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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

  • Will my headlamp fail an MoT?

    15 June 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • New Rider: How to ride safely on a motorway

    11 June 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    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...

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  • Advice: Are my tyres causing vibrations?

    09 June 2010 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • How to push a motorcycle

    04 June 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    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...

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  • How to tell if you have a puncture

    04 June 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    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...

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  • How to push your bike around

    04 June 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Tubeless tyres and punctures

    04 June 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Tight FireBlade chain is causing problems

    02 June 2010 by MCN

    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'...

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  • Chinese 125 carb problems

    02 June 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Why is my R1200GS front disc pulsing?

    02 June 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • If in doubt, change your tyres

    02 June 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Differences between bike and car engines

    28 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • How to help your pillion

    28 May 2010 by MCN

    How to help your pillion

    We all know how fantastic bikes are to ride, with their power, cornering and acceleration, but novice pillions need to be introduced gently to those powerful physical sensations if they aren’t to be...

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  • Suspension set-up for a 2002 CBR600F

    25 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Can I get new wheels under warranty?

    25 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • How to set up a GSX-R's Power Commander

    25 May 2010 by MCN

    How to set up a GSX-R's Power Commander

    Q. I have owned my GSX-R1000 K2 from new and had the obligatory Power Commander, air filter and exhaust fitted soon after getting the bike. I have never had any problems with the installation of these...

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  • Adjusting to the bike riding experience

    21 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Fizing a seized lock

    21 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Remember to SORN your bike

    21 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • How to extract a GT550’s rear shocks

    18 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Correct chain tension for a GS500

    18 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Best tyres for a Honda CBR600F

    18 May 2010 by MCN

    Best tyres for a Honda CBR600F

    Q. I have a Honda CBR600F on a 54-plate which I ride only in the dry for between half or a full day, racking up 3-4000 miles a year in a mix of ‘touring’ and ‘sport’ mode. What tyre would you...

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  • Which oil for my Firestorm?

    11 May 2010 by Chris Dabbs

    Which oil for my Firestorm?

    What oil would you suggest I should use in my Honda Firestorm? Fully synthetic or semi-synthetic? The bike is a 1999 model with 14,000 miles on the clock. Martin Thomas, Salisbury   On a 14,000...

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  • Shaft-drive bikes vs chain-driven bikes

    07 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Steering dampers can help on bumpy roads

    07 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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  • Perfect tyre pressures for a loaded ZZR

    07 May 2010 by MCN

    Perfect tyre pressures for a loaded ZZR

    Q. I’m going to Germany at the end of May on a Kawasaki ZZR1100D with Givi luggage and a pillion and I’m wondering what tyre pressures I should run with the Avon Storms? I currently run 41psi front...

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  • How to clean a Speedfight head and barrel

    07 May 2010 by MCN

    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.

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  • Diagnose a cush drive fault

    07 May 2010 by MCN

    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...

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