Are you interested in finding out what motorcycle mechanics do? Maybe you are interested in how much the median salary is or what the kind of certifications are out there. Let’s take a closer look at a career as a motorcycle technician and what you can expect if you become one.
Most motorcycle mechanics start out young by fixing mopeds or dirt bikes at home. Sooner or later, they get the itch to make it a career. Not everyone can be a motorcycle mechanic since it takes a bit of hard work, sweat and some know-how to make today’s bikes run faster and smoother than ever. Do you think you have what it takes?
If you love to work on your bike or just want to learn what it takes to have a great career as a motorcycle mechanic, then you will love what we have to offer. This page was created so that anyone could quickly find out information about a career in motorcycle mechanics. We will cover what the job entails along with other areas of information that can help you better understand this career choice.
If you feel we missed an important area or have any questions, please feel free to contact us via email.
What are Motorcycle Mechanics?
Sometimes they go by the name motorcycle technicians and sometimes they are called small engine mechanics, no matter the title given the job is basically the same. Motorcycle mechanics specialize in working, repairing and maintaining motorized two and three wheeled vehicles like scooters, ATVs, dirt bikes and, of course, motorcycles. Just like auto mechanics, those who work as motorcycle mechanics are basically the physician for motorcycles.
Motorcycle technicians do everything from routine maintenance to complete overhauls of engines. This is the person that you will take your bike to if hear some strange noise or something isn’t working just right. Or maybe you want to do some modifications to your ride, then you would once again turn to professional motorcycle mechanics if you want to ensure it is done right.
The main job of motorcycle mechanics is to keep your ride running smoothly. Hardly any job is too tough for one of these trained professionals that they can’t handle. The job can be dirty and long but for those with an excitement for motorcycles, there is no better job out there.
Recommended Education for Motorcycle Mechanics
Most people who become motorcycle mechanics got their start working on that little dirt bike or moped they had a teen. They learned through friends or maybe a shop class or two in high school. While this is a great introduction in to the world of motorcycle mechanics, today’s professionals need more formal education. To find out more about motorcycle schools and what it takes, please click here.
- Today’s employers are looking to hire motorcycle mechanics with some formal training
- Motorcycle technician training can be found at most vocational and trade schools, career centers and community colleges around the country
- Completion of a certificate program is now seen as the minimum for a lot of employers
- Certificate programs normally take 6 to 9 months to complete
- Associate degree programs may be the gold standard for employers who are looking for more advanced motorcycle mechanics
- Students in associated degree programs also learn business, management and supervisory skills that can be helpful for promotions or owning your own business
- It typically takes 2 years (24 months) to complete an associated degree program at a community college
- Industry certifications are voluntary but highly recommended to help with your career opportunities
Personality Traits of a Motorcycle Mechanic
While anyone can train for a career in motorcycle mechanics, there are some skills and traits which can be very helpful. A few of these traits are:
- Good Vision: The ability to see even with glasses is very handy while working on small parts
- Visualization: The ability to imagine how an engine or parts will look before and after it is being worked on
- Dexterity: The ability to make coordinated movements with your fingers and hands to grip and handle objects and parts
- Mechanic Aptitude: The ability to understand and work with mechanical principles
- Strong Focus: The ability to stay focused for long periods of time without being distracted
- Reasoning: The ability to find and come up with solutions to problems
- Body Strength: The ability to move, carry, lift or push both light and heavy objects
- Flexible Body: The ability to twist, stretch, bend and adjust your body, arms and legs to reach areas
- Stamina: The ability to work or stand for long periods of time
- Memory: The ability to remember information such as instructions, orders or diagrams quickly
- Communications: The ability to speak, listen and write effectively
- Attention to Detail: The ability to follow schematics and orders by not skipping steps
- Independent: The ability to work independent of others and make your own decisions
- Reaction Speed: The ability to react quickly to an issue or emergency
Motorcycle Technician Job Description
A list of some of the common jobs performed by motorcycle mechanics include:
- Speak with customers to find out what the issue is or what they want done to their bike
- Inspect, diagnose problems and repair motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, etc.
- Disassemble and reassemble engines to fix or replace parts
- Remove and replace defective parts such as valves, pistons, cylinders and rings
- Scrape off carbon and grind valves
- Perform adjustments on subassemblies (forks, transmissions, brakes, etc.)
- Replace tires, gas tanks, headlights, etc.
- Write up and give an estimate to the customer of all work to be performed
- Order and pickup new parts
- Use diagnostic tools to measure the engine performance such as ignition timing and generator output
- Perform routine maintenance such as oil changes and tune-ups
- Keep record of all procedures performed on motorcycle for an accurate final bill
- Follow manufacturer guidelines on repairs and maintenance
- Inspect electrical wiring and brake pads
- Make modifications to engine, exhaust or frame as requested by customer
- Fix dents on fenders and perform minor welding when necessary
Where do Motorcycle Mechanics Work?
Like most mechanic jobs, motorcycle mechanics typically work in a well-lit and ventilated garage or shop. It is not uncommon that these garages are part of a dealership selling motorcycles, outdoor recreational vehicles and sometimes even automobiles. Since these shops are working with gasoline and machinery, safety precautions are followed to avoid injuries.
Dealerships are the top source of employment for most motorcycle mechanics. Although there are a fair share that own their own their own garage that repair most small-engine vehicles such as snow mobiles and three-wheelers.
|Work Location||% of Employed|
|Motor Vehicle Dealers||87.5%|
|Household Goods Repair||8%|
|Lawn and Garden Stores||.6%|
SOURCE: O*Net OnLine
Salary and Job Outlook for Motorcycle Mechanics
|Fast Facts: Motorcycle Mechanics|
|2013 Median Pay (Yearly)||$33,590|
|2013 Median Pay (Hourly)||$16.15|
|2013 Number of Jobs||14,960|
|2012-22 Added New Jobs||4,600|
|2012-22 % Job Growth||7%|
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Are There Any Certifications for Motorcycle Technicians?
Although there isn’t an industry wide certification like you would find for auto mechanics (ASE), there are some certifications you may want to consider.
Manufacturer Certifications for Motorcycle Mechanics
These certifications come from motorcycle manufacturers and will certified you to be factory trained. Most employers would like their motorcycle mechanics to be certified with at least one of the manufacturers to help boost the confidence of customers.
State Licenses for Motorcycle Mechanics
It should be noted that some states do require motorcycle mechanics to be licensed. This would include passing a state exam. It is best to check with your state licensing board for information on this exam, if you happen to live in one of these states.
Final Word on Motorcycle Technicians
There are roughly 15,000 motorcycle mechanics in the United States today and around 9 million motorcycles on the road. This means that there is a definite need for those who have the ability and desire to work in this growing field. Starting a career in motorcycle mechanics can be a great way to make a living but also enjoy the world of motorcycles.