These are really generic questions, but consider the Giant OCR 1, 2, and 3 as a case in point.
The OCR 3 offers 8 speed SORA shifting at $650. The OCR 2 offers 9 speed Tiagra shifting with a 105 deraileur at $900, an increase of $250. The OCR 1 comes with 10 speed 105 shifting and lists for $1,100, an increase of another $200. There are other differences between the bikes, of course, including better wheelsets and different stems. But it seems to me most of the differences are in the drive train.
It's been a while since I tested this bike, but here's my question. Every time I walk into an LBS, they always seem to try to steer me away (and up) from SORA shifters. The Giant LBS suggests I'd be a lot happier with an OCR 2 at a minimum, the Trek people immediately try to move me away from a 1000 to a 1500, and so on, the Specialized folks show me the Sequioa and then bump me to the Sequoia Elite.
My intuition tells me SORA can't be that bad, since they keep producing and selling a lot of bikes with these shifters. My intuition also tells me that of course the Tiagras and 105s are going to be better -- but honestly, for someone like me, are they going to be THAT much better?
On the one hand, I don't want to buy a bike with shifters I'd soon come to regret, but on the other hand, maybe that's fairly unlikely. Since I've learned that there is no final bike -- there will always be another bike -- is there a flaw in my logic when I reach the conclusion that a SORA equipped bike like the OCR 3, the Trek 1000, the Trek Pilot 1.0, or the Specialized Sequoia, just to name a few, would be just fine for me (assuming the fit is good) at this stage of my cycling 'career'?
I think these salespeople are just trying to squeeze me for more money. But maybe I am not experienced enough to appreciate the difference and you folks can point out why I should carefully consider getting a bike with better shifters right from the start.