As a woodworker I know what to look for in furniture and cabinets that make them higher quality (how are the drawers constructed, what kind of wood). But for bikes I have no idea. What should I look for in a moderately priced bike? Are expensive ones made of titanium? Are gearsets made with stronger/lighter medal? What about rims and tires? Will the cheap bike rims bend easier? Or is it that they're lighter?
Even up close the box store bike and the bike store bike look the same to me. What is going to fail first on a box store bike?