Had an interesting experience checking out some bikes today after work. A Madison LBS carries a great selection of Treks. With Trek's HQ just outside the city, they sometimes get very good deals on closeouts, overstocks, and occasionally, odd custom-built bikes.
I was checking out their FX fitness bike line when I came across a few bikes that were nothing like Trek's published specs. These had 7.7 FX frames, but every other component of the bike was downgraded.
7.7 FX Spec vs Odd bike Part
Carbon Fork ... Aluminum Fork (odd shaped aluminum fork)
Ultegra Group ... Deore LX group
Shimano Triple ... Bontrager Triple
Shimano 105 Cassette ... Shimano Deore 11-32 cassette
Carbon Fiber seat post ... aluminum seat post
700x28 Race Lite Hardcase Tires ... 700x35 Invert Hardcase
Shimano 431 brakes with Avid FR-5 ... Shimano 421 with Shimano levers
They were advertising it as the regular price being $1699, on sale for $1149.
However this bike is nowhere near a $1699 bike. A fully equipped 7.7 FX retails for $1699. But this bike was essentially a 7.7 FX frame with every other part coming from a parts bin that would have been used for a $600-$700 hybrid. I believe that the components were a bit behind what one would get on the $749 Trek 7.5 FX.
The 7.7 FX frame does have carbon seat stays, but the 7.5 FX has a carbon fork, which this odd bike lacked.
So while they thought it was aggressively priced at $1149. I think it is overpriced by about $400. I think it might be okay to pretend it's a $1200 bike and put it on sale at $750-$800. But a price tag implying its a $1700 bike is very misleading.
At first I thought it was a great deal, a 7.7 FX at nearly 30% off. I'm glad I know something about components and didn't get suckered in.
NOTE: Trek wasn't trying to pass the bike off as a $1700 7.7 FX. They had them made up for some reason and was clearing them out through this shop. There was also an odd "7700 SLR" bike that was an upgraded 7700 hybrid with a carbon fork instead of a suspension fork. It was fun checking out the odd bikes.