Everything you mention is correct but it could be summed up in one word: Walmart
No. Apparently you have not looked at the bikes at Walmart recently. Below are a few links to bicycles sold on the Walmart website. And I presume in their stores too. The frames, fork, components all look to be good quality. You could easily ride these bikes across the country or around your town for many years. Assembly may be questionable. But there are probably a few local bike shops that also do not assemble correctly. It would be best if you were a bike mechanic yourself. Of course I think all bike riders should own all bike tools and do all their own maintenance and assembly and wheel building. Probably not realistic.http://www.walmart.com/ip/Cycle-Force-Tour-de-France-Packleader-Elite-43cm-Road-Bicycle/15382828
Schwinn hybrid with Shimano Tiagra and 2300 components. 700C wheels.http://www.walmart.com/ip/700c-Schwinn-Varsity-1500-Men-s-Road-Bike/21191102
Schwinn Varsity road bike with Shimano 2300 components and Microshift shifters. Microshift is an STI type click shifter sold by Nashbar also. 700C wheels.http://www.walmart.com/ip/Cycle-Force-Tour-de-France-Stage-One-Elite-49cm-Road-Bicycle/15382666
Road bicycle with Shimano 2300 shifters and derailleurs. 700C wheels.http://www.walmart.com/ip/700c-Schwinn-Phocus-1600-Men-s-Road-Bike-Silver/23891924
Schwinn road bike with Shimano shifters and derailleurs. 700C wheels.http://www.walmart.com/ip/Vilano-Men-s-Shimano-STI-Integrated-Shifter-Shadow-Road-Bike/34237166
Aluminum road bike with Shimano STI shifters.
All of these bikes probably have questionable assembly. And sizing seems weird. You have one frame size choice for every bike. No multiple frame sizes for each bike. Odd. But all of the bikes above appear to be decent quality frames and forks and components. With personal mechanic ability, they should all work very well for many years. A lot higher quality bike than my first Schwinn road bike bought from the local bike shop back in the very early 1980s. Think of these as Ikea bikes. Decent quality parts but the buyer has to assemble himself. Nothing high faluting, but functional.