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Q - 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. .

Q - 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 OE.

Q - 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!

Q - 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 no comeback.

Q - 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 class.

Q - 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.

Q - 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 bike.

Q - 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.

Q - 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 fuel?

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.

Q - 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 inaccessible areas.

Q - 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.

Q - 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.

Q - 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 bike insured.

Q - I wish to buy a small bike cam, any suggestions?

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, try

Q - 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.

Q - 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.

Q - 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.

Q - 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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