Back when the fixed gear scene was only a handful here in the Philippines, getting a hold of a decent track frame was next to impossible with a few limited options. It's either converting old road bike frames, or if you're lucky enough and have the patience, you might find yourself an NJS track bike straight from a Japanese surplus shop.
For the past couple of years, different manufacturers from all over the globe have started producing a vast collection of fixed gear/track frames that are way cheaper yet very appealing and presentable. And the best part is, you can get them anywhere now.
But the biggest surprise is that in a short period of time, we have come full circle. From converting old steel road frames, we went to crazy track geometries on aluminum bikes, to even carbon fiber frames. Now steel is definitely making a comeback, not only in lower iterations but even in the race-bred models of big-name brands.
Steel bikes are timeless and more durable compared to aluminum and carbon frames. If you’re going for a commuter build, steel frame is the best in my opinion. Put in racks, thick tires, slap on unbranded components, and heavy loads won't be a problem. And the best thing about it is that you can use it as a beater on weekdays, then shred it hard on the mountains on weekends.
Obviously, the Cinelli Mash Work was the inspiration for the build. But not having enough money to buy a Work frame, i ended up buying this Tsunami Zonda which kind of resembles the Cinelli frame in a way. Although cheap, the Zonda was built from Reynolds chromoly steel tubes. I built it up with this Origin8 Cargo Unit Basket Handlebar I got from Amazon. It was Matt Reyes' scene from the Mash video where he was riding his Affinity Bike with the handlebar rack which set his bike apart from other builds, and that gave me the idea to try this set-up.
As of today, I'm being drawn to steel bikes, especially with the thicker tires. Just being able to ride on gravel and pavement without any worries of getting a flat is a great feeling. It started with my Zonda, but now i just finished building up my Surly Karate Monkey Ops which I intend to use for bikepacking adventures and trails. Just recently, I also sold my Giant Propel aluminum road bike frame and thinking of replacing it with a steel road bike.