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

Am I adjusting my chain too often?

Am I adjusting my chain too often?

jon66: At the end of January I replaced my chain and put new sprockets on at the same time. I've done around 1200 miles since then, but I'm finding that the chain needs adjustment about every second...

Are my R1's stock tyres good for track days?

Are my R1's stock tyres good for track days?

Q. I’ve recently bought a 2009 Yamaha R1 which came fitted with Dunlop Sportmax D210 tyres. Could you tell me if they are any good? Save cash on motorcycle tyres I mainly ride on the road, but do the...

What difference do bar-risers make?

What difference do bar-risers make?

Q. I wonder if you might know the answer or could advise me on this? I have a new ZZR1400 and I asked the dealer to fit Genmar bar risers which raise the bar position by 25mm and back by 16mm. Instead...

Has my alarm killed my R1?

Has my alarm killed my R1?

Q. I put my regularly used 2004 Yamaha R1 away for a night and now it has decided not to fire up. 48 hours after I stopped it the alarm went off for no apparent reason, and after I’d turned the...

Will a new air filter cure carb icing?

Will a new air filter cure carb icing?

Q. I have had no problems with my 2005 Suzuki GSF650 Bandit until the weather turned before Christmas. Since then on cold days the bike starts fine, but then after about five minutes of riding the...

Why won't my headlights turn on?

Why won't my headlights turn on?

Fastasfox: I have a 2003 ZX-6R and I can't get the headlights on. The lights should turn on when the engine is fired up and I have looked at the bulbs, connections, new battery (on a battery...

Pirelli Angel ST: "planted and smooth"

Pirelli Angel ST: "planted and smooth"

Q. I'm thinking of fitting Pirelli Angel ST touring tyres to my Suzuki 1250 Bandit. How good are they? davegsxr1000, MCN tyre forum Save £££s on motorcycle tyres A. A Speed Triple rider on the forum...

Best boots for all-day use?

Best boots for all-day use?

Q. I was just wondering if you could advise me on motorcycle boots as I am looking to find a pair I can use on and off the bike as I go about my daily business. Save cash on motorcycle boots So far I...

Yamaha XJR1300 oil cooler conundrum

Yamaha XJR1300 oil cooler conundrum

Q. Can you tell me if the oil cooler pipes and hoses from a 99-01 Yamaha XJR1300 will fit a 2002 model? Save £££s on motorcycle products Mine are leaking from the hose and I've managed to locate some...

Best tyres for a 2000 Triumph Sprint ST 955i

Best tyres for a 2000 Triumph Sprint ST 955i

Q. I ride a 2000 Triumph Sprint ST 955i and can't afford to change it, so I have lowered the gearing to give it a bit more stomp. It's a great bike but I would like it to steer a bit quicker with some...

Where can I get cheap RSV brakes discs?

Where can I get cheap RSV brakes discs?

Q. I need some new front discs for my 2003 Aprilia RSV1000 and I've been quoted about £400 for a pair (fitted), which seems steep to me. Save cash on motorcycle products Have I got any other...

How do I combat fork lacquer 'worming'?

How do I combat fork lacquer 'worming'?

Kellyt: My Triumph Speedmaster suffers with lacquer 'worming' problems on the lower forks, top yoke and risers. They have been changed five times under warranty but the worming keeps coming back, the...

Are my exhausts making my bike run badly?

Are my exhausts making my bike run badly?

Q. I've recently traded in my old bike for a Ducati 748R. Unfortunately it seems to have a flat spot as soon as you crack the throttle open, and appears to be running very rich. Save cash on...

Golden rules for helmet painting

Golden rules for helmet painting

Q. I want to get my fiberglass crash helmet painted to match my bike. What do I have to look out for to make sure it will still keep my bonce intact if I do take a tumble? Michael Acton, Plymouth...

Fab motorcycle goggles

I needed a pair of glasses that could be multi-function; sun-glasses, regular prescription and most importantly comfortable. I purhcased a pair of Davida WRS74 Goggles and I have to say for just under £120 they are fantastic, comfortable and great with an open face helmet.

What effect does removing an exhaust baffle have?

What effect does removing an exhaust baffle have?

Q. I have just purchased a new GSX-R1000 with dealer-fitted Arrow cans with removable baffles. Save cash on motorcycle exhausts Can you please tell me whether it would harm the bike if I removed...

How to set up your bike, the Ron Haslam way

How to set up your bike, the Ron Haslam way

Road race ace Ron Haslam’s years of experience of tracks and public-road circuits have taught him something that’s a mystery to most of us – how to set up a bike. Suspension changes are the only...

Best tyres for a Triumph Speed Triple

Best tyres for a Triumph Speed Triple

Q. I’ve just bought a new Triumph Speed Triple for very spirited riding on the roads (well, it’s what it was built for!) and for fast group track days. Save £££s on motorcycle tyres As I bought...

Brake disc rivets explained

Brake disc rivets explained

Q. I recently read your advice column in MCN on floating discs from an Andrew Carroll (MCN, November 25) and was wondering, should the rivets on my discs rotate freely on my Aprilia RS250 because at...

New rider: questions to ask a seller

New rider: questions to ask a seller

When you’re buying a new bike it’s easy to get carried away with the occasion and just rush to swing your leg over and get riding  But before you hand over the cash for those lovely keys, there...

New rider: what to look for in a test ride

New rider: what to look for in a test ride

If you’re looking at a bike to buy and you’ve given it a good once over, ask for a ride. You may have to leave the asking price in cash, or your family, or both. At the very least you should get a...

New rider: How to get your bike lowered

New rider: How to get your bike lowered

Don't let a tall seat height put you off buying the bike of your dreams - there are a number of solutions out there for shorties or those who simply want more slow speed confidence. One such option is...

Product advice: Are 190- and 200-section tyres interchangeable?

Product advice: Are 190- and 200-section tyres interchangeable?

The Suzuki B-King comes with a 200-section rear tyre profile but it can apparently take a 190-section tyre. Can someone explain this to me? If a 190 is used will the profile be less sharp? Forklift,...

Product advice: Is my tyre contaminated?

Product advice: Is my tyre contaminated?

The rear tyre on my freshly-cleaned ZX-10 let go before I got to the end of my road, sending me and the bike sliding along on our sides. I can only think that the tyre must have had WD-40 or bike...

Product advice: Help! My bike's steering too quickly

Product advice: Help! My bike's steering too quickly

My 2004 Kawasaki ZR-7 has a tendency to flop into corners although I fitted a new rear shock recently. I’ve checked the head bearings for play and set the tyre pressures, with 42psi in the rear it...

How much oil should my new bike use?

How much oil should my new bike use?

It is not unusual for bikes to use a litre of oil per 1000 miles. Oil consumption is determined by a variety of factors, and the one the rider has the most control over is the running in. If it is run...

What's the alternative to a coloured headlight cover?

What's the alternative to a coloured headlight cover?

Q. I Don't want to get nicked for using a coloured headlight cover, but I've seen bikes with what looks like a blue-tinged headlight. Save money on motorcycle products When I spoke to a bloke at the...

Why's my exhaust header pipe glowing?

Why's my exhaust header pipe glowing?

Q. I have an N-reg Kawasaki GPz500 which is restricted at the moment. I noticed that as it was warming up the other night, the right hand exhaust header pipe was glowing red but the left side...

Best tyres for riding to a track day?

Best tyres for riding to a track day?

Q. I've just bought a 2000 ZX-9R for track days. Save £££s on motorcycle tyres However I have to ride to the track so I need some advice on suitable tyre options? Ollie, MCN Tyre forum A.

How to adjust your chain properly

How to adjust your chain properly

The first thing you've got to get right is the alignment. Check that by measuring the distance from swingarm to wheel on both sides. You can also put a straight edge against the rear tyre like a...

How to get your kids started early

How to get your kids started early

There are a handful of projects running around the country that give youngsters a taste of two wheels.   There’s an off-road school called the Geoff Mayes’ MX try-out (01379-852452) which...

Can I change my headlight bulb from 35W to 55W?

Can I change my headlight bulb from 35W to 55W?

The vast majority of wiring systems should be able to cope with uprating 35/35w bulbs to 55/60w bulbs without any problem. Save £££s on motorcycle products However if your bike has plastic headlamp...

How to set up a Blade exhaust valve

How to set up a Blade exhaust valve

Q. I’m having problems setting up the exhaust valve on my 2003 Blade. Save money on motorcycle exhausts With the ignition on, the index mark on the control valve is not aligning with the horizontal...

What to look out for when changing a Z750 exhaust

What to look out for when changing a Z750 exhaust

Q. I bought a Kawasaki Z750 brand new last September, although it’s the '07 model it’s on a '58 reg plate. Save cash on motorcycle exhausts I’ve been looking at replacing the exhaust, but on...

Can you ‘shave’ a tyre to restore its profile?

Can you ‘shave’ a tyre to restore its profile?

Q. If you do a lot of straight line work and the profile of your tyre starts to ‘square off’, couldn't rear bike tyres be ‘shaved’ back to a useful rounded profile to restore feel? Save £££s on...

Winter riding: be seen when the days get longer

Winter riding: be seen when the days get longer

Here’s a handy tip to enable you to ride safely when the low, bright sun of late winter/early spring starts to accompany your commute... Check your shadow. If your shadow is directly in front of you...