Our resident expert of all things bikes answers your questions


Hi Dave,

I’m a single parent mother with a son that’s developed wanderlust from reading ABR magazine and travel books by his hero Sam Manicom, amongst others. With the earnings from his part-time job and some help from me, we managed to get him a 50cc scooter for his 16th birthday. That was a year ago and he’s worn it out travelling all over the UK.

He has no interest in cars, considers bikes the only form of pure adventure transport. A 125cc trail bike is due to arrive shortly, not new but well looked after. Now the problem is cost of servicing, the mileage he does can be considerable. Is it something he could do himself?



Hi Dawn,

We certainly need to encourage your lad in his adventure biking endeavour, younger riders are the future of motorcycles. Christmas is coming and an ideal gift would be a workshop manual, look for either the official manufacturer’s one or a Haynes Manual. This would be a most useful start. I’m sure your son knows his way around the internet and there are many tutorial videos to be found on YouTube and other websites.

The standard toolkit supplied with the bike will need to be supplemented with a better range. Tools are expensive, so to try and cut the cost check out various sites on the net where you may be able to get them cheaper than in the shops. A great source for bargains can be local boot sales.

A good socket set, set of combination spanners, screwdriver set and of course a hammer, would be a start. Other tools can be added as needed. Many local colleges now offer mechanical maintenance courses. Not only do these supply knowledge but also a well-equipped workshop with many specialist tools to tackle the most technical job.

There may be a local motorcycle club that he could join. Generally a bunch of old duffers like me, but with a lifetime of biking knowledge that they are only too happy to share with a youngster who’s keen to learn.

He’d also benefit from getting down to a rally, they’re held all throughout the year. There are usually a few listed on the ABR forum. Some meetings advertised in the press feature talks from the guys that write the books, with the chance to meet them for a chat after the talks. A great way to meet like-minded people.

And of course, if he gets stuck he can always ask Dave.

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