Well written review - You've come a long way from being a complete antinomy to all things "specialized" (your earlier blogs) to a specialized "poster boy"
I did read all your blog posts about 12 month or so ago, so I do recall how you've discovered the "world" of organised "racketeering" aka specialized, while working in the bike shop.
Either way, couldn't agree more with you re: SL4. Have one myself and absolutely love it. I do want to know little more about the "issues" with BMC frames cracking. I am currently looking for a TT bike and BMC TM01 is on my list (as well as SHIV TT UCI legal version).
Would you care to elaborate?
Yes, I certainly do appear to be a convert don't I?
To be brutally clear here: I love Specialized top tier bikes. I think that the S-Works range really is cutting edge and believe that the company should be congratulated for even bothering to produce such a range of halo bikes. S-Works doesn't account for a very large percentage of their sales, so they're not doing it specifically for the money.
I DO NOT like Specialized business ethics (or lack thereof) though. They really are like a form of cancer to a bike shop - once they get in, they push out any other brand and do their utmost to indoctrinate the shop workers.
You may be interested to know that I'm no longer working at that shop (or, in fact in the industry). Specifically because I didn't agree with the way Specialized operates.
They wanted me to drink the cool-aid. I refused. I left.
You'd think after all that I wouldn't want anything to do with Specialized products. Perhaps that speaks to how good they actually are (at this level at any rate).
DISCLAIMER: I don't work for a bike shop, bike manufacturer or distributor. I don't work for anyone who has even the most remote thing to do with the bike industry in general or Specialized in particular!
Re the BMC issue: we would frequently see BMC's come in to the shop that had suffered stress fractures to the insertion point of the seat tube. Because of the design (how the top tube meets the seat tube very low down), there is an inordinate amount of stress placed on the rear of the post entry point in the seat tube. BMC distribution in Australia is handled by Echelon Sports who will most probably deny this is an issue. Every single interaction I had with Echelon Sports over my 18 months in the industry was poor. To be fair to them as a company, I did only have interaction with the rep who was a complete and utter prick (if he's reading this, please feel free to contact me - now that I don't work in the industry anymore I can tell you freely what I think of you), so my opinion of them as a company was very coloured by my dealings with the rep. An interesting aside: he was sacked by them a few months ago. Good move by Echelon if you ask me.
Anyway, that's neither here nor there for the issue at hand. I can tell you that we did see a lot of BMCs with this problem. They may well have addressed it in some way, but as of 6 months ago we were still seeing this issue.
I always thought it was a shame as I really like the look and ride of their bikes.