>"If lugged steel was competitive in the pro ranks it would still be around."

yo ?????!!
i disagree with your point of view at this mail's bottom.
the reason, in essence, that there are no lugged frames
is this (and this is a VERY GENERAL overview...):
in the 80s, companies of all shapes and sizes turned to
mtb frames as their cash cow. with this came a complete
indifference to the previous era's road bicycle's conventions.
lugs, and using lugs to make frames, is/was not a better way,
it was _'the way'_ to join the tubes. over the past 20 years,
this application was supplanted by other methods of doing
the exact same thing-joining tubes. manufacturers embraced
the 'other' ways, not because they were improvements in
quality levels, but because it was a more efficient and profitable
way to join tubes given the workforce available to them. with
the advent of bigger tubes of both steel and aluminum, it would
(have made) makes no sense to develop a lug system when
other joining methods accomplish the exact same thing.
using lugs has/had its good and its bad points. the same could
be said for tig, etcetera. however, in this era it is unlikely that
industry would embrace lug use for strictly emotional reasons.
these lugged bicycles don't exist in the mainstream anymore
due to economic reasons, not due to reasons relating to the
industry's "working toward(s) a more competitive bike."
living outside the box