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

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...

Can I get new wheels under warranty?

Can I get new wheels under warranty?

Q. At the weekend, while cleaning my 2010 Kawasaki GTR1400, I noticed the rear wheel was bent on the right-hand side of the rim, where you’d expect to place a tyre lever. Save £££s on motorcycle...

Adjusting to the bike riding experience

Adjusting to the bike riding experience

If you are coming from four wheels to two for the first time, the differences can seem daunting. Cars deliver their responses to you through a myriad of different systems that use complicated...

Fizing a seized lock

Turning the ignition on with your bike’s key should be such a simple action that will have you winging down the road in seconds. But what do you do if the key won’t turn? You don’t dare force it for fear of it snapping off in the lock, but you really, really need to get going NOW. You may need to add some lubrication, and a good lube is pencil lead. Rub the graphite up and down the key several...

Remember to SORN your bike

Remember to SORN your bike

These days there is more and more paperwork attached to owning a bike whether it's on the road or not. If you do decide to take your bike off the road you have to register it as off the road with the...

How to extract a GT550’s rear shocks

How to extract a GT550’s rear shocks

Q. I’ve bought myself a project bike – a 1988 Kawasaki GT550. It was completely dead but everyone’s help on the MCN forums has got it through the MoT, so firstly thanks to all. I now have a bit of a...

Correct chain tension for a GS500

Correct chain tension for a GS500

Q. I had a new chain fitted to my Suzuki GS500 by a bike shop and when I came to pick it up, there was 20mm of slack with the bike leaning on the sidestand. That reduced to just 1-2mm when the...

How do I know my brake pads will suit my discs?

How do I know my brake pads will suit my discs?

I would like to fit Ferodo Sintergrip road ST HH brake pads to my 2000 Yamaha R6. But Ferodo say the discs must be stainless steel or cast iron for their pads to be suitable. I have emailed Yamaha UK,...

Troubleshooting: Why won't my 2002 Thunderbird go?

Troubleshooting: Why won't my 2002 Thunderbird go?

GCollins: I have a 2002 Triumph Thunderbird with 17,000 miles on it and in good condition. Lately the engine has started to fade and then cut out, this happens after about 30 miles often after a stop...

Shaft-drive bikes vs chain-driven bikes

Shaft-drive bikes vs chain-driven bikes

What are the advantages and disadvantages of shaft-drive bikes and chain-driven bikes? The major benefits of shaft-drive are lower maintenance and running costs, and cleanliness. Chain-drive bikes...

Steering dampers can help on bumpy roads

Steering dampers can help on bumpy roads

Bikes are designed to have very different handling characteristics, from slow, lazy steering and high stability on customs and out-and-out tourers, to fast steering, agile sports bikes. Those sports...

How to clean a Speedfight head and barrel

How to clean a Speedfight head and barrel

Q. I’ve just stripped down the head and barrel on my Peugeot Speedfight and the piston is coked up with black crap. What's the best way to clean it without damaging it? Fred1021, MCN forums   A.

Diagnose a cush drive fault

Diagnose a cush drive fault

Q. I have a 2005 Yamaha Dragstar 125 with 3000 miles on the clock and I have excessive free play in the drive system when throttling off. The engine goes from driving the bike to the bike driving the...

How to extract a seized front wheel spindle

How to extract a seized front wheel spindle

Assuming the spindle is seized to the bearings or the spacer between the bearings, remove the tyre, tube and rim tape then soak the wheel overnight in diesel or paraffin. If you have a stout leakproof...

Why don't my VFR’s idiot lights work?

Why don't my VFR’s idiot lights work?

Q. The idiot lights on my Honda VFR800 have started playing up. Sometimes neutral works, and then my digital clock goes on the blink for a couple of days before coming back again. Nick Langhorn, email...

Is ride height making my bike steer slower?

Is ride height making my bike steer slower?

Q. I do a lot of track days but I seem to have hit a brick wall when it comes to getting round fast corners quickly. Every time I up the pace on my R6 the bike misses the apex and runs wide appearing...

Best tyres for a BMW K1300GT

Best tyres for a BMW K1300GT

Q. I’m looking to replace the tyres on my BMW K1300GT. The ones currently fitted have a special “UU” rating for this bike. Save cash on motorcycle tyres BMW recommend Metzeler Z6, what do you...

Tyres that inspire confidence...

Tyres that inspire confidence...

Q. I intend replacing my tyres in the next few weeks and would appreciate some advice. Save £££s on motorcycle tyres The tyres fitted are Continentals, which came with the bike when I bought it; but...

Indicator bulbs: handy tips

Indicator bulbs: handy tips

Q. I wonder what the minimum wattage is for bike indicators, if there is one? Save cash on motorcycle lighting I have bought some new winkers for my Kawasaki 400 grey import and they're 10 watts,...