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

Converting a sports bike to tourer

Converting a sports bike to tourer

Tired of the racing crouch on your sports bike? MCN's problem solving community has the answer on our forums... Compare and buy motorcycle products JBCompetes: I have a 2001 Fireblade that I threw...

Dunlop Qualifier RRs pass the toughest test

Dunlop Qualifier RRs pass the toughest test

I've just returned from a 3200-mile trip to Spain and back on my Ducati Streetfighter, and the Dunlop Qualifier RRs I'd fitted worked like a dream. Compare and buy motorcycle tyres They offered the...

How to fit tricky new grips

How to fit tricky new grips

Presuming you've already tried plenty of soap, WD40 or brute force, try this... If you can bear to ride your bike to a tyre depot or garage forecourt on bare metal bars, then you can insert...

Tyre advice: Which tyres for track days and fast road riding?

Tyre advice: Which tyres for track days and fast road riding?

Q. I'm due a set of tyres on my Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5. Compare and buy motorcycle tyres It's running Bridgestone BT016s at the moment. I am looking for a tyre that grips well in the dry, and is capable...

Suspension advice: My bike seems to 'flop' into corners

Suspension advice: My bike seems to 'flop' into corners

Q. My Honda CB1100R has a tendency to flop into corners although I fitted a new rear shock recently. Compare and buy motorcycle supension parts I've checked the head bearings for play and set the...

FAQ: what do I do if my bike won't start?

FAQ: what do I do if my bike won't start?

If your bike is cutting out mysteriously, especially when you try to select a gear or pull away for the first time, check out the sidestand cut-out switch. It sits in a very exposed position low on...

Mod 1 test

I sat the Mod 1 test Sept 2009. Yes of course I was nervous, it was a test. However, all went well until the hazard avoidance exercise. I was too slow on the 1st attempt, 49kmph, so was sent around for another attempt. I was told by instruction and by other bikers not to look at the speedo as I would know how fast I would be going due to the noise of the bike in 2nd gear. This was...

Motorcycle Safety: How safe is riding a bike?

Motorcycle Safety: How safe is riding a bike?

If you’re starting out, this has got to be a question looming large in your mind – and if not yours, then definitely the mind of your nearest and dearest. The short answer is: riding a bike does...

Motorcycle Safety: avoiding common accidents

Motorcycle Safety: avoiding common accidents

The most common accidents that we bikers get involved in are collisions at junctions, collisions while overtaking, loss of control, either from a shunt or, and, surprise, surprise, failing to get...

Suspension advice: Sorting the shcok to irradicate sliding

Suspension advice: Sorting the shcok to irradicate sliding

My Suzuki GSX-R750 has just been fitted with a new aftermarket rear shock, but since then it has been spinning its rear tyre under power when riding in the wet. Compare and buy motorcycle...

Why do tyres have wire in them?

Why do tyres have wire in them?

The high-tensile steel wire in motorcycle tyres is also known as the 'bead' and runs circumferationally around the inner part of the tyre. Compare and buy motorcycle tyres It's job is to anchor the...

Tyre advice: Slippy roads in Southern Spain

Tyre advice: Slippy roads in Southern Spain

I have recently moved to southern Spain and I ride a Ducati Monster S4RS. Compare and buy motorcycle tyres I have ridden my bike a few times since living here but I am having serious trouble with...

Road surface in test areas

I am doing my test in a couple of weeks time so I went to my local centre to see what way it was set up and run. It had been a wet morning but the sun had come out and dried most of the test area but trees had prevented a spot from drying out. The candidate was carrying out the emergency stop and had failed to reach the required speed and was sent back to try again. As he approached the second...

suspension set up

suspension set up

Help please? own a Honda CBR600FS2 2002 and the suspension set up is for someone who is a lot heavier than myself. I am 9stone 12lbs and 5ft 5inches tall, can you recommend some settings so I can...

Kit: How to buy a cheap helmet

Kit: How to buy a cheap helmet

If you are starting out on two wheels your budget has to cover a lot of first-time purchases. One of the most important is your crash helmet which could costs hundreds. But there are great savings to...

Exhaust advice: Discoloured downpipes

Exhaust advice: Discoloured downpipes

I've bought a used 2006 Yamaha XJR1300 with 3000 miles on clock which runs very well. However the front downpipes are discoloured and have gone slightly purple. What do you think is the cause? Should...

Suspension advice: Front end knocking

Suspension advice: Front end knocking

My Yamaha Fazer 1000 has developed an occasional knocking (movement) at the front end. It tends to happen in corners and it feels very similar to loose head bearings. It's been around for the last...

What category licence is a Suzuki Intruder 125?

I have a 10 year old Suzuki Intruder 125. I want to take my module 1 bike test but I have been ask to produce a certificate of comformity, as this bike is not on the examiners list. Otherwise the examiner will have to assume category A1 licence, and I want a standard licence What is this and how do I obtain this information.?

Suspension advice: How age affects suspension

Suspension advice: How age affects suspension

Age takes its toll on the rubber seals through degradation and springs sag as the coils deform under the continued load. You can spot seal problems such as perishing or oil leaks, but to check the...

Tyre Advice: What affects tyre life on a GSX-R1000?

Tyre Advice: What affects tyre life on a GSX-R1000?

There are four factors that affect the life of a tyre. First, pressures; on your bike it should be 36psi front, 42psi rear. Next, the suspension needs to be compliant enough to help the tyre cope. If...

Make sure you get up to speed on the new test

I did my module 1 at Erith, and got no minors, but I failed by 1 mile an hour! I could not believe it! Even a speed camera would not detect me travelling 1mph over the speed limit! They really need to consider scrapping this module 1 as it is a waste of time and is clearly a new scheme to make money. Did they not think of doing the speed maneoveure in a 40mph zone? Clearly a way to make money...

Module 1 completed!

Well done to everyone who has recently passed their module 1 test. I passed on the 9th August on my second attempt. My firt test ended in disaster after falling off the bike during the swerve section. That however, made me even more determined to pass and I practiced as often as I could in car parks and on quiet streets. I downloaded the course dimensions from the DSA website and marked the swerve...

Kit: How to buy a bike lock

Kit: How to buy a bike lock

Buying a motorcycle lock is all about one thing – tailoring it to your specific needs. The motorcycle lock world is diverse with a variety of options meaning you could actually buy three or four...

Kit: How to choose leather trousers

Kit: How to choose leather trousers

As important as your leather jacket, leather trousers serve the same purpose (that of protection), albeit with slightly less style if you’re riding to the pub.  Compare and buy leather...

Kit: How to choose a leather jacket

Kit: How to choose a leather jacket

It doesn’t matter what we say here – most motorcyclists, if they’re being honest, will choose something that looks good. And why not? Compare and buy leather jackets in the MCN Shop However, beyond...

How does suspension affect understeer?

How does suspension affect understeer?

Also known as running wide, understeer is the bike's inability to track a line through a bend. It usually occurs when a bike is set up too soft and the suspension wallows and struggles as physical...

FAQ: How to cure a vibrating wheel

FAQ: How to cure a vibrating wheel

If you have some harsh vibrations or the steering feels loose or wobbly then your front wheel could be out of balance. Those vibes will stress wheel bearings, make the tyre run hotter and could...

Passing module 1

I passed my mod 1 test yesterday, no real problems other than initial nervs, all I can say is train with a good riding school with area to practice mod 1. Practice over and over till your confidence and skills are good, keep your nerves under controll on the day and listen to the examiners instructions. The swerve test is not a problem as long as you are prepared and riding skills are...

FAQ: Bike security tips - lock it or lose it

FAQ: Bike security tips - lock it or lose it

UK bike security firm Tracker has urged motorcyclists to keep bikes locked this summer and offered top tips for new riders to make sure your bike doesn’t get stolen.  Compare and buy motorcycle...

FAQ: Strange squeaking noises from a new motorcycle

FAQ: Strange squeaking noises from a new motorcycle

If your new bike is making an odd sound like a sort of squeaking noise, or rubbing sound, that comes and goes, check the relative positions of the footpeg and rear brake pedal. It's all too easy to...

FAQ: How to check wheel alignment

FAQ: How to check wheel alignment

Checking the wheel alignment on your bike is an essential skill, especially if you have removed the wheels to fit new tyres or chain and sprockets. The first thing you need is a straight edge and an...

Suspension FAQ: How can your suspension and tyres cause a slide?

Suspension FAQ: How can your suspension and tyres cause a slide?

The rear end of a bike can slide for a number of reasons. Over-firm suspension dials out compliance and suppleness, making a bike's tyre do more work than the suspension itself. This can cause the...

Best tyre for a Suzuki Bandit 1250

Best tyre for a Suzuki Bandit 1250

Reader Mike Lecras came to us looking for the perfect combination touring and sporty rubber for his 2009 Suzuki GSF1250 GT. He was running the standard Dunlop D218N 180/55 V17 at the rear. MCN's...

Tyres FAQ: Why do tyres have wire in them?

Tyres FAQ: Why do tyres have wire in them?

The high-tensile steel wire is also known as the bead and runs circumferationally around the inner part of the tyre. Its job is to anchor the tyre on the rim so that the tyre can't creep on the wheel...

Kit: How to buy winter motorcycle boots

Kit: How to buy winter motorcycle boots

Think about what sort of riding you'll be doing, and when you¹ll be doing it. If you'll be commuting throughout the year, there will be days when you rue the purchase of those vented summer race...

Kit: How to buy summer motorcycle boots

Kit: How to buy summer motorcycle boots

Whether it's a race-spec boot or a simple touring boot for summer rides or commuting, the theory behind making sure it fits is the same. The golden rule is to make sure you visit a dealer to try on as...