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Old 07-23-07, 06:13 PM   #1
WGreenLB
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How to become a Master Mechanic?

I'm curious how somebody earns the title of "Master Mechanic". There is no official certification process in the bicycle industry like there is for Welders, Electricians, Pumbers, Auto-Mechanics, Etc.. But I see on some business cards and read on certain websites about "Jim Jones - Master Mechanic".

Does passing the courses at UBI or Barnett make one a master mechanic?
Because I know several individuals that have completed a course that are not even employed in the bicycle industry, it was just a vacation they took.

Is there a number of years the individual needs to be professionally employed in the industry?
I know a few mechanics with 10+ years in the industry that can't replace a cable in modern grip shift or STi levers.

Is it just the mechanic with the most experience at the shop that is dubbed "Master Mechanic"?

What's the deal?
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Old 07-23-07, 08:04 PM   #2
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Tradition has it go apprentice, journeyman, master. There are a certain number of years spent at each level before moving to the next, with time spent, in the field under a master, being more important than passing a written test.

With bikes it is still that way. I would rather have a guy that has been building trannies for ten years do mine rather than a guy with a certificate from a three day course.

There are some master mechanics out there that would have trouble rebuilding a Fox RLT but can rebuild a Sturmey blindfolded. That does not make them less of a master mechanic, they just come from a different era.

As far as replacing a cable in gripshift goes, I would take the guy that knows how to do one of the old Sram shifters the tri-geeks loved(Back when there were only seven cogs in the back) over the simple install of the present gripshift. Even the sixteen year old partimer(my apprentice) at our shop can swap cables in an STI, or any other current shifter.
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Old 07-24-07, 02:29 AM   #3
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From: http://www.bikewebsite.com/rprper.html

"Although the hierarchies vary from one shop to another, generally the apprentices work entirely under supervision, generally on second-hand bikes owned by the store. Apprentices are moving up when they are asked to do flat tire repairs on customers' bikes without supervision. The intermediate level mechanics work only on assemblies, but as they gain experience are asked to help with simple general repairs on busy days. The regular mechanics work only on repairs for customers. The master mechanics write up service orders, work on racers' bikes, or build frames and specialized bicycles."

According to this, every mechanic at my shop is a master mechanic, and none of them have ever been Apprentices or Journeymen.

My point is that you can literally take anybody with a slight mechanical inclination, throw them into a UBI Professional Repair class for two weeks, and put them to work at a shop. They will be able to handle about 80% of the repairs that come in, and given a few months experience will know enough to handle everything but the most obscure issues.
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Old 07-24-07, 03:04 AM   #4
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http://www.bicycleway.com/Staff.htm

This place boasts 6 "Master Mechanics" with one being listed as only 17 years old, while the others don't look a whole lot older.
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Old 07-24-07, 07:12 AM   #5
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In order for there to be a Master Mechanic designation, we'd need to have a bicycle mechanic's union...and we all know how that turns out.
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Old 07-24-07, 07:29 AM   #6
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I think to be a "master mechanic" you need to have the skills to make something thats broken/almost broken, into something that works decently. There have been several times i would have tossed a part, but my boss/"Master Mechanic" could fix it. (Obvious exceptions would be STI shifters.)

Another thing would be experience
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Old 07-24-07, 07:33 AM   #7
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In order for there to be a Master Mechanic designation, we'd need to have a bicycle mechanic's union...and we all know how that turns out.
LOL... don't even suggest it!
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Old 07-24-07, 10:22 AM   #8
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I think to be a "master mechanic" you need to have the skills to make something thats broken/almost broken, into something that works decently. There have been several times i would have tossed a part, but my boss/"Master Mechanic" could fix it. (Obvious exceptions would be STI shifters.)

Another thing would be experience
STI shifters aren't such an obvious exception; some of us will try (and often succeed at) almost anything!

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