I ride a steel frame 28" in europe and never notice it being too heavy. HOWEVER, I use it mostly for transportation on paved and gravel roads and not for competing against other mountain bikers on a trail. If you used a steel bike for that, you would get a more intense workout than the rest of the riders and it would build character.
(It also has V-brakes like this one and I never notice them being inadequate for my use).
But seriously, the frame is only part of the weight. A mountain bike with big 29" wheels and front suspension is going to cost a buttload to get it anywhere near the "light" range. You end up paying hundreds more to save a few pounds.
I like the stiffness of a steel frame anyway. Any Long Haul Trucker fans out there?
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