How to get a motorcycle mechanic career

Written by cheryl teal
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A career as a motorcycle mechanic generally starts with a love of motorcycles. Many motorcycle enthusiasts turn their love of riding--and tinkering with their bikes to make them run better--into careers where they can get paid for practicing their hobby. Some motorcycle riders go straight from their home garage to the repair shop while others advance their skills in community colleges and trade schools. It's detailed work that can be challenging because a rider's life may depend on your repair skills.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Motorcycle diver's license
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Tools

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    Basic Motorcycle Knowledge

  1. 1

    Anyone who wants to be a motorcycle mechanic should be passionate about riding motorcycles. He needs to know how to ride one and how it operates. He needs to know the difference between a two-stroke and a four-stroke, a 500cc motorcycle and a 1300cc motorcycle. He should have some knowledge of how to make basic repairs to his bike, and be versed in small engine repairs. He needs a motorcycle driver's license so he can test-ride bikes he's worked on.

  2. 2

    Armed with this basic knowledge, she may be able to get an entry-level job with a motorcycle dealer or repair shop. The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, says motorcycle dealerships prefer mechanical school graduates. However, due to the shortage of trained motorcycle mechanics, shops are taking on employees with limited skills, and then providing them with on-the-job training, including courses offered by manufacturers. If the newbie works for a dealership, she may start out by learning how to put new motorcycles together.

  3. 3

    A basic knowledge of motorcycles also is needed for those who will learn motorcycle repair skills through advanced education. Community colleges frequently offer certificates in motorcycle mechanics. This list includes two of Virginia's community colleges: New River and Southside Virginia.

  4. 4

    Students with thicker wallets may want to study at speciality trade schools, such as the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute, where a core course teaches students everything they need to know about motorcycles. After completing this curriculum, students can take courses relating to specific motorcycle brands such as Harley-Davidson, Yamaha or BMW.

  5. 5

    Mechanics use a variety of hand tools, such as screw drivers and wrenches, which they are expected to buy themselves. Most mechanics purchase these tools as they need them; a basic toolkit will cost around £325, says Experienced mechanics will invest thousands of dollars in their tools. The shop usually provides big items, such as hoists to lift motorcycles and air compressors.

  6. 6

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median wage for motorcycle mechanics is £9.80. Mechanics in big shops or dealerships will earn more money than mechanics in small shops. Some shops pay a flat rate per repair, so a mechanic who works quickly can earn what amounts to a high hourly rate.

  7. 7

    Finding a job as a motorcycle mechanic is like finding any other job: You need a strong resume which highlights your skills. You also need to be flexible geographically. Motorcycle mechanics tend to change jobs frequently, which means they may need to move to another town. Trade schools usually provide job placement assistance, and lucky students may have jobs lined up before they graduate. Another good place to check for mechanic openings is

Tips and warnings

  • Riding a motorcycle to a job interview will make a good impression on the potential employer.
  • A motorcycle mechanic needs to be meticulous because if the repair isn't made properly, a rider could get hurt if the bike fails at a high rate of speed.

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