As has been noted around the bicycle internets, many of the big, mass-production bicycle makers will offer steel bikes as part of their line ups, and come spring, local bike shops should be full of new “old fashioned” bicycles from the big names. Here are a few:
Specialized Allez Steel:
These are all mass-market, major names in cycling, and they seem to be paying attention to what’s going on not only on the custom framebuilding scene, but also to utility cyclists who create very practical randonneuring and city bikes from Soma, Surly, Kogswell, and Rawland on the low-price end. Move up the price and quality chain, and I’m sure plenty of inspiration has been gathered from many of the bikes built up by Rivendell, Jitensha, and Waterford and the many excellent reviews in Bicycle Quarterly.
I have read in some places that these new steel bikes are “ripping off” ideas from the insurgent retrogrouch movement (Velo Orange), but most of the good ideas from niche bicycle designers or retailers just borrow from tried-and-true ideas. When people know what they are doing (Grant Peterson, for example), the combination of design knowledge and a reliance on time-tested bicycle ideas can create cycling nirvana.
I hope that these new steel frames create a larger tent for those seeking a more interesting riding experience, although none of them interest me that much (I love the Soma Buena Vista). Maybe that will happen. Maybe when one of these bikes comes in 650B!