After spending a few years in the ssfg and road forums, it becomes clear what gear is generally agreed to be approved by everyone as a good balance between price and performance.
For example, as road bikes go, people with $4k rigs still race crits on $1k cannondale caad9-5s because they're fantastically stiff and reasonable light, with shimano 105 groups that won't break and if you wipe out on them it's no biggie to replace things. Because of this, when you can buy one as an intermediate bike and ride it well into cat 3.
In the ssfg forum, everyone is pretty much in agreement that the mercier kilo tt from bd is a great bike especially at the price and there's really no need to upgrade anything other than the saddle until you've ridden the drivetrain or wheels into the ground after a few years.
If you're still reading, my question is whether there is such a bike here in the mtb forum, or whether the sheer diversity of riding types and conditions prevents similar consensus.