I get why they are popular, the brand does offer really excellent value as they have cut out the bike shop part of the equation. The business model doesn’t work for me personally as I would much rather go into a bike shop and try before I buy to make sure I’m getting what I want. I also enjoy the interaction I get from my LBS. Different strokes for different folks though, right?
I would say that based on the perception from others, on the whole they make solid bikes and if I was in the market and had tested one, I would have absolutely no problem handing them my cash.