New rider

Welcome the the MCN New Rider section, where we'll help you navigate your way from complete biking novice to confident beginner. If you're unsure how to begin your journey onto two wheels, the diagram below is for you.

This process diagram has been designed by TDL-LONDON, an information design consultancy.

  • What's causing my ST1300 to wiggle?

    01 December 2010 by Marc Abbott

    What's causing my ST1300 to wiggle?

    I have a Honda ST1300, that’s in generally fine fettle, with good tyres and swingarm, and with steering head and wheel bearings in good condition, too. However, when pulling away, the bike feels like...

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  • Effect of a squared-off front tyre

    26 November 2010 by MCN

    Effect of a squared-off front tyre

    Q. I have a Kawasaki ZX-6R G1. When I go round corners my steering wobbles and when I’m going really slow in traffic, I’m fighting to balance, but then it’s fine in a straight line at speed. I checked...

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  • How to seal an old petrol tank

    26 November 2010 by MCN

    How to seal an old petrol tank

    Q. One of my chums yesterday told me he was getting a new tank for his old Bonneville. When I asked why, he said because he put Petseal in the tank and now that petrol has a higher percentage of...

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  • How can I solve riding pain?

    26 November 2010 by MCN

    How can I solve riding pain?

    Q. I'm a female pensioner who has taken up biking again in the last couple of years after a long absence. I live in Spain and it's great for biking, but I have one problem. I'm pretty heavy and after...

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  • Why are my tyres tearing after 10 laps?

    15 November 2010 by MCN

    Why are my tyres tearing after 10 laps?

    Q. I was recently at the Motorland circuit in Spain. This track is very fast and has a strong left-hand bias and is tough on tyres. The Dunlop Sportmax slick fitted to my 2004 Yamaha R1 wore really...

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  • How much oil should my Fireblade use?

    15 November 2010 by MCN

    How much oil should my Fireblade use?

    Q. I currently own a 954 Fireblade and am looking to upgrade to a 2008, 2009 or 2010 model, but I keep hearing from owners that they use quite an amount of oil. My 954 never uses oil from one service...

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  • What’s causing BMW R1200RT rattle?

    09 November 2010 by MCN

    What’s causing BMW R1200RT rattle?

    Q. I get an unusual rattle for a few seconds when I first start my BMW R1200RT from cold. It comes on after about 15 to 20 seconds of starting, lasts about five seconds, them disappears. Any ideas...

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  • Can I upgrade Kawasaki ER-5's brakes?

    09 November 2010 by MCN

    Can I upgrade Kawasaki ER-5's brakes?

    Q. I want to replace my 1998 Kawasaki ER-5’s front brake caliper with a better brake, maybe a twin or a four-piston set-up. Is there a brake that would fit straight on or would I have to make an...

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  • Product review: Kryptonite New York disc lock

    05 November 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Product review: Kryptonite New York disc lock

    Kryptonite New York disc lock, £56.99 Time used: Six months What’s good? This little disc lock travels with me whenever I make a journey that’s not garage-to-garage. It’s light enough to carry in a...

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  • Glove review: Oxford Bone Dry Sports

    05 November 2010 by Dan Aspel

    Glove review: Oxford Bone Dry Sports

    Oxford Bone Dry Sports Gloves, £47.49 Miles covered/time: 500/three weeks What’s good? They’re smooth and silky inside and immediately comfortable on the ends of your arms. The armour seems solid and...

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  • Why does my tyre keep deflating?

    04 November 2010 by MCN

    Why does my tyre keep deflating?

    Q. My front tyre has only done 1300 miles, but it keeps deflating. When I took it to a local tyre dealer they said it was porous – is this normal? PTMX1234, MCN forums A. The majority of problems with...

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  • Can I get my 749’s wheel repaired?

    04 November 2010 by MCN

    Can I get my 749’s wheel repaired?

    Q. I have just had a low speed coming off. The bike, a Ducati 749, dropped onto one side and slid into a kerb putting a small dent into my front Marchesini wheel rim. What is your opinion on getting a...

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  • Why can't I sync my Bandit's carbs?

    04 November 2010 by MCN

    Why can't I sync my Bandit's carbs?

    Q. I decided to sync the carbs on a 1999 Bandit 600 I just bought. I got her warmed up and tried to set the idle speed at 1750rpm for the sync (as per the Haynes manual). I turned the adjuster screw...

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  • Can I use tubes with tubeless tyres?

    27 October 2010 by MCN

    Can I use tubes with tubeless tyres?

    Q. I'm looking to replace the rear tyre on a Ducati GT1000 which has a spoked wheels and inner tubes. Can tubeless tyres be fitted, but with tubes, to broaden my choice or am I really limited to the...

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  • Why is my RF600R shooting flames?!

    26 October 2010 by MCN

    Why is my RF600R shooting flames?!

    Q. I got on my Suzuki RF600R today to go home from work, and the first thing it did when I tried to start it was backfire and shoot flames. I thought what the hell, maybe these things happen. When I...

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  • Getting used to your bikes noises

    25 October 2010 by MCN

    Getting used to your bikes noises

    Bike engines will make a variety of noises, hardly surprising with several hundred metal parts whizzing round thousands of time a minute. If you are worried about the mechanical noises coming from...

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  • youngest to have a full bike licence?

    22 October 2010 by richard summers

    youngest to have a full bike licence?

    I thought i would drop you this email, to let you know if interested that I was 17 on the 2nd october, where i pre booked my theory and passed then got a cancelation for mod 1 then passed,...

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  • Best tyres for a Kawasaki ZX-9R

    21 October 2010 by MCN

    Best tyres for a Kawasaki ZX-9R

    I need some new tyres for my 2003 Kawasaki ZX-9R. It’s currently fitted with Bridgestone BT-014s, I'm mainly an easy road rider, but I like to get it over in the bends occasionally, so could do with...

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  • Has my Yamaha YBR125's clutch broken?

    21 October 2010 by MCN

    Has my Yamaha YBR125's clutch broken?

    I have been letting my brother learn to ride on my Yamaha YBR125, since upgrading myself to a CB500 - which has worked out well, except the YBR has now seemed to developed some weird clutch issue,...

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  • Nerves and the bike test

    16 October 2010 by Dave Neale

    I have ridden bikes on and off since 1964. I took the old style test in 1967 and failed on 2 minor'ish points. I did not take it again regrettably. As I did not want to carry a pillion passenger and my 250 was quick enough at the time. Each decade since, I have gone back to bikes but unfortunately 125. I have always had an ambition to gain my full licence. So in May this year I did the CBT, and...

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  • Repairing damaged wheels

    15 October 2010 by MCN

    Repairing damaged wheels

    If you’ve kerbed a car wheel you’ll know what sort of mess it does to the rims, but you can keep driving most of the time. Damage an alloy wheel on a bike and it will ruin the bike’s handling and...

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  • Tubes and tubeless tyres

    07 October 2010 by MCN

    Tubes and tubeless tyres

    Tubeless tyres have several advantages over tubed tyres and are far more numerous on today's bikes. Among those advantages are that they run cooler, so can cope with higher performance and give longer...

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  • Does my Hornet need a Power Commander?

    07 October 2010 by MCN

    Does my Hornet need a Power Commander?

    Q. I have a 2008 ABS Honda Hornet which has an Akrapovic megaphone end can fitted. At the moment the bike doesn’t run smoothly at certain points. Would this need to be fixed by a Power Commander? Or...

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  • Where can I buy Triumph paint?

    07 October 2010 by MCN

    Where can I buy Triumph paint?

    Q. I just wondered if any other readers have had the same problem with Triumph paint as I have. I am the owner of an ’09 Sprint 1050 ABS in Phantom Black which I sadly managed to drop in a paddock...

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  • Getting into motorcycles, aged 43

    04 October 2010 by John Finningham

    My Biking experience is fairly new. At the tender age of 43 after just passing my DAS test I bought a 650 Bandit (new) and have at the time of writing this done just 211 miles. My previous biking history stems back to when I was around 14 upon joining a school motorcycle club. Trial sidecar. I learnt to ride on an old Francis Barnet and those school memories are the only ones I enjoy. A few...

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  • Jacket review: Aerostich Falstaff

    01 October 2010 by Simon Relph

    Jacket review: Aerostich Falstaff

    Falstaff jacket, $397 (£258) Miles covered/time: 4200/13 months What’s good? The closest you can come to putting on your favourite slippers, this jacket immediately feels that you have owned it for...

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  • Big bike tips for the vertically challenged

    01 October 2010 by MCN

    Big bike tips for the vertically challenged

    Getting your first big bike can be a daunting experience, especially if you are below average height. Once you’ve gained confidence on big bikes the need to get both feet flat on the floor is largely...

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  • Choosing the right bike for the right test

    30 September 2010 by MCN

    Choosing the right bike for the right test

    If you are looking for a bike to pass your test on, make sure that you purchase the right bike for the category of test you want to pass, or you could find yourself restricted to a 125 with only an A1...

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  • What’s causing my mystery puncture?

    29 September 2010 by MCN

    What’s causing my mystery puncture?

    Q. I was riding on the M54 tonight and the front tyre on my 2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R went flat really quickly, I struggled over to the hard shoulder and got recovered back home. Find a used Kawasaki...

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  • Can I remove my Z750's stock exhaust valve?

    29 September 2010 by MCN

    Can I remove my Z750's stock exhaust valve?

    Q. I really need to make my 2007 Kawasaki Z750 louder as they hear my son’s GSX-R coming, but not me following. So I’m looking at a replacement can, but what’s to be done with the device fitted to the...

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