Metal. Dents are definitely part of it, but I am ok with that.
I have had handles go, but the wheels have always been solid in my experience.
I was knocking back about 250k miles a year for awhile, fwiw. I'd recommend them.
Eh, I am not sure I'd classify it as optimism. More that I feel most of them aren't actively terrible, which I guess is something.
The only optimism I have is that there are still a good 30% of the populace who are independent.