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.

  • Honda CBR600RR won’t idle

    01 March 2012 by MCN

    Honda CBR600RR won’t idle

    Q. My 2007 Honda CBR600RR has developed an idle problem. After start up one morning it was ticking over so slowly that it was nearly stalling. After a ride it seemed OK, but now it’s idling too fast...

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  • How to sort Yamaha XJ900’s braking feel

    01 March 2012 by MCN

    How to sort Yamaha XJ900’s braking feel

    Q. The brakes on my Yamaha XJ900 Diversion only give me decent feel when the lever’s span adjustment is right out. My last bike was an XJR1300 and the brakes were great, so I’m thinking of grafting on...

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  • Best tyres for a Ducati 916

    20 February 2012 by MCN

    Best tyres for a Ducati 916

    Q. I would like some advice on what tyres to buy for my 1998 Ducati 916. I have had the bike for five years and fitted a set of Michelin Pilot Sports when I got the bike. I have been happy with the...

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  • Moto Guzzi brake service made easy

    20 February 2012

    Moto Guzzi brake service made easy

    Q. I’ve almost completed the restoration of a 1999 Moto-Guzzi Daytona RS. Just how much "play" side to side and up and down on the floating discs should there be? There's a tiny tack weld on the back...

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  • Why is my Ducati 916 running roughly?

    20 February 2012 by MCN

    Why is my Ducati 916 running roughly?

    Q. I’ve a Ducati 916 that has been running rough for a little while. The electrics are all fine, with no dodgy relays and the bike was recently serviced with a clean bill of health. Mick Illingworth,...

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  • Which tyres for tubed 18-inch rims?

    15 February 2012 by MCN

    Which tyres for tubed 18-inch rims?

    Q. I’ve just got a 1992 Moto-Guzzi 50 Targa with aging Pirelli Stradas fitted and I want a set of tyres that give me good directional stability when I head out on weekend runs. Mike Henaghan,...

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  • Power Commander explained

    15 February 2012 by MCN

    Power Commander explained

    Q. I’m thinking of getting a Power Commander III. What is the "accelerator pump feature"?   A. This feature is built into all PCIII USB and PCVs, it allows you to configure settings which inject...

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  • Can I buy custom-made boots?

    15 February 2012 by MCN

    Can I buy custom-made boots?

    Q. I lost my right leg below the knee a while back and I’ve got a problem finding boots that will fit me. The reason is that my prosthetic leg is pretty ‘slimline’ to reduce weight and make it easier...

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  • Best all-round tyres for a Yamaha R6

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    Best all-round tyres for a Yamaha R6

    Q. I have a 2009 Yamaha R6 which I’ve been riding for the past two years on Dunlop Sportsmarts. But my mates really rate their Pirelli Supercorsas – when we’re parked up on a ride their tyres are...

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  • What’s a PCP deal?

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    What’s a PCP deal?

    Q. More and more bike companies are offering Personal Contract Plans (PCP) and it looks like a tempting way of buying a new bike every few years. What's the catch? Graham Bayes, by email A. PCP deals...

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  • Can I spray my own bike?

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    Can I spray my own bike?

    Q. I recently crashed my bike at low speed after a momentary loss of concentration. I've changed the few broken parts but the fairing needs either replacing or repairing. I've always fancied learning...

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  • How can I care for my pillion?

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    How can I care for my pillion?

    Q. After years of trying to get my wife to agree to a long riding holiday as pillion she has agreed. But what can I do to make her as comfortable and safe as possible on the back of my Honda Pan...

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  • Do I really need a motorcycle alarm?

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    Do I really need a motorcycle alarm?

    Q. My insurance policy is demanding an alarm is fitted to my Suzuki GSX-R750 but I’m no fan of them as, in my experience, they always seem to go wrong, drain the battery and no one takes any notice of...

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  • How long will my helmet last?

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    How long will my helmet last?

    Q. My crash helmet is a few years old but remains very comfortable. It was in absolutely tip-top condition until it rolled off the petrol tank a little while ago onto the petrol station forecourt’s...

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  • Boot review: Sidi Vertigo Gore-Tex

    26 January 2012 by Liam Marsden

    Boot review: Sidi Vertigo Gore-Tex

    Sidi Vertigo Gore-Tex boots, from £207 at www.mcnshop.com Miles covered/time: 15,000/four years What’s good: These boots have seen four winters and many more miles in mostly terrible weather (and...

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  • Can magnesium wheels be powdercoated?

    26 January 2012 by MCN

    Can magnesium wheels be powdercoated?

    Q. Is it possible to powdercoat the wheels on my 2005 Aprilia Tuono Factory? A mate told me they can't be done because they are magnesium. Airm8, MCN forums A. Magnesium wheels weigh 30% less than...

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  • I need a bespoke header pipe

    26 January 2012 by MCN

    I need a bespoke header pipe

    Q. I have an immaculate Kawasaki KLR650 with a Marvin stainless steel silencer that looks and sounds great. Marvin does not make a header pipe, so are there any exhaust firms who could manufacture a...

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  • Best tyres for a CCM FT35

    20 January 2012 by MCN

    Best tyres for a CCM FT35

    Q. I have a CCM FT35-S, the 400cc Suzuki-engined supermoto with a 120/70 x 17 front tyre and a 150/70 x 17 rear. What choices do I have in replacement rubber? Nick Scarr, email A. First off, the...

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  • How long will my leathers last?

    20 January 2012 by MCN

    How long will my leathers last?

    Q. We all know that manufacturers put a life expectancy on helmets of roughly five years but is there a life expectancy on leathers? I know we should replace any kit if it has been involved in a high...

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  • Why does my Yamaha MT-03 cut out?

    20 January 2012 by MCN

    Why does my Yamaha MT-03 cut out?

    Q. To help my fetish for vibey, low-powered, single cylinders I have owned a 2008 Yamaha MT-03 for a year. It’s great fun but cuts out stone cold at odd moments, usually below 30mph, especially after...

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  • Death of home servicing?

    20 January 2012 by MCN

    Death of home servicing?

    Q. I own a 2008 Yamaha Fazer 600S2 which I plan on keeping for a few years. I like to do my own maintenance, but the bike has electronic fuel injection, ECU and a factory immobilizer, which is all...

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  • Nicked for a bike in bits

    20 January 2012 by MCN

    Nicked for a bike in bits

    Q. I have just received a fixed penalty notice for my Yamaha XJR1300, the bike is still taxed, but it’s been in bits since July so I let the insurance lapse. I thought that if the bike was taxed you...

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  • Why is my GSX-R750 running wide?

    11 January 2012 by MCN

    Why is my GSX-R750 running wide?

    I’ve got a 2004 Suzuki GSX-R750 which I love the look and power of. The problem is that when I open the throttle up in the second part of a corner while the bike is still cranked over, it starts to...

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  • Best tyres for a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy?

    11 January 2012 by MCN

    Best tyres for a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy?

    The Dunlop D407 200/55 x 17 rear will soon need replacing on my 2008 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy after 6000 miles and the front D408F 140/75 x 17 is almost as worn. Should I replace with the same or is...

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  • Best way to paint Hornet’s wheels

    11 January 2012 by MCN

    Best way to paint Hornet’s wheels

    My wheels are looking a bit tatty on my Hornet and I’m considering spraying them myself. However the wheels take a lot of crap from the road and I am worried it won’t be durable. Cairnsie13, MCN...

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  • Proper helmet fitment

    04 January 2012 by MotoMan2

    Although ordering a helmet isn’t a true science, making sure it fits properly is very important. To make sure you are wearing the right helmet for your head, follow these steps to protect you on the road. First, measure your head. Wrap a tape measure horizontally around your head about one inch above your eyebrows. Find a string to wrap it around the largest portion of your head and mark it where...

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  • Should I replace the tyre AND inner tube?

    03 January 2012 by MCN

    Should I replace the tyre AND inner tube?

    Q. My Sinnis Apache has tyres with inner tubes. As an inner tube is only £6 and a new tyre £40, If I were to get a puncture would I be able to keep the tyre and only replace the inner tube? Would...

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