$30 for an Ultegra nine speed chain on ebay – brand new – $15 to install…..not sure why it was $100.
High end bikes are not more expensive to repair unless you are paying MSRP for parts. I’ve replaced shifters for 20% of their cost new by purchasing off craigslist or eBay. No one in their right mind pays full MSRP for parts unless they just don’t understand how it works.
Find a good used bike – with high end components – and have it put into great shape via your local bike shop – new cables, brake bads (if needed), and a thorough degreasing/cleaning. $200 should take care of all of that – and you will be a happy camper. Or, as I have done, buy the tools and a stand and learn to do the work yourself. Very easy and not rocket science.
Do NOT buy the Walmart cheapo. As with tools, you get what you pay for. And about the time you have to replace a bad derailleur on a Walmart bike, you will find out just what it costs to get another 28 lb. piece of crap. Buy used – and buy good quality.
Just my two cents.