When I first got my Black Cat 29er 2 years ago I had Todd build a matching Steel Fork and Stem. (I had him build it around a 80mm travel fork). I road it a couple months rigid and eventually put a Sid XX WC on it. Kept it that way for the US Nationals and trail riding around washington. I finally went back to the rigid steel fork and I really like it better for this bike. Handles better, climbs better, just all around better feel. I still like suspension when the trail is right but I just don't ride those kind of trails that much anymore.Now and then I run into another cyclist on an antique rig; often its a guy about my age (50-something) that may have graduated to something better and more modern, but still really enjoys the immediate, tactile connection to the ride. I have a few 1980's rigid bikes and a couple of klunkers; either bike can make a lazy day on a blue trail a lot of fun, or moderate-speed run on a black trail flood the system with feel-good hormones.
Unfortunately there aren't enough old steel bikes to go around. Some will have to ride their modern counterparts.
A couple of years ago, it was all 29'ers, all the time; now its 650b. I doubt 26 will completely dissappear, as evidenced by the fact that Surly seems in no hurry to abandon the 1x1, Troll or Instigator