Much in the same vein of I neeed a bike!! post, I'm looking very similarly, but I'm a researcher so would like to understand a few things.
There is an overwhelming number of posts in these forums. Apologize if any of this is in a FAQ or another post around here, I'm more than willing to spend the time reading, please feel free to point me in a direction.
First a little background: I used to bike about 15 years ago, haven't since as I'm a bit of a cheapwad.
I'm ready to put my money down if there is a good reason (quality, extended lifetime, maintainability). So, here is the point. I'm sure there is a great reason to pay $2000+ for a bike if for competition, but I'm not yet to the point that I understand the general bike rider spending $400 for a bike . I do get the concept of you get what you pay for, so I'm sure there is a high level of quality to the parts, better, lighter materials, less friction, etc.. After doing a little research, I don't see any advantage other than the brand name vs. non-brand name. They're all made in China (all that I've seen).
Are higher cost bikes easier to maintain? Are parts interoperable? Do they, generally, last longer? As a mechanic, is it possible / would it be bad for me to assemble my bike piece by piece as I do the research to figure out what's best for me? I would like to get something I can keep and maintain indefinitely; that is a huge consideration for me. Is there a good conglomeration of research materials about what make modern bikes good, maybe a primer?
Finally, the finer points of my bike, I plan on doing road biking, and I don't exactly intend to be easy on it (maybe off road <10% of the time I'm biking, hit curbs hard with back wheel, etc..). I'm used to taking whatever I could get, biking wise, but seems like there are more options now (ie: thin, medium and thick wheels); Is there something I should be specifically looking for, specifically, for this bike?
Appreciate all advice in advance.