Sorry if there's been a thread like this before, I have yet to see one. Also, please dont' take offense. Your quality as a human being is not defined by your purchasing decision. According to my list I ride an ******* bike, but I'm pretty sure I'm not a total *******.
If bike companies were auto manufacturers-
Disclaimer: Feelings will be hurt. This commentary is more a comparison of business practice and public image than actual quality.
Pacific: GM. Several once-distinguished brands with heritage conglomerated under one roof of mediocrity. Schwinn once carried a notion of prestige, like Cadillac. GT once put out quality aggressive products, like the Pontiac GTO. Now gone, gone, riding on reputation as they are all hacked together from the same stuff.
Trek: Honda/Toyota. Everyone buys one because it's supposed to be a 'good marque' with 'low maintenance'. Well-established supply chains, solid product, if not boring, seen everywhere on the street, and a little overpriced. Interesting underdog heritage, like Toyota, with classics such as the old Celica (Treks old Wisconsin made road frames), or the 800 series mountain bike (Toyota truck).
Lemond: would thus be Lexus or Acura, an upscale version of the same - a comfort bike for those who want an upscale ride but don't like the geometry of actual performance rides (ie the person who buys a front wheel drive Lexus isntead of a real sports sedan because it's more plush and the shade of walnut goes better with their Gucci handbag). Also overpriced, snotty.
Specialized: Nissan. Long-established, good quality, you always see a minority of them on the road, but for some reason the image was never there. Some business/financial difficulties, but good products at a more competitive price. Home to vintage favorites such as the RockHopper, much like the old reliable Datsun Pickup.
Cannondale: BMW. Once heralded as a great upstart a long time ago, a rider's bike much as BMW was the driver's car in an age where people were still buying comfort-Cadillacs. Popularity was its downfall, exactly as BMW became a status symbol because of customers with too much money, so did Cannondale, as *******s flocked to its saddle. Now the generic ******* bike, much like BMW is the generic ******* car.
Raleigh: Jaguar. Excellent classic heritage, later incorporated into Britain's socialized industry. Emerged shaky and pruchased up by a larger corporation who promptly eliminated all foundations for its tradition. Jags are no longer made in Coventry, Raleighs no longer are the bike of the English hills.
Peugeot: Peugeot's North American cars. You still see some of them on the road, wonder what the hell their owners are thinking.
Bianchi: Fiat consortium. Makes some hot ****, much like Ferrari, who is owned by Fiat. Also slums it with the lower end Taiwanese stuff, like Fiat's compact cars.
Fuji: Suzuki. Some foreign heritage, ate it when they started releasing ****e, now on a quality rise again. Americans have no clue what to think.