I know how most people on this forum feel about department store bikes, and I generally agree, but is there a discernible difference in the Schwinn brand in particular? Same brand, different stores. Can anyone cite evidence that a Schwinn from an LBS is appreciably better quality than one found at say Target? I realize it's a bit apples and oranges because comparable models don't seem to be offered in each type of store. Also, I'm sure it's a matter of components not being the best ones, but mostly I'm wondering about the frame, overall reliability, ridability, etc. My friend wants to get a bike, but she's on a strict budget (probably 300 bucks max) so it's hard to ignore the Target selection for hybrid/commuter/road bikes.
Any thoughts on the matter are greatly appreciated.