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.

  • Can I get a custom-made screen?

    27 December 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Can I get a custom-made screen?

    I have a 2007 Yamaha FJR1300A, which is a great bike, but I have an issue with the screen. When it’s down I just get buffeted to pieces, and if I put the screen up the wind just pushes my head forward...

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  • Why do I keep getting punctures?

    21 December 2010 by MCN

    Why do I keep getting punctures?

    Q. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I keep picking up punctures in my rear tyres. I’ve had four in the last 2000 miles and it’s getting expensive to pay for repair or replacement. Save £££s on...

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  • Can I ditch my lambda sensor?

    21 December 2010 by MCN

    Can I ditch my lambda sensor?

    Q. I want to change the exhaust on my 2009 Yamaha XJ6. I'm happy to get a full system less the cat as I'm told it will reduce weight and increase horsepower. Some systems that I've looked at state...

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  • What's causing GSX-R1000 gearbox issue?

    13 December 2010 by MCN

    What's causing GSX-R1000 gearbox issue?

    Q. I have a problem with my GSX-R1000 K5 selecting neutral when the engine is warmed over 75°C. All the gears work OK, it’s just when clicking into neutral that it won't come out of gear, without some...

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  • Know your bike's oil consumption

    10 December 2010 by MCN

    Know your bike's oil consumption

    Just because a bike uses oil doesn’t necessarily mean that it has a problem. For a long time now, bike makers have designed engines with under piston oil feeds. These are there to cool down the piston...

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  • How can I fix R6's ignition transponder?

    07 December 2010 by MCN

    How can I fix R6's ignition transponder?

    Q. I recently bought a 2003 Yamaha R6. It was working all right for a week, but one evening it didn't start. On pressing the starter switch I could hear the starter sound but the bike failed to...

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  • New rider: Avoiding punctures

    03 December 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    New rider: Avoiding punctures

    There are a few things you can do to combat the risk of punctures. First of all, try to avoid the areas of the road that debris collects in. That tends to be between opposing lanes, around traffic...

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  • What's causing my ST1300 to wiggle?

    01 December 2010 by Marc Abbott

    What's causing my ST1300 to wiggle?

    I have a Honda ST1300, that’s in generally fine fettle, with good tyres and swingarm, and with steering head and wheel bearings in good condition, too. However, when pulling away, the bike feels like...

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  • Effect of a squared-off front tyre

    26 November 2010 by MCN

    Effect of a squared-off front tyre

    Q. I have a Kawasaki ZX-6R G1. When I go round corners my steering wobbles and when I’m going really slow in traffic, I’m fighting to balance, but then it’s fine in a straight line at speed. I checked...

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  • How to seal an old petrol tank

    26 November 2010 by MCN

    How to seal an old petrol tank

    Q. One of my chums yesterday told me he was getting a new tank for his old Bonneville. When I asked why, he said because he put Petseal in the tank and now that petrol has a higher percentage of...

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  • How can I solve riding pain?

    26 November 2010 by MCN

    How can I solve riding pain?

    Q. I'm a female pensioner who has taken up biking again in the last couple of years after a long absence. I live in Spain and it's great for biking, but I have one problem. I'm pretty heavy and after...

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  • Why are my tyres tearing after 10 laps?

    15 November 2010 by MCN

    Why are my tyres tearing after 10 laps?

    Q. I was recently at the Motorland circuit in Spain. This track is very fast and has a strong left-hand bias and is tough on tyres. The Dunlop Sportmax slick fitted to my 2004 Yamaha R1 wore really...

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  • How much oil should my Fireblade use?

    15 November 2010 by MCN

    How much oil should my Fireblade use?

    Q. I currently own a 954 Fireblade and am looking to upgrade to a 2008, 2009 or 2010 model, but I keep hearing from owners that they use quite an amount of oil. My 954 never uses oil from one service...

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  • What’s causing BMW R1200RT rattle?

    09 November 2010 by MCN

    What’s causing BMW R1200RT rattle?

    Q. I get an unusual rattle for a few seconds when I first start my BMW R1200RT from cold. It comes on after about 15 to 20 seconds of starting, lasts about five seconds, them disappears. Any ideas...

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  • Can I upgrade Kawasaki ER-5's brakes?

    09 November 2010 by MCN

    Can I upgrade Kawasaki ER-5's brakes?

    Q. I want to replace my 1998 Kawasaki ER-5’s front brake caliper with a better brake, maybe a twin or a four-piston set-up. Is there a brake that would fit straight on or would I have to make an...

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  • Product review: Kryptonite New York disc lock

    05 November 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Product review: Kryptonite New York disc lock

    Kryptonite New York disc lock, £56.99 Time used: Six months What’s good? This little disc lock travels with me whenever I make a journey that’s not garage-to-garage. It’s light enough to carry in a...

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  • Glove review: Oxford Bone Dry Sports

    05 November 2010 by Dan Aspel

    Glove review: Oxford Bone Dry Sports

    Oxford Bone Dry Sports Gloves, £47.49 Miles covered/time: 500/three weeks What’s good? They’re smooth and silky inside and immediately comfortable on the ends of your arms. The armour seems solid and...

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  • Why does my tyre keep deflating?

    04 November 2010 by MCN

    Why does my tyre keep deflating?

    Q. My front tyre has only done 1300 miles, but it keeps deflating. When I took it to a local tyre dealer they said it was porous – is this normal? PTMX1234, MCN forums A. The majority of problems with...

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  • Can I get my 749’s wheel repaired?

    04 November 2010 by MCN

    Can I get my 749’s wheel repaired?

    Q. I have just had a low speed coming off. The bike, a Ducati 749, dropped onto one side and slid into a kerb putting a small dent into my front Marchesini wheel rim. What is your opinion on getting a...

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  • Why can't I sync my Bandit's carbs?

    04 November 2010 by MCN

    Why can't I sync my Bandit's carbs?

    Q. I decided to sync the carbs on a 1999 Bandit 600 I just bought. I got her warmed up and tried to set the idle speed at 1750rpm for the sync (as per the Haynes manual). I turned the adjuster screw...

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  • Can I use tubes with tubeless tyres?

    27 October 2010 by MCN

    Can I use tubes with tubeless tyres?

    Q. I'm looking to replace the rear tyre on a Ducati GT1000 which has a spoked wheels and inner tubes. Can tubeless tyres be fitted, but with tubes, to broaden my choice or am I really limited to the...

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  • Why is my RF600R shooting flames?!

    26 October 2010 by MCN

    Why is my RF600R shooting flames?!

    Q. I got on my Suzuki RF600R today to go home from work, and the first thing it did when I tried to start it was backfire and shoot flames. I thought what the hell, maybe these things happen. When I...

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  • Getting used to your bikes noises

    25 October 2010 by MCN

    Getting used to your bikes noises

    Bike engines will make a variety of noises, hardly surprising with several hundred metal parts whizzing round thousands of time a minute. If you are worried about the mechanical noises coming from...

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  • youngest to have a full bike licence?

    22 October 2010 by richard summers

    youngest to have a full bike licence?

    I thought i would drop you this email, to let you know if interested that I was 17 on the 2nd october, where i pre booked my theory and passed then got a cancelation for mod 1 then passed,...

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  • Best tyres for a Kawasaki ZX-9R

    21 October 2010 by MCN

    Best tyres for a Kawasaki ZX-9R

    I need some new tyres for my 2003 Kawasaki ZX-9R. It’s currently fitted with Bridgestone BT-014s, I'm mainly an easy road rider, but I like to get it over in the bends occasionally, so could do with...

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  • Has my Yamaha YBR125's clutch broken?

    21 October 2010 by MCN

    Has my Yamaha YBR125's clutch broken?

    I have been letting my brother learn to ride on my Yamaha YBR125, since upgrading myself to a CB500 - which has worked out well, except the YBR has now seemed to developed some weird clutch issue,...

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  • Nerves and the bike test

    16 October 2010 by Dave Neale

    I have ridden bikes on and off since 1964. I took the old style test in 1967 and failed on 2 minor'ish points. I did not take it again regrettably. As I did not want to carry a pillion passenger and my 250 was quick enough at the time. Each decade since, I have gone back to bikes but unfortunately 125. I have always had an ambition to gain my full licence. So in May this year I did the CBT, and...

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  • Repairing damaged wheels

    15 October 2010 by MCN

    Repairing damaged wheels

    If you’ve kerbed a car wheel you’ll know what sort of mess it does to the rims, but you can keep driving most of the time. Damage an alloy wheel on a bike and it will ruin the bike’s handling and...

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