Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 41
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    128
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    How do you get a job as a bicycle mechanic?

    If you have no professional experience, what's the best way in?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    37,959
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You don't need professional experience to be a bicycle mechanic. From my observations, you don't need much experience with anything. Just go into any shop and ask for a job. If you're 16 and have never seen a bicycle before, you've got the best chance of getting in.

  3. #3
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    My Bikes
    Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX
    Posts
    5,804
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you have a bicycle co-op near you. Go volunteer your time there and become a permanent fixture. Get to know all of the mechanics and leaders of the co-op. Make certain that you are always neat and clean. Always be polite with everyone while there "on-the-job". Read all that you can about bicycles. Know their history, their various styles, and their construction. Know about the big five manufacturers and their history. Make at least one feature about bicycle mechanics, your specialty. For example, if it's brakes, learn all about brakes, cantis, V-brakes, disc brakes, center pulls, dual pivots, single pivot-U's, coasters, etc..Of these, make certain that the latest type (that would be disc brakes, today), is the one you know most about. That will mean that, you will be on the cutting edge of the new know-how. You'll be the go-to guy when that problem comes up and you'll be in demand. Most of the older guys will be reluctant to learn new stuff. But not you, you'll always be on top of the new stuff, because that's how you'll keep your "edge". Make certain that you know all about gears and gear ratios. Make certain that you know all about derailleurs, their differences, and how they all function.
    Make certain that you know all about shifters and how they work.

    Get a beater bike. Strip it and build it up. Do this repeatedly at the Co-op, using their components, until you can practically do it blind-folded. Experiment, by dismantling the headset and try different combinations. Learn how to remove a chain and then install a new one. Of course, one of the first things to learn, is how to change a flat. Try doing it without any tools if you can. Watch many bicycle repair, adjustment, and installation videos from the INTERNET'S Video Search mode box.

    Most bicycle Co-ops have a means by which aspiring bicycle mechanics can enter into the field.

    - Slim

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    128
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the input. I'm definitely not 16 anymore, however.

    I'd like to think I know a fair bit about bicycles, I just have no professional experience. The co-op sounds like a good idea--I'll have to see if there's one around here.

    As far as experience, I've swapped derailleurs, chains, tires, cranksets, chainrings, bottom brackets, shifters, brakes, etc. I've worked on old steelies from the 70's and 80's(cold set a couple frames), single speeds, mountain bikes, and internal gearhub bikes. My weak areas would be wheel building and frame painting/refinishing.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    37,959
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by IntoTheWild View Post
    My weak areas would be wheel building and frame painting/refinishing.
    Ideally you should know how to build a wheel before you get a job as a bicycle mechanic, but I wonder how many actually know how to do that. (You know those jobs don't pay much right ... probably minimum wage).

    But I doubt you'd do much frame painting/refinishing. Those are jobs for people who know what they are doing in that regard. No way I'd ever take a bicycle to any bicycle mechanic for that.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    128
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Eh, who needs money?

  7. #7
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    6,957
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I suggest waiting until January/February and then touching base with your local shops to ask if they need an assembler for the upcoming season. This is the lowest rung on the ladder at most bike shops. You're not expected to build wheels or know the arcane minutae of weird French 10-speeds from the '70s, you just have to be able to assemble and tune current-generation bikes. From there, if you show any sort of aptitude, you're likely to be assigned some repair jobs, as well as accessorizing new bikes that got sold, and as a backup sales guy.

    And down the slippery slope you go It's not a field I'd suggest going into, but that's your call.

  8. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Northern California
    My Bikes
    Raleigh Grand Prix, Giant Innova, Nishiki Sebring, Trek 7.5FX
    Posts
    5,804
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by IntoTheWild View Post
    Thanks for the input. I'm definitely not 16 anymore, however.

    I'd like to think I know a fair bit about bicycles, I just have no professional experience. The co-op sounds like a good idea--I'll have to see if there's one around here.

    As far as experience, I've swapped derailleurs, chains, tires, cranksets, chainrings, bottom brackets, shifters, brakes, etc. I've worked on old steelies from the 70's and 80's(cold set a couple frames), single speeds, mountain bikes, and internal gearhub bikes. My weak areas would be wheel building and frame painting/refinishing.

    IntotheWild!

    I thought I had remembered your explaining mechanical things to people before....

    Why don't you know that you're already a bicycle mechanic?

    All you need to do is apply somewhere!...Hey! Go to a Co-op. Volunteer, hang-out, and get to know all of the folks, as I suggested before. That will be a good place to showcase your mechanical skills and talents. If, need be, brush up on your math skills and gear ratios.

    Focus on getting along with everyone, making friendly associates, and group cooperation. Getting along with everyone will be key. Let them see how friendly, personable, and knowledgeable you are. After a period of time (say like six months), you should feel confident about asking one of the head mechanics of note and perhaps one of the directors, to each write you a letter of recommendation. They will then draw upon what good things they've personally observed about you and commit these things to print. You will then use these letters as leverage for bicycle mechanic employment. Always be on your relaxed P's and Q's at the co-op...

    - Slim

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    128
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    I suggest waiting until January/February and then touching base with your local shops to ask if they need an assembler for the upcoming season. This is the lowest rung on the ladder at most bike shops. You're not expected to build wheels or know the arcane minutae of weird French 10-speeds from the '70s, you just have to be able to assemble and tune current-generation bikes. From there, if you show any sort of aptitude, you're likely to be assigned some repair jobs, as well as accessorizing new bikes that got sold, and as a backup sales guy.

    And down the slippery slope you go It's not a field I'd suggest going into, but that's your call.
    Sounds like a plan--January would be a good time frame. Why would you say not to get into it?

    I think I'd like to have my own bicycle shop one day. I really admire Sheldon Brown and all that he contributed to the knowledgebase of bicycle mechanics. If I could have a small shop and make my own contributions, I believe it would be very satisfying.

    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    IntotheWild!

    I thought I had remembered your explaining mechanical things to people before....

    Why don't you know that you're already a bicycle mechanic?

    All you need to do is apply somewhere!...Hey! Go to a Co-op. Volunteer, hang-out, and get to know all of the folks, as I suggested before. That will be a good place to showcase your mechanical skills and talents. If, need be, brush up on your math skills and gear ratios.

    Focus on getting along with everyone, making friendly associates, and group cooperation. Getting along with everyone will be key. Let them see how friendly, personable, and knowledgeable you are. After a period of time (say like six months), you should feel confident about asking one of the head mechanics of note and perhaps one of the directors, to each write you a letter of recommendation. They will then draw upon what good things they've personally observed about you and commit these things to print. You will then use these letters as leverage for bicycle mechanic employment. Always be on your relaxed P's and Q's at the co-op...

    - Slim
    Yeah, I'm not sure if there's a co-op in this po-dunk town, but I'll look around. In any case, I won't be here forever. As for math skills, I've got a degree in math so those aren't bad =)

  10. #10
    Pokemon Master Darth_Firebolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Arkansas
    My Bikes
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er, 2008 Specialized Hardrock Sport, 2010 Redline Pro 24
    Posts
    794
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    you can already do anything that a mechanic (not manager or head mechanic) can be expected to know how to do. everything else you can google and learn on the fly.

  11. #11
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    YEG
    My Bikes
    See my sig...
    Posts
    25,743
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    You don't need professional experience to be a bicycle mechanic. From my observations, you don't need much experience with anything.
    So anyone can just step into a shop environment with no experience and do satisfactory work ?

  12. #12
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    YEG
    My Bikes
    See my sig...
    Posts
    25,743
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Darth_Firebolt View Post
    you can already do anything that a mechanic (not manager or head mechanic) can be expected to know how to do. everything else you can google and learn on the fly.
    If you wanted to come and work for me this would not cut it.

    It takes years to become a competent mechanic and by competent I mean that one does not have to look up everything and if you are going to work on the fly you better know what you are doing backwards and forwards.

    You can make mistakes on your own bikes and it only costs you... in a shop it costs the shop, the customer, and too many on the fly mistakes will cost a person their job.

  13. #13
    Pokemon Master Darth_Firebolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Arkansas
    My Bikes
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er, 2008 Specialized Hardrock Sport, 2010 Redline Pro 24
    Posts
    794
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    If you wanted to come and work for me this would not cut it.

    It takes years to become a competent mechanic and by competent I mean that one does not have to look up everything and if you are going to work on the fly you better know what you are doing backwards and forwards.

    You can make mistakes on your own bikes and it only costs you... in a shop it costs the shop, the customer, and too many on the fly mistakes will cost a person their job.
    it does take years to become a competent mechanic. 11 years with tools in your hands working on things wayyy more complicated than any bicycle that has your life depending on it will turn you into a good one or a dead one.
    i've been a mechanic of many things longer than i have not been. including bicycles. and motorcycles. and automobiles. and boats. and heavy equipment. it's not some mystical cult that only those who have dedicated their lives to memorizing the specs of an italian bottom bracket can be members of. anyone with a decent mechanical intuition and slight attention to detail can become a bicycle mechanic. guess what the guys working on cars/ airplanes/ tanks/ nuclear reactors do? LOOK AT A MANUAL! gasp! it's not a sign of incompetence.
    of course you have to know basic things. every now and then you get some nutjob reverse threaded reverse drive freewheel off a motorized bike that has no indentations to fit a removal tool in, and you have to take to the internet. only the internet tells you what you originally thought: there really isn't a nondestructive way to get the thing off. little things like that that pop up maybe once every other year.

    stand down.

  14. #14
    Banned.
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    My Bikes
    carbon road bike,mtb bike
    Posts
    86
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    in my opinion,no matter you are a skill worker or just a seller,the knowledge about the line you need to aware,so that you can do your good job.are you finding job now and want to enter the bike line.

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    37,959
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    So anyone can just step into a shop environment with no experience and do satisfactory work ?
    No. And that's exactly my point.

    I've yet to find a satisfactory mechanic in a bicycle shop.

    Anyone can just step into a shop environment with no experience ... and call themselves a bicycle mechanic ... and do the usual lousy job on people's bicycles I've come to expect of bicycle shops.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Central Valley, CA
    Posts
    99
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Selling a skill is a good idea. My LBS has said they'll hire anyone if they can build a good wheel. Get a truing stand and practice away!

  17. #17
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    YEG
    My Bikes
    See my sig...
    Posts
    25,743
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    No. And that's exactly my point.

    I've yet to find a satisfactory mechanic in a bicycle shop.

    Anyone can just step into a shop environment with no experience ... and call themselves a bicycle mechanic ... and do the usual lousy job on people's bicycles I've come to expect of bicycle shops.
    Did you not stop by my shop once ?


  18. #18
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    6,957
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Why would you say not to get into it?
    Haha, where to start... chronic exposure to carcinogens, seasonal hiring/layoffs, half the LBSes I've worked in have gone under (and not because of me!), working with people who aren't reliable teammates, low pay generally, skimpy or non-existent benefits/retirement... wow, what a future. I'll be lucky if I just die quickly and affordably someday.

    I think I'd like to have my own bicycle shop one day.
    It'll be a monkey on your back. I'm serious. At least if you just work there, you can lay it all down at the end of the day and go home. If you want to do it, take a long, hard, non-idealistic look at the overhead and margins, hiring/retaining/laying-off workers as the season waxes and wanes, hiring a bookkeeper, tax paperwork, all that ugly stuff under the hood.

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    37,959
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Did you not stop by my shop once ?

    Yes ... but not for mechanic work. Just to see the place (it sounded interesting, and was) and to meet you.

    There probably are some decent bicycle shop mechanics out there ... they are just few and far between.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    37,959
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Anyway ... if you want to get a job as a rare good (or at least satisfactory) bicycle mechanic ... take a course or two.

    One of the shops in Winnipeg offers this course, which would be a good place to start:
    http://bikesandbeyond.ca/articles/ad...urse-pg101.htm

    I wanted to take it back in 2004, but it just didn't work out, and I regret that. If I had a chance to take something like that again, I would ... not so I could work in a shop, but so that I could do more of my own repairs. However, for you, a course like this would give you a good overview and good basis from which you could build.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    128
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've been thinking of taking one particular wheel building course

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    37,959
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by IntoTheWild View Post
    I've been thinking of taking one particular wheel building course
    If this is something you really want to do, and you want to be a great bicycle mechanic ... do that, but do more than that. Don't depend on what you currently think you know and your current level of experience. There are way too many mediocre and bad mechanics out there.

    What can happen sometimes is that mechanics will know a couple things they can try to solve a particular problem, and if those things don't work, they shrug their shoulders and give up. But there may be several other solutions they could try if they knew about them.

    Courses might also give you a little more finesse with your mechanical skills. Could you currently repair a tricky problem on a $5000 bicycle in front of the customer ... without giving them a heart attack?

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    128
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Could you currently repair a tricky problem on a $5000 bicycle in front of the customer ... without giving them a heart attack?
    I don't know. Does Sheldon Brown have an article on "tricky problems on $5000 bicycles"? If not, I'm probably out of luck. Most everything I know is from that man, the Jesus of Cycling.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    37,959
    Mentioned
    19 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by IntoTheWild View Post
    I don't know. Does Sheldon Brown have an article on "tricky problems on $5000 bicycles"? If not, I'm probably out of luck. Most everything I know is from that man, the Jesus of Cycling.
    Then you really do need to get more education and experience!! Depending on the bicycle shop, of course, you could encounter a lot of very expensive bicycles. Have you worked on brand new road bicycles? If not, then that's a huge area of weakness.

    Check out this site for some courses which might be in your area (Park Tool):
    http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help
    And the book is apparently a good one too.

    Or try this one (Barnett Bicycle Institute):
    http://www.bbinstitute.com/index.php

    And there are others.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    128
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yeah, I agree. I'll probably start with a course in wheel building, though. One day if I do open my own shop, I'd like to specialize in wheel building, touring bikes, single speed bikes, mountain bikes, freeride/dh bikes, and unicycles. I figure there are already enough shops out there that cater to road cyclists. But I do agree, I should learn about every area.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •