Looking at Jezâ€™ Salsa and Yo Eddy and Newsboyâ€™s Hei Hei, itâ€™s immediately obvious why retro bikes rule, but having missed out on the history, Iâ€™d be very interested in views on how all this came about.
For example, despite Chris Chance making these fantastic bikes, he must have gone out of business owing to economic factors, why? Ditto Rock Lobster, Bontrager, Ritchey and WTB (as framebuilders), and even Klein as an independent builder.
Basically, all the things we now see as having fantastic qualities must have gone out of production owing to lack of demand. Or at any rate, lack of demand at the price level which the builder needed in order to make a profit.
Any observations or bits of history to fill in the huge gaps in my knowledge would be extremely welcome.
Think of it as the evolution of the industry.
Bontrager, Ritchey, and WTB moved focus to components.
Steel frames are alive and well, just not under the names we remember from way back when.
Sycip, Hunter, Curtlo, Soulcraft, Mountain Goat, Retrotec/Inglis, Patrick, Vanilla, Vicious, and the list goes on and on for smaller boutique companies making stellar steel frame mountain bikes that are....essentially the modern day version of what we remember from way back when.
You like Fat Chance? Get an Indy Fab.
You like Mountain Goat? Get a Sycip made (modern) Mountain Goat.
You like Bontrager, get a Paul Sadoff Rock Lobster.
Salsa still makes a great Ala Carte....Soulcraft makes their frames in Ross Shafers garage.
Steve Potts (WTB) makes Ti frames.
The single speed movement did wonders for bringing back vintage bikes and breathing new life into modern steel hard tails.
It's all there, just...different.