Motorcycle Questions - General
- Is it illegal to ride a quad without
a crash helmet?
A - It is not compulsory
to wear a crash helmet whilst using a
quad on the road. .
- I am considering buying an accident-damaged
2003 Yamaha Fazer. Other than cosmetic
damage the forks are slightly bent, is
it possible to have them straightened?
A - You can straighten forks
tubes as long as there aren’t are
creases in them. If they are creased then
you can get good-quality aftermarket EMC
fork tubes for a third of the price for
- The thread that holds the front sprocket
on the gearbox output shaft of my YZF-R1
has stripped. What’s the cure?
A - The engine will have
to come out so the mainshaft can be replaced.
It isn’t possible to cut a new thread
on the stripped part because the shaft
is hard and if you weld a sprocket on,
there will be issues when it needs replacing.
You’re looking at eight hours work
at a garage plus parts!
- I recently bought a 2002 R6 from my
local deal but notice when riding at night
the headlight dipped the worng way. How
do I tell if I have an imported bike?
A - Dealers are bound under
the Supple of Goods and Services Act 1994
to provide you with a bike that is fit
for its purpose, however MOT regulations
do not ban the fitment of 'left hand drive'
lights if they are temporarily modified
for the test, so long as it is securely
attached and does not cut light output
too much. We recommend you take back to
the dealership and ask for the correct
headlight to be fitted or a conversion
kit. If bought privately you would have
- How old does a bike have to be to be
exempt from road tax?
A - All vehicles except
buses and lorries used commercially, that
were constructed before 1 January 1973
may tax in the 'historic vehicle' tax
- Apparently I received a parking fine
a few weeks ago, I'm sure I was parked
in a designated motorycle parking bay
and there was no ticket on my bike?
A - The Road Traffic Act
is quite specific on this. A Penalty Charge
Notice (PCN) must be either fixed to the
vehicle or handed to ther person in charge
of the vehicle in order to be legally
enforcable. Parking adjudicators allow
more appeals on this issue than any other.
- I am going to change the sprocket and
chain on my bike and not sure what to
fit as the replacement with lots of different
options available. This is the first time
I will have changed them?
A - Chains are graded by
size, e.g 520, 530 etc. They are also
graded by strength e.g. srandard, heavy
duty, standard O-ring, heavy duty O-ring
and extra heavy duty O-ring. Check your
owners manual for the exact size for your
- I own an R6 with a converted underseat
exhaust from the US, it doesn't say road-legal
or is BSA stamped but it doesn't say for
track use (or similar) either. However,
it does sound a little noisy, where do
I stand legally?
A - Construction and use
regulations state that an exhaust should
not be altered in any way to increase
noise and should be marked with either
a British Standard marking or make reference
to its make and type specified by the
manufacturer of the vehicle. However,
in reality, if you are pulled over and
are suspected of having an illegal pipe
then you will probably receive a Vehicle
Rectification Notice to get it tested
at an MoT station. Following changes to
the MoT regulations in May 2004 a tester
has to look for unaceptable marks like
'race use only'. In the absence of these
markings he has to 'Assess the effectiveness
of the silencer in reducing as far as
is reasonable the noise emitted'. In the
test there is no requirement for the amount
of revs used or to use a noise meter so
if your bike isn't obviously loud then
you should be ok and will have the documentation
to prove it if you get pulled again.
- I have a classic Yamaha bike in my shed
(manufactured mid-seventies). However,
will it run on unleaded or will I need
to covert it or add an additive to my
A - The vast majority of
Japanese bikes have been able to run on
unleaded since the mid-1970s. However,
if the bike has been standing for some
time then it is likely that the cabs will
be to be stripped and cleaned. It is also
advisable to remove the plugs and pour
a teaspoon of oil to help seal the piston
rings before turning it over with the
plugs still removed. After turning over
for approx. 20 seconds, re-fit the plugs
and enjoy your maiden journey. It is like
that it may smoke a bit at furst but it
should soon clear.
- I am preparing to put my bike in storage
for the winter months but I have been
advised not to regularly start it up as
condensation will build-up in the engine.
Is this true?
A - Your advice is correct.
Instead, get it warmed up on your last
ride as this dries the condensation from
the exhaust systm. Try to fill your tank
right to the top just before you get home
as unleaded petrol can evaporate when
in contact with air and leave a residue
that may clog-up your carbs. For the same
reason, turn off the fuel tap and run
the engine until it stalls, then drain
any remaining petrol from the float bowls.
If the bike is more than four years old,
consider emptying the tank instead because
water can accumulate in the base of the
tank and may cause enough rust to create
a leak. The best way to do this is to
unbolt it from the bike and after draining,
turn it upside down, it'll also give you
the chance to clean a load of otherwise
- I wish to start a motorcycle club in
my local town but will I need special
insurance for the club, even though each
member will have their own insurance?
A - The BMF will offer insurance
cover for rideouts, plus discounts on
personal insurance policies, travel insurance
etc but you will have to be affiliated
to the BMF. Costs would be in the region
of £90, they can be contacted on
0116 284 5380.
- I am 17 years old and have just passed
my test and wish to go touring europe
while I'm still young, can you offer any
useful tips to keep me out of trouble?
A - Unfortunately, I regret
to inform you that you have to be 18 to
ride in mainland Europe, however, you
can visit the Isle of Man instead.
- I am moving to France and wish to take
my UK registered bike but someone suggested
it would be easier to sell it and buy
a bike after I move?
A - It is possible to take
your bike but you must get a special form
from Honda UK within 6 months of moving.
The form requires every minor detail and
can be very tedious. Honda will rubber
stamp the application confirming it applies
to EU regulations, the form must then
be submitted to your nearest Ministry
of Economics (MINE) office in France at
a special MoT. Only then can you get the
- I wish to buy a small bike cam, any
A - Mounting a camera on
your helmet is fine but you lose the movement
when off-road riding which makes it exiting.
A bike-mounted camera would be better,
- I have found a motorcycle to buy and
have agreed a price with the seller but
he has told me that the bike has outstanding
finance, he will use the money from the
sale to pay off the outstanding amount,
is it safe to buy?
A - As a general rule, if
the bike has outstanding finance then
don't buy it. Firstly, the bike may not
be theirs to sell, depending on the finance
agreement, they may be in breach of the
agreement. Secondly, there are laws in
place to protect the buyer but you may
have to go to court as a result and as
you were aware of the finance agreement
then you may have lost your rights anyhow.
If in doubt then steer clear, we suggest
you find another bike without outstanding
finance. The seller may be genuine but
it isn't worth the risk.
- Can a motorcycle be converted to LPG?
A - Yes, providing it is
a four-stroke, however, you would probably
require a sidecar to house the LPG tank
so it is very unlikely that anyone would
seriously consider converting a motorcycle.
- How can I make my bike accelerate quicker?
A - Dropping the front sprocket
size works well, the equivalent of reducing
three teeth on the rear sprocket. It will
increase acceleration at the expense of
some top-end speed.
- What is best for removing stubborn stickers
on a bike's fairing?
A - A hair dryer is one
the most effective methods we've seen,
try it and see.
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