Hi everyone, nice post
I always followed the belief "that gold is gold" nothing else is the genuine article. For me (someone who knows little of who built what for whom) the gap between a decent bike and the best there is, lies in the actual quality of materials used.
I don't know anyone (yet) who has crashed because of a bad frame builder, Dodgy materials, yes, Bad design, yes. Never heard of 531 tubing failing on a regular basis, or any other tubing for that matter (exceptions being the crap stuff used in mass production).
I was quite baffled when I asked about my Bonavia last year, and it got sort of short shrifted, yet it is immaculately put together with 531 tubing and excellent geometry. I think what I'm saying is "without the framebuilder & his knowledge, all things good or bad about a frame would be pointless, ie not exist, since the framebuilders often controlled what was designed in new stuff".
Early Campagnolo parts have a proven longevity. Likewise High end Reynolds tubing, high end Columbus Tubing etc. Ultimately the pro's ride the best bikes that can be built for them specifically, the best framebuilders use the best materials available, then kit them out with the best parts. Sponsors simply use the pro's to get attention for their name, hence this mishmash of brand names attributed to bikes.
I look for nice looking lugs, neat joins, good tubes, good geometry, reliability in that mix, and the brand is then upto the rider. Myself I rarely brand, just use paint and the odd Campagnolo sticker, that's it. The rest is just free advertising for whoever gets their name on the bike. Later everyone, yours Laz.