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 battery drain?

    10 August 2010 by MCN

    What's causing battery drain?

    Q. I have all sorts of electrical problems with my bike. When the lights are on the battery seems to lose charge even when the engine is running. Anon   A. You don't say what happens with the...

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  • Best tyres for a hot track day

    10 August 2010 by MCN

    Best tyres for a hot track day

    Q. I recently highsided a Ducati Monster S4RS on a set of Bridgestone BT016s at the Salzburgring in Austria. The local expert (superbike racer) looked at the tyres and thought they looked overheated.

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  • New rider: what was that noise?

    06 August 2010 by MCN

    New rider: what was that noise?

    When you get your first big bike, it can take some time to get used to all the mechanical noises that it makes, and they can seem quite worrying at first. If you're on a tight budget and your new bike...

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  • Why is there oil in my air filter?

    02 August 2010 by MCN

    Why is there oil in my air filter?

    Fellhopper: I decided to check the condition of the air filter on my GSX-R750 K2, it is a bit oily so I've ordered a new K&N filter to replace a standard one fitted last year (done about 11k). I...

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  • Best tyres for a Yamaha Fazer 600

    02 August 2010 by MCN

    Best tyres for a Yamaha Fazer 600

    Q. I have a 2003 Yamaha Fazer 600 with only 3900 miles on the clock, which I bought 18 months ago. Save £££s on motorcycle tyres It has a Dunlop Sportmax 160/60 x 17 on the rear and a 110/70 x 17 on...

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  • My speedo can't cope with my turbo!

    02 August 2010 by MCN

    My speedo can't cope with my turbo!

    Q. About one year ago I fitted a nice little turbo to my first generation Suzuki 1200 Bandit. Save cash on motorcycle products Now, I've covered about 7000 miles (3000 of them in 10 days around...

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  • Can I service my R1200RT's throttle at home?

    02 August 2010 by MCN

    Can I service my R1200RT's throttle at home?

    Q. I have a 2005 BMW R1200RT which I have started to service myself; I have found this to be very straightforward, however I am not sure about the throttle body/cable adjustment/synchronisation. Save...

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  • New bike dos and don'ts

    30 July 2010 by MCN

    New bike dos and don'ts

    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...

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  • Getting used to your first big bike

    30 July 2010 by MCN

    Getting used to your first big bike

    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...

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

    28 July 2010 by Jennie Gow

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

    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...

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  • Product review: Abus Granit Extreme Chain

    27 July 2010 by Guy Procter

    Product review: Abus Granit Extreme Chain

    Abus Granit Extreme Chain 37-1.1m-12mm, £199 Time used: Five years What's good? Words can't describe the lack of care I have lavished on this faithful friend. Save £££s on motorcycle locks But it's...

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  • Can I change FireBlade front wheel size?

    26 July 2010 by MCN

    Can I change FireBlade front wheel size?

    Q. Not sure if you've ever been asked this before, but I want to get some decent modern rubber on my ageing CBR900RR FireBlade. Is there a way I can go about putting a 17-inch wheel on the front to...

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  • How best to scrub in new tyres

    26 July 2010 by MCN

    How best to scrub in new tyres

    Q. I'd just got a set of new tyres fitted and was taking things as easy as I could when the rear just slipped away so fast and without warning, I wanted to talk to someone at the importer to better...

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  • Performing an emergency stop

    23 July 2010 by MCN

    Performing an emergency stop

    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...

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  • The dreaded U-turn

    23 July 2010 by MCN

    The dreaded U-turn

    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...

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  • Helmet review: Shoei XR-1100

    23 July 2010 by Trevor Franklin

    Helmet review: Shoei XR-1100

    Shoei XR-1100 helmet, £299 (plain colours), £379 (graphics) Miles covered/time: 18,000/nine months What’s good? The sales assistant’s golden rule for buying a crash helmet is: If you’ve a ten-bob head...

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  • How to fix broken electronic screen

    22 July 2010 by MCN

    How to fix broken electronic screen

    Q. I have a 1999 BMW R1100RT with an electric screen. The screen gets stuck in its highest position every now and again, but it sorts itself out each time. Unfortunately it has happened again and is...

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  • GSX-R's neutral light disappears

    22 July 2010 by MCN

    GSX-R's neutral light disappears

    Q. I have owned a Suzuki GSX-R750 K8 for 13 months. Two months into owning the bike it developed problems with the gear and neutral indicator display. To date the bike has been in and out of my Suzuki...

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  • Best all-round sports tyre

    22 July 2010 by MCN

    Best all-round sports tyre

    Q. I bought a Suzuki GSX-R750 K5 about three months ago and I’m coming to the point where I need some new tyres. I am currently running Michelin Pilot 2CTs which feel really good under me, but I...

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  • How to check for warped discs

    12 July 2010 by MCN

    How to check for warped discs

    Q. When I brake quite hard between 80-40mph on my CBR600FS I feel a pulsing up to the brake lever. Save £££s on motorcycle brakes I have checked the discs they don't seem to be warped and I have new...

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  • Best tyres for a 4000-mile Alpine tour

    12 July 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Best tyres for a 4000-mile Alpine tour

    I'm doing a 4000-mile tour round central Europe in August and I need a new set of rubber before I go. What should I use on my Bandit? It will be a mix between motorways and Alpine roads and will last...

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  • Does ZXR suspension need an overhaul?

    12 July 2010 by MCN

    Does ZXR suspension need an overhaul?

    Q. I've just got a very keenly priced ZXR750 dating from the early ’90s but the handling seems very choppy no matter what I do to the rear suspension. Save cash on motorcycle suspension I didn't get...

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  • Are my wheel bearings shot?

    12 July 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Are my wheel bearings shot?

    Fellhopper: My GSX-R750 K2 has just developed a 'droning' noise from the front end (wheel?) it does it in all gears at speed and also with the clutch pulled in 'coasting'. I have just solved one noise...

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  • New Rider: Slow speed shimmy

    09 July 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    New Rider: Slow speed shimmy

    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...

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  • New Rider: Best 33bhp bike for distance

    09 July 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    New Rider: Best 33bhp bike for distance

    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...

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  • Web wisdom: Proper coolant for a ZX-6R

    06 July 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Web wisdom: Proper coolant for a ZX-6R

    jonboymp: Guys, I have a 2009 ZX-6R. It needs a drop of coolant, what should I use? The normal car stuff from Halfords? Can anyone point me in the right direction? triumphrider600: Nooooooo. Bikes use...

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  • Power Commander fuel map for Bandit 1250

    06 July 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Power Commander fuel map for Bandit 1250

    I have a Power Commander and Akrapovic slip-on exhaust fitted to my Suzuki Bandit 1250 but it isn’t running cleanly and I can't see the correct download map on the Dynojet website. Ralph Heggs,...

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  • Checking your new bike has a SORN

    02 July 2010 by MCN

    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 http://www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk or by calling vehicle enquiries on 0300 790 6802.  Get a friend into biking and win £10000 for you, and £5000 for...

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  • Taking your test abroad

    02 July 2010 by MCN

    Taking your test abroad

    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.

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  • How to avoid a SMIDSY

    02 July 2010 by MCN

    How to avoid a SMIDSY

    No one likes crashing and it can dent your confidence and bank balance as well as injuring you. Here’s how to avoid one of the most common accidents, a SMIDSY (“Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You”) when...

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