As a newbie I've gone into my store, rode a few bikes, picked one that felt good, had it fitted and have ridden it a few hundred miles in the past couple months. Right now I'm a happy camper with my purchase and the doors it is opening.
But, I am completely mystified by what the differences are between different named pieces of gear. For example: Just what is the difference between a Shimano DuraAce, 105 and Ultegra? That is just one example of several manufacturers.
I ask: What is the difference? Answer: It is a higher level of whatever. Me: Well, what makes it a higher level? Does it have different bearings/material/tolerances/???? Answer? Well it does have better materials. Me: Which has what kind of materials? You get the drift.
Seems the manufacturer must roll out a bunch of stuff, put different names and price tags on it and send it to us. Or, is there really a difference other than name and money?