The BG Spirita is Specialized's top end women's specific road shoe, with a fair few BG (Body Geometry) bells and whistles but the first thing that's surprising is how much further up in performance and price the men's options go. At this price, the BG Spirita's are competing with the majority of female specific shoes on the market however, with only a few manufacturers, such as Giro, Lake and Sidi committing to genuinely higher end female specific shoes.
If you're in the market for some Sunday-best racing rubber with a measure of puncture protection too the Specialized S-Works should be on your list, but if your performance tyres have to put a shift in during the week too then maybe you should look elsewhere. Specialized's S-Works Turbo tyres sit in one of the less populated bits of the company's vast cycling range, odd really because you'd expect the ubiquitous big 'S' to do more road rubber especially as they produce a fair range of well regarded mountainbike tyres.
Mark Cavendish launches the Right To Play 2012 Bike Ride from Liege to London at the Specialized Concept Store, Covent Garden, 15 November 2011
If you're looking for a really light road helmet that complies with a number of safety standards, then look no further, the Specialized S-Works fits the bill. The S-Works purports to be 'the lightest certified helmet in the World' and it's certainly the lightest I've come across, weighing just 215g for the size medium I tried. It complies with the rigorous safety standards SNELL B-90a, B-90c, B95 and CE En1078 - you'd be hard pushed to find many heavier helmets these days that are SNELL certified.
There's not much more personal than saddle preference. One man (or in this case woman's) sumptuous throne is another's misery inducing razor blade. As a company, Specialized do take some of the risk out of the saddle-buying process, if you avail yourself of a little sit on one of their 'arse-o-meters' which under the eye of a well-trained shop assistant gives a fairly accurate measurement of the width of your sit bones, which, contrary to popular belief, do not bear a great deal of resemblance to the more obvious width of your tail end.