I would go as far as putting STX in the same drawer with XTR. The difference, as I see it, is in certain things you can't change, like springs. This is why my M900 XTR who's been through a lot of things since its birth will always be better than anything brandnew below XT. We could go on with this, not leaving any componentry stone unturned, but it's pointless. What I wanted to say is that STX and STX-RC are very honorable component groups. As a matter of fact, if I look at how Alivio has been doing since its first appearance, I can only say: not bad!
But I have a story that you'll like and I just remembered it tonight.
So, it was 1994 and mountainbiking took of in Romania as well. Actually, BMX was most kids' dream in communism (there weren't any) and when we first saw mountainbikes they were rocketships. Anyhow, one of the first "real" mountainbikes came circa 1994 from a manufacturer who sold a lot of (decent) low-end bikes. Their top bike had a tri-moly frame (3 CrMo tubes) in satin silver (looked like Ti), a nice butted fork and a stem in the same finish, DiaCompe Aheadset (!), Bontrager C20 saddle, Tranz-X handlebar and barends and a full Alivio or STX Special Edition groupset, depending on how your luck was. It was every kid's dream bike and some of them got it after they passed their exam and got to highschool. I did, a bike was promised, but I never saw one until I bought it myself, but it didn't count as much anymore (I had a new red '98 Palisades Trail). Either way, word on the street is that the following happened: the people who were behind the brand didn't know much about componentry and they sold a lot of the entry-level stuff. It's said that at some point they messed up and put XTR on these bikes instead of STX (three letter, one T and one X, right?) and sold them for the same price! A few people took notice (some of the guys who shaped mountainbiking into what it is over here) and bought them all and sold them in pieces in the following year. Frankly, I don't know how true this legend is, but I can easily check it. It makes for a god story, though...
Have a great weekend!
1990 GT Karakoram 20" Purple Haze (urban project); 1993 GT Karakoram 20" Ferrari Red (classy beater); 1993 GT Karakoram 14.5" Black Light (almost original); 1994 Breezer Jet Stream 18" (unlikely story); 1995 Winora full suspension (a fine riding mistery); 1997 Kona A'Ha (anniversary edition); 1997 GT Arrowhead 18" (poisoned gift); 1998 Stevens 6.1.2 (true warrior); 1998 GT Moto cruiser (just google it!); 1999 Santa Cruz Chameleon (the heartbreaker revived); 1999 GT Lobo 1000 (retired with works Super T); 2000 GT Lobo (turns original); 2001 Klein Attitude Comp 19" (ultralight project); 2001 Cannondale Jekyll 1000 SL (better that a lot of "fresh" bikes); 2003 Intense Tazer (close to factory team spec); 2003 Intense M1 (old dream on hold); 2007 Crupi Pro XXL (pumptrack teacher)