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.

  • Fitting a new chain

    24 September 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    Fitting a new chain

    If you are thinking of changing your chain there are a few things you should consider. You can get more out of it, if you keep it scrupulously lubricated and adjusted through its life, ideally with...

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  • New rider: Parallel twins explained

    24 September 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    New rider: Parallel twins explained

    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...

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  • Why won't my Honda CBF500's lights come on?

    22 September 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Why won't my Honda CBF500's lights come on?

    When I start my Honda CBF500 up the headlight should come on automatically. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. However, after riding for a few minutes it comes on and stays on. Neither dip nor main...

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  • What does mystery XJR error code mean?

    21 September 2010 by MCN

    What does mystery XJR error code mean?

    I have a friend who has a 2008 Yamaha XJR1300. He has a problem with a code that keeps coming up on the warning panel – when you switch the ignition on, the code that shows up is “20”. If the engine...

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  • New Rider: Why triples rock

    17 September 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    New Rider: Why triples rock

    The first ‘modern’ three-cylinder engine was an inline design built by the Triumph/BSA conglomerate back in the 1969 using their existing twin-cylinder motors, as a response to Honda’s revolutionary...

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  • Best road tyres for a BMW R1200GS

    17 September 2010 by MCN

    Best road tyres for a BMW R1200GS

    I have recently purchased a 2010 R1200GS which was fitted with Conti Trail Attacks from new. They are very grippy and confidence inspiring but the rear seems to be wearing out at an alarming rate...

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  • How do I stop my MV overheating?

    17 September 2010 by MCN

    How do I stop my MV overheating?

    My 2007 MV Agusta F4 1000R has really suffered in the summer’s heat. It has always run hot at about 110 degrees, but it started to boil up and got to 125 degrees, which is when I switched it off in a...

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  • Pre-2001 Licence categories

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    Vehicle tests have become more complex over the years with several modules and more extensive theory tests. Full motorcycle licence holders who’ve held their licences pre-2001, also have a B1 classification which allows them to use “Motor tricycles / quad cycles, 3 or 4 wheeled vehicles with an un-laden weight not exceeding 550kg”. Armed with this category they do not have to take the car theory...

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  • Aftermarket exhausts

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    Aftermarket exhausts

    Switching to an aftermarket exhaust is an obvious choice if you want to change the look, sound or performance of your bike. But you do have to consider a few things before you splash the cash. First...

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  • New rider engine layouts: Singles

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    New rider engine layouts: Singles

    The simplest bike engine design is the single cylinder and it’s what’s fuelled generations of young and new bikers’ love affair with two wheels, as well as keeping the masses moving in poorer...

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  • Best tyres for a Triumph America

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    Best tyres for a Triumph America

    Q. I don't have much confidence in the tyres fitted to my 2007 Triumph America. They are a fairly new Metzeler Lazertec front and Marathon rear. Save £££s on motorcycle tyres The front tracks any...

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  • Why is my 2007 R1 ticking?

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    Why is my 2007 R1 ticking?

    Q. I have a 2007 R1 with just over 7000 miles on it. I noticed that there was a ticking noise coming from the right hand side of the bike and so took it to a dealer who thought there was no problem. I...

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  • How to buy leathers that fit

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    How to buy leathers that fit

    Q. I have just bought a set of two-piece leathers and have a question about the fit. I am a 40/41-inch chest and so ordered the size 42 after speaking to the salesman. The sleeves end at just above...

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  • Advice: Why is my ZX-6R cutting out?

    07 September 2010 by MCN

    Advice: Why is my ZX-6R cutting out?

    horuson1: I have a ZX-6R C1H (2005). When I go for a ride it seems to be running hotter than it should then if I stop it cuts out unless I rev it. If it cuts out it won’t restart for about 15 minutes...

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  • New rider engine layouts: V-twins

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    New rider engine layouts: V-twins

    The V-twin engine has a long and noble history in motorcycling as it was adopted early on by manufacturers like Harley and Indian because it allowed two cylinders to be bolted into the narrow,...

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  • Properly fitting a set of leathers

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    Properly fitting a set of leathers

    A set of leathers is a major investment, so it’s important that they fit you well. Although leathers will give a little bit over time, they aren’t as flexible as textile garments, so the makers cut...

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  • When to change your helmet

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    When to change your helmet

    Q. My wife has recently completed her CBT course and was told that “cheap helmets have a shelf life of around two years, with more expensive ones having a shelf life of around five years, after which...

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  • How to know it's time to change your tyres

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    How to know it's time to change your tyres

    Q. I am on a very tight budget as a poor student (bloody tuition fees), so I can’t afford to change my tyres until I absolutely have to. Save cash on motorcycle tyres Apart from a lack of tread, what...

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  • How to tie a bike down on a ferry

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    How to tie a bike down on a ferry

    Q. I’m taking my bike over to Spain next month and I wondered what’s the best way to tether the bike with the ratchet straps I have just purchased. I have a centrestand-free Kawasaki ZRX1200S and I...

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  • Why are my ZX-6R's lights blowing?

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    Why are my ZX-6R's lights blowing?

    Q. I own a 2004 Kawasaki ZX-6R. When I go out with my lights on, it blows the stop/tail fuse within a mile or so. If I leave the lights off, I can ride all day with no problems. I changed the bulbs...

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  • Why is my Blackbird exhaust steaming?

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    Why is my Blackbird exhaust steaming?

    Q. I have a 2001 Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird that seems to run fine. What concerns me is that when I start up from cold the right-hand silencer emits water vapour almost immediately, while the...

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  • Securing your bike on a ferry

    27 August 2010 by MCN

    Securing your bike on a ferry

    If you are heading abroad on the ferries it’s important that you are able to tether your bike down properly in the hold in case of rough weather. Park it so it is almost leaning against the deck wall...

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  • New rider engine layouts: Inline fours

    27 August 2010 by MCN

    New rider engine layouts: Inline fours

    The inline four-cylinder engine is the most popular layout for bikes because it combines high performance with relatively low cost. First made popular by Honda in 1970s, after they’d gained experience...

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  • Advice: Why have my tyres worn so quickly?

    24 August 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Advice: Why have my tyres worn so quickly?

    Why have my tyres worn so quickly? Q. I’ve been using the same make and model of tyres on my bike for a few sets now, but the last pair seemed to have worn faster than before. Both the front and the...

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  • Advice: Are my Fazer's brake discs at fault?

    24 August 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Advice: Are my Fazer's brake discs at fault?

    Are my Fazer's discs at fault? Q. My recently acquired Yamaha FZS600 is great but for the high-pitched “scraping” whine from the front wheel. The dealer tells me it's the front discs and says all...

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  • Position yourself correctly

    20 August 2010

    Position yourself correctly

    Getting yourself in the right position in the lane of the road you are travelling on is a vital skill that keeps you safe and lets you make good progress. The greatest risk to you is other road users,...

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  • How do you know your tyres are warmed up?

    20 August 2010 by MCN

    How do you know your tyres are warmed up?

    With your contact on terra firma reliant on two hand-sized patches of rubber it’s hard to know when your bedded-in tyres are up to operating temperature, but there are a couple of factors that will...

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  • Will changing spark plugs cure a misfire?

    17 August 2010 by MCN

    Will changing spark plugs cure a misfire?

    Q. My Ducati 900SS has a misfire which starts after I have ridden a few miles. Will changing the plugs sort it out? George Booth, email   A. A misfire is either related to the fuelling or the...

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  • How to get better mileage on a rear tyre

    17 August 2010 by MCN

    How to get better mileage on a rear tyre

    Q. I have a Harley XR1200X with Dunlop Qualifier tyres that I am very pleased with. The rear is getting close to the end of its life at 2200 miles. Save cash on motorcycle products If I fitted a...

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  • How to tell when your tyres need replacing

    13 August 2010 by MCN

    How to tell when your tyres need replacing

    The obvious visual sign that your tyres are worn are when the tread becomes so shallow that tread wear indicators, which are small raised areas at the bottom of the main tread grooves, have reached...

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  • How to fit earplugs

    13 August 2010 by MCN

    How to fit earplugs

    Part of the attraction of riding a bike is being in touch with the elements around you, not cut off in a little steel box. But one of those elements, wind noise, can be distracting and damage your...

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