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.

  • Tubes and tubeless tyres

    07 October 2010 by MCN

    Tubes and tubeless tyres

    Tubeless tyres have several advantages over tubed tyres and are far more numerous on today's bikes. Among those advantages are that they run cooler, so can cope with higher performance and give longer...

    Read more ...
  • Does my Hornet need a Power Commander?

    07 October 2010 by MCN

    Does my Hornet need a Power Commander?

    Q. I have a 2008 ABS Honda Hornet which has an Akrapovic megaphone end can fitted. At the moment the bike doesn’t run smoothly at certain points. Would this need to be fixed by a Power Commander? Or...

    Read more ...
  • Where can I buy Triumph paint?

    07 October 2010 by MCN

    Where can I buy Triumph paint?

    Q. I just wondered if any other readers have had the same problem with Triumph paint as I have. I am the owner of an ’09 Sprint 1050 ABS in Phantom Black which I sadly managed to drop in a paddock...

    Read more ...
  • Getting into motorcycles, aged 43

    04 October 2010 by John Finningham

    My Biking experience is fairly new. At the tender age of 43 after just passing my DAS test I bought a 650 Bandit (new) and have at the time of writing this done just 211 miles. My previous biking history stems back to when I was around 14 upon joining a school motorcycle club. Trial sidecar. I learnt to ride on an old Francis Barnet and those school memories are the only ones I enjoy. A few...

    Read more ...
  • Jacket review: Aerostich Falstaff

    01 October 2010 by Simon Relph

    Jacket review: Aerostich Falstaff

    Falstaff jacket, $397 (£258) Miles covered/time: 4200/13 months What’s good? The closest you can come to putting on your favourite slippers, this jacket immediately feels that you have owned it for...

    Read more ...
  • Big bike tips for the vertically challenged

    01 October 2010 by MCN

    Big bike tips for the vertically challenged

    Getting your first big bike can be a daunting experience, especially if you are below average height. Once you’ve gained confidence on big bikes the need to get both feet flat on the floor is largely...

    Read more ...
  • Choosing the right bike for the right test

    30 September 2010 by MCN

    Choosing the right bike for the right test

    If you are looking for a bike to pass your test on, make sure that you purchase the right bike for the category of test you want to pass, or you could find yourself restricted to a 125 with only an A1...

    Read more ...
  • What’s causing my mystery puncture?

    29 September 2010 by MCN

    What’s causing my mystery puncture?

    Q. I was riding on the M54 tonight and the front tyre on my 2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R went flat really quickly, I struggled over to the hard shoulder and got recovered back home. Find a used Kawasaki...

    Read more ...
  • Can I remove my Z750's stock exhaust valve?

    29 September 2010 by MCN

    Can I remove my Z750's stock exhaust valve?

    Q. I really need to make my 2007 Kawasaki Z750 louder as they hear my son’s GSX-R coming, but not me following. So I’m looking at a replacement can, but what’s to be done with the device fitted to the...

    Read more ...
  • Fitting a new chain

    24 September 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    Fitting a new chain

    If you are thinking of changing your chain there are a few things you should consider. You can get more out of it, if you keep it scrupulously lubricated and adjusted through its life, ideally with...

    Read more ...
  • New rider: Parallel twins explained

    24 September 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    New rider: Parallel twins explained

    The parallel twin cylinder engine has a long history of use in motorcycles, being the mainstay of the British motorcycle industry for 50 years until the smoother, more sophisticated four-cylinder...

    Read more ...
  • Why won't my Honda CBF500's lights come on?

    22 September 2010 by Marc Abbott

    Why won't my Honda CBF500's lights come on?

    When I start my Honda CBF500 up the headlight should come on automatically. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. However, after riding for a few minutes it comes on and stays on. Neither dip nor main...

    Read more ...
  • What does mystery XJR error code mean?

    21 September 2010 by MCN

    What does mystery XJR error code mean?

    I have a friend who has a 2008 Yamaha XJR1300. He has a problem with a code that keeps coming up on the warning panel – when you switch the ignition on, the code that shows up is “20”. If the engine...

    Read more ...
  • New Rider: Why triples rock

    17 September 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    New Rider: Why triples rock

    The first ‘modern’ three-cylinder engine was an inline design built by the Triumph/BSA conglomerate back in the 1969 using their existing twin-cylinder motors, as a response to Honda’s revolutionary...

    Read more ...
  • Best road tyres for a BMW R1200GS

    17 September 2010 by MCN

    Best road tyres for a BMW R1200GS

    I have recently purchased a 2010 R1200GS which was fitted with Conti Trail Attacks from new. They are very grippy and confidence inspiring but the rear seems to be wearing out at an alarming rate...

    Read more ...
  • How do I stop my MV overheating?

    17 September 2010 by MCN

    How do I stop my MV overheating?

    My 2007 MV Agusta F4 1000R has really suffered in the summer’s heat. It has always run hot at about 110 degrees, but it started to boil up and got to 125 degrees, which is when I switched it off in a...

    Read more ...
  • Pre-2001 Licence categories

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    Vehicle tests have become more complex over the years with several modules and more extensive theory tests. Full motorcycle licence holders who’ve held their licences pre-2001, also have a B1 classification which allows them to use “Motor tricycles / quad cycles, 3 or 4 wheeled vehicles with an un-laden weight not exceeding 550kg”. Armed with this category they do not have to take the car theory...

    Read more ...
  • Aftermarket exhausts

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    Aftermarket exhausts

    Switching to an aftermarket exhaust is an obvious choice if you want to change the look, sound or performance of your bike. But you do have to consider a few things before you splash the cash. First...

    Read more ...
  • New rider engine layouts: Singles

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    New rider engine layouts: Singles

    The simplest bike engine design is the single cylinder and it’s what’s fuelled generations of young and new bikers’ love affair with two wheels, as well as keeping the masses moving in poorer...

    Read more ...
  • Best tyres for a Triumph America

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    Best tyres for a Triumph America

    Q. I don't have much confidence in the tyres fitted to my 2007 Triumph America. They are a fairly new Metzeler Lazertec front and Marathon rear. Save £££s on motorcycle tyres The front tracks any...

    Read more ...
  • Why is my 2007 R1 ticking?

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    Why is my 2007 R1 ticking?

    Q. I have a 2007 R1 with just over 7000 miles on it. I noticed that there was a ticking noise coming from the right hand side of the bike and so took it to a dealer who thought there was no problem. I...

    Read more ...
  • How to buy leathers that fit

    10 September 2010 by MCN

    How to buy leathers that fit

    Q. I have just bought a set of two-piece leathers and have a question about the fit. I am a 40/41-inch chest and so ordered the size 42 after speaking to the salesman. The sleeves end at just above...

    Read more ...
  • Advice: Why is my ZX-6R cutting out?

    07 September 2010 by MCN

    Advice: Why is my ZX-6R cutting out?

    horuson1: I have a ZX-6R C1H (2005). When I go for a ride it seems to be running hotter than it should then if I stop it cuts out unless I rev it. If it cuts out it won’t restart for about 15 minutes...

    Read more ...
  • New rider engine layouts: V-twins

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    New rider engine layouts: V-twins

    The V-twin engine has a long and noble history in motorcycling as it was adopted early on by manufacturers like Harley and Indian because it allowed two cylinders to be bolted into the narrow,...

    Read more ...
  • Properly fitting a set of leathers

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    Properly fitting a set of leathers

    A set of leathers is a major investment, so it’s important that they fit you well. Although leathers will give a little bit over time, they aren’t as flexible as textile garments, so the makers cut...

    Read more ...
  • When to change your helmet

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    When to change your helmet

    Q. My wife has recently completed her CBT course and was told that “cheap helmets have a shelf life of around two years, with more expensive ones having a shelf life of around five years, after which...

    Read more ...
  • How to know it's time to change your tyres

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    How to know it's time to change your tyres

    Q. I am on a very tight budget as a poor student (bloody tuition fees), so I can’t afford to change my tyres until I absolutely have to. Save cash on motorcycle tyres Apart from a lack of tread, what...

    Read more ...
  • How to tie a bike down on a ferry

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    How to tie a bike down on a ferry

    Q. I’m taking my bike over to Spain next month and I wondered what’s the best way to tether the bike with the ratchet straps I have just purchased. I have a centrestand-free Kawasaki ZRX1200S and I...

    Read more ...
  • Why are my ZX-6R's lights blowing?

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    Why are my ZX-6R's lights blowing?

    Q. I own a 2004 Kawasaki ZX-6R. When I go out with my lights on, it blows the stop/tail fuse within a mile or so. If I leave the lights off, I can ride all day with no problems. I changed the bulbs...

    Read more ...
  • Why is my Blackbird exhaust steaming?

    03 September 2010 by MCN

    Why is my Blackbird exhaust steaming?

    Q. I have a 2001 Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird that seems to run fine. What concerns me is that when I start up from cold the right-hand silencer emits water vapour almost immediately, while the...

    Read more ...
  • Securing your bike on a ferry

    27 August 2010 by MCN

    Securing your bike on a ferry

    If you are heading abroad on the ferries it’s important that you are able to tether your bike down properly in the hold in case of rough weather. Park it so it is almost leaning against the deck wall...

    Read more ...
  • New rider engine layouts: Inline fours

    27 August 2010 by MCN

    New rider engine layouts: Inline fours

    The inline four-cylinder engine is the most popular layout for bikes because it combines high performance with relatively low cost. First made popular by Honda in 1970s, after they’d gained experience...

    Read more ...