I was thinking just the other day about the bikes we carry on the shop floor where I work the other day. The vast majority are aluminum framed bikes. Typically the steel framed ones are lower end, entry level type bikes with similarly sketchy components. Then it dawned on me. Steel frames have been brought back from the depths of ignominy by the advent of the 29"er.
Sure, you had your steel stalwarts out there brazing away in darkened corners of the cycling world, but take a look at the 29"er landscape today and you will find the vast majority of popular 29"ers are steel framed and some are even in bike shops again!
Obviously, the whole custom builder movement was an integral part of the rise of the 29"er and steel is the predominant material of choice amongst those builders. However; once the big manufacturers took notice and started to produce 29"ers too, you'd have thought that every single last one of them would have been aluminum. Why not? All the 26"ers are aluminum, or yes, carbon fiber. But we see a large number of steel framed bikes with big wheels coming out even today. I think it's cool, but it's also kind of odd at the same time.
Fisher was going down the path of having an all aluminum 29"er line up and really was about the only company that even did aluminum in 29"ers for awhile there when they up and did the Ferrous. (A rather clever name. ) Now that model is one of the most sought after 29"ers out there. A steel hard tail. In the 21st century? I never would have guessed it seven years ago.
Whatever it is that makes steel and 29"ers go together like white on rice, I hope it continues, since I'm a fan of steel frames.
Oh yeah....................and twenty nine inchers too!