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  1. #1
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    Which school offers better curriculum?

    A friend of mine wants to become a bike mechanic and he is deciding between UBI (United Bicycle Institute) and Barnett Bicycle Institute. Which school is better (in terms of how much you learn and job opportunities)?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.

  2. #2
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Tell your friend to go to a real school and make something of himself. There's no money in wrenching for a shop.

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    Would seem there is some truth in that statement
    LBS had THREE employees leave for other job fields recently, seems strange as he has about 500K$ inventory on the floor and hanging from the ceiling

  4. #4
    Science Fanboy KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Tell your friend to go to a real school and make something of himself. There's no money in wrenching for a shop.
    That's a little harsh. I know UBI has frame building classes, which strike me as an excellent small business opportunity, due to the niche market for lugged/custom/specialty bikes that'll never go away. I think with any business sense you could make a go of it. LBS wrench is probably not something to aspire to, unless you eventually want to own your own. I may just be thinking about relocating to Oregon and taking that framebuilding class myself. I look at some of the scars I have from welding overhead, and then I look at a company like Vanilla and think "That could not possibly be THAT hard to learn,lugging a steel frame, and look how much he's probably pulling in."
    My point is, I think there are lots of opportunities in the bicycle industry, you just have to be smart and know a dead-end job when you see one!
    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Hitchens
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  5. #5
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Why go to school for bicycles? I dont get it, these are not super complicated machines. Learn it yourself

  6. #6
    Listen to me powers2b's Avatar
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    Get involved in a local bike co-op.
    Ours gives 'Park' classes and we have thousands of bikes to practice on.
    Enjoy

  7. #7
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2
    Why go to school for bicycles? I dont get it, these are not super complicated machines. Learn it yourself

    You might be surprised at what you do learn. The majority of experienced bike mechanics that go to BBI come away with high praise. Formal training is a prerequisite in many shops and highly desirable in any prospective employee. In my case I had to have it for product liability insurance.
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  8. #8
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Tell your friend to go to a real school and make something of himself. There's no money in wrenching for a shop.
    What do you suggest? $200k in educational cost for 12 to 14 yrs of post high school training to become a medical specialist. Maybe 4 to 6 yrs and 60K for an entry job as an elementary school teacher?
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  9. #9
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaileen
    A friend of mine wants to become a bike mechanic and he is deciding between UBI (United Bicycle Institute) and Barnett Bicycle Institute. Which school is better (in terms of how much you learn and job opportunities)?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
    I understand they are both excellent and both are offer highly desirable formal training at reasonable cost and within a fairly time limited period.
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  10. #10
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Tell your friend to go to a real school and make something of himself. There's no money in wrenching for a shop.
    I might add that I pay my consultant bicycle mechanic 25 dollars per hour. I felt he was worth in large part due to the fact that he has the full set of credentials from Barnett's in Colorado.

    I think it is sad that you belittle professional bike mechanics especially in a Bicycle Mechanics forum.
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  11. #11
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpflem
    I might add that I pay my consultant bicycle mechanic 25 dollars per hour. I felt he was worth in large part due to the fact that he has the full set of credentials from Barnett's in Colorado.

    I think it is sad that you belittle professional bike mechanics especially in a Bicycle Mechanics forum.
    Hey nugget I AM a bike mechanic. So I think I know what the heck I'm talking about. As far as you paying your guy $25 an hour do you also pay for his health insurance? How about his retirement?
    Quote Originally Posted by wpflem
    What do you suggest? $200k in educational cost for 12 to 14 yrs of post high school training to become a medical specialist. Maybe 4 to 6 yrs and 60K for an entry job as an elementary school teacher?
    As if those are BAD career fields? You make it sound like there's TONS of jobs availiable in wrenching - there's not.

  12. #12
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpflem
    What do you suggest? $200k in educational cost for 12 to 14 yrs of post high school training to become a medical specialist. Maybe 4 to 6 yrs and 60K for an entry job as an elementary school teacher?
    Or pay $xxxxxx to get paid $25,000 a year for the rest of your life with no job security or advancement?
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  13. #13
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    kaileen, either UBI or BBI will do an excellent job of preparing your friend to be a bike mechanic. Like many trades/crafts there is a bit of an apprenticeship period and the best chance for employment seems to be in larger metropolitan areas with year round cycling seasons (A good-sized college or university in the vicinty is a plus). The pay isn't much to start with but it's possible to ultimately earn a living wage.

    The bike mechanic profession makes a great second job or is ideal summer work for a teacher (Many shops in resort locations hire seasonal mechanics). It sounds corny but wrenching on bikes is as much a labor of love as it is a job. If nothing else, attending UBI or BBI and investing in a team mechanic tool set will allow your friend to professionally service & maintain his/her bikes, which might be reward enough.

    One thing's for sure, it'll put him head & shoulders above a great majority of the rubes on this forum.

  14. #14
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Raiyn][color=blue]Hey nugget I AM a bike mechanic. So I think I know what the heck I'm talking about...


    You can be unhappy in any profession.
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  15. #15
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travelinguyrt
    Would seem there is some truth in that statement
    LBS had THREE employees leave for other job fields recently, seems strange as he has about 500K$ inventory on the floor and hanging from the ceiling
    The inventory is likely dragging him down. Remember his bank probably owns most of his inventory. It's most likely costing him 3,000 per month just to hold the inventory. With intense internet and box store competition along with seasonal slumps, it's very tough for a LBS to survive.
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  16. #16
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    You should not belittle what someone wants to do. If the person is really interested in working in bikes then they should go for it. There will always be bikes and the possiblity of being retrenched with nothing else is lower than in many other areas. Ok with internet ordering etc it is tougher on LBS. But there is a good hard core of people who do not want to do their own maintenance.
    Again I would not knock someone who wants to do things properly and learn how to be really good at what they do. Local LBS near work here does not llike hub gears because you cannot see what is going on. He also does not do punctures. I think that it is good that he is looking at doing such a course, he might be more open minded than the poor sod in local LBS

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    He also does not do punctures
    Do you mean he doesn't fix flats?

  18. #18
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    Exactly, he sold me a tube and I went outside on the pavement and fixed it there. May the sun always shine for him

  19. #19
    addicted to coffee velotimbe's Avatar
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    Well I am not sure what stick is up Raiyn's butt, but there is plenty of room to move around in the bike world.

    Most guys start out in the shops, as I did at age 16. You gain experience through working, and bicycle school is always a plus. Wrenching is a great job if you are single and without grown-up expenses, and I am forever grateful for my 8 years in the shops.

    Once you gain the needed time and experience within the industry, many shoppies move up to customer service or similar for bike brands. Many locals here go to either Trek or QBP when they need to advance in the career. And from there you can move up in your respective company, to someday every bike man's dream of outside sales. I think there is plenty of respect and advancement available in the cycling industry, you just have to know how to look for it.

    I have since moved on to another field, outdoor ed, so I have gone to grad school, etc. and am looking in other industries for jobs, but the one thing that has helped me along is my shop experience because if all else fails, you can always go work for a shop, and I am currently keeping customer service for a supplier or manufacturer in the back of my mind if my current outdoor ed pursuits dont work out.

    Raiyn- I read another thread of yours where you accused another member of "misinformation and trolling". It seems to me that you seem to be doing exactly that, and maybe you should speak higher of your profession if in fact you are a mechanic, but some other posts of yours have me doubting that fact. You also seem to have a trait termed "personality projection", whereas a person that does not like a certain trait about themselves picks it out in others and exploits the weakness in the other. (I was B.A. Psychology......)

    Anyway, the bike industry is a great place to be. The money isnt good, but in any profession where you get to have fun all day, you arent gonna make much. In fact, the bike industry is actually better paying than the outdoor ed industry, but hell, its all getting paid to play with toys right?
    gunnarroadiesurlylonghaultruckergiantcypressstgunnarruffiantrekfuel90

  20. #20
    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    Just make sure that you friend knows what he is getting into. That goes for any profession. What is the cost of proper training? How much time needs to be invested? Are there any jobs out there? What do they pay? Is there room for advancement? Etc.

    I have looked at several different things along the way. But, when I really research something, there are often some real eye openers. Low salary, bad work conditions, can't make a real living, dying industry, not enough return on the education cost / time investment, whatever. Get your facts down with REAL research. And unfortunately, internet forums are just opinions, NOT hard core facts.

    Find out what entry level mechanics make. And, more importantly, look at potential. Velotimbe is a good example of where something can lead. (Is that typical? Or is he one in a million?) I found that different avenues of the same industry can be the differance between scratching by and doing very well.

  21. #21
    dbg
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    I really think you can learn it yourself if you are motivated and handy. My approach was to buy the BBI manuals, buy a bunch of "grab-bag" bike stuff on ebay, and then experiment with everything. It was probably a lot cheaper than bike mechanics school. And if you're not motivated and not handy, I doubt the school will help much.

    I took the same approach when I used to build golf clubs. Eventually I could have taught most of those club-building classes.

  22. #22
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velotimbe
    You also seem to have a trait termed "personality projection", whereas a person that does not like a certain trait about themselves picks it out in others and exploits the weakness in the other. (I was B.A. Psychology......)
    More like BS. You aren't qualified to make any assesments of my mental health based off of something you read online, much less with a Bachelors degree.
    Quote Originally Posted by velotimbe
    The money isnt good, but in any profession where you get to have fun all day, you arent gonna make much.
    The point I'm trying to make is precisely what you yourself have just stated. The money isn't good, and the benefits (beyond working with bikes) are extremely few.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    [color=blue]Hey nugget I AM a bike mechanic. So I think I know what the heck I'm talking about.
    Oh yeah? Tell us again about all rear derailers being the same with respect to throw ratio and intercompatibility.

  24. #24
    addicted to coffee velotimbe's Avatar
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    Raiyn-

    I may not be qualified to make judgements on your mental state with a Bachelors degree, but then again it said "was" B.A...... Im a little higher than that now bud.

    Keep up the good work by the way, you make me laugh.
    gunnarroadiesurlylonghaultruckergiantcypressstgunnarruffiantrekfuel90

  25. #25
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    No more insults guys. What raiyn said isn't that far off for almost everyone in the 'shop' side of the industry. No need to chase/harrass him around with a past mistake constantly, we all make them unless you guys are cut from a different cloth than me

    Cheers

    Maelstrom
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