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What's engine braking and how does it differ?

MCN, 06 August 2010 15:58

Engine braking can be a useful tool to riding smoothly when you first start out, or it can get you into a bit of trouble if you don't pay attention to the gear you're in. It occurs when you shut the throttle, at that moment the engine goes from producing power to having its pistons pumped by the rotating rear ...

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New bike dos and don'ts

MCN, 30 July 2010 17:42

When you've got your first bike there are a few add-on dos and don'ts. Do consider fitting a hugger. It will keep the back of your bike cleaner and looks neat. Don't just fit any old loud pipe. Quite apart from insurance problems, you could upset the way the engine runs with poor throttle response and misfires, as well as ...

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Getting used to your first big bike

MCN, 30 July 2010 17:21

So, you’ve hunted through the ads, visited the dealers and sat on loads of bikes in showrooms, even managed to persuade a dealer to take you out on the pillion and you've splashed four figures on your first big bike and it's ready for you to ride away, but you're looking at it with a mixture of excitement and nervousness, ...

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Jennie Gow blog: I've passed my bike test!

Jennie Gow, 28 July 2010 14:41

I'm on a Honda GR 125, the sun is streaming off the River Thames and I have a massive smile on my face as I look down at my Speedo and realise I've just passed the 50mph mark for the very first time. This has to be one of the best feelings in the world! But I've got carried away ...

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Performing an emergency stop

MCN, 23 July 2010 17:25

An emergency stop can so easily become a panic response and end in tears with one or both wheels locking up and you either hitting the floor or the obstacle you were trying to avoid in the first place, so it’s important that you practice this safely. So, find an empty car park and set off up to about 15mph, ...

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rating is 4

The dreaded U-turn

MCN, 23 July 2010 17:22

One of the trickier manoeuvres to master when you’re starting out on bikes is the U-turn. Not only are you crossing two flows of traffic, but also you’ve got kerbs or grassy banks limiting your space to get around safely. Although it is a slow-speed manoeuvre it is important that you are on the move with the clutch out and ...

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New Rider: Slow speed shimmy

Chris Dabbs, 09 July 2010 14:12

If you are new to biking there are lots of fresh sensations to get to grips with, from leaning into bends, to the front dipping under braking or that pull on your arms as you accelerate hard. One strange one you may come across is a shake through the forks at certain speeds, mainly between 40-50mph and mostley when you ...

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New Rider: Best 33bhp bike for distance

Chris Dabbs, 09 July 2010 14:09

Bogumil Kusiba has just passed his bike test for the 33bhp restricted licence and he wants to trade in his Honda Varadero 125. “It’s a great bike, however due to my high commuter mileage, 54 miles each way, mainly motorway. my Varadero is struggling and I am concerned that it may be too many miles for such a small  engine.” ...

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Checking your new bike has a SORN

MCN, 02 July 2010 16:26

If you have bought a bike and applied for SORN at the same time, you should receive a new logbook and confirmation of its SORN status too. But if you can’t find the SORN paperwork anywhere, you can check the date of liability for your bike via or by calling vehicle enquiries on 0300 790 6802.  Get a friend ...

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Taking your test abroad

MCN, 02 July 2010 16:09

Planet Earth is a village these days and some Brits like David Barnett are taking their tests overseas. “I have just become a biker and I am living in Brisbane at the moment, although I’m from London. I am taking lessons now, with plans to come back to the UK, but I’m worried that I will have to retake my ...


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