Motorcycle Mechanic

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Motorcycle Mechanic


Not everyone owns a car. Many people own snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and motorcycles to get around. Just like cars, trucks, and buses, these smaller vehicles need constant care.

Motorcycle mechanics are always busy. They diagnose, repair and service the mechanical, electrical and electronic systems and components of motorcycles, and any other vehicle that ways less than 1,000 pounds. They meet with the driver of the vehicle and try to determine what the problem is with the vehicle. They ask questions and physically inspect the motorcycle to determine the nature and extent of damage or malfunction.

After a careful inspection, the mechanic can remove things like engines or transmissions. They repair as much as they can, repair or put in new parts as necessary, and do things like realign brakes, replace shock absorbers, and rewire ignition system, lights, and instrument panels. Some may also mend damaged body and fenders by hammering out or filling in dents and welding broken parts.

Some of the motorcycle mechanic's job is to maintain vehicles. Both the preventative and the restorative treatments are important to maintaining a functioning motorcycle. During routine equipment maintenance, mechanics follow a checklist including the inspection and cleaning of brakes, electrical systems, plugs, carburetors, and other parts. Following inspection, mechanics usually repair or adjust parts that do not work properly, or replace unfixable parts. Routine maintenance is normally a major part of the motorcycle mechanic's work.
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  Interests and Skills  
Successful motorcycle mechanics require good hearing, eyesight and manual dexterity, as well as mechanical aptitude. They are able to work on their own, as well as take suggestions and help from fellow workers. It is important for motorcycle mechanics to be interested in keeping up-to-date with changing technology. These individuals typically enjoy precise work that is varied and challenging. Most are analytical and methodical in their approach to each task they undertake.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Take motorcycle for test ride
  • Read motorcycle manual
  • Meet with client or driver to discuss troubles with motorcycle
  • Adjust, test and repair engines, steering systems, braking systems, drive trains, suspensions and electrical systems
  • Realign wheels
  • Replace damaged materials and mechanisms
  • May work on motorcycle body
  • Perform oil changes, lubrications and tune-ups
  • Advise client or driver on work performed
  • A motorcycle mechanic has a lot of tasks to look after. They spend each day getting messy, using their muscles as well as their minds. They solve difficult as well as obvious problems, ensuring that a vehicle is safe and driveable. They also must communicate clearly to the client about the problems and adjustments made. They work in teams, but may work on certain projects alone. Motorcycle mechanics work in workshops which are usually noisy and dirty, exposed to exhaust and power tools. Most motorcycle mechanics work a 40-hour, five-day week, however, they may have to work some evenings, weekends or holidays, depending on the employer.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Motorcycle mechanics work in automotive repair shops, motorcycle repair shops, service stations, motorcycle manufacturing companies, and from their homes.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Motorcycle mechanics may advance to service manager or shop foreperson positions. They can get into working with other vehicles, such as snowmobiles and forklifts, or they can open their own garages, service stations or automobile performance shops. They can transfer their skills to related occupations such as automotive instructor, motorcycle dealer, agricultural equipment technician or heavy equipment technician.

  Educational Paths  
Motorcycle mechanics receive their training either through informal, on-the-job training or through an apprenticeship program. Trade certification can be obtained either through an apprenticeship program or after several years of work experience. While trade certification is not mandatory in all areas to become a motorcycle mechanic, it can be a requirement for many employers and can also help secure employment.

Apprenticeship programs involve a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. A pre-apprenticeship course may also be available which takes about five to six months to complete at a community college and is designed to help you get connected with a good company to apprentice with. It is important to apprentice with a reputable company as that is your education. While some apprenticeship programs may not require a high school diploma, it is important to note that employers generally prefer to hire high school graduates.

Apprenticeships can vary, however a typical apprenticeship lasts four to five years. The apprenticeship is a paid position, however wages are about 50 percent of what an employer pays the journeyperson, with yearly increases. After successfully completing the apprenticeship requirements, their industry training and apprenticeship office awards the motorcycle mechanic a certificate of completion.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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