Introduction: Saddle and Handlebar Choice
Above photo: Tae Likes Bikes (http://taeblog.tumblr.com/post/11719710502)
You've pored over the brochures, read the reviews, and finally bought your frameset. While it does look good hanging on your wall as an art piece, it's not the reason you spent all that moolah. With a little more reading, we will help you select the best components to fully build up your prized frameset, and finally have a real bike in your hands.
The most time consuming area of selecting parts for your bike will be saddle choice. A saddle may seem like a very minor part of the bike. However, selecting the wrong saddle can lead to such a huge amount of discomfort and possibly result in an unenjoyable ride, or worse, injury. Quite frankly, the best and only way to select a saddle is by trial and error. Try as many saddles as possible, and select the one that puts no pressure on your perineal area, and does not result in discomfort and pain during a long ride. Saddles are meant to be platforms for the rider, so be wary of gimmicks like cut-outs or gel padding. A saddle with zero padding, provided it is the right shape for you, will be better than one with gel support and cut-outs. As a new rider, select a saddle that you feel will be good for you by trying it out in the shop first. A good rule of thumb is to choose a saddle that gives no pressure in your perineal area because it provides ample support for your sit bones. Great brands of saddles to choose from are Selle Italia, Prologo, and Fizik.
Handlebar selection is also a very personal choice, though choosing the wrong one won't really ruin your ride. The best handlebar will be the one that has a drop that is not too deep that you will not be able to use it, and not too shallow that it results in an un-aero position. There are several types of handlebars available using anatomic, classic, or special shallow drops. Each type from each brand will give you a different feel when it comes to contact with your brake levers. Like saddles, the best way to select a handlebar is through trying out as many as you can. Once you've chosen a brand and type, try to choose a stem and seatpost from the same line (i.e. 3T Arx Pro handlebar, stem, and seatpost) to keep you bike looking neat, clean, and "pro". Some people may deny it, but making the bike look "pro" is actually cool.