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.

  • 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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  • What happens when I remove exhaust baffles?

    01 July 2010 by Marc Abbott

    What happens when I remove exhaust baffles?

    I have just purchased a new GSX-R1000 K7 with dealer fitted Arrow cans with removable baffles. Can you please tell me whether it would harm the bike if I removed them. I have also read in the Arrow...

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  • How to troubleshoot a Power Commander

    30 June 2010 by MCN

    How to troubleshoot a Power Commander

    Q. I have a Dynojet Power Commander III USB on my GSX-R750, but when I try to connect it to the control centre software on my computer the software says "No Power Commander Connected". What am I doing...

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  • How to make a Superduke less twitchy

    30 June 2010 by MCN

    How to make a Superduke less twitchy

    Q. I’ve just bought a 2007 KTM Superduke with 5000 miles on the clock after owning a 2005 Kawasaki ZX-10R. All the reviews say the handling is perfect and near superbike level, but when I up the pace...

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  • Plan your first ride with care

    25 June 2010 by MCN

    Plan your first ride with care

    You’ve passed your test, bought the kit and blown all your hard-earned on your dream bike. Now it’s time to go for your very first ride. And that needs preparation. If you passed your test by the...

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  • New rider: Going from auto to full licence

    25 June 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    New rider: Going from auto to full licence

    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...

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  • Why aren't my cooling fans working?

    22 June 2010 by MCN

    Why aren't my cooling fans working?

    Q. I'm having trouble with my 2000 MV Agusta F4. The cooling fans aren't coming on when the engine gets hot (105 degrees). I've checked the fuse and that's OK, I'm not too sure where to look next.

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  • Can I rethread a sump?

    22 June 2010 by MCN

    Q. When I changed the oil on my GSX-R750 K2 last time I managed to overtighten the sump plug so I felt the thread giving a bit. I was using a torque wrench too. I have just changed the oil again today and fine bits of 'thread' came out of the sump thread as I removed the plug! Have I now screwed up the sump or is there a way of re-threading it? I managed to re-fit the sump plug but it was hard to...

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  • Best tyres for less-than-spirited riding

    22 June 2010 by MCN

    Best tyres for less-than-spirited riding

    Q. My girlfriend has just returned to biking after a long lay-off and at present I’m doing 95% of my riding with her. Save cash on motorcycle tyres It's great and she's rapidly building confidence...

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  • Taking care of your chain

    18 June 2010 by MCN

    Taking care of your chain

    There are two types of chain used on bikes. Off-roaders and commuter bikes up to 125cc use chains made of metal only, other road bikes use O-ring chains. O-ring chains have small rubber seals between...

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  • Sorting out your confidence

    18 June 2010 by MCN

    Sorting out your confidence

    Confidence isn't just a 'preference of the habitual voyeur' as Blur would have it, but arguably one of the most vital parts of a rider's armoury. Building it up as you start out, without straying into...

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  • Kit review: Hein Gericke Milan jacket

    17 June 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Kit review: Hein Gericke Milan jacket

    Hein Gericke Milan jacket, £149.99 Miles covered/time: 1000/two months What’s good? Many people, those who ride and those who don’t, have commented that it doesn’t look like a bike jacket. I think...

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  • How to extract stuck VTR brake pins

    15 June 2010 by MCN

    How to extract stuck VTR brake pins

    jdw1964: I can't seem to get the pin out that holds the pads in on the front brakes of a 2002 Honda VTR1000. Is there a special tool or can you use a normal screwdriver? It doesn’t seem to want to...

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  • Best tyres for a Multistrada 1100S

    15 June 2010 by MCN

    Best tyres for a Multistrada 1100S

    Q. I'm hoping you can help me with some advice on tyres. I recently bought an ’08 Multistrada 1100S and I need to put some new tyres on it. The Metzeler Z6 looks to be a good, if slightly expensive...

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  • Respraying your bike? Who to inform...

    15 June 2010 by MCN

    Respraying your bike? Who to inform...

    Q. I am getting my bike resprayed in a different colour. I know I have to change the logbook, but how do I go about getting the MoT certificate changed? Olly Heggs, Redditch   A. As you say, you...

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  • Will my headlamp fail an MoT?

    15 June 2010 by MCN

    Will my headlamp fail an MoT?

    Q. I took my 1997 Honda RC45 RS down for its annual MoT and the tester said that I had a “problem” with the headlamps, that the dip beam was “flat” with no “break off” to light the pavement etc. He...

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  • New Rider: How to ride safely on a motorway

    11 June 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    New Rider: How to ride safely on a motorway

    Motorways may be boring to ride on, but they are the safest roads in Britain despite the high speeds and vast volumes of traffic that use them. This is because they traffic joining them filters on...

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  • Advice: Are my tyres causing vibrations?

    09 June 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Advice: Are my tyres causing vibrations?

    I have a 2000 Honda Varadero 1000 with only 7000 miles on and it’s developed a vibration. I've checked the tyre pressures and they are spot on. I have slackened the chain off a bit more, but to no...

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  • How to push a motorcycle

    04 June 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    How to push a motorcycle

    It’s hard to believe when you are tipping your bike into a bend with the merest fingertip pressure on a bar, that your bolide weighs a couple of hundred kilos. But when you’ve got to push it into the...

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  • How to tell if you have a puncture

    04 June 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    How to tell if you have a puncture

    The tubeless tyres that are fitted to the vast majority of bikes these days are more puncture-resistant than tyres with inner tubes and don’t tend to suffer from the rapid deflation that is a...

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  • How to push your bike around

    04 June 2010 by MCN

    How to push your bike around

    It’s hard to believe when you are tipping your bike into a bend with the merest fingertip pressure on a bar, that your bike weighs a couple of hundred kilos. But when you’ve got to push it into the...

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  • Tubeless tyres and punctures

    04 June 2010 by MCN

    Tubeless tyres and punctures

    The tubeless tyres that are fitted to the vast majority of bikes these days are more puncture-resistant than tyres with inner tubes and don’t tend to suffer from the rapid deflation that is a...

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  • Tight FireBlade chain is causing problems

    02 June 2010 by MCN

    Tight FireBlade chain is causing problems

    Q. I have a '97 Honda Fireblade RRV. In May I rode up to the BMF Rally two-up but I didn't realise that the chain was running too tight over bumps and when accelerating. It's now making a 'clattery'...

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  • Chinese 125 carb problems

    02 June 2010 by MCN

    Chinese 125 carb problems

    Q. I own a Sukida SK125-4 Commissioner (it's Chinese), which if it's not careful is going to be turned into coke cans as it's doing my head in. The problem is that when I go for a run and its warm it...

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  • Why is my R1200GS front disc pulsing?

    02 June 2010 by MCN

    Why is my R1200GS front disc pulsing?

    Q. I recently took my pride and joy R1200GS to my local BMW garage for its 6000-mile service. I asked them to investigate a front brake pulsing at low speed. Now I had a Tiger that did exactly the...

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  • If in doubt, change your tyres

    02 June 2010 by MCN

    If in doubt, change your tyres

    Q. I have returned to motorcycling after a 48-year break and my bike is a 1990 Yamaha XV535 which is very pleasant to ride -­ even with the gearlever on the left! But on some road surfaces the...

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  • Differences between bike and car engines

    28 May 2010 by MCN

    Differences between bike and car engines

    If you have come from the four-wheeled world it is easy to forget that motorcycle engines need more care and attention than car engines as they rev a lot higher with much greater power to capacity...

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  • How to help your pillion

    28 May 2010 by MCN

    How to help your pillion

    We all know how fantastic bikes are to ride, with their power, cornering and acceleration, but novice pillions need to be introduced gently to those powerful physical sensations if they aren’t to be...

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