I just noticed that many of the new Schwinn MTBs-they are really comfort bikes/city bikes/light trail bikes-come with steel frames, not aluminum frames.The tubes are pretty large diameter, and at 1st glance look like aluminum, but they aren't.
Is this a new trend? These are Walmart dept store type bikes in the $150 range(with Shimano components)-not the cheapest $55 bikes which are also steel.A few years back this class of bikes was aluminum framed.
What is up? It is usually cost cutting when something changes on this class of bikes, but in this case it is a change for the better. Aluminum is a great frame material, but for cheapo bikes, steel is better. These bikes take a beating, and a frequently leaned on bike racks or whatever(even though they has side stands-they are frequently leaned). Aluminum just doesn't appreciate the casual dents this class of owner/bike hands out.
PS I don't know if steel rides any better in this class of bike, with kinda heavy high tensile steel tubes.I kind of doubt it, the good ride usually is related to the thinner more flexible/elastic tubing CrMo allows.The nice 2" tires are what makes these bikes so comfortable.