) rear rack was chosen as the most durable, sturdy rack system on the market. Hands down, you can’t beat this rack. Backed by a lifetime warranty, OMM stands behind their product. These are the best racks you can get for your touring expedition. If you’re planning on an extended tour or rough terrain, don’t even bother looking at another rack system.


The DEAN Rohloff 29er was built with one thing in mind: durability. The entire bike has been oversized and over-engineered to minimize component failure. The aim was to design a super reliable exploration rig that would be versatile and comfortable at the same time. Something that would take you anywhere you want to go, get you there without incident and let you enjoy the ride so that a full day in the saddle feels like a dream and not a nightmare.

If you’re looking for a touring or expedition rig that will not let you down and will be comfortable to ride 10-12 hours per day, look no further. This is the ultimate touring bike. John, Rich and Arie at DEAN bikes have been the absolute most responsive and accommodating manufacturers I have ever dealt with. Give them a call and let them set you up with the perfect ride. Excellent product, excellent customer service, great value and one of the best Ti builders available.

Dean Rohloff 29er - Front View

Dean Rohloff 29er – Front View

Levi Gran Fondo Century Ride 10/04/2014



  1. Luigi says:

    Hi, a question for your on the gearing as I’m planning to build a similar transmission.
    Isn’t – Rear Cog 20T / Front Sprocket 46T giving you not enough speed while on the flat or slightly downhill?
    To me, one of the beauty of cycling is speed. Based on the calculation I did, I was planning to set up my transmission with a 55×19 to get enough speed.
    Would you please share your experience and why you choose a 46×20?



  2. admin says:

    I chose 46×20 for maximum hill climb… I used the 29er for the Levi Gran Fondo in 2014… 100 miles and 9k vertical feet… the low gearing made a big difference… low gearing is critical for a touring bike to prevent injuries… top speed is much less of a concern than climbing ability on extended journeys and that would be the same for any century ride with elevation gain… most riders were completely spent after 100 miles on their race bikes… big mistake for a century ride… I was completely fine after a full day in the saddle…

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