This week we take a closer look at a set of wooden gymnastics rings from Bnyfit.
Item: Bnyfit Wooden Gymnastics Rings
Price: $100 AUD
The muscle-up reigns supreme as perhaps the most elusive exercise for beginner or intermediate CrossFitters. They can be slippery little suckers – one day you’ve got them, the next day they desert you. There’s a steep learning curve between getting that single muscle-up from a flat-footed start to – I imagine – linking multiples with a full turnout each time.
Clearly the trick, like so many things, is practice and repetition. Yet one downside of CrossFit’s constantly varied ethos is that there isn’t always enough time in each day’s session to dedicate toward a difficult skill. Supplementing the daily WOD with some muscle-up training demands a set of rings, so it was with eager fingers that I unwrapped these wooden rings from supplier Bnyfit.
The company is a functional fitness kit reseller, based in Canberra, Australia. It is the agent for well-known brands such as Pendlay bumper plates and bars, Force USA abmats and Inov-8 shoes. But alongside these US-owned CrossFit essentials, the Aussie company also supplies Bnyfit wooden gymnastics rings, made locally in Canberra.
According to the company, the rings are “virtually indestructible and made from ultra-durable laminated Australian beech hardwood and hand-finished to perfection by Australians.”
Great Finish – The first thing I noticed about the rings was the finish. There’s a natural softness to the unvarnished wood. It felt gentle on the hands, while the rings themselves felt reliably sturdy. In fact, when weighing them up next to a pair of Rogue rings at the box, the Bnyfit product felt heavier and more solid, which can only be a good thing.
Materials – Bnyfit also makes a point about the rings’ eco-credentials. They are supplied without wasteful packaging and – if you’re buying them within Australia – they aren’t treated with pesticide or fumigated, unlike imported rings. Bnyfit’s handcrafted and natural philosophy also chimes with the rough-and-ready principles of CrossFit, as well as my own ideals, so that gets a big tick too.
Size – Size-wise, the Bnyfit wooden rings use the ‘FIG’ standard (Federation Internationale de Gymnastique) 1.1-inch thickness. They felt noticeably thinner than the 1.25-inch rings supplied as standard by the likes of Rogue, Again Faster and other brands found in most boxes. Anyone with a gymnastics background will find the size familiar, and the rings may also be more suitable to people with smaller hands or a weaker grip.
Guarantee – The rings come with a five-year anti-break guarantee, covered by free “new-for-busted” replacement, even for commercial use.
No Straps – My biggest criticism of these rings was, in fact, nothing to do with the rings, but what was missing – straps. When my package arrived, I tore open the box, ready to head down the park. But I didn’t even get a chance to show off my poorly executed muscle-ups, because there were no straps in the box. Luckily a friend gave me a spare pair.
Ben Winter-Giles, owner of Bnyfit, told me that customers could buy four- and six-meter straps with strength ratings in excess of 400kg from Bunnings and other hardware supply stores for $15-$25. He added that the Bnyfit website will be updated with suggestions on where to buy straps.
Ben said that when it comes to straps, “I’ve been struggling to get a decent product, so I’d rather not offer anything.” He added that he is currently “sourcing Chinese-made straps, but there is a lag in delivery and design time”.
Finish – I also had a slight criticism of the finish. I applaud the handmade ethos of Bnyfit, but the finish was slightly inconsistent. This might irk CrossFitters who are used to cookie-cutter machine-made rings from major suppliers.
As an Australian, I’m happy to give my money to a local manufacturer, especially a “garage brand” like Bnyfit.
Price-wise, the rings aren’t the cheapest on the market. Bnyfit’s Ben said: “Our rings are a bit more expensive than others. But they are made here, using Australian materials, and because they aren’t imported, they aren’t fumigated as they come through customs.”
They are still relatively competitively priced. A pair of rings costs $100, plus another $10 to ship to Sydney. Iron Edge would ship a pair of rings – with straps – for $145. Again Faster Australia was $140 with shipping. A set of rings and straps on Rogue Australia would have set me back $135, but they were out of stock so I couldn’t gauge the price for shipping.
Bnyfit wooden gymnastic rings are fit for purpose, but I personally would have preferred if they were the thicker, 1.25-inch size I’m used to. I also think the extra surface area gives more purchase to get a good false grip. That said, I’ve busted out quite a few muscle-ups on the Bnyfit rings, so maybe there is some truth to Ben’s assurance that “rookies and intermediates” prefer the thinner feel.
The natural finish is also a big plus. The Bnyfit website says they are “left raw to accept chalk and improve feel”. I didn’t have any chalk, so can’t really judge.
But it’s hard to ignore the lack of straps. I can imagine that any CrossFitter who was dreaming about achieving a massive improvement in their muscle-up skills would be fairly disappointed to receive a parcel of rings without straps. That obvious omission is the biggest black mark against the product’s overall high score here.