Maybe this isn't limited to the bike industry, but it bugs me: "name brand" and "generic" stuff made by the same company, coming out of the same factory (I presume), and being sold (and bought!) at two wildly divergent price points.
Case in point: Put the Cane Creek SCR-5 brake lever side-by-side with a Tektro R200. Same product being sold under two supposedly different brands, one "boutique" and one "blue collar". (Am I wrong? Those more in the know, please enlighten me.) The Cane Creek gets lizards on its hoods, but that's just more boutique branding to my eye, unless someone's going to honestly claim that the grippier texture is a "feature". A reputable online source where I buy parts lists the Tektro at $27, the Cane Creek at $40. Now, we English majors don't usually do so hot in math, but that's almost a 50% markup for a handful of tiny lizards and the ability to look down on my riding buddies. Seriously?
I want to be wrong on this one, but I also want to believe in the Tooth Fairy, and in the hordes of presidential wannabes glad-handing their way across Iowa. So am I going 0 for 3?
(Sidenote for the fine people at Cane Creektro and their lawyers... I am not trying to disparage one particular vendor and/or its products here. In fact, I only know the SCR-5 versus R200 comparison because the R100 -- shorter-reach sibling to the 200 -- is my favorite brake lever for drop-bar applications, even if the hoity-toity set mocks me for my lack of lizards.)