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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

  • Power Commander explained

    15 February 2012 by MCN

    Power Commander explained

    Q. I’m thinking of getting a Power Commander III. What is the "accelerator pump feature"?   A. This feature is built into all PCIII USB and PCVs, it allows you to configure settings which inject...

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  • Can I buy custom-made boots?

    15 February 2012 by MCN

    Can I buy custom-made boots?

    Q. I lost my right leg below the knee a while back and I’ve got a problem finding boots that will fit me. The reason is that my prosthetic leg is pretty ‘slimline’ to reduce weight and make it easier...

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  • Best all-round tyres for a Yamaha R6

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    Best all-round tyres for a Yamaha R6

    Q. I have a 2009 Yamaha R6 which I’ve been riding for the past two years on Dunlop Sportsmarts. But my mates really rate their Pirelli Supercorsas – when we’re parked up on a ride their tyres are...

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  • What’s a PCP deal?

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    What’s a PCP deal?

    Q. More and more bike companies are offering Personal Contract Plans (PCP) and it looks like a tempting way of buying a new bike every few years. What's the catch? Graham Bayes, by email A. PCP deals...

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  • Can I spray my own bike?

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • How can I care for my pillion?

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    How can I care for my pillion?

    Q. After years of trying to get my wife to agree to a long riding holiday as pillion she has agreed. But what can I do to make her as comfortable and safe as possible on the back of my Honda Pan...

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  • Do I really need a motorcycle alarm?

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • How long will my helmet last?

    02 February 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • Boot review: Sidi Vertigo Gore-Tex

    26 January 2012 by Liam Marsden

    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...

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  • Can magnesium wheels be powdercoated?

    26 January 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • I need a bespoke header pipe

    26 January 2012 by MCN

    I need a bespoke header pipe

    Q. I have an immaculate Kawasaki KLR650 with a Marvin stainless steel silencer that looks and sounds great. Marvin does not make a header pipe, so are there any exhaust firms who could manufacture a...

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  • Best tyres for a CCM FT35

    20 January 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • How long will my leathers last?

    20 January 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • Why does my Yamaha MT-03 cut out?

    20 January 2012 by MCN

    Why does my Yamaha MT-03 cut out?

    Q. To help my fetish for vibey, low-powered, single cylinders I have owned a 2008 Yamaha MT-03 for a year. It’s great fun but cuts out stone cold at odd moments, usually below 30mph, especially after...

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  • Death of home servicing?

    20 January 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • Nicked for a bike in bits

    20 January 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • Why is my GSX-R750 running wide?

    11 January 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • Best tyres for a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy?

    11 January 2012 by MCN

    Best tyres for a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy?

    The Dunlop D407 200/55 x 17 rear will soon need replacing on my 2008 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy after 6000 miles and the front D408F 140/75 x 17 is almost as worn. Should I replace with the same or is...

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  • Best way to paint Hornet’s wheels

    11 January 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • Should I replace the tyre AND inner tube?

    03 January 2012 by MCN

    Should I replace the tyre AND inner tube?

    Q. My Sinnis Apache has tyres with inner tubes. As an inner tube is only £6 and a new tyre £40, If I were to get a puncture would I be able to keep the tyre and only replace the inner tube? Would...

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  • Why is my Virago's battery running dry?

    03 January 2012 by MCN

    Why is my Virago's battery running dry?

    Q. The battery on my Yamaha Virago ran dry so I replaced it at the same time as putting some heated grips on. I don’t use these much, but after two weeks the new battery has lost 60% of its...

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  • How should I clean my chain?

    03 January 2012 by MCN

    How should I clean my chain?

    Q. I keep getting conflicting information about bike maintenance. I've been told by one dealer that I shouldn't clean my chain, just spray fresh lube over the old muck, but another said I should clean...

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  • Which bobbins for my Kawasaki Z1000SX?

    03 January 2012 by MCN

    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...

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  • Best tyres for a Derbi Terra Adventure

    19 December 2011 by MCN

    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...

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  • Best rear hugger for a KTM SMT

    19 December 2011 by MCN

    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...

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  • Best flip-front helmet with sun visor

    19 December 2011 by MCN

    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...

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  • Why are my ZZR1200's brakes sqealing?

    19 December 2011 by MCN

    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...

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  • Best all-weather tyres for a Honda CBR600F

    15 December 2011 by MCN

    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...

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  • Is rattling exhaust sapping power?

    15 December 2011 by MCN

    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...

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  • Why won't my Honda CBX750 run properly?

    15 December 2011 by MCN

    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...

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  • Cure for Kawasaki Zephyr's fuel problems

    15 December 2011 by MCN

    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...

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  • Best tyres for a Kawasaki GTR1400

    07 December 2011 by MCN

    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...

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