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Old 01-20-03, 03:08 PM   #1
mountaindew
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question for all of you that work in a bike shop

i want to be a bike mechanic, i hardly have any skills (i was stoked when i figured out how to true my wheel). how did you gather the skills to work in a bike shop? any suggestions for me?
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Old 01-20-03, 03:15 PM   #2
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I actually got asked to work at the bikeshop. The owner saw potential in me because I had taken apart an expensive fork and took it to his shop to ask about new bushings. He said "have you ever thought about working at a bike shop?" And I was like "yes"....even though in the inside I was saying "OH MY GOD HELL YES". Then he said he would give me a job in the spring (which actually turned out to be right after school got out). Just show them that you wouldnet be afraid to take things apart and stuff......that will help get you a job. Make sure to go in alot too. When the owner of my shop gets a job application, he puts them in a folder and never takes them out again. I didnt have a whole lot of skills when I first started, just show them that you have potential. Good luck!!
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Old 01-20-03, 03:23 PM   #3
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I don't work in a bike shop right now - I hope to this summer. I wouldn't call truing wheels "hardly any skills." I've developed most of my skills just through working on my own bike and on my old mtn bike. If you don't already, get a used bike to work on. This lets you work on a bike without risking wrecking your real ride. And if you screw up big time then, well, you screwed up, and nobody's regular bike is wrecked. I bought a repair manual and just started going through it, picking out intersting things to overhaul and replace on the old bike. When I got that one in good shape, I would get another junker to repair. I've gotten to the point where I do almost all of my maintenence myself. I bought the tools as I went along, because I figured that I would need them for my real bike eventually. Also, some LBS's will allow you to watch what they repair on your bike as they do it if you arrange it ahead of time. repair classes like the Park tool school also help a lot. Good luck!

-Moab
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Old 01-20-03, 03:25 PM   #4
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When I got my first decent mountain bike 2 years ago, I kept "breaking" it and I always had to go in for some "free" work on it. I would end up staying for a few hours and started chatting with the mechanics and the owners. I would ask them intelligent questions and always upgrading my bike. I then decided to memorize every available bike product from the internet and my boss was impressed. After this, he asked me if I wanted a job on sales at the bike shop and I said sure. He also said that while I was on sales he would continue to teach me the mechanics of bikes and everything. 2 years later, I am now overhauling forks (Klein i finally learned), and building wheels.

My advice, go into urr LBS every once in a while and just talk with them or something.
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Old 01-20-03, 04:31 PM   #5
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I then decided to memorize every available bike product from the internet
HOW DID YOU DO THAT? it seems impossible, first of all theres alot of gear on a bike and second of all there are dozens of companies that make those products. did you just memorize the top companies like shimano, sram, etc.?
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Old 01-20-03, 04:39 PM   #6
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HOW DID YOU DO THAT? it seems impossible, first of all theres alot of gear on a bike and second of all there are dozens of companies that make those products. did you just memorize the top companies like shimano, sram, etc.?
Could be some applesauce there.But a place to start is with the QBP catalogue which is the source book for many US bike shops.Anyway why bother to memorize something that is in a book that most bike shops have.And it changes every year too.
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Old 01-20-03, 04:39 PM   #7
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Put it this way, my boss knows most of the parts from the catalogue. He was amazed when I walked in his store. Every other part was this and that. There aren't millions of parts but still I know a good good amount of them. I also know the weights and specifications. It's good to know your product. I hate it when I go to another LBS and the salesperson there has to look at the actual bike to tell me the parts and quality level when with me, I give full eye contact with the customer.
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Old 01-21-03, 09:14 AM   #8
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MountainDew,

I don't work in an LBS but I'd bet if you went to your
LBS, and volunteered to help out, doing anything
(like clean up, gopher etc.) you'd get 2 things out
of it. 1) a good education and 2) a Job.

Just my $.02 worth.
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Old 01-21-03, 12:13 PM   #9
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I started racing BMX when I was 11 or 12. My best friend and I would constantly take apart our bikes to clean them and adjust them to make them "perfect".

A few years later, I was into windsurfing, and went to my local windsurfing shop and asked them for a job. They didn't have anything, so I strolled next door to the bike shop and asked them.

The owner asked me if I knew about bikes, which of course I did. He then asked me if I knew how to rebuild a coaster brake hub. Sure, so I showed him. 20 minutes later, I was employeed. I worked one whole summer maintaining the rental fleet of single speed beach cruisers, doing small repairs and assembling bikes.

You've got to have some basic knowledge, and a desire to work hard and learn more. Be humble, don't act like you know everything, because you don't! Learn how to adjust brakes, rebuild a headset, clean a hub, build a wheel ...etc. A lot has to do with your attitude, and being in the right place at the right time.

I also agree with volunteering some time to get your foot in the door. Ask to take out the garbage, straighten up the sales floor, make sure all the bikes have properly inflated tires, ...etc. If you help out even a couple hours a week, and show the shop you're really interested, they'll do what they can to hire you!

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Old 01-21-03, 12:47 PM   #10
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with me, I give full eye contact with the customer.
Now, that is scary.
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Old 01-21-03, 12:49 PM   #11
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In the other thread that was closed. Pokey made reference to "cobbing". See, you can learn something new everyday! I've been a mechanic for over 18 years and I don't know what that means.

Hey Pokey, what is "Cobbing"?

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Old 01-21-03, 12:56 PM   #12
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Now, that is scary.
How so. I don't know about outside of Canada, but I know in Canada customers like it when the employees actually look at them and pay attention to what they have to say. I of course point to parts on the bike but when being asked general questions like what gruppo does it have or anything I don't have to look away at the bike to try and see.
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Old 01-21-03, 01:16 PM   #13
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Originally posted by a2psyklnut
In the other thread that was closed. Pokey made reference to "cobbing". See, you can learn something new everyday! I've been a mechanic for over 18 years and I don't know what that means.

Hey Pokey, what is "Cobbing"?

L8R
Maybe you have been doing it and just did not know it or use a different term.There is lots of cross compatibility,and things that by the book shouldn't work,but do.Cobbers mix and match with impunity,within certain guidelines of course.Others know only 'by the book', or 'everything has to match'. Most shop guys don't like cobbing on customers bikes,just because of the potential hassle it could involve.....the closest websters gets is..'cobble:to put togerther clumsily:bungle.' Maybe close,but no banana,HaHaha.
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Old 01-21-03, 01:18 PM   #14
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How so. I don't know about outside of Canada, but I know in Canada customers like it when the employees actually look at them and pay attention to what they have to say. I of course point to parts on the bike but when being asked general questions like what gruppo does it have or anything I don't have to look away at the bike to try and see.
I worked with a guy....you could look him in the eye and see the back of his skull.So scary I hate to even think of it.
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Old 01-21-03, 01:22 PM   #15
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OMG, that is freaky!
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Old 01-21-03, 01:41 PM   #16
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as in, "to cobble pieces together to make a complete bike", that? Yeah, I do that all the time.

I thought it might be something like "facing".

L8R
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Old 01-26-03, 09:18 PM   #17
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When I got my job, I just went in, told my boss I knew a bit but not too much. I offered to apprentice until I was able to work without much help and about a month later, I was getting payed.
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