View our inventory and purchase online to pick up in store.









View our invetory and purchase online to pick up in store.




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Cycling in the Monadnock Region


Skiing in the Monadnock Region





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Give us a call at (603) 352-1404 or email us at


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62 Martell Ct, Keene, NH 03431


Monday 10am – 6pm
Tuesday 10am – 6pm
Wednesday CLOSED
Thursday 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 6pm

keene bike and ski shop A bike is parked in a grassy field near a ski shop in New Hampshire.
Types of Bikes for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Best One

Choosing the right kind of bike as a beginner is all about understanding where you’ll be riding. Road, mountain, and hybrid bikes cater to different terrains and riding styles. Each one has unique features that make it suitable for particular situations. For example, a road bike with a light frame and multiple gears could be ideal if you join a local cycling group or enjoy long-distance rides on smoothly paved surfaces. Now, let’s delve into the world of beginner bikes in more detail.

We recommend starting with a comfortable and versatile bike for beginners, such as a hybrid or city bike. These bikes offer a good balance of stability, ease of use, and comfort, making them ideal for those new to cycling.

Types of Bikes for Beginners

Choosing the right bike is crucial for an enjoyable and safe riding experience as a beginner. The three main types of bikes often recommended for beginners are road bikes, mountain bikes, and hybrid bikes. Each type is designed to excel in specific conditions and offers unique features and benefits. Let’s dive into understanding what sets each of these apart from the rest so that you can make an informed choice for your cycling journey.

Road Bikes

Road bikes are purpose-built for fast, efficient riding on paved surfaces such as roads and bike paths. They typically have skinny tires, lightweight frames, and drop handlebars that promote a forward-leaning riding posture. The narrow tires reduce rolling resistance and make maintaining higher speeds on flat surfaces easier. Due to their aerodynamic design, road bikes are ideal for covering long distances with speed and efficiency.

Mountain Bikes

As the name suggests, mountain bikes are designed to tackle rough, uneven terrain – think dirt trails, rocky paths, and steep inclines. They feature wider, knobby tires for enhanced traction, front or full suspension to absorb bumps and a sturdy frame that can withstand the rigors of off-road riding. Mountain bikes provide stability and control, making them suitable for trail riding, downhill descents, and technical climbs.

Hybrid Bikes

If you’re seeking versatility that combines elements of road and mountain bikes, hybrid bikes could be an excellent choice. These bikes blend characteristics of road and mountain bikes to create a versatile option for recreational riding. With wider tires than road bikes but narrower tires than mountain bikes, hybrid bikes offer a comfortable midpoint between the two styles. They are well-suited for leisurely rides around town, commuting, fitness training, and light off-road excursions.

Choosing the correct type of bike depends on your preferred riding style and where you plan to ride. Understanding these key distinctions will guide you in making a well-informed decision that aligns with your cycling goals.

Road Bikes for Beginners

For beginners seeking a bike that glides smoothly over well-paved roads and trails, the road bike is the ideal companion. With lightweight frames, narrow tires designed for speed, and multiple gears for tackling diverse terrains, road bikes offer an exhilarating experience for new cyclists.

The lightweight construction of road bikes significantly enhances maneuverability. Whether navigating urban streets or embracing tranquil country roads, a lighter frame allows you to easily handle the bike and tackle varying inclines without feeling weighed down.

The Thrill of Speed

These bikes have sleek designs and narrow tires and are built to achieve high speeds on well-maintained surfaces. They are engineered to minimize rolling resistance and maximize efficiency. They are perfect for beginner cyclists who want to experience the thrill of swift travel while gaining confidence in their riding technique.

Imagine effortlessly zipping along smooth bike paths or exploring newly discovered routes with a sense of agility and control that drives your passion for cycling. The agile nature of road bikes imparts a sensation of gliding over pavement, unlocking a transformative journey that transcends physical activity and becomes an immersive experience.

Joining Local Cycling Groups For beginners eager to engage with local cycling communities or participate in group rides, road bikes present an invaluable opportunity. These finely-tuned machines pave the way for connecting with fellow enthusiasts and embarking on journeys that foster camaraderie and friendship.

With their focus on speed, agility, and precision, road bikes are tailor-made for embarking on ever-engaging long-distance rides. Their efficient design enables adventurers to gracefully conquer extended routes, reveling in the accomplishment of conquering challenging distances.

Now that we’ve gained an understanding of the remarkable features of road bikes for beginners let’s explore how this dynamic two-wheeled companion facilitates entry into local cycling groups while championing endurance and exhilaration.

Mountain Bikes for Beginners

Picture this: You’re out in nature, riding through the woods, feeling the adrenaline rush as you conquer rough trails and rugged terrain—all made easier with a mountain bike. These sturdy bikes are built for off-road adventures and designed with features perfect for navigating challenging terrains without breaking much of a sweat.

The durable frames and resilient mountain bike tires provide stability and support when exploring muddy paths or rocky trails and offer superior grip even on loose or slippery terrains, ensuring a safer and more exhilarating riding experience.

The specialized suspension systems incorporated in mountain bikes have built-in shock absorbers that minimize bumps and jolts, making your ride smoother and more pleasant, particularly when navigating rocky paths or maneuvering around tree roots.

Moreover, if you plan to venture into cross-country adventures or explore local mountain trails, a mountain bike is your best companion. Its versatility and durability make it an ideal choice for anyone interested in the great outdoors.

Whether cruising through forested trails or tackling challenging uphill climbs, a mountain bike provides the stability, control, and reliability needed for exhilarating off-road expeditions, with the right mountain bike under your command, every trail transforms into an exciting exploration waiting to be conquered.

In a world of biking possibilities, the next segment tells the tale of another remarkable journey—a hybrid cycling experience bound to turn the wheels.

Hybrid Bikes for Beginners

Hybrid bikes offer a balanced middle ground, combining critical features of both road and mountain bikes. They are designed to provide a comfortable ride on different terrains, making them an excellent choice for beginners.

If you’re someone who’s exploring leisurely rides around the neighborhood, a daily commute to work or school, or even light off-road trails on the weekends, a hybrid bike is just the ticket. These bikes usually have slightly wider tires than traditional road bikes, providing added stability, especially when riding uneven surfaces.

Let’s imagine this: You’re coasting down a smooth paved path one moment and then transitioning onto a gravel trail the next. The wider tires on a hybrid bike can easily handle these changes, giving you a smooth ride without feeling every bump.

Additionally, some hybrid bike models come with front suspension. This feature provides extra cushioning for your wrists and arms while riding over rougher terrain. This additional feature can make the ride more forgiving for beginners who aren’t sticking solely to city roads and want to tackle some light trails along the way. It’s like having an all-in-one package that suits different situations—that’s probably why they call it a “hybrid.”

Given their adaptability and comfort on different surfaces, hybrid bikes are often recommended as an ideal choice for beginners seeking a versatile bike that can handle various riding environments.

The versatility of hybrid bikes opens up opportunities for beginners to explore different terrain effortlessly. Let’s seamlessly roll into uncovering essential features that make beginner bikes shine.

Critical Features for Beginner Bikes

Selecting a bike as a beginner can be overwhelming with all the options available. However, focusing on a few key features will make the process more manageable and ensure you have the right bike for your needs.

Frame Material

The material used for the frame significantly impacts a bike’s performance and characteristics. Aluminum frames are lightweight and resistant to rust, making them popular for beginners. Steel frames, though heavier, offer excellent durability and absorb road vibrations well, providing a smoother ride. Carbon fiber frames are incredibly lightweight and known for their ability to dampen road vibrations. On the other hand, titanium frames are renowned for being incredibly strong, light, and rust-resistant.

When deciding on the frame material, beginners must consider factors such as weight, durability, and flexibility. This decision largely depends on the type of riding you plan to do and your preferences. For instance, an aluminum frame might be your best bet if you value speed and agility. But if comfort is more important, a steel or carbon frame could be preferred.

Gears and Shifters

Understanding the gears and shifters of a bike is crucial for beginners. Different types of bikes come with varied gear options to adapt to different terrains. Trigger shifters are standard on mountain bikes and offer precise gear changes, while twist shifters may suit hybrid or city bikes due to their straightforward operation.

Multiple gears are essential for beginners planning to ride over diverse terrains or tackle hills. It allows them to adjust the resistance level according to the slope or terrain conditions, ensuring a comfortable riding experience. Choosing the proper shifter mechanism depends on personal preference and should complement your biking style.

Suspension Systems

For riders interested in mountain biking, understanding suspension systems is critical. Quality suspension systems contribute significantly to handling rough trails by absorbing impact from obstacles like rocks and tree roots. This helps maintain traction and control during off-road rides.

Suspension systems in mountain bikes are designed to provide a comfortable riding experience on uneven terrain. Beginners must pay close attention to the type and quality of suspension systems when selecting a mountain bike. In contrast, road bikes are generally built for speed and efficiency and may not feature suspension systems. Understanding these differences between bike types is essential when deciding as a beginner.

An informed decision about these features will set you up for an enjoyable biking experience as a beginner, allowing you to fully use your new two-wheeled companion while learning the ropes of this time-honored activity!

With an understanding of beginner bike features, let’s explore how top-notch brands play a crucial role in providing quality riding experiences for those starting out on two wheels.

Top Brands for Beginning Bikers

When you’re just starting your biking adventure, having a reliable and supportive bike brand behind you can make all the difference. Luckily, several reputable brands produce high-quality, beginner-friendly bikes. The last thing you want as a new rider is to be let down by a bike that needs to be better or provide the support and reliability you need. This is where brands like Trek, Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, and Diamondback come in.

Each brand stands out for its commitment to producing bikes specifically for beginner riders. They offer an array of entry-level models tailored to meet the needs of those who are just starting their cycling journey. Expect bikes from these brands to feature user-friendly designs with reliable and durable components.


Trek is well-regarded for its wide range of beginner-friendly bikes designed to ease new riders into the cycling world. The company’s entry-level models feature sturdy frames and components built to withstand the learning curve of new cyclists.


Aventon is another brand synonymous with quality beginner bikes. Their entry-level e-bike models are carefully designed with attention to detail and performance, aligning with their commitment to ensure a smooth and supportive riding experience for newbie cyclists.

Ideal Places to Buy Beginner Bikes

Local bike shops offer the advantage of personalized service and expert advice. Here at Norm’s Ski & Bike Shop, we have a knowledgeable staff that knows the local biking routes and our inventory inside out. These dedicated individuals can help point you toward the right bike for your needs through their expertise and by letting you test-ride various models to ensure you find the perfect fit.

If personable interaction and hands-on experience are what you’re after, local shops are unrivaled. You can discuss your specific requirements with experienced personnel who might even share tips on maintenance and care for your new ride. So, if you value a friendly, tailored shopping experience and want advice from real humans, visiting your nearest local bike shop is worth considering.