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New rider: Parallel twins explained

Chris Dabbs, 24 September 2010 16:38

The parallel twin cylinder engine has a long history of use in motorcycles, being the mainstay of the British motorcycle industry for 50 years until the smoother, more sophisticated four-cylinder engines from Japan usurped it in the large capacity classes. The twin has the advantage of a still being relatively narrow and easy to work on, while giving reasonable power ...

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New rider: Going from auto to full licence

Chris Dabbs, 25 June 2010 13:22

If you have an automatic bike licence and your two-year 33bhp probation is over, there are a couple of options to get a full manual bike licence, depending on your age. If you are under 21 years you need to take practical test (module 1 and 2) on a 125 manual and therefore be restricted again for two years to ...

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New rider: Do you really need a powerful bike?

Chris Dabbs, 11 June 2010 10:23

There’s no right or wrong time to buy your first big bike, the key to the process is to be honest with yourself.   If you have been driving a car for years and have built up a fund of roadcraft in your head, and you are confident that you have the ability to control a more powerful bike, then go ...

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New rider: Braking in the wet

Chris Dabbs, 30 November 2009 10:00

Like most other things in life, braking in the wet is straightforward if you plan ahead. The first part of the plan is to practice applying the brakes on a traffic-free stretch of road with a consistent road surface. Start out slowly, focussing on the front brake and building up the lever pressure gradually so that you get more and ...

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FAQ: What do I do if I lose my motorcycle key?

Chris Dabbs, 30 October 2009 17:05

These days a lot of bikes have their ignition keys coded to the ECU to make it harder for thieves to get them going. But that means you have to take extra special care of those keys because if you are unlucky enough to lose both keys you could need a new ECU at up to ₤1000. The reason is ...

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Basic Skills: How to position your body when cornering

Chris Dabbs, 02 October 2009 15:55

You don't have to be a racer to hang your body off a bike! Changing your body position when cornering can get you round safer and with less lean angle required from your bike, as MCN's Michael Neeves shows one reader in our video.   Further reading:Basic Skills

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FAQ: Strange squeaking noises from a new motorcycle

Chris Dabbs, 14 August 2009 11:12

If your new bike is making an odd sound like a sort of squeaking noise, or rubbing sound, that comes and goes, check the relative positions of the footpeg and rear brake pedal. It's all too easy to rest your foot on the rear brake pedal and ride the brake so much that the pads wear down to the metal. ...

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FAQ: How do I clean my motorcycle gloves?

Chris Dabbs, 11 June 2009 14:23

If your bike gloves smell sweaty when warm and make your hands stink you can do something about it. If they are leather with a man-made lining turn them inside and hand wash them with some detergent for delicate clothing, rinsing them well. Then let them dry naturally (not on a radiator or in the microwave ­ yes it¹s been ...

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First time bikes for tall riders

Chris Dabbs, 21 March 2009 21:00

Q. I am due to take the Direct Access Scheme and test in a couple of weeks. Once I pass, I am looking to buy an all-rounder middleweight. However, being a tall bloke - 6'4", I would prefer a bike that is comfortable for someone above average height. From my research, I have narrowed my shortlist to the Kawasaki Versys, Yamaha FZ6 Fazer, and Suzuki ...


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