A couple of weeks ago I ordered Wabi's Lightning RE geared frame set. They only sell the frame and fork not complete geared bikes. This is my second purchase from Wabi, I own their Classic FG as well. The RE is not intended to be some retro cool steel bike, it's just a great bike that can compete with the carbon offerings. High end steel coupled with a carbon fork and in my case carbon seat post and man what a ride. It retains the crisp acceleration that my aluminum bike had but with a buttery smooth ride quality.
My LBS stripped my Trek of it's 105 components and installed them on the Wabi, this weekend I did 42 on Saturday and 52 on Sunday riding the new frame. Wow, I'm amazed bikes ever migrated away from steel. I understand it takes skill to weld together a steel bike and that's inconvenient for manufacturing, but Geez this thing is comfortable. It weighs 19.6 lbs or 1.5 less than my aluminum Trek 2.3 . Of course with my belly who's counting
I've been trying to think of how to quantify the ride quality without just using lots of adjectives. So what I did notice is I didn't feel the need to move around on the seat or stand up until much deeper into the rides. Same goes for hand numbness, I used to be shaking out my hands and switching positions regularly while on the new frame it's just not necessary. Around mile 40 on Sunday's 52 miler I started to seat and hand fidget where before it would have been more like mile 20. We didn't just stick to smooth roads either, my friend threw in a nasty section of rough chip seal just to see how I felt on it.
It's too bad we typically are not offered a test ride on high quality steel when bike shopping. Seems like aluminum and carbon are the choices. My path to steel was due to wanting a Fixed Gear and ending up with a Wabi.
I guess the ultimate would be Titanium? But with the Wabi's affordability I'll just keep it waxed and avoid denting it.