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.

  • Video tip: How to change an Arai visor in seconds

    16 November 2007 by Chris Slade, John Wakefield, Howard Boylan

    In the first of our new Helmet tips series John Wakefield, from UK Arai distributor Pheonix, shows us how easy it is to change an Arai visor properly. Check out the video below to see John take you through the easy process of changing the visor then check back throughout the next two weeks to catch the rest of our Helmet tips series. Click here to ask John an Arai question

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  • Blackbird bars

    13 September 2007 by Adrian Palmer

    Blackbird bars

    I have recently bought a 2005 Honda Super Blackbird. Having very short legs and only being 5' 7" tall I found it necessary to have the seat cut down slightly. I also read an article on the Blackbird...

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  • MCN's A-Z material terminology guide

    30 August 2007 by Nicola Fox

    MCN's A-Z material terminology guide

    Are you living in a material world? Perhaps not. If you are not quite sure what Dynax, Brexcel or Primaloft materials are, MCN has produced an A-Z guide to get the know-how on all the...

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  • DIY screen extender

    15 August 2007 by david ellson

    DIY screen extender

    Not being satisfied with the windscreen on my new bike I had a got at making it higher. I bought a new visor for my helmet and used the old one with the lugs cut off and attached it to the screen...

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  • New rider blog: SarahC gets her L plates

    14 August 2007 by Sarah Carnell

    New rider blog: SarahC gets her L plates

    So when I was little there were three things I wanted to do. 1. Be a mechanic 2. Be a professional ballerina 3. Ride a motorbike So having dabbled on the car with my dad since I was...

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  • Wheel alignment tip

    15 May 2007 by David Deakin

    To make sure my wheels are aligned I use a cheap laser pointer. Put the bike on stand or side stand, bluetak the pointer to brick. Align front and back wheel, get a piece of wood about six inches wide, mark the middle of the wood and add half of the rear tyre measurement. Mark the measurement on the wood, place the wood on the front tyre with the centre mark in middle of tyre and outside...

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  • Tips for easy cleaning

    12 March 2007 by Steve Wade

    The most important bit of kit I keep in my garage is a can of Mr Sheen wax polish or supermarket equivelant (it's cheaper!) Sprayed all over the bike it will get rid of splatted insects, brake dust and even chain grease. Simply spray on, leave for a minute and wipe off. Not only does it get rid of all the stuff you don't want, but it also leaves a layer of wax, especially on wheels so you can just...

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  • How to make your bike go better on the cheap

    30 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to make your bike go better on the cheap

    Nothing is ever free is it? No – but some things come pretty damn close. After laying out for the price of a bike and all the associated riding gear, anything which helps boost the bike’s and the...

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  • How to keep your tyres in good health

    30 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to keep your tyres in good health

    But there’s nothing to look after on a tyre… Not true. Imagine what would happen if one of your tyres failed to work at 70mph. Anything that keeps tyres in tip-top condition is worth every penny or...

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  • How to revive your riding gear

    30 November 2006 by Daniel Thornton

    How to revive your riding gear

    Why bother? Because you’ve paid good money for it and servicing it will keep it in tip-top condition for years to come. Remember the feeling when you first wore that new helmet, jacket or suit? You...

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  • How to fit soft luggage

    30 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to fit soft luggage

    Why choose soft luggage? Soft luggage is cheap, easy to use and once you’ve invested in some, you’ll be able to use it on almost any bike (although soft panniers don’t work well with all exhausts).

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  • How to secure your garage against thieves

    30 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to secure your garage against thieves

    If a thief really wants my bike, he’ll get it won’t he? Any form of theft deterrent is a big step towards keeping hold of your bike, especially when it’s locked in a garage. Yes, it’s true to say out...

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  • How to buy riding kit that fits

    30 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to buy riding kit that fits

    What should I look for when buying gear? When it comes to leather, it will eventually break in to become comfortable. It becomes so because it stretches or the material breaks down from continual...

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  • How to change your sparkplugs

    30 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to change your sparkplugs

    What am I dealing with? Spark plugs are fed voltage from a bike’s ignition system, which creates the vital spark to ignite the air/fuel mix in the engine. If your spark plugs aren’t fulfilling this...

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  • How to fit a flyscreen

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to fit a flyscreen

    What is a flyscreen? Flyscreen, headlight cowl, bikini fairing and handlebar fairing are different names for the same thing: a small fairing which deflects windblast, hopefully up and over the rider’s...

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  • How to prepare your bike for winter

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to prepare your bike for winter

    Make an early start Winter roads gritting and low temperatures that cause condensation and allow moisture to hang around is a perfect recipe for corrosion. Your bike will constantly be...

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  • How to check & replace brake discs

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to check & replace brake discs

    My discs look OK, so why check them? Looks can be deceiving. It’s not only high mileage bikes that will suffer from worn or damaged discs – today’s sports bikes can suffer just as badly if regularly...

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  • How to keep warm in cold weather

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to keep warm in cold weather

    Wrap up well, ride well Staying warm while riding is important. Cold affects concentration; it also induces tension and inhibits mobility. But if you’re warm and comfy, it’s possible to enjoy...

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  • How to choose and fit a rear hugger

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to choose and fit a rear hugger

    Why fit a hugger? By closely following the contours of the rear tyre, a hugger acts as a protective shroud, preventing rain and mud from being flung from the tyre on to the rear shock/underside of the...

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  • How to balance your wheels

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to balance your wheels

    Do modern wheels still need balancing then? However precise the manufacture of wheels, tyres and discs is, mass-production means no item is perfect. Tyres and wheels can be out of alignment, out of...

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  • How to change your own tyres

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to change your own tyres

    Why should I do it? Because any project that involves just you will save you money. If you buy mail order tyres at a bargain price, you’ll have to find the nearest tyre-fitting service, and nine times...

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  • How to pass your MoT

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to pass your MoT

    Why bother? A recent survey among UK MoT test stations showed 20% of all test failures were due to a blown bulb. Picking up on a possible reason for a fail notice before the test could save you the...

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  • How to build a toolkit for your bike

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to build a toolkit for your bike

    But my bike already has a toolkit under the seat Whether you strip and rebuild bikes from spindle-to-spindle, dabble in home servicing, or simply adjust your bike’s chain, tools are a bike and man’s...

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  • How to put your bike on a diet

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to put your bike on a diet

    Unsprung advantage The lower the overall weight of your motorcycle, the more acceleration you’ll get out of each horsepower your engine produces. But it doesn’t stop there. Weight removed from the...

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  • How to fit aftermarket bodywork

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to fit aftermarket bodywork

    Why bother? Genuine bodywork is expensive to replace. A simple topple over on the road when turning around can cost more in damage repair than a whole pattern bodywork kit. Trackdays increase the...

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  • How to set suspension sag

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to set suspension sag

    What is sag? Loaded sag is the name given to the amount of suspension travel used up when the bike settles with a rider on board. To alter the sag you need to adjust how much the springs in the forks...

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  • How to service your clutch

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to service your clutch

    I didn’t know my clutch needed servicing... Every part of a bike needs some TLC at some point to keep it working correctly. This can vary from a simple adjustment, to a complete rebuild – your bike’s...

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  • How to check and replace wheel bearings

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to check and replace wheel bearings

    Why bother? Worn or damaged wheel bearings will cause: (1) ill handling with weaves and wobbles, a bit like a flat tyre, and (2) ill health if a wheel bearing collapses and the wheel cocks to one side...

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  • How to fit clip-on bars

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to fit clip-on bars

    Why bother? If your bike has standard fitment one-piece handlebars and you want a tucked-in race-style riding position, then lower clip-on bars, which bolt directly to the fork legs, are the answer to...

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  • How to lube and protect your bike

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to lube and protect your bike

    Why bother? The importance of this job can’t be overestimated. Over a period of time – not long with the UK’s weather – various components and controls stiffen and then seize. It could be from dry,...

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  • How to fit rearsets

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to fit rearsets

    Why bother? Rearsets were originally the preserve of racers who wanted higher-mounted footpegs for greater ground clearance. But they’re also the best way of tailoring your bike to fit you perfectly,...

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  • How to protect your bike from crash damage

    29 November 2006 by MCN Technical Staff

    How to protect your bike from crash damage

    But I’m not going to crash… However experienced and competent a rider you are, chances are that at some point your bike is going to get damaged from: a) falling off the sidestand, b) losing your...

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