Just returned from a couple of weeks of riding up and down the "hills" in north central Colorado. While there I visited both the Dean and Moots fab shops. There are some differences, as follows:
1. Moots spends a ton more money on their facility. Is probably five times the size of the Dean facility. Moots probably has five times the machine tools, etc., as well. And several additional employees.
2. Same for marketing. Moots has a slick catalog, clothing, etc. Dean has very little in this area.
3. Moots does bead blast the entire finished frame, including welds. They have a 'walk-in' bead-blast room for doing so. The Moots bead-blast finish was described to me by their people as their 'signature' finish. I ask several folks, including Kent, if the weld area is bead-blasted. Indeed, the entire bike is bead-blasted. We were shown same on the facility tour.
4. Moots does not make a first-pass fusion (autogenous) or final (filler) 360 degree weld on all joints. Dean does. Underneath the seat-tube where it overlaps the down-tube at the BB shell, Moots does not weld the covered joint area. Dean does both a fusion weld first pass and then a filler weld second pass in this area. Don't know that the it is needed, but on the Dean all joints are welded 360 degrees in two passes. Not so on a Moots.
5. Dean produces 800+ frames a year and Moots produces 1000+. Not a great deal of difference. Both stated that they are doing about 55% road bikes.
6. All of Dean's main tubing is double butted. The only tube on a Moots that is not straight gauge is the head-tube, which starts out as straight gauge and then is machined in a lathe to thin the wall starting at about 1/2" from either end. Result is that the head-tube almost looks like it is lugged.
7. Both companies do a 100% quality control check on a finished frame by both visual inspection and mounting in an alignment jig.
8. Not an ounce (or gram) of difference in the quality of the welds from either Moots or Dean from what I have seen (probably 40+ bikes from each manufacturer). Both are truly excellent quality.
IMHO the major difference between the two is slick presentation and higher level of customer service offered by Moots. But with an ~$1000 higher price, you are paying for it.
After two weeks, ~30,000 feet of climbing and ~600 miles of riding in Colorado I can say without equivocation that a titanium frame & carbon fork offers the best combination of ride qualities that I have ever experienced. From climbing a 15% grade to flying down the switchbacks on the other side at up to 50 mph, from smooth road to crap, from 40 degrees at 12,286 feet to 80 degrees at 4,000, the stability, handling and comfort is second to nothing I've ever riden before. Titanium definitely rules!!
While I ride a Dean, I would like to thank the folks at Moots for hosting the group I rode with for the day. A nice 45 mile ride and a good tour of their facility, along with refreshments. In addition, they provided a dozen bikes each day as demonstrators. As a result I know that they sold several bikes to people on the ride. Moots also has a really clever seat pack. Large enough for your wet-weather gear and very light weight as is a ti frame. Most clever. Moots is a class act.
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