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.

  • FAQ: what do I do if my bike won't start?

    11 September 2009 by Chris Dabbs

    FAQ: what do I do if my bike won't start?

    If your bike is cutting out mysteriously, especially when you try to select a gear or pull away for the first time, check out the sidestand cut-out switch. It sits in a very exposed position low on...

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  • Mod 1 test

    10 September 2009 by Anonymous

    I sat the Mod 1 test Sept 2009. Yes of course I was nervous, it was a test. However, all went well until the hazard avoidance exercise. I was too slow on the 1st attempt, 49kmph, so was sent around for another attempt. I was told by instruction and by other bikers not to look at the speedo as I would know how fast I would be going due to the noise of the bike in 2nd gear. This was...

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  • Motorcycle Safety: How safe is riding a bike?

    09 September 2009 by Rupert Paul

    Motorcycle Safety: How safe is riding a bike?

    If you’re starting out, this has got to be a question looming large in your mind – and if not yours, then definitely the mind of your nearest and dearest. The short answer is: riding a bike does...

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  • Motorcycle Safety: avoiding common accidents

    07 September 2009 by Chris Dabbs

    Motorcycle Safety: avoiding common accidents

    The most common accidents that we bikers get involved in are collisions at junctions, collisions while overtaking, loss of control, either from a shunt or, and, surprise, surprise, failing to get...

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  • Why do tyres have wire in them?

    02 September 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Why do tyres have wire in them?

    The high-tensile steel wire in motorcycle tyres is also known as the 'bead' and runs circumferationally around the inner part of the tyre. Compare and buy motorcycle tyres It's job is to anchor the...

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  • Tyre advice: Slippy roads in Southern Spain

    02 September 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Tyre advice: Slippy roads in Southern Spain

    I have recently moved to southern Spain and I ride a Ducati Monster S4RS. Compare and buy motorcycle tyres I have ridden my bike a few times since living here but I am having serious trouble with...

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  • CBT: How to choose a training centre

    02 September 2009 by Marc Abbott

    CBT: How to choose a training centre

    In years gone by, choosing where you'd complete your CBT and bike training/test was a simple matter of opening the yellow pages and opting for any of several firms offering training in your area. But...

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  • Road surface in test areas

    01 September 2009 by Anonymous

    I am doing my test in a couple of weeks time so I went to my local centre to see what way it was set up and run. It had been a wet morning but the sun had come out and dried most of the test area but trees had prevented a spot from drying out. The candidate was carrying out the emergency stop and had failed to reach the required speed and was sent back to try again. As he approached the second...

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  • suspension set up

    31 August 2009 by phil langston

    suspension set up

    Help please? own a Honda CBR600FS2 2002 and the suspension set up is for someone who is a lot heavier than myself. I am 9stone 12lbs and 5ft 5inches tall, can you recommend some settings so I can...

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  • A1 or A2 machine

    29 August 2009 by roadstar47

    A1 or A2 machine

    Here is the link to the DSA website showing the 125 rating catagories for different models of bikes. Strangely the YZF-R125 is not listed.

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  • Kit: How to buy a cheap helmet

    28 August 2009 by Chris Dabbs

    Kit: How to buy a cheap helmet

    If you are starting out on two wheels your budget has to cover a lot of first-time purchases. One of the most important is your crash helmet which could costs hundreds. But there are great savings to...

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  • Exhaust advice: Discoloured downpipes

    27 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Exhaust advice: Discoloured downpipes

    I've bought a used 2006 Yamaha XJR1300 with 3000 miles on clock which runs very well. However the front downpipes are discoloured and have gone slightly purple. What do you think is the cause? Should...

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  • Module 1 Test complaint

    27 August 2009 by Julie Wood

    I am a new rider! I recently passed my mod 1 test for the 5th time, so you can imagine how pleased I felt, only to be told that because my theory was expiring the next day my mod 1 certificate would only be valid til 12pm that night. So I would have to go and take my theory then come back again to re-do my mod 1. I was not made aware of this at any time by my training school...

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  • Suspension advice: Front end knocking

    27 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Suspension advice: Front end knocking

    My Yamaha Fazer 1000 has developed an occasional knocking (movement) at the front end. It tends to happen in corners and it feels very similar to loose head bearings. It's been around for the last...

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  • What category licence is a Suzuki Intruder 125?

    27 August 2009 by offen

    I have a 10 year old Suzuki Intruder 125. I want to take my module 1 bike test but I have been ask to produce a certificate of comformity, as this bike is not on the examiners list. Otherwise the examiner will have to assume category A1 licence, and I want a standard licence What is this and how do I obtain this information.?

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  • Top 5 first big bikes

    26 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Top 5 first big bikes

    Are you new to biking and looking for a decent first big bike? You’ll be needing our guide to the top 5 used bikes for new riders.   Thinking of trading in? Sell your bike with MCN for...

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  • Suspension advice: How age affects suspension

    26 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Suspension advice: How age affects suspension

    Age takes its toll on the rubber seals through degradation and springs sag as the coils deform under the continued load. You can spot seal problems such as perishing or oil leaks, but to check the...

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  • Make sure you get up to speed on the new test

    24 August 2009 by Bike4Life

    I did my module 1 at Erith, and got no minors, but I failed by 1 mile an hour! I could not believe it! Even a speed camera would not detect me travelling 1mph over the speed limit! They really need to consider scrapping this module 1 as it is a waste of time and is clearly a new scheme to make money. Did they not think of doing the speed maneoveure in a 40mph zone? Clearly a way to make money...

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  • Module 1 completed!

    23 August 2009 by retrorider

    Well done to everyone who has recently passed their module 1 test. I passed on the 9th August on my second attempt. My firt test ended in disaster after falling off the bike during the swerve section. That however, made me even more determined to pass and I practiced as often as I could in car parks and on quiet streets. I downloaded the course dimensions from the DSA website and marked the swerve...

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  • Kit: How to buy a bike lock

    20 August 2009 by Rob Hull

    Kit: How to buy a bike lock

    Buying a motorcycle lock is all about one thing – tailoring it to your specific needs. The motorcycle lock world is diverse with a variety of options meaning you could actually buy three or four...

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  • Kit: How to choose leather trousers

    19 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Kit: How to choose leather trousers

    As important as your leather jacket, leather trousers serve the same purpose (that of protection), albeit with slightly less style if you’re riding to the pub.  Compare and buy leather...

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  • Kit: How to choose a leather jacket

    19 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Kit: How to choose a leather jacket

    It doesn’t matter what we say here – most motorcyclists, if they’re being honest, will choose something that looks good. And why not? Compare and buy leather jackets in the MCN Shop However, beyond...

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  • How does suspension affect understeer?

    19 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    How does suspension affect understeer?

    Also known as running wide, understeer is the bike's inability to track a line through a bend. It usually occurs when a bike is set up too soft and the suspension wallows and struggles as physical...

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  • FAQ: How to cure a vibrating wheel

    19 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    FAQ: How to cure a vibrating wheel

    If you have some harsh vibrations or the steering feels loose or wobbly then your front wheel could be out of balance. Those vibes will stress wheel bearings, make the tyre run hotter and could...

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  • Module 1 tips

    18 August 2009 by Jimmycathcart

    Sorry Albert but I have just passed my module 1 test and found it to be fairly straight forward. Although I was doing direct access test using an ER5N I was clocked at 62kph for the hazzard avoidance and 70kph for the emergency stop bringing the bike to a controlled stop with ease. I understand using a bigger bike with more powerful engine and brakes might make it easier to reach...

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  • Passing module 1

    18 August 2009 by Les Hopper

    I passed my mod 1 test yesterday, no real problems other than initial nervs, all I can say is train with a good riding school with area to practice mod 1. Practice over and over till your confidence and skills are good, keep your nerves under controll on the day and listen to the examiners instructions. The swerve test is not a problem as long as you are prepared and riding skills are...

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  • FAQ: Bike security tips - lock it or lose it

    14 August 2009 by Marc Potter

    FAQ: Bike security tips - lock it or lose it

    UK bike security firm Tracker has urged motorcyclists to keep bikes locked this summer and offered top tips for new riders to make sure your bike doesn’t get stolen.  Compare and buy motorcycle...

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  • FAQ: How to check wheel alignment

    14 August 2009 by Chris Dabbs

    FAQ: How to check wheel alignment

    Checking the wheel alignment on your bike is an essential skill, especially if you have removed the wheels to fit new tyres or chain and sprockets. The first thing you need is a straight edge and an...

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  • Module 1 swerve test

    13 August 2009 by alisha161102

    The module 1 test can be passed. I am a chunky old bloke on a twist and go 125cc scooter and managed to pass this module. I not bragging about it, but i spent ages working it out that i needed to take the corner at about 25 mph to build up the speed to 32mph. On watching others who failed the swerve test, they were just going to slow around the bend and could not build up the speed intime. So...

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