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

Should I bleed my brakes after a piston popped out?

Should I bleed my brakes after a piston popped out?

Q. I changed my brake pads today and when I pushed one of the pistons back another one popped out. I managed to get it back in OK after a small spillage and it’s not leaking at the moment. Will I need...

What’s caused my tyre valve to blow out?!

What’s caused my tyre valve to blow out?!

Last week I had what I think was a fairly lucky escape. I was checking the tyre pressures on my 2001 Honda CBR1100XX, but when I put the tyre gauge on the valve stem the stem itself (thread included)...

How hard is it to swap my GPZ500’s engine?

How hard is it to swap my GPZ500’s engine?

I’ve a Kawasaki GPZ500 with loads of top-end grief, including a new camchain and tensioner, so I’m thinking that another engine for around 100 quid could be the best deal, although its condition is an...

Why is my radiator bubbling over?

Why is my radiator bubbling over?

A line of small white foam bubbles have started to appear all along the lower edge of my radiator. Although the expansion tank level has not really dropped, do I need to consider Radweld or a repair?...

What's up with my Triumph Trophy's fuel sensor?

What's up with my Triumph Trophy's fuel sensor?

What’s up my Triumph Trophy’s fuel sensor? The fuel gauge on my Triumph Trophy 900 won’t stop flickering between half and three quarters full and the MoT is coming up. Does it need to be giving an...

Why is my Kawasaki ZX-9R stalling?

Why is my Kawasaki ZX-9R stalling?

Why is my ZX-9R stalling? I own a late Kawasaki ZX-9R and it will only turn over and start when the bike is in neutral and the clutch disengaged. The moment I pull in the clutch lever it packs up. I’m...

How much to fix my GSX600F’s chain and sprockets?

How much to fix my GSX600F’s chain and sprockets?

I recently bought a Suzuki GSX600FW. The chain looks really dodgy as do the sprockets, while the brakes need some attention as well, particularly the discs. Where can I source these parts at a...

Tyre's mystery line

Tyre's mystery line

I have about 400 miles on the Bridgestone BT023R on the front wheel of my 2005 Honda CBF600N and I’ve noticed a strange line just left of centre that runs the circumference of the tyre. Has anyone...

Best tyres for a 2004 Honda Fireblade

Best tyres for a 2004 Honda Fireblade

Q. I bought my 2004 Fireblade with Pirelli Corsa IIIs and they seem OK but a little ‘slidy’ on the rear at times (in the damp). I’m trying to decide whether to replace the pair with Corsa IIIs or buy...

Suzuki GS500E won’t idle

Suzuki GS500E won’t idle

Q. I can’t get my Suzuki GS500E to idle on the tickover screw. I either wind it right in, so the throttle is stuck on 4000 revs, or it stalls as I back it off. I have fitted new spark plugs and...

Will my loud exhaust pass an MoT?

Will my loud exhaust pass an MoT?

Q. I have a US-import GSX-R750 with a Yoshimura end can fitted which hasn’t got any markings on it at all. No 'not for road use' or 'race use only', but it does seem a little loud. Where do I stand...

Best tyres for a KTM 950SM?

Best tyres for a KTM 950SM?

I am looking for some new tyres for my 2006 KTM 950SM. I currently have Pirelli Diablo Corsa IIIs on, which have been great, although I haven’t used them in the wet much. I am planning a trip to the...

Cure for stuttering ZZR1100

Cure for stuttering ZZR1100

My ZZR1100 was running rough and when I checked the valve clearances there were six tight on the exhaust side. I also balanced the carbs, and it’s now much smoother and responsive, but it sort of...

What’s causing Ducati 749 error?

What’s causing Ducati 749 error?

I have just started my Ducati 749 for the first time in about a month. The bike starts OK every time but the amber EOBD light stays on. According to the owner’s manual it should go out after about...

What are the yellow dots on tyres?

What are the yellow dots on tyres?

I was browsing websites looking for info regarding those red and yellow dots on the tyre sidewalls and could have sworn I'd seen an MCN feature about them being factory balance markings and where they...

One-armed rider seeks braking solution

One-armed rider seeks braking solution

Q. I have a paralysed right arm and ride a 1999 Honda Hornet 600 with all the controls fitted to the left side handlebar. At the moment I use an ISR clutch master cylinder that I have connected the...

Best tyres for a KTM SMT

Best tyres for a KTM SMT

Q. I've got a KTM SMT 990. Can you suggest a set of sticky tyres for it? The stickier the better, and I'm not bothered about tyre life as I only go out for 50-60 mile blasts. Your help would be much...

Will charger hurt my Rocket III’s battery?

Will charger hurt my Rocket III’s battery?

Q. My Triumph Rocket III is fitted with an alarm and clock and I was wondering whether should I put an Optimate on after every ride, even though it’s generally only left for 12 hours? Is it worth it...

My Kawasaki ZZ-R600 won’t tick over

My Kawasaki ZZ-R600 won’t tick over

Q. My 2000 Kawasaki ZZ-R600’s idle is all over the place and it’s cutting out at speed, too. I’ve tried to adjust the tickover using the screw, but it’s seized solid, so I’ve had to do it with the...

The best off-road tyres

The best off-road tyres

Q. I own a Kawasaki KMX200 and I’m looking for a set of road-legal off-road tyres with the emphasis on their dirt performance. I've spent ages surfing the web but can’t find any that fit the bill. The...

Yamaha R1 is skipping second gear

Yamaha R1 is skipping second gear

Q. I’ve just bought a 2002 Yamaha R1 and the gear selection isn’t brilliant, with second gear skipping at 8000rpm. The fork seals are starting to leak too… Gordon Harrison, email   A. Oh dear, it...

Is my ZX-7R suffering from carb icing?

Is my ZX-7R suffering from carb icing?

Q. My Kawasaki ZX-7R P4 has an intermittent running problem that has me stumped. On cold mornings it will start fine, run fine for about five or 10 minutes then sometimes it will stutter and feel like...

Best all-round tyre for a Triumph Daytona 675

Best all-round tyre for a Triumph Daytona 675

Q. It’s nearly time for some new rubber on my 2008 Triumph Daytona 675. I am going on a week’s tour round France and Italy with some mates next year, along with some track days and am after a tyre...

Will new bar ends affect handling?

Will new bar ends affect handling?

Q. I have a Kawasaki ZX-7R and I’ve just fitted new bar ends. They weigh a lot less than original ones and I’m wondering whether this will affect the handing of my bike? They look better, but are they...

When should I change my tyres?

When should I change my tyres?

I’ve been told that the legal minimum tread limit is 1mm. Should I let the tread go this low or should I change the tyre sooner? I don’t race my bike, it's only used on A and B-roads with very little...

ZZR struggles to start from cold

ZZR struggles to start from cold

Q. I have a Kawasaki ZZR600 which is still soldiering on, but it is getting harder and harder to start on cold mornings. The battery is pretty new, but there’s not much of a spark at the plugs. I know...

Why can't I change gear?

Why can't I change gear?

Q. I have a 1979 Kawasaki KZ400 that I use for travelling between college and home; it's in very good condition and has only done 4500 miles. The problem is that shifting into second gear is very...

Best tyres for a GSX-R1000 K3

Best tyres for a GSX-R1000 K3

Q. I have a Suzuki 2003 GSX-R1000 and the tyres I’m stuck between are the Bridgestone BT023s and the Metzeler Sportec M5s. Save cash on motorcycle tyres Please could you shed some light on the best...

Bandit’s speedo goes blank

Bandit’s speedo goes blank

Q. I have a Suzuki Bandit 1250SA which is just coming up for three years old. It has developed an intermittent problem in that the speedo can go blank, though it is still backlit, and the rev counter...

BN125 won't start from cold

BN125 won't start from cold

Q. I have a Kawasaki BN125 that just does not want to start from cold at all. When it does fire up, the moment you take the choke off it stalls, and you have to be so, so gentle on the throttle until...

Where can I get Hayabusa luggage?

Where can I get Hayabusa luggage?

Q. I’ve looked far and wide but can’t find any sort of hard luggage for my Suzuki 1300 Hayabusa. I live in Germany, and no one can help, not even Suzuki Germany. Stephen Poulton, email   A. This...

Is there a cheap way to repair a tyre?

Is there a cheap way to repair a tyre?

I caught a financial cold recently when I picked up a puncture in a nearly-new Z-rated tyre and I had to get it replaced. Is there any guaranteed way I can avoid a costly bill if I get another...

Is it safe to disconnect my battery?

Is it safe to disconnect my battery?

My friend told me that I cannot disconnect the old battery completely on my Suzuki GSX1400 as this means I will “lose the memory in the ECU”. Is this correct? Walter Calne, email   The moment...

Can I get a custom-made screen?

Can I get a custom-made screen?

I have a 2007 Yamaha FJR1300A, which is a great bike, but I have an issue with the screen. When it’s down I just get buffeted to pieces, and if I put the screen up the wind just pushes my head forward...

Why do I keep getting punctures?

Why do I keep getting punctures?

Q. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I keep picking up punctures in my rear tyres. I’ve had four in the last 2000 miles and it’s getting expensive to pay for repair or replacement. Save £££s on...

Can I do a track day if I don’t wear leather?

Can I do a track day if I don’t wear leather?

Q. I'd love my girlfriend to do a track day or race school day to get some more experience of cornering, but she's a strict vegetarian and won't wear leather at all. Do you know any race schools or...