Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Experiences in classes at UBI and Barnett.

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Experiences in classes at UBI and Barnett.

Old 04-21-11, 08:28 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Eclectus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,875

Bikes: Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpy, Schwinn 974

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Experiences in classes at UBI and Barnett.

I'm thinking of taking the professional repair and shop operation class at UBI. Colorado is closer, so Barnett's Bicycle Repair and Overhaul would be another option. They both offer additional classes and certification I and II testing. I'm not interested in a mechanic job, but I like doing my own work, and would like to learn how the real pros do things.
Eclectus is offline  
Old 04-21-11, 08:44 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Jed19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,224
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
I don't think you can go wrong with either of them.
Jed19 is offline  
Old 04-21-11, 10:00 PM
  #3  
cab horn
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 28,353

Bikes: 1987 Bianchi Campione

Likes: 0
Liked 28 Times in 20 Posts
None of those schools tell you how 'real pros' do their job. You can really only learn that under experienced wrenches, in a real shop environment where you make your living on fixing peoples ****ty bikes.

Barnetts teaches you some ridiculously wrong things and procedures that take you 30 hours. The theory on how specific parts work and wear is useful from barnetts. You can easily just order the manual yourself and self teach.

Neither of those qualifications counts for anything in a real shop.
operator is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 12:12 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,175
Liked 86 Times in 76 Posts
I have not gone to either place, but have met or worked with mechanics that have gone to both. So take this as second hand information, except for the reference to the Barnetts manual as I have it and have read it.

Barnetts is a little weird, just go on the website and look at what they test you on for the certificate. Or download and read some of the manual. It's very overly technical, some of it is very helpful and some is just impractical.

UBI seems much more real world. If I recall they will let you opt out of being tested and just take the course for fun. UBI also offers the opportunity to buy tools at a discount when you attend, a big plus if you want to do your own work.

If you just want to learn for yourself either will teach you plenty.
wesmamyke is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 07:01 AM
  #5  
Bicycle Repairman
 
kingsting's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: The Land of Three Mile Island
Posts: 685

Bikes: Many

Liked 32 Times in 18 Posts
Both sound way overkill for someone that wants to work on their own stuff. You'll learn far more by befriending a mechanic in your LBS and seeing how things work in the real world of bicycles.

I worked with a guy that went through Barnetts. He could adjust a Dura Ace hub or a Campy derailleur like nobody's business but how much of that stuff do you see in a small town shop? Give him a Huffy White Heat to tune up or a crusty three speed with a Sturmey Archer AW and he was lost.
kingsting is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 08:08 AM
  #6  
Slow mechanic
 
ryker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Calgary
Posts: 237
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I took pro mechanics at UBI and opted out of the certification day. I took two weeks off work for the class so I really wanted a long weekend at the end to check out Oregon and recharge. I don't think they liked me skipping the certification but there was no drama either. (I'm not in the bike industry and I think little of certifications in my own industry.)

My goal was to be as capable as possible for self-rescue on middle-of-nowhere cycle tours. That goal was achieved. The UBI class was expensive but I think it was a reasonable financial decision given my family's rotating fleet of 7-10 bikes and the cost of labour at the LBS. It's also a lot more convenient to work on bikes at home instead of travelling to/from the LBS and putting up with peak season wait times.

I agree with operator that there is no substitute for experiential learning. But I will also point out that UBI classes feature a ton of hands-on practice under the supervision of master teachers, which I found to be fantastic groundwork for the learning I continued to do. I don't think working in a shop or befriending a local mechanic can compare to the time-efficiency of a place like UBI. (And let's face it, there are quite a few jokers working as pro mechanics and how many of the good ones have great teaching skills.)
ryker is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 10:08 AM
  #7  
commuter
 
TimeTravel_0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 536
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I would choose UBI over Barnetts for the same reasons expressed in this thread.

I would not expect to an instant job if you graduate; shops want experience not a certificate.
If you're looking for a solid foundation, UBI can provide that.

Are there any bicycle co-ops in your area that have classes?
TimeTravel_0 is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 10:38 AM
  #8  
29er Rider
 
MNRon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Central Minnesota
Posts: 169

Bikes: Gary Fisher ARC Pro, Cannondale Caffein 29er Lefty hardtail, building a Kona Major One, Custom steel frame from early 80's with Campy Nuovo Record

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I attended Barnett and was happy with what I was taught. (By the way, the tool discount applies there as well, and I used it!) You won't come out of there ready to work in a regular shop at full speed, but you will have a head start and you will feel very comfortable working on your own stuff. I've heard of things being taught at UBI that I didn't agree with, and I know that Barnett teaches a lot of theory which some don't buy into. The point is that the bicycle, although a simple machine in theory, is NOT a simple machine in practice.

I would say that either is good, but I went to Barnett based on location and that I could drive there. I met some great folks, a couple of who have opened their own shops, or already owned their own stores.

Oh, and being the in the Colorado Rockies.... YEAH!
MNRon is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 10:45 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
autonoz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 116
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Does anyone have the Barnett Manual and is it worth the price? The CD is 140.00 and the sample chapters look pretty interesting.
autonoz is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 11:25 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
bikeman715's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Salinas , Ca.
Posts: 2,646

Bikes: Bike Nashbar AL-1 ,Raligh M50 , Schwinn Traveler , and others

Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Yes I have one and it is good and is worth the price. Having the disc or the program on a computer make it easier read and move though the book.
bikeman715 is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 05:06 PM
  #11  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Eclectus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,875

Bikes: Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpy, Schwinn 974

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thank you one and all for your responses! From different perspectives, you provided excellent insights.

I wish we had a co-op, no. Hmm, I might start one. The UBI brags about faculty with race-team, factory experience. But if it's fact, it's not really bragging, just showing where they come from. I would take the cert exam, even though not necessary, to determine what areas I got down, and what I need to work more on.

A serious student with prior experience, can learn A LOT in an intensive teaching situation in a relatively short time. After class, you can pick people's brains. In a shop setting, lessons take much longer, because the owner/head mechanic is trying to fit you into easier/more routine stuff that is profitable charge/labor time for you to do as a novice, no reason to accelerate you to advanced stuff, because you are going to be slow (lower profit for extra time you take), you will make mistakes without total supervision, so it's just easier/more profitable for the master to do it. If you can afford to work for free (equivalent of an intern in corporate world), you can do some easy stuff and generate profit, but also insist on watching the master do some advanced stuff, harder to do if you are being paid in a short time.

I'm not a blank-brained novice. I started out that way, but I've learned over the last 20 years.

I've installed new forks, cleaned and regreased headsets, taken apart and rebuilt one suspension fork (simple coil spring and elastomers), changed a 7-speed cassette to 8 speeds (from a disassemblable 9-speed Miche cassette, removing a cog, matches with a DA 9-speed shifter, converting 7-speed down-tube to 8-speed bar-end shifters (for aerobars) on an old alu frame too narrow to take a modern cassette, and frame not "spreadable" like steel, per reading Sheldon Brown, worked great.) I've converted a drop bar set-up to a flat-bar with am old MTB shifter, friction, everybody loves riding it on the bike path. I could index it, but there's lessons in learning to "feel the shift".

I've fixed broken spokes, trued a crash-bent (not tacoed) rim w/o a truing stand, on the bike upside down on the floor using brake pads as guides, gradually tightening the barrel adjusters, and selectively tightening the spokes to run with no rubs at really close spacing. How close tolerances did I achieve? I dunno. I slipped typing paper under one pad, then the other, till I got free spin on both sides. Was any rim wobble visible on hand spinning? No. This was a crash that took out the rim brake unit. (Bent bar needed replacement.) Couldn't ride it home, even releasing the brake. The whole thing was badly mangled. But I fixed it to rode like new.

I've switched over MTB forks/front wheels from first-gen-suspension with rim-brakes to modern discs, worked great, changed chain rings (bio-pace anyone), RD, stems, bars and saddles, and adjusted them to fit me. When I crashed and broke my wrist, I changed my MTB over to a no-pressure BMX-rise bar (with new longer cables and housing) for several months.

I want to be able to properly service bottom brackets and hubs, do new ones, and build my own wheels. Which I could conceivably do without a class, but it would be nice to talk to people who have done this kind of thing a lot. Not available here in my town. Also learn more about suspension fork servicing and rebuilds.

My nearest LBS, have they ever built a wheel from scratch? Maybe, maybe not. (I splurged and got a TS-2 and dial gauges, after using the brake-pad on the bike to true perfectly, I'd really like to do some wheel-building.)

I know for a fact that nobody in this town advertises custom frame-up bike builds, if they have done them, it might be like a few in 20 years, but I really doubt they have done any. I asked about doing one, and they said, "You can get a much better price on a factory-built bike," rather than, "Sure, we love building bikes for customers who want them."

I test-rode a Cervelo with DA at my nearest LBS, which I paid for (two day rental-demo), and the RD was out of adjustment (two shifts larger cogs, one shift smaller cog to get one-cog larger). When I brought it back after a 30-mi ride (it didn't take me a weekend to figure out it wasn't happening) they said, "We can fix that," but why didn't they have it tuned in the first place? I could have run by the house and corrected it myself. They have 1-2 DA bikes in stock at any given time, no Campy, no Red (in 09 after this bad test ride, when I went out of town to get a frame-build-up Cervo, which was perfect, my LBS had 2 Rivals, no Force even), the vast majority of their stock was/is $400-700 family-biking hybrids.

So that's part of why I want to study under people who have high-performance cycle-repair experience, and love teaching what they know. Also, getting out of Kansas in late July to either Colo or Oregon is darned attractive in its own right.

I think I'll go with UBI. I used to live in the Rogue Valley in the 80s. Awesome summers and things to do.

Thanks again, all of you for your experiential insights.
Eclectus is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 06:02 PM
  #12  
Slow mechanic
 
ryker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Calgary
Posts: 237
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I was very similar to you: I had assembled bikes from scratch and had read a few reputable repair books before attending UBI. I already knew a ton of the lecture material from my reading but the hands-on is where it really delivered. I was looking for someone to teach me the "feel" of different operations that I already "knew" in my head if that makes any sense. In the two years that followed I built a handful of bikes, performed countless repairs/upgrades and built half a dozen (excellent!) wheels. Beyond the regular 80 course hours the UBI workshop stays open to let you catch up on assignments, re-do exercises for experience or work on your own projects. An instructor is present for questions and help during these extra hours. I learned a lot in these extra sessions so find some way to take advantage if you can.
ryker is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 06:36 PM
  #13  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Eclectus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,875

Bikes: Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpy, Schwinn 974

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think instructors who spend after-hours time to connect with students who want to know stuff is awesome. "I taught you stuff in class, I'm off duty now," does not appeal to me. All great teachers extend themselves, sans payment, they're willing to give their "pearls" away to students who are willing to invest their extra time to learn.
Eclectus is offline  
Old 04-22-11, 06:45 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: boston, ma
Posts: 2,896
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by kingsting
Both sound way overkill for someone that wants to work on their own stuff. You'll learn far more by befriending a mechanic in your LBS and seeing how things work in the real world of bicycles.

I worked with a guy that went through Barnetts. He could adjust a Dura Ace hub or a Campy derailleur like nobody's business but how much of that stuff do you see in a small town shop? Give him a Huffy White Heat to tune up or a crusty three speed with a Sturmey Archer AW and he was lost.
yup, give a newbie a pile of crap and you see them sweating. experience comes to play with the pile of junk. you have to know what to expect and how well it can be adjusted.
reptilezs is offline  
Old 04-25-11, 08:17 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Eclectus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,875

Bikes: Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpy, Schwinn 974

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I thought LBS's hated to work on Huffys and other "POC" bike brands not sold by LBSs.

No 10-day class, even with after-hours work, can take the place of apprenticing in a good shop.

And there's all kinds of resources ranging from manuals to Parktool website to youtube videos.

But, it's still nice to go to a place where you have several highly experienced instructors, and you can see different ways they do things, and ask questions.

At a shop, you can be limited as an apprentice by a crotchety old guy who has, over his career, developed one way of doing every repair, which is the most efficient for him, and that is all he will teach because, to his way of thinking, it is "the best" method. Which in many cases, most everybody would agree with, but maybe not in other cases.

A shop apprenticeship may be limiting in other ways. My LBS didn't want to talk about doing a frame-up build. They really tried to push factory-build. They have a successful business model. They couldn't build enough bikes to develop efficiencies, and the owner just doesn't have an interest in building an occasional bike for "the fun of it", for the artist/artisan satisfaction of creating things. I'm sure the shop has had apprentices who would have enjoyed building bikes, but that wasn't in the shop's lesson portfolio.

If you see different master-mechanics using different approaches, you can get a feel for "why" the different methods work, which takes the subject of mechanics from a repetitive-routine training experience, to a more thinking-about-the-nature-of-the-problem experience. You can't graduate after 10 days as an expert mechanic, but most students already come with substantial experience--many of them work in LBSs already--and want to learn additional things. Some of them may even work for shop owners who would like them to bring back some new techniques.

UBI has a long history of teaching frame-building classes, brazing, TIG welding, cromoly, alu, titanium. That tells you, they're not just teaching basic repair mechanics, they love creating stuff, and teaching interested people how to also create stuff. I think that's really cool.

Ashland has long been a hippy, counterculture, arts/artisanal-crafts place. It's a magnet for people who like to do and share interesting things.

Last edited by Eclectus; 04-26-11 at 09:23 PM.
Eclectus is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
City Guy
Bicycle Mechanics
6
01-27-19 05:14 PM
Bikeadventure
Bicycle Mechanics
17
01-11-19 04:59 PM
juniorcat
General Cycling Discussion
28
12-02-12 09:01 AM
swapmeet
Bicycle Mechanics
6
09-21-10 07:45 AM
slipknot0129
Bicycle Mechanics
14
07-28-10 10:28 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.