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

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...

Best road tyres for a BMW F800GS

Best road tyres for a BMW F800GS

Q. A few months ago I bought a 2008 BMW F800GS with Metzeler Tourance tyres already fitted. They still had some life left, so I've been running around on them and they're OK, but I'm looking for...

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...

Can I ditch my lambda sensor?

Can I ditch my lambda sensor?

Q. I want to change the exhaust on my 2009 Yamaha XJ6. I'm happy to get a full system less the cat as I'm told it will reduce weight and increase horsepower. Some systems that I've looked at state...

Best all-round tyres for Triumph Street Triple R

Best all-round tyres for Triumph Street Triple R

Q. I have a Triumph Street Triple R, I'm 43 and passed my Direct Access two and a half years ago. Save cash on motorcycle tyres I ride back lanes for fun and do the odd trip to the coast and back,...

What's causing GSX-R1000 gearbox issue?

What's causing GSX-R1000 gearbox issue?

Q. I have a problem with my GSX-R1000 K5 selecting neutral when the engine is warmed over 75°C. All the gears work OK, it’s just when clicking into neutral that it won't come out of gear, without some...

Know your bike's oil consumption

Know your bike's oil consumption

Just because a bike uses oil doesn’t necessarily mean that it has a problem. For a long time now, bike makers have designed engines with under piston oil feeds. These are there to cool down the piston...

How can I fix R6's ignition transponder?

How can I fix R6's ignition transponder?

Q. I recently bought a 2003 Yamaha R6. It was working all right for a week, but one evening it didn't start. On pressing the starter switch I could hear the starter sound but the bike failed to...

Does my Triumph T955i have a loose sprag clutch?

Does my Triumph T955i have a loose sprag clutch?

Q. I’ve been reading some articles stored in my garage on the Triumph T595 from 1998 and I’m worried. It says the bolts on the starter sprag clutch can come undone, and you first hear a rattle, before...

New rider: Avon offer free replacement on damaged or punctured tyres

New rider: Avon offer free replacement on damaged or punctured tyres

Avon tyres have got a scheme called the Road Hazard Warranty. If one of their radial tyres becomes damaged or punctured they will replace it free of charge, as long as there's no more than 1mm of...

New rider: Avoiding punctures

New rider: Avoiding punctures

There are a few things you can do to combat the risk of punctures. First of all, try to avoid the areas of the road that debris collects in. That tends to be between opposing lanes, around traffic...

What's causing my ST1300 to wiggle?

What's causing my ST1300 to wiggle?

I have a Honda ST1300, that’s in generally fine fettle, with good tyres and swingarm, and with steering head and wheel bearings in good condition, too. However, when pulling away, the bike feels like...

Effect of a squared-off front tyre

Effect of a squared-off front tyre

Q. I have a Kawasaki ZX-6R G1. When I go round corners my steering wobbles and when I’m going really slow in traffic, I’m fighting to balance, but then it’s fine in a straight line at speed. I checked...

How to seal an old petrol tank

How to seal an old petrol tank

Q. One of my chums yesterday told me he was getting a new tank for his old Bonneville. When I asked why, he said because he put Petseal in the tank and now that petrol has a higher percentage of...