And yet, steel keeps hanging around...
Posted by: NewbTastic on Dec-16-12 12:46 PM (EST)
There's been a number of smaller companies springing up over the past decade or two - names like Surly, SOMA, Rivendell, Jamis, Kona, Velo-Orange, Handsome, All-City, etc- and older names such as Raleigh that have been doing well with their steel bike lines.
They don't seem to be going away. And these are *new* bikes, not used steel bikes being re-purposed as fixies by the hipsters.
There's definitely a steel segment out there, and while most of the really big bike companies (Trek, Cannondale, Giant) aren't serving it beyond a rare steel model or two (i.e. Trek 520), a number of smaller ones are catering to it successfully.
And why shouldn't they? Not everyone digs carbon's ride, price, or aesthetics, or they read about a 'stupid-light' carbon fork snapping on someone and they get nervous.
Probably the only frame material that could potentially make *everyone* happy is titanium, but Ti requires a lot of skilled labor to work it, and thus will probably never be cheap enough to be mass-popular.
It's largely a carbon-fiber market (at least above a certain price point) because CF isn't all that expensive to produce yet the big bike companies can charge more for it (i.e. nice margins), and because all the racing teams are paid to ride it (marketing). But that doesn't mean that CF is going to be the *only* frame material going forward.
Alas, alack, and despite the hype.
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