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

How can I solve riding pain?

How can I solve riding pain?

Q. I'm a female pensioner who has taken up biking again in the last couple of years after a long absence. I live in Spain and it's great for biking, but I have one problem. I'm pretty heavy and after...

Why are my tyres tearing after 10 laps?

Why are my tyres tearing after 10 laps?

Q. I was recently at the Motorland circuit in Spain. This track is very fast and has a strong left-hand bias and is tough on tyres. The Dunlop Sportmax slick fitted to my 2004 Yamaha R1 wore really...

How much oil should my Fireblade use?

How much oil should my Fireblade use?

Q. I currently own a 954 Fireblade and am looking to upgrade to a 2008, 2009 or 2010 model, but I keep hearing from owners that they use quite an amount of oil. My 954 never uses oil from one service...

What’s causing BMW R1200RT rattle?

What’s causing BMW R1200RT rattle?

Q. I get an unusual rattle for a few seconds when I first start my BMW R1200RT from cold. It comes on after about 15 to 20 seconds of starting, lasts about five seconds, them disappears. Any ideas...

Can I upgrade Kawasaki ER-5's brakes?

Can I upgrade Kawasaki ER-5's brakes?

Q. I want to replace my 1998 Kawasaki ER-5’s front brake caliper with a better brake, maybe a twin or a four-piston set-up. Is there a brake that would fit straight on or would I have to make an...

Product review: Kryptonite New York disc lock

Product review: Kryptonite New York disc lock

Kryptonite New York disc lock, £56.99 Time used: Six months What’s good? This little disc lock travels with me whenever I make a journey that’s not garage-to-garage. It’s light enough to carry in a...

Glove review: Oxford Bone Dry Sports

Glove review: Oxford Bone Dry Sports

Oxford Bone Dry Sports Gloves, £47.49 Miles covered/time: 500/three weeks What’s good? They’re smooth and silky inside and immediately comfortable on the ends of your arms. The armour seems solid and...

Why does my tyre keep deflating?

Why does my tyre keep deflating?

Q. My front tyre has only done 1300 miles, but it keeps deflating. When I took it to a local tyre dealer they said it was porous – is this normal? PTMX1234, MCN forums A. The majority of problems with...

Can I get my 749’s wheel repaired?

Can I get my 749’s wheel repaired?

Q. I have just had a low speed coming off. The bike, a Ducati 749, dropped onto one side and slid into a kerb putting a small dent into my front Marchesini wheel rim. What is your opinion on getting a...

Why can't I sync my Bandit's carbs?

Why can't I sync my Bandit's carbs?

Q. I decided to sync the carbs on a 1999 Bandit 600 I just bought. I got her warmed up and tried to set the idle speed at 1750rpm for the sync (as per the Haynes manual). I turned the adjuster screw...

Can I use tubes with tubeless tyres?

Can I use tubes with tubeless tyres?

Q. I'm looking to replace the rear tyre on a Ducati GT1000 which has a spoked wheels and inner tubes. Can tubeless tyres be fitted, but with tubes, to broaden my choice or am I really limited to the...

Do my Fireblade's fork seals need replacing?

Do my Fireblade's fork seals need replacing?

Q. I was advised at my MoT that one fork seal on my '04 Fireblade was worn (there was slight misting of oil on the fork). The garage said they could replace just the one, but when I rang the main...

Why is my RF600R shooting flames?!

Why is my RF600R shooting flames?!

Q. I got on my Suzuki RF600R today to go home from work, and the first thing it did when I tried to start it was backfire and shoot flames. I thought what the hell, maybe these things happen. When I...

youngest to have a full bike licence?

youngest to have a full bike licence?

I thought i would drop you this email, to let you know if interested that I was 17 on the 2nd october, where i pre booked my theory and passed then got a cancelation for mod 1 then passed,...

Best tyres for a Kawasaki ZX-9R

Best tyres for a Kawasaki ZX-9R

I need some new tyres for my 2003 Kawasaki ZX-9R. It’s currently fitted with Bridgestone BT-014s, I'm mainly an easy road rider, but I like to get it over in the bends occasionally, so could do with...

Can I fit an injected motor to a carbed bike?

Can I fit an injected motor to a carbed bike?

I have a 1994 Suzuki Slingshot streetfighter which I love the look of, but getting the carbs balanced is costly. So I would like to fit a more modern fuel-injected engine, or can I get away with a new...

New Rider passes DAS then Rides straight to Pitstop Diner MCN Top bike spot

New Rider passes DAS then Rides straight to Pitstop Diner MCN Top bike spot

I am so proud, Suzanne McLean my partner passed her Direct Access Today, then rode straight to bike night at MCN Top bike spot the Pitstop diner, A dauting task infront of all those bikers, but she...

Nerves and the bike test

I have ridden bikes on and off since 1964. I took the old style test in 1967 and failed on 2 minor'ish points. I did not take it again regrettably. As I did not want to carry a pillion passenger and my 250 was quick enough at the time. Each decade since, I have gone back to bikes but unfortunately 125. I have always had an ambition to gain my full licence. So in May this year I did the CBT, and...

Repairing damaged wheels

Repairing damaged wheels

If you’ve kerbed a car wheel you’ll know what sort of mess it does to the rims, but you can keep driving most of the time. Damage an alloy wheel on a bike and it will ruin the bike’s handling and...

Tubes and tubeless tyres

Tubes and tubeless tyres

Tubeless tyres have several advantages over tubed tyres and are far more numerous on today's bikes. Among those advantages are that they run cooler, so can cope with higher performance and give longer...

Does my Hornet need a Power Commander?

Does my Hornet need a Power Commander?

Q. I have a 2008 ABS Honda Hornet which has an Akrapovic megaphone end can fitted. At the moment the bike doesn’t run smoothly at certain points. Would this need to be fixed by a Power Commander? Or...

Where can I buy Triumph paint?

Where can I buy Triumph paint?

Q. I just wondered if any other readers have had the same problem with Triumph paint as I have. I am the owner of an ’09 Sprint 1050 ABS in Phantom Black which I sadly managed to drop in a paddock...

Are tyres responsible for FireBlades's juddering?

Are tyres responsible for FireBlades's juddering?

Q. I have a problem with my 1995 Fireblade. When I brake heavily I get violent front end judder. I do track days and it is making it unrideable. Save £££s on motorcycle tyres The discs and pads are...

Getting into motorcycles, aged 43

My Biking experience is fairly new. At the tender age of 43 after just passing my DAS test I bought a 650 Bandit (new) and have at the time of writing this done just 211 miles. My previous biking history stems back to when I was around 14 upon joining a school motorcycle club. Trial sidecar. I learnt to ride on an old Francis Barnet and those school memories are the only ones I enjoy. A few...

Jacket review: Aerostich Falstaff

Jacket review: Aerostich Falstaff

Falstaff jacket, $397 (£258) Miles covered/time: 4200/13 months What’s good? The closest you can come to putting on your favourite slippers, this jacket immediately feels that you have owned it for...

Big bike tips for the vertically challenged

Big bike tips for the vertically challenged

Getting your first big bike can be a daunting experience, especially if you are below average height. Once you’ve gained confidence on big bikes the need to get both feet flat on the floor is largely...

Choosing the right bike for the right test

Choosing the right bike for the right test

If you are looking for a bike to pass your test on, make sure that you purchase the right bike for the category of test you want to pass, or you could find yourself restricted to a 125 with only an A1...

What’s causing my mystery puncture?

What’s causing my mystery puncture?

Q. I was riding on the M54 tonight and the front tyre on my 2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R went flat really quickly, I struggled over to the hard shoulder and got recovered back home. Find a used Kawasaki...

How can I improve my Speed Triple’s rear brake?

How can I improve my Speed Triple’s rear brake?

Q. I have a Triumph Speed Triple 955i on a 2000 plate. My back brake is virtually none existent. I have had it checked and have been told that everything is OK, and that it’s just a common thing with...

Can I remove my Z750's stock exhaust valve?

Can I remove my Z750's stock exhaust valve?

Q. I really need to make my 2007 Kawasaki Z750 louder as they hear my son’s GSX-R coming, but not me following. So I’m looking at a replacement can, but what’s to be done with the device fitted to the...

Fitting a new chain

Fitting a new chain

If you are thinking of changing your chain there are a few things you should consider. You can get more out of it, if you keep it scrupulously lubricated and adjusted through its life, ideally with...

New rider: Parallel twins explained

New rider: Parallel twins explained

The parallel twin cylinder engine has a long history of use in motorcycles, being the mainstay of the British motorcycle industry for 50 years until the smoother, more sophisticated four-cylinder...

Why won't my Honda CBF500's lights come on?

Why won't my Honda CBF500's lights come on?

When I start my Honda CBF500 up the headlight should come on automatically. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. However, after riding for a few minutes it comes on and stays on. Neither dip nor main...

What does mystery XJR error code mean?

What does mystery XJR error code mean?

I have a friend who has a 2008 Yamaha XJR1300. He has a problem with a code that keeps coming up on the warning panel – when you switch the ignition on, the code that shows up is “20”. If the engine...

New Rider: Why triples rock

New Rider: Why triples rock

The first ‘modern’ three-cylinder engine was an inline design built by the Triumph/BSA conglomerate back in the 1969 using their existing twin-cylinder motors, as a response to Honda’s revolutionary...

Help! GPZ instrument lights have stopped working

Help! GPZ instrument lights have stopped working

The instrument panel lights have all gone on my 1994 Kawasaki GPZ500S and I need to know if I need capless or mini bayonet type bulbs to replace them? I know they need to be 12 volt/3.4 watt. ...