So you’ve got yourself on the road & bought your first set of wheels. Good on you!

So what now?

I found that I learned alot about my bike & how to begin to look after it when I was practicing for my theory test as alot of this info is included in there, but before that on just a CBT it took me a while to learn the basics about my bike & how to maintain it. With the help of a few tips & hacks from workshop buddies I started to know my way around my bike & this has helped me out of many a sticky breakdown on road trips.  

Alot of people have been asking us about basic moto maintenance recently so we thought we'd do a quick run down of the basic stuff you can learn to keep to your wheels & before a ride out which you'll only need a basic set of tools & a bit of noggin to do! 

Its not the be all & end all in terms of moto maintenance but enough to get you started & hopefully get you on your way to not always having to rely on others to catch what might be a simple thing to sort yourself .... Enjoy!  




FIRST UP........

Firstly, before anything else, get on over to HAYNES & grab a workshop manual for your model of bike. These things are worth their weight in gold as they have every setting, tips & breakdowns of different bits of your bike. even just a good read in general to get to know whats located where & what bit does what..... usually the manual will also list the tools you'll need to do the job. 

Number two: Good quality tools do what they say on the tin. They are totally worth the money to invest in (just a basic set at first & then you'll find you collect a few more along the way when you come across jobs where you need specific things. Halfords do a pretty good starter set thats pretty good quite for the cash.

Finally if you dont feel 100% confident dont be afraid to ask someone for help! Two heads are always better than one when problem solving, even when you're experienced with bikes. Ive learned everything I know so far (and by the way I'm no expert) from trying to solve stuff with other people around our shop or helping out mates with their bikes.




TOOLS: A good quality pressure gauge

I know its a no brainier but checking your tyre pressure is something that you should always remember to do. Its a pretty vital part of your bikes handling as under inflated tyres massively affect handling & braking. You can also overinflate them (this can result in a lack of grip when braking) so its worth getting a good quality pressure gauge to get it right. This is when your manual comes in handy as it'll tell you correct pressure for your bike & in which circumstance e.g. you may need more pressure if you're regularly carrying a passenger or heavy stuff. Try to check it once a week & also before any long trips. It's also worth checking the condition and tread depth of the tyres while you're at it.

TIP: Always check your pressures when they're cold!







TOOLS: A torque wrench

Incorrect chain tension can result in sprocket and gearbox wear, unsmooth gearshifts, snatchy transmission, hamper your bike's rear suspension travel and reduce the life of your bike's chain so its pretty important to check this regularly.

Check your manual for how to adjust your bike's chain to the correct tension. Remember to set the tension with some load on the bike (something heavy or with someone on it) as the chain will tighten up once a you have a passenger on board.  Your manual will also tell you the correct torque settings for each bolt - how much force to use when retightening each bolt. This is when you'll need your torque wrench to do this properly. 

TIP: Its a good idea to also lubricate the chain while you're at it, as this will help it last longer! Its also a good time to check the condition of your back sprocket for teeth missing or wear & tear. These can be easily replaced & you can find replacement parts pretty easily at places like WEMOTO






TOOLS/ SUPPLIES:  Manual & battery acid (if needed)

If a battery is allowed to run dry or drop into a deep state of discharge then usually it kills it, so you should try check it out regularly to see what state its in.

Ideally, remove the battery from its holder before carrying out any work. Remember,  batteries contain strong acid, which can be harmful if it comes into contact with your skin so wear gloves & watch out where you get it.

Check the acid level in your battery by placing it on a level surface. If the level's low then top up with de-ionised water before placing the battery on charge, using a car or motorcycle charger. Remember not to overfill, as acid will drain out the overflow pipe when you're on the move. Many moden batteries are sealed, so you won't be able to top them up, meaning you'll have to buy a new one. Again WEMOTO is a great site to grab one from or if you're going custom a fancy lithium racing battery can take up half the space & fit nicely under the seat but you'll need to fabricate a new holder or battery box for this probably. 

TIP: Greasing your bike's battery terminals before placing the battery back in the bike will help avoid corrosion build up. Just remember not to touch both terminals at the same time or else ZAP!






Checking you coolant only takes a few minutes to do but again its a pretty vital bit of maintenance. Not all bikes are liquid cooled. Some are also air-cooled (see here for a good guide on the differences)

First of all check out your manual to locate your bike's 'expansion' tank (if it has one); high and low levels should be marked on the outside of the translucent tank. Alternatively, remove the radiator filler cap to check the level. Only do this when the water is cold. And while your at it, think about changing the coolant altogether. Another easy job that takes about 30 minutes. Here's how it's done:

- When the radiator's stone cold, remove the cap the bottom rubber hose, allowing the old coolant to drain into a bucket. You may need to undo a drain plug situated near the water pump to extract all the liquid. Check your owner's manual for how to do it.

- Once the system's drained, reattach the bottom hose and replace the drain plug before making up a new batch of coolant using a 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and de-ionised water.

- Fill to the correct level ensuring no air is trapped in the system. This can be alleviated by squeezing the radiator hoses to expel unwanted air. Check the level again after your first test ride.






Changing your bikes oil is all part & parcel of keeping it in good knick. Some bikes need it changing more often than others (dirt bikes need oil changes every few hours of riding time where as road bikes need it alot less) all you need are the right tools, decent oil and the correct filter.

Check your workshop manual for a detailed explanation of how to do this very specifically on your bike. Also consider asking a mate to oversee progress from start to finish.

TIP: Always check your oil levels when the engine is warmed. Go for a quick spin then let the bike sit for about 15mins before checking. Also, always make sure your bike is upright (on the centre stand if you have one, or held up by someone else) to make sure you're reading the levels right.

If you're a bit low & need a change or top up: Get engine warmed through, remove the bike's oil filler cap, place a tray under the bike and remove the sump plug. Make sure you're 100 sure you're removing the right bolt; it should be the biggest one on the sump, usually on the bottom or on the side.

- Once the oil's drained, remove the filter, either by hand or using a filter removal wrench. 

- Replace the sump plug, tighten to the correct torque setting as recommended in the owner's manual before spinning on a new filter. Smear the rubber filter gasket in clean oil before tightening by hand. Nip it up half a turn with the filter wrench. 

- Refill the engine with the correct amount of new oil. Start the bike up, check for leaks, stop the engine Give it five minutes for the oil to drain back into the sump before checking the level again. Add oil if necessary.





TOOLS:  Socket wrench with a spark plug extension

Unlike some of the other jobs changing your bike's spark plugs isn't a job that usually needs doing regularly but its a good check to do to avoid any breakdowns ( especially if you have a 50 year old shitty triumph chop like me) as a result of blackened or dirty plugs, making it difficult to start the bike. You can consult your manual for how often in should be done.

On most small or old bikes checking or changing the spark plugs should take you only a few minutes. Firstly make sure you have the correct plugs for your bike; the code number on each one will differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Check the owner's manual for the correct gap; you'll need feeler gauges to set it correctly.

TIP: Remove the plugs one at a time to avoid mixing up the HT leads & try not to over tighten them! Best way to do this is to screw them in by hand and nip them up a quarter-turn with a plug wrench to finish up.






TOOLS: Good spanners, sockets or Allen keys of the correct size to fit the caliper retaining bolts; some brake cleaner spray; a rag or old toothbrush; a large flat-headed screwdriver, copper grease, a torque wrench, a pair of pliers and brake fluid (of the right grade).

Firstly, does your bike have drum brakes (common on older bikes) or disc brakes??  Click here for a good guide to the difference between drum brakes & disc brakes.

 If you're bike has disc brakes a good way to check them is: 

  • Start by checking the brake pedal and hand control brake.  You want to make sure they’re firm and not soft or spongy.

  • Visually inspect both the front and rear brakes looking for wear on your brake pads.

  • Make sure there is at least 3mm of pad left.  If the pads wear down less than this, you’ll get metal-on-metal grinding between the brake and the rotor. 

Checking & replacing your bike's brake pads sounds fairly intensive but is actually a pretty straightforward job although first time I'd ask someone experienced to give you a hand.

There are so many great video guides on you tube for this that its kind of pointless for me to put it into words but basically you'll need to remove the caliper from the fork leg, take out the retaining clips, followed by then pins and springs. The pads should then come out with ease. 

TIP: Use an aerosol brake cleaner to smarten up the job when you're finished and remove any unwanted grease as this is very dangerous around disc brakes.


Don’t know where to find replacement parts for your bikes

Here are some good UK based websites for stock replacement bits for a wide range of bikes :




M & P







We're so excited at VC London to have the amazing Husqvarna onboard for CAMP VC 2018 bringing their range of road & dirt bikes to site & supporting our enduro classes. 

After taking their new Vitpilen & Svartpilen 401s recently on a surfing road trip from London to Devon with Yonder surf school we absolutely fell in love with them! Slick, light & with awesome handing we loved blasting them around the coast, so we can’t wait to get back on them next week for a rip around the incredible countryside of the Brecon Beacons National park. 

Read all about our trip to Devon in the new Built Magazine with text & photos by the amazing Tom Bing out now & come find out about these incredible bikes f’real onsite at CAMP VC!




Shextreme Film Workshop. 

Shextreme Film Workshop. 

We're very lucky at CAMP VC to have so many amazing female run organisations on board for this years event & no organisation is more inspiring than Shextreme - the pop up adventure film festival promoting women involved in adventure film making!

Founded in 2015 by Dr Ruth Farrar of Bristol University Shextreme run pop up film screenings & film festivals all around the UK  ... The next  of which were very lucky to have lined up for Friday evening at CAMP VC along with a live Q&A with guest speaker & film maker Elise Wicker.

If you were lucky enough to get signed up for the Shextreme film making workshop on Saturday you're in for a real treat!

Get to know all about Shextreme & its founder Ruth Farrar ahead of getting to site & check out Shextreme over at for more info on their next event!


Name: Dr. Ruth Farrar 

Organisation: Shextreme 


What is your role at Shextreme? 

I am the founder and Director of Shextreme Film Festival and Shextreme Film School training up the next generation of female adventure filmmakers.


How did Shextreme come to be? What was the original idea behind it all?

Everywhere I go, I’m lucky enough to cross paths with inspiring wonderful women from my local climbing centre to out on the mountain. However, I noticed these real women’s stories were distinctly missing on the big screen at adventure film tours and festivals I attended…despite audiences comprising of 50/50 men/women. So I decided to be the change I want to see and proactively set up Shextreme Film Festival: the world’s first film festival dedicated to celebrating women in extreme sports and adventure.

In the early days, I was repeatedly told there wasn’t an interest or market for it. I’m delighted to report all our festivals have sold out in advance every year proving people really do want to champion gender equality in extreme sports and adventure films both on screen and behind the lens. 

My Big White Thighs & Me will be screened at our Shextreme pop up. Image credit: Maia Media

My Big White Thighs & Me will be screened at our Shextreme pop up. Image credit: Maia Media

How long has the Shextreme festival been running now? 

Our first fun festival took place back in 2015. This year, we are back bigger than ever with our fourth festival from 4 – 5th October in beautiful Bristol with exclusive world film premieres, award-winning tutors leading Shextreme Film School and an inspiring line up of festival panel speakers including climbing legend Hazel Findlay, surfer and activist Dr. Easkey Britton; mountaineer and NASA-trained astronaut Dr. Suzie Imber and climber Anoushe Husain. 


We love collaborating with amazing female run businesses at CAMP VC! Why did you want to get involved with the event? 

The energy when women come together to support each other is AMAZING! How could we possibly say no to such an exciting event?! Love how CAMP and Shextreme are on the same shared mission to empower women in extreme sports and adventure prioritising lots of fun along the way!


Easkey Britton - one of the panel speakers at this year's Shextreme Film Festival 2018. Image credit: Chris McClean

Easkey Britton - one of the panel speakers at this year's Shextreme Film Festival 2018. Image credit: Chris McClean

What are you looking forward to most at CAMP VC? 

Looking forward to getting creative at the great screen printing workshop and I love going climbing so can’t wait to try out the boulder wall on site! The Wellness Area led by The Curious and co. looks brilliant too.


We’re so excited to have you & your team onsite at this year’s event! What have you got in store for us for this onsite?

Our fun-filled Friday at CAMP VC starts with a Shextreme pop up evening screening of empowering women in adventure films followed by a Q & A with very special guest Elise Wicker: an award-winning shoot-edit video producer with seven years experience at the cutting edge of digital innovation at the BBC. She's passionate about making beautiful, talked-about content for diverse audiences. Her films have reached over 200 million people in all formats so she has lots of great advice for aspiring adventure filmmakers. 


On Saturday, we are empowering creative women with new skills on how to craft their adventure stories for screen. Got an idea for a film but don’t know where to begin? Our Adventure Filmmaking workshop at CAMP VC is here to help! Save yourself time and energy by gaining access to our industry insights. You will also learn how to stand out from the crowd when submitting your final adventure film to festivals! Every workshop we run, a great film comes out of it so excited to learn what future productions will be crafted from CAMP VC attendees’ stories! All abilities welcome in this fun and friendly film workshop. 


hextreme - Image from last year's audience at Shextreme Film Festival 2018: Image Credit: Emma Bell 

hextreme - Image from last year's audience at Shextreme Film Festival 2018: Image Credit: Emma Bell 

Who is your favourite female director?

It’s impossible to choose just one director with the exciting rise and rise of female adventure filmmakers in our Shextreme community. Leading lights to watch include award-winning filmmaker Jen Randall from Light Shed Pictures (; Hannah Maia from Maia Media ( and Jessica Pearson from Shimnix Films ( who are all trailblazing the way forward for women in adventure filmmaking.


To learn more about our upcoming film festival programme or how to submit your creative entries to Shextreme by 1st September, head on over to our site for more info:


Follow us on Insta @shextreme 




THEY'RE BAAAAAAAACK! The amazing ladies of Blondies Bar London are coming back to CAMP VC for 2018 & they're bringing the party with them!

The Blondies bar girls will be onsite all weekend mixing up cocktails for all , handing out FREE Piston Head lager & serving up some Sailor Jerry rum ready for your FREE drink on arrival but first up get to know the platinum haired party animals ahead of getting to site & crack open a cold one with them when you get to CAMP VC!

See you soon ladies!! 




Verity & Sharmaine Cox of Blondies London


What are your roles at Blondies? 

Verity – Co-owner & Operations Manager. Sharmaine -  Co-owner & Brand Development


How long has Blondies been running now? 

We will be 3 in October. Eeekkk. 


How did Blondies come to be? 

SC: We had always joked about opening our own space, or stating a band. Kind of thankful we went down this route, being that Verity is the only musical one. 


What was the original idea behind it all?

VC: We had intensions of opening a café and bar at the start. Now its developed but more into a live music venue as well. Sharmaine has a great eye and the space looks great. I didn’t have much to do with the design, as I got kicked off the design team pretty quick, lol). She did a really good job. And Rochelle, our youngest sister, and the talent behind all our illustrations and merchandise, really helped to hone in the aesthetic. 


You guys are absolutely killing it! What have you guys been up to since last year event?

We started working with Kerrang! Magazine on some secret live shows, plus booking loads of new bands. Plus generally working on how to take over the world and work with more rad females. 


We love collaborating with amazing female run businesses at CAMP VC! Why did you want to get involved with the event? 

VC: I had known about VC since moving to London and wanted to get involve straight away. And it was taken ten fold after last years’ event. To be surrounded by so many supportive and amazing ladies was such a treat and an environment that is such an incredible experience to be apart of.  


What are you looking forward to most at CAMP VC? 

The whole thing really. We had such a ball last time. I have met a whole group of ladies from last year and we hangout all the time. Can’t wait to met even more rad women. Oh and riding round the fields of course. 


We loved having you guys onsite last year at CAMP VC (who could forget the game of Friday night disco bingo!!) What have you got in store for us for this year?


We are definitely bringing back the classic Disco Bingo but we’ll also be hosting Rock’n’Roll Karaoke, Beer Pong, Dart Tournaments and a Wheel of Fortune which means shots will be flowing for winners. 


You'll also be throwing down a DJ set at CAMP VC. What have you got lined up for the ladies to get down to?

Gonna mix it up this year. Somewhere between Black Sabbath and Diana Ross. 


Best drink to get the party started?



Best track to get the party started?

Alright by Supergrass


Best track to finish up a party with?  

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. 



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Bakers Factory.jpg

We're very proud at VC LONDON to be teaming up with the mighty Husqvarna this year for CAMP VC 2018!

Husqvarna are one motorcycle brand really putting some heavy weight behind some of the worlds brightest female motorsports riders & stars right now. From supporting womens events the world over like the legendary Babes in the Dirt to being involved with the likes of enduro star Megan Griffiths , co- founder of Babes Ride Out Anya Violet , MX racer Ashley Fiolek & the amazing flat track racer Shayna Texter, Husqvarana are truly leading the charge to promote & support the progression of women in the motorcycling world.... So basically teaming up with them for CAMP VC was an absolute no brainer! Even more so when we met the amazing Amy Sparrow!! 


Having started to ride MX at the early age of 9 Amy now works in the Husqvarna UK team & is not only an ambassador for all things Husqvarna but she's a bad ass ripper in the dirt too. Ontop of this Amy is passionate about getting more women into motorcycling in all its forms & will be onsite at CAMP VC with a range of both Husqvarna' s Vitplien & svartpilen road bikes & off road MX & enduro bikes dishing out advice & tips on how to get on the road . Come say hey to her onsite at CAMP VC & hit her with all your MX & road riding questions! 



Name: Amy Sparrow

Job role at Husqvarna: 

I have been with Husqvarna Motorcycles since February 2018 and my role is the PR and Media exec for the UK in both street and off-road.

Where are you originally from?

I am from Dorset in the South West of England. I have lived in different places in the UK but Dorset will always be home for me. 

When did you start riding?

I started riding when I was 9, which in motocross is actually quite late to start. In my earlier childhood years, my mum dragged me to dance, ballet and horse riding lessons, which I just didn’t really enjoy. Then, one day my Dad took me out on a PW50 and that was it- I was hooked! I actually spent some time away from racing motocross from when I was 13 through to when I was 16/17 as my education was really important to me, but the passion never went away. So, after getting through all my GCSE’s and AS levels, I got a job, got myself a bike again and here I am…11 years later and still racing!

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 23.46.05.png


It must be a pretty awesome job putting together what you love to do in your spare time & your career?! 

People always say to me that I am lucky to work in this industry and I agree- I am! There is hard work that goes on behind the scenes too, people always see the good bits and think that is how your job is all the time but it is like any other job, you have your good days and bad days but the good days do make it all worth it! You know you are onto a good thing when you work with bikes pretty much all day and then still want to ride with your friends and family in your spare time. I just love it! I enjoy meeting and working with interesting people and events on a daily basis and thrown into that, you do get to have some really memorable life experiences- which is really fulfilling!


Who introduced you to dirt riding? /How did you get into racing?

My dad raced when he was younger and he was still doing the odd vets race here and there as I grew up. I think at the point where I was 9 years old, I was the eldest of three girls (my brother came along after that!) so he decided that I would be the one that he introduced to his hobby first. After my taste of motocross on the PW50, he got me a KX60 and stuck me into a local race, I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing and flipped my bike off the start! It didn’t put me off though and we quickly spent almost every weekend at a local practice track which was insanely rough on those little bike wheels. I’m grateful for that time now as it has made me a more technical rider. As my siblings got older, they got into too, so now 3 out of 4 of us ride and my brother works in the industry too as a bike technician – which is very handy when something goes wrong with one of the bikes!


Do you also ride on the road? 

Yes, I do! As I approached 16 I craved freedom away from my parents. I went to a grammar school which was about half an hour away from where I lived and meant all of my friends were further away too. Asking for lifts from my parents all the time just wasn’t an option, so I asked to be put through my CBT on my 16th birthday. I was on the road with that for a couple of years commuting to school and work then just before it ran out, I went on to do my full bike test. I didn’t have a road bike for 6/7 years as I was the only one I knew in my family/friendship group (other than my Dad) that had a licence and after growing up racing with a community, riding on my own just didn’t have the same appeal! Then, last year my brother, sister and a few friends got their licence, I fell in love with an Iron 883 so I bought it and started enjoying riding on the road again. Husqvarna are also really pro-active at letting staff use their bikes so I seem to be riding all the time again now! 



Where would be your dream place to ride off road? 

I have actually been lucky enough to ride there just recently! The Husqvarna Motorcycles 2019 motocross launch was held at Bakers Factory in Florida, (Aldon Baker is a trainer of elite motocross riders and his facility in Florida is classed as 5 stars) so I went out there with the UK motocross press for a few days! Riding there is something many people in motocross dream of, it was a once in a lifetime experience.


Who are your heroes in the motorcycle world?

In my earlier race days, Ashley Fiolek was my heroine. I totally admired her for being a minority in more ways than one in a tough male dominated industry. She is now one of Husqvarna’s brand ambassadors in the US, which is a pretty cool turn of events. My heroine of the moment is Laia Sanz who I think is just an incredible motorcyclist and sports woman! 


What bikes have you had in the past? (Both road & off road)

I have had a fair few over the years, starting at the beginning I have had: KX60, KX80, Yamaha YZ125(x2), KTM SX125(x2), Cagiva Planet 125, Suzuki 250f, KTM SXF250 and I currently have a Harley Davidson Iron 883, Husqvarna FE250F, VItpilen 701 and a Svartpilen 401 (The last two are loan bikes from work and we can choose which ones to ride!)

PHOTO:  @darrenmiller68


What advice would you give to any ladies wanting to start out in Motocross racing? 

I get asked this quite a lot and it is one of those topics that I feel passionately about. I can’t even count on my hands the number of ladies that say to me that they wish they could be brave enough to ‘have a go’ or ‘do what I do’ and my answer is always the same- you can! If you already have bike skill then learning motocross is a little bit easier as you have the balance and gears part down, it is just a question of getting use to the terrain and how you feel on the bike. If you are learning from scratch, I always say do not be scared to ask someone to teach you. I taught my sister how to ride and I am about to teach my sister-in-law. Giving someone the time and the belief that they can do it is half the battle, it is so easy to get disheartened early on as riding well is something that takes time and experience but if you enjoy it, it will come and you would be silly to give up straight away. There are also many riding schools around the UK that charge a small fee for a day of coaching but this is where events like CAMP VC essentially tick all the boxes. They allow women to feel confident and supported without having the fear of being judged or feeling intimidated.


What will you be bringing to site for CAMP VC with Husqvarna this year? 

For CAMP VC we have lined up a selection from our new motocross and enduro range which the ladies will be able to take on track (dependent on experience!) as well as our brand new ‘Real Street’ range which consists of the Vitpilen 701, Vitpilen 401, Svartpilen 401. This will be my first time at an event like this and I can’t wait!





We came, we saw, we rode dirt with some of the UKs best dirt track riders & racers, learned a few MX skills, jumped dirt jumps, camped out , hung out around a bonfire, met old friends & met a few new ones as well, all at the amazing Greenfield Dirt Track facility in Lincolnshire...... This was DIRT CAMP 2018!

Started in 2015 by The Dirt Track Rider Association as an initiative to get more women into flat track & ultimately racing in the DTRA series, DIRT CAMP has now grown into a weekend full of everything from complete learners jumping on a bike for the first time, advice & lessons from some of the UKs leading flat track racers (including the Incredible Leah Tokelove) about how to go fast & turn left, MX skills & enduro riding.




A massive thanks to all the people who work hard to make this event a real highlight of the summer! From the ,DTRA, Greenfield Dirt track (and all who run this incredible grass roots facility), Leah Tokelove & all the instructors who donate their time & bikes to the cause,  and of course the amazing ladies who came along & got dirty with us! 


All photos by  TOM BING






And this is how the pros do it.....

For more images of the event & for info on how to get into flat track go to the DTRA Facebook page & Greenfield Dirt Track & shoot them a follow 








For more news on what we've got line up for this year go to


See you there!