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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

  • Suspension advice: Front end knocking

    27 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • What category licence is a Suzuki Intruder 125?

    27 August 2009 by offen

    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.?

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  • Suspension advice: How age affects suspension

    26 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • Make sure you get up to speed on the new test

    24 August 2009 by Bike4Life

    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...

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  • Module 1 completed!

    23 August 2009 by retrorider

    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...

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  • Kit: How to buy a bike lock

    20 August 2009 by Rob Hull

    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...

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  • Kit: How to choose leather trousers

    19 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • Kit: How to choose a leather jacket

    19 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • How does suspension affect understeer?

    19 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • FAQ: How to cure a vibrating wheel

    19 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • Passing module 1

    18 August 2009 by Les Hopper

    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...

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  • FAQ: Bike security tips - lock it or lose it

    14 August 2009 by Marc Potter

    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...

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  • FAQ: How to check wheel alignment

    14 August 2009 by Chris Dabbs

    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...

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  • Best tyre for a Suzuki Bandit 1250

    12 August 2009 by MCN

    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...

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  • Tyres FAQ: Why do tyres have wire in them?

    12 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • Kit: How to buy winter motorcycle boots

    05 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • Kit: How to buy summer motorcycle boots

    05 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • Tyres FAQ: Why do tyres have air in them?

    05 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Tyres FAQ: Why do tyres have air in them?

    A tyre has to deform slightly at the point of contact with the road for instance in, order to achieve any change of direction or speed and it has to do this in a progressive and predictable way in all...

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  • Tyres FAQ: Why are tyres black?

    05 August 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Tyres FAQ: Why are tyres black?

    There isn't any natural rubber in a tyre's construction. But there are about 200 raw materials from man-made rubbers, reinforcing fillers, rayon, nylon, all sorts of additives and aramid...

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  • Kit: How to buy motorcycle gloves

    31 July 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Kit: How to buy motorcycle gloves

    You hands are the most vital parts of your body for riding a bike ­ they control your speed, your upper body balance and are unfortunately the first things to hit the deck in a crash on almost every...

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  • Basic Skills: How to deal with heavy rain

    30 July 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Basic Skills: How to deal with heavy rain

    As our so-called ‘Barbeque Summer’ has been replaced by another deluge it’s well worth knowing the correct procedure for dealing with standing water on two wheels. If you hit a patch of standing water...

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  • Basic Skills: bike controls explained

    29 July 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Basic Skills: bike controls explained

    Anyone who's ridden a bicycle will be familiar with one of the controls of a motorcycle. The front brake lever is mounted on the right handlebar and operates the brake caliper(s) mounted on the...

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  • How to change your tyres at home

    29 July 2009 by Marc Abbott

    How to change your tyres at home

    Tyre changes are quite easy to do at home if you have the right tools. A purpose-made bead breaker will get the tyre off the rim, and once the rubber is in the 'well' of the wheel, good quality tyre...

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  • The importance of balancing your wheel

    29 July 2009 by Marc Abbott

    The importance of balancing your wheel

    If you've got 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...

    Read more ...
  • Tyre advice: Running different tyres

    29 July 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Tyre advice: Running different tyres

    Q. I ride a 1997 VFR750, a superb bike. On the front I have a perfect Bridgestone Battlax BT56 with lots of tread left. My question is, can I replace the worn out BT57 with a new Bridgestone Battlax...

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  • Suspension advice: Replacing fork seals

    22 July 2009 by Marc Abbott

    Suspension advice: Replacing fork seals

    The first piece of advice for replacing for seals would be to always get a workshop manual of some description when stripping major components down, if only for the torque settings. Compare and buy...

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  • Tyre advice: Good tyres for light trail use

    22 July 2009 by Marc Abbott

    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...

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  • FAQ: Common myth about speed traps

    17 July 2009 by MCN

    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...

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  • FAQ: How to get oil off your hands

    17 July 2009 by MCN

    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

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  • What to do if you lose your provisional license

    17 July 2009 by MCN

    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...

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