I am looking at getting my son a road bike. I have no problem buying quality purpose suited equipment when I can afford it. I feel like a bike is not something to cut corners on, never have felt differently. I don't buy "big store" quality bikes because they just don't last. The problem I am having right now is deciding on what to do about frame quality on this purchase.
I know my son is likely to shoot way up in size here in the next year or so. Anything I buy for him now very well may be too small for him in coming years...not so much as for buying for a pre-teen, but it is still likely to happen. I am currently looking at 56cm bikes with the Tiagra, or prefer the 105 group. He is strong as can be on the bike, ATM he is riding his Trek MTB, that he is about to be too big for, with a set of Nimbus tires and he can run away from me on my "racing" road bike. Lol, that happens when you are 40+ against a good shape teenager...anyway, back on topic.
I have been looking at a Specialized w/ alum fr/carbon fork and a 105/Microshift group. It is priced a touch over $1K. I would "like" to spend about $7-ish, and all the "quality brand" bikes in that range are Sora, sometimes even steel frames. In comparison shopping, I see that I can easily pick up a full 105 bike off BD for well inside the want to spend budget, the thing is that I know all the framesets on there are of questionable reputation and quality. With that said, if he is possibly going to be a foot taller this time next year, might it not be a good idea to cut corners on the frame and fork, get a better group and wheels and put all the parts on a better quality and suitably sized frame in a few years?
I know in my own experience that buying wheels and group later to put on a better frame is more expensive than just ponying up for the better bike from the get-go.
I would imagine that some of the posters here have done this very same thing with their kids and would like to know what your experiences and opinions are on the subject.