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

Tyre advice: Good tyres for light trail use

Tyre advice: Good tyres for light trail use

Q. I have a 2009 Triumph Tiger 1050, which I am delighted with. I am well aware it is not a full-blown off-road motorcycle, but I would like to improve the grip on light trail use, without sacrificing...

FAQ: Common myth about speed traps

One of the common myths about speed traps is that the police officers have to wear fluorescent clothing and be on show. The facts are that police officers do not have to wear specific clothing when engaged in roads policing or provide any other warning of their presence. Assuming they caution you correctly at the road side you just have to take the points and fine.  Do you have any...

FAQ: How to get oil off your hands

If you're trying to get oil off you hands properly after your first go at home maintenance, but you haven't got a decent hand cleanser around, use washing up liquid and put a dab of washing powder in your hands. Further reading: Motorcycle FAQ

What to do if you lose your provisional license

If you have lost your provisional licence, don't worry too much - you are entitled to continue riding while waiting for a duplicate licence. Entitlement to ride or drive runs from the date the first licence was issued, and isn't dependant on you having the actual licence in your possession. The new licence should arrive within 15 working days of the application being received at...

How to make sure your tyres are legal

How to make sure your tyres are legal

As well as inflating them correctly, the Law says that the grooves of the tread pattern must have a depth of a least 1mm throughout a continuous band measuring at least three-quarters of the breadth...

Where to go for suspension

Where to go for suspension

Here's a list of useful contacts in the suspension world. Whether it's set-up advice, work or shock and fork components, these guys are among the country's greatest. Harris Performance, Hertford.

USD versus conventional forks

USD versus conventional forks

Suspension-wise, given springs and dampers of equal quality, there is no difference between upside-down and conventional forks. But the fork leg is not a suspension unit, it is also a structural...

FAQ: How to get a motorcycle on a paddock stand

FAQ: How to get a motorcycle on a paddock stand

Owning your first big bike is a fantastic feeling, but if you are nervous of lifting the rear of your bike onto the paddock stand on your own, then use the entrance of your garage to keep the bike...

Basic Skills: Taking pillions on your motorcycle

Basic Skills: Taking pillions on your motorcycle

It's great when you've passed your test and you can take friends and family out on the back, but it's not so good if they can't relax on the back and tense up, not leaning in at the right time so...

Fork 'pump down' explained

Fork 'pump down' explained

Pump down, or packing, occurs when you hit a series of bumps after dialling in too much rebound damping. Because you've over-slowed the rate at which the suspension can return once it's compressed,...

Unsprung weight explained

Unsprung weight explained

Sprung weight is the mass of those parts supported by the suspension. Unsprung is the rest; wheels, tyres, brakes, chain etc. Changing the unsprung weight has no direct effect on springing (as it's...

How to repair a puncture

How to repair a puncture

If you need to repair a puncture at the roadside, there are several methods you can use. There are preventative sealants out there that are designed to seal off a puncture as soon as it...

Motorcycle Safety: Travel faster than the traffic to stay safe

Motorcycle Safety: Travel faster than the traffic to stay safe

Believe it or not, the safest way to ride through traffic is to go slightly faster than it. That way you won’t get stuck in a blind spot and the relative difference in speed between you and the cars...

Check before you buy

A good tip when you’re buying your first used bike is to always scan the paperwork to see whether the shims have been checked and take a good look at the steering head bearings as they are often insufficiently greased from the factory. Further reading: Find your ideal motorcycle

New rider: Top 5 commuter bikes

New rider: Top 5 commuter bikes

Are you new to biking and looking for affordable and comfortable work transport? You’ll be needing our guide to the top 5 used commuter bikes. Thinking of trading in? Sell your bike with MCN for...

Kit: Buying waterproofs

Kit: Buying waterproofs

There’s three key things to consider when buying waterproofs – they’re completely waterproof (obvious, but there are things to look for), they’ve quick and easy to get on and they’re...

Suspension advice: 2002 Aprilia RSV1000R: Setting the suspension for you

Suspension advice: 2002 Aprilia RSV1000R: Setting the suspension for you

I have just bought a 2002 Aprilia RSV1000R Mille. I have no idea who has fiddled with the suspension in the past or how it’s set up now. It will be a while before I get on a track to have it tweaked...

How to tell when it's time to change your suspension

How to tell when it's time to change your 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 springs...

British Standards for puncture repairs

British Standards for puncture repairs

A British standard exists for motorcycle tyre repairs (BSAU159f), which determines the strength of the repair and where it can and can’t be made in the tyre. Compare and buy motorcycle tyres Being a...

Motorcycle Safety: Get started young

A field bike and a patch of grass was many a teenage new rider's introduction to bikes, but these days there are a few schemes dotted around the country, many run by local authorities that give youngsters a taste of two wheels. The Auto Cycle Union has a list of national schemes. Contact Debbie Walmsley: 01788-540519.   The best way to build up your skills from an early age is to enter...

Buying your first bike on a budget

Buying your first bike on a budget

If you are in the market for a new bike, but your budget is tight so you are heading towards one of the crop of Chinese-made bikes that have entered the market over the last few years, you need to...

What effect does ride height adjustment have?

What effect does ride height adjustment have?

Ride height adjustment is usually only found on top-of-the-range sports bikes, nakeds and the occasional sports-tourer, It raises or lowers the height of the rear shock, lifting or lowering the entire...

How to scrub in your tyres

How to scrub in your tyres

In a word 'gently'. When the tyre comes out of the mould there are release agents that need to be removed before the rubber performs at its optimum. Compare and buy motorcycle tyres To do that you...

How much to spend on a rear shock

How much to spend on a rear shock

If you're thinking of replacing your rear shock and are unsure of how much to spend, consider this... Choose a specialist supplier/manufacturer who can give decent back-up and advice. You are going to...

Firmer brakes overnight

Firmer brakes overnight

For an easier way to get better brakes, use a cable-tie or similar to hold the front brake on quite tightly and leave overnight. When returning to the bike next day tap the brake hoses thoroughly to...

Suspension advice: Stopping my bike 'flopping' into corners

Suspension advice: Stopping my bike 'flopping' into corners

Q. My 2004 Kawasaki ZR-7 has a tendency to flop into corners although I fitted a new rear shock recently. Compare and buy suspension products I've checked the head bearings for play and set the tyre...

How to extract a weathered header pipe bolt

How to extract a weathered header pipe bolt

If your socket just spins on the bolt, don't panic! Go for a run on the bike to get it really hot, then when you get back leave it ticking over for 5-10 minutes. Compare and buy motorcycle...

Why does a single-shock set-up work better than twin shocks?

Why does a single-shock set-up work better than twin shocks?

The greatest difference comes from how the dampers are driven. With twin shocks the dampers travel almost the same distance as the wheel. Compare and buy suspension parts The tends to over-heat the...

Tyre advice: I need a tyre for high mileage commuting

Tyre advice: I need a tyre for high mileage commuting

Q. I just took the plunge and bought a Sprint 955 which I'm loving but I need a new rear tyre. The bike is currently fitted with Bridgestone BT014s. Compare and buy motorcycle tyres However, I am a...

Kit: Choosing the right kit

Kit: Choosing the right kit

Choosing the right kit for any motorcyclist, new or experienced, should always follow the same guidelines. Just because you’re a new rider, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the optimum level of...

Motorcycle Safety: Stay sharp after you’ve passed

Motorcycle Safety: Stay sharp after you’ve passed

So you’ve got through it. Decades of blissful riding stretch out in front of you. Well, I’ve been riding for decades, and spent almost as long studying what makes people good, happy riders (or lousy,...

125cc motorcycles information centre

125cc motorcycles information centre

Welcome to the launch centre for 125cc motorcycles, encompassing everything from cheap 125cc scooters to the newest and fastest 125cc sportsbike. Here you'll be able to find everything you wanted to...

Top five helmet tips from Arai race truck

Top five helmet tips from Arai race truck

Arai is celebrating its 25th anniversary appearance at the TT this week, commending their TT relationship with a special celebration helmet and giving MCN readers the fruits of their...

5 great 125cc scooters

5 great 125cc scooters

So you've just passed your CBT and you're in the market for a decent 125cc scooter... but which one? There's so much choice out there it can be overwhelming for new riders. That's why we've short...

FAQ: Petrol station etiquette

FAQ: Petrol station etiquette

It¹s a sad fact that bikers are lumped in with armed robbers at petrol stations and can¹t get served until they've taken their crash helmet off. But what to do if it's a flip-front lid and you still...

FAQ: How do I clean my motorcycle gloves?

FAQ: How do I clean my motorcycle gloves?

If your bike gloves smell sweaty when warm and make your hands stink you can do something about it. If they are leather with a man-made lining turn them inside and hand wash them with some detergent...