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.

New Rider

Are my wheel bearings shot?

Are my wheel bearings shot?

Fellhopper: My GSX-R750 K2 has just developed a 'droning' noise from the front end (wheel?) it does it in all gears at speed and also with the clutch pulled in 'coasting'. I have just solved one noise...

New Rider: Slow speed shimmy

New Rider: Slow speed shimmy

If you are new to biking there are lots of fresh sensations to get to grips with, from leaning into bends, to the front dipping under braking or that pull on your arms as you accelerate hard. One...

Web wisdom: Proper coolant for a ZX-6R

Web wisdom: Proper coolant for a ZX-6R

jonboymp: Guys, I have a 2009 ZX-6R. It needs a drop of coolant, what should I use? The normal car stuff from Halfords? Can anyone point me in the right direction? triumphrider600: Nooooooo. Bikes use...

Power Commander fuel map for Bandit 1250

Power Commander fuel map for Bandit 1250

I have a Power Commander and Akrapovic slip-on exhaust fitted to my Suzuki Bandit 1250 but it isn’t running cleanly and I can't see the correct download map on the Dynojet website. Ralph Heggs,...

Is my NTV's fuel system causing rough running?

Is my NTV's fuel system causing rough running?

My Honda NTV650 93 model is running rough at idle and at speed it has a lot of vibration from the engine. I have put some carb cleaner though the tank for three tanks of petrol and it has helped the...

Checking your new bike has a SORN

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...

How to avoid a SMIDSY

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...

What happens when I remove exhaust baffles?

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...

What happens when I remove exhaust baffles?

What happens when I remove exhaust baffles?

Q. 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. Save cash on motorcycle...

How to troubleshoot a Power Commander

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...

How to make a Superduke less twitchy

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...

Plan your first ride with care

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...

Why aren't my cooling fans working?

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.

Can I rethread a sump?

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...

Best tyres for less-than-spirited riding

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...

Sorting out your confidence

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...

Kit review: Hein Gericke Milan jacket

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...

Best tyres for a Multistrada 1100S

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...

Respraying your bike? Who to inform...

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...

Will my headlamp fail an MoT?

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...

New rider: Do you really need a powerful bike?

New rider: Do you really need a powerful bike?

There’s no right or wrong time to buy your first big bike, the key to the process is to be honest with yourself.   If you have been driving a car for years and have built up a fund of...

New Rider: How to ride safely on a motorway

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...

Advice: What are the best tyres for a Kawasaki ZZR1400

Advice: What are the best tyres for a Kawasaki ZZR1400

Q. I have recently purchased a 2008 ZZR1400 which has about 5000 miles on the clock and is fitted with Bridgestone Battlax BT-014 tyres which are in very good condition. Are these tyres suitable for...

Advice: Are my tyres causing vibrations?

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...

Advice: GSX-R Winter lay-up fuelling problems

Advice: GSX-R Winter lay-up fuelling problems

Q. My GSX-R has been sat all through winter with the same tank of fuel in it (I know, not the best idea), so now as a result my bike is very sluggish to respond to the throttle movements and hence...

Advice: what's causing my Triumph America to hunt and stall?

Advice: what's causing my Triumph America to hunt and stall?

I have a 2001 Triumph America that I fitted a freak kit to several years ago (that's a set of K&N filters and carb rejetting) together with a set of pipes. Everything has been fine until recently...

How to push a motorcycle

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...

How to tell if you have a puncture

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...

How to push your bike around

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...

Tubeless tyres and punctures

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...

Tight FireBlade chain is causing problems

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'...

Chinese 125 carb problems

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...

Why is my R1200GS front disc pulsing?

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...

If in doubt, change your tyres

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...

Differences between bike and car engines

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...

Suspension set-up for a 2002 CBR600F

Suspension set-up for a 2002 CBR600F

Q. What suspension settings are best for solo riding on a CBR600F, 2002 model? I weigh 88kg in full riding kit and ride on the road with the odd track day. I also carry a pillion and luggage a couple...