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

Can I spray my own bike?

Can I spray my own bike?

Q. I recently crashed my bike at low speed after a momentary loss of concentration. I've changed the few broken parts but the fairing needs either replacing or repairing. I've always fancied learning...

Do I really need a motorcycle alarm?

Do I really need a motorcycle alarm?

Q. My insurance policy is demanding an alarm is fitted to my Suzuki GSX-R750 but I’m no fan of them as, in my experience, they always seem to go wrong, drain the battery and no one takes any notice of...

How long will my helmet last?

How long will my helmet last?

Q. My crash helmet is a few years old but remains very comfortable. It was in absolutely tip-top condition until it rolled off the petrol tank a little while ago onto the petrol station forecourt’s...

Boot review: Sidi Vertigo Gore-Tex

Boot review: Sidi Vertigo Gore-Tex

Sidi Vertigo Gore-Tex boots, from £207 at www.mcnshop.com Miles covered/time: 15,000/four years What’s good: These boots have seen four winters and many more miles in mostly terrible weather (and...

Can I replace BMW R1200R tyre pressure sensors?

Can I replace BMW R1200R tyre pressure sensors?

Q. I have recently bought a 2008 BMW R1200R which has the tyre pressure sensors fitted. I am not keen on the sensors and have a couple of queries regarding them. Can I have normal rubber type tyre...

Can magnesium wheels be powdercoated?

Can magnesium wheels be powdercoated?

Q. Is it possible to powdercoat the wheels on my 2005 Aprilia Tuono Factory? A mate told me they can't be done because they are magnesium. Airm8, MCN forums A. Magnesium wheels weigh 30% less than...

Best tyres for a CCM FT35

Best tyres for a CCM FT35

Q. I have a CCM FT35-S, the 400cc Suzuki-engined supermoto with a 120/70 x 17 front tyre and a 150/70 x 17 rear. What choices do I have in replacement rubber? Nick Scarr, email A. First off, the...

How long will my leathers last?

How long will my leathers last?

Q. We all know that manufacturers put a life expectancy on helmets of roughly five years but is there a life expectancy on leathers? I know we should replace any kit if it has been involved in a high...

Death of home servicing?

Death of home servicing?

Q. I own a 2008 Yamaha Fazer 600S2 which I plan on keeping for a few years. I like to do my own maintenance, but the bike has electronic fuel injection, ECU and a factory immobilizer, which is all...

Nicked for a bike in bits

Nicked for a bike in bits

Q. I have just received a fixed penalty notice for my Yamaha XJR1300, the bike is still taxed, but it’s been in bits since July so I let the insurance lapse. I thought that if the bike was taxed you...

Why is my GSX-R750 running wide?

Why is my GSX-R750 running wide?

I’ve got a 2004 Suzuki GSX-R750 which I love the look and power of. The problem is that when I open the throttle up in the second part of a corner while the bike is still cranked over, it starts to...

Why is my Kawasaki VN800 Classic not starting?

Why is my Kawasaki VN800 Classic not starting?

I've had a Kawasaki VN800 Classic for over 15 months now, and it had been running beautifully every day until a few months ago when it would just not start on the button, clicking loudly instead. I...

Best way to paint Hornet’s wheels

Best way to paint Hornet’s wheels

My wheels are looking a bit tatty on my Hornet and I’m considering spraying them myself. However the wheels take a lot of crap from the road and I am worried it won’t be durable. Cairnsie13, MCN...

Do I need special tool to remove Fireblade swingarm?

Do I need special tool to remove Fireblade swingarm?

I am going to take the swingarm off my Honda Fireblade RRX so that I can get it polished but I have read in the Haynes manual that I require a special tool to refit the swingarm pivot bolt/nut. Is...

Which bobbins for my Kawasaki Z1000SX?

Which bobbins for my Kawasaki Z1000SX?

Q. I’ve got a Kawasaki Z1000SX and I’m looking at getting a paddock stand for it. Rather than one that lifts it at the rear wheel spindle, I want to use the two threaded holes in the swingarm and two...

Best tyres for a Derbi Terra Adventure

Best tyres for a Derbi Terra Adventure

Q. What rear tyre would you recommend for a 2011 Derbi Terra Adventure 125. The rear is a 130/90 x 17 and the front is a 90/90 x 21. Newbiker1, MCN forums A. Continental Escapes are a really good...

Best rear hugger for a KTM SMT

Best rear hugger for a KTM SMT

Q. Some time ago Trevor Franklin did a long-term test on a KTM 990SMT. I’m using my bike for the winter months getting to work and I remember Trevor saying that he fitted a new rear hugger. He said it...

Best flip-front helmet with sun visor

Best flip-front helmet with sun visor

Q. I'm looking for a new full-face helmet but fancy one with an internal sun visor. I know a few of the flip front types have them but I don't want the extra weight. Motorcycle helmets for sale. Money...

Why are my ZZR1200's brakes sqealing?

Why are my ZZR1200's brakes sqealing?

Q. I have recently purchased a Kawasaki ZZR1200. I'm very pleased with it, but I have one annoying problem – the front brake squeals under light operation. I have removed the calipers, and the pistons...

Best all-weather tyres for a Honda CBR600F

Best all-weather tyres for a Honda CBR600F

Q. I bought an N-plate Honda CBR600F six months ago with Michelin Pilot 1s fitted that arejust about done after 5000 miles and three track days. I will be using the bike mainly for summer riding and a...

Is rattling exhaust sapping power?

Is rattling exhaust sapping power?

Q. My son's Piaggio NRG scooter has lost power. It used to do 50, now it does 26mph at 7000rpm. It does not sound the same as his mate’s NRG and when I took the exhaust off something is rattling...

Why won't my Honda CBX750 run properly?

Why won't my Honda CBX750 run properly?

Q. I've just got an ’86-reg Honda CBX750, it had blowing header pipes which I’ve fixed. My problem is that when I try to ride it after letting it warm up the middle two cylinders splutter then cut...

Cure for Kawasaki Zephyr's fuel problems

Cure for Kawasaki Zephyr's fuel problems

Q. I have a Kawasaki Zephyr 750 which has not been run very much since summer 2010. When I triedstarting it about a month ago, it was very reluctant to fire up, but would just about run OK. I decided...

Best tyres for a Kawasaki GTR1400

Best tyres for a Kawasaki GTR1400

Q. I have been on a GSX-R1000 for the past two years, but now as my wife wants to travel further afield we are changing to a Kawasaki GTR1400. Which tyres can I fit to get the most grip and feel? I’m...

Why is my Bandit 1250's exhaust popping?

Why is my Bandit 1250's exhaust popping?

Q. I bought my 2008 Suzuki Bandit 1250SA new and I like everything except the massive end can. I replaced this with a twin outlet road legal can from Banditmania which looks and sounds great. The...

How do I replace Suzuki SV650's radiator?

How do I replace Suzuki SV650's radiator?

Q. While waiting for my shoulder to heal after a smash I took the radiator off my SV and got it repaired. What do I need to know about putting it back on? Is it as simple as stick it back on and fill...

Is petrol damaging my 20-year-old bike?

Is petrol damaging my 20-year-old bike?

Q. I've just seen an advertisement for a product that will protect motorcycle engines made before 1996 from damage that will, according to them, result from use of petrol containing ethanol. I have a...

Product review: Proguard Custom Fleximonitors earphones

Product review: Proguard Custom Fleximonitors earphones

Proguard Custom Fleximonitors earphones, £239.95 Miles covered/time used: 2000/two months What’s good: They block out as much noise as a good foam earplug (and actually more than the firm’s own custom...

Where's my GSX-R600's engine braking gone?

Where's my GSX-R600's engine braking gone?

Q. I’ve noticed the engine braking on my 10,000-mile GSX-R600 K5 has severely decreased when I roll off the throttle and I can quite happily ride round at 10mph with no throttle at all and the clutch...

How to store a bike over winter

How to store a bike over winter

Q. I own a 2010 Honda VFR800. My bike is used most of the year but could be off the road for a couple of months in bad weather. It is garaged and has a battery conditioner fitted. Can I do any form of...

Suzuki Hayabusa's hot start issue

Suzuki Hayabusa's hot start issue

Q. I have a 1999 Hayabusa with a hot start problem. It starts fine when cold and on choke, and also when hot if you start straight away after stopping, such as after fuelling up. The problems start if...

Best winter battery care

Best winter battery care

Q. I am going to need to take my BMW F800R off the road over the winter and would like some advice on how best to look after the battery. I cannot fit a trickle charger as there is no electricity...

Oil light mystery on 2004 Yamaha R6

Oil light mystery on 2004 Yamaha R6

Q. I have an ’04 Yamaha R6, and on cold mornings the oil light comes on for about 30 seconds after I have been riding for a couple of minutes. When the bike has done about three or four miles or when...

Best road and track tyres for a Honda CB1000R

Best road and track tyres for a Honda CB1000R

I have a 2011 Honda CB1000R ABS, and want to do track days, what tyres are best suited to being ridden to the circuit, do a track day and then ride home? Roearn, MCN Tyre forum Any of the new breed of...

Does my Kawasaki ER-6 battery need replacing?

Does my Kawasaki ER-6 battery need replacing?

My Kawasaki ER-6 gives a buzzing sound when I hit the starter button and that’s it. Could this mean that the battery needs replacing, as it sounds like it’s struggling to kick in. Shuks, email  ...

Aprilia RSV can't find neutral

Aprilia RSV can't find neutral

I have a 2004 Aprilia RSV Factory on which it is impossible to select neutral when stopped. It is sometimes possible to slide it into neutral from second gear as you come to a halt, but at a...