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I havent ridden an off the shelf bike for a few decades but in the 90's and early 2000's I used to find treks, specialized etc would start to feel loose and sloppy pretty quickly. My turner xce never even needed the bushings or needle bearings replaced and the frame never so much as developed a wiggle, knock or creak.
I don't buy boutique (aka nerd) brands for adjustability gimmicks but for great quality and the fact that they often offer exactly what I want. My chromag is a great example of this. I dont think I would want it to have a bunch of gimmicky flip chips and adjustable headset cups that are just going to creak and develop play.
I do agree that the niche brands are the ones to provide the geometry advancements before the big brands. I have definitely bought a few niche frames for a slightly different geometry i couldn't find elsewhere.
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