These are those key touch-points… the points at which and the bike become one. All bikes come with the touch-points that the manufacturer thinks will suit you best (some bikes don’t come with pedals? – Ed), but you’re different to your mate. So assuming that the bikes fits and the moving bits are all working fine, then the parts you’re most likely to changes are going to be the pedals, saddle or bars.
Saddles are the subject of intense debate, but there really is a bottom-line here… it needs to be comfortable. It doesn’t matter whether you’re out for a pootle with the kids or racing 200km, your saddle shouldn’t be a proverbial pain in the behind.
Because all of us are different shapes, it’s impossible to be prescriptive with what saddle is best or provide any definitive guidelines. Even cost isn’t a guarantee of comfort, as my current choice of saddles demonstrates. My road bike has a Selle Italia Gel Flow – it’s six yearsold, but continues to be comfortable regardless of the length of the ride. I have tried a Brookes Swallow saddle as well, which I tend to revert to if I’m going to be on the bike for a whole day, but for anything less than about four hours the Selle Italia is the better saddle for me, probably being slightly narrower I suspect.
Equally, my Giant Anthem still has the stock (and no doubt very cheap) Giant saddle that it came with. I’ve dabbled with upgrading the saddle to something like a Fizik Gobi, but I’ve done some extended rides on the Anthem now (including a four hour XC event) and the original saddle has always been fine. Maybe if I try a Gobi I’ll find that that is very much more comfortable.