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How to become a Bike Tech?(5 posts)

How to become a Bike Tech?Jim Burton
Jul 9, 2001 2:16 PM
I will be going to graduate school this fall. Could any one tell me how I could become a Bike Tech? I think it would be a great part time/summer job while I am on break from school. I don't believe that a BFA in Art qualifies me to work on bicycles professionally, so how do I do it?
The path lacks glamorSpoke Wrench
Jul 9, 2001 2:28 PM
The trick is to get hired. I look for personal ethics and honesty first, enthusiasm second and mechanical ability third. Think about how you are going to convince someone in a short period of time that you have those three things.

New guys generally start by assembling bikes. I like to start guys working on medium priced bikes first and gradually work up to the cheaper ones that are harder to assemble. There is usually a shop room fight over who gets to build the good stuff.

Repairs are generally quite a bit more difficult than new bike builds. I don't like to have inexperience mechanics work on anything but the simplest repairs. It just takes a lot of experience to learn some of the stuff that causes certain repetitive problems.

Good luck.
More Schoolgrz mnky
Jul 9, 2001 6:44 PM
United Bicycle Institute (UBI) have full blown courses covering all aspects. The disadvantage is the time and expense (it's in Oregon), the advantage is that you get up to speed quickly and avoid some of the LBS Urban Legends about bikes that tend to get passed around. Spending a summer in a shop may not make you a decent tech, but completing some of the courses will.

The other option is to network a bit and pick things up from experienced wrenches/riding buddies. A life long interest in messing around with bikes and a BSME and I'm still learning things. If I wasn't I'd get bored and go do something else. Tonight I'm going to go mess with some chainsaws....

Probably some of the most important qualities are to be curious about how and why things work/don't work; be patient when working on things and learn what is really causing something; and a complete intollerance for things that don't work right. It bugs the crap out of me when something doesn't work the way it is supposed too.
Re: More SchoolJim Burton
Jul 9, 2001 8:13 PM
Do some trade schools offer "Bike Tech" as a course tract? The reason I asked about "Certified Bike Tech" was that the Dallas REI had an ad on the web for a certified tech. Is there such a thing, or is it sort of like being an auto mechanic in that if you can do it, you're certified? (Well, there are certified auto mechanics out there, but probably only 10-20% of them, I would assume.) When a shop needs a certified tech, does shop experience count?
learn by doingHank
Jul 9, 2001 8:43 PM
I worked in shops through high school, college and grad school - I'd say just go get a job. Should be easy enough in the summer if you are somewhat mechanically inclined (bikes get easier to work on every day - well, except for suspension stuff). The worst mechanic I ever hired while working as a service manager had a credential from United Bicycle Institute - what a joke.