Is a motorcycle mechanic a good career? (What you must know)

A motorcycle mechanic can be a good career if you enjoy working with your hands, love working with new technology, and have a true passion for motors.

Motorcycle mechanics scope of practice is truly vast, from motorcycles, side by sides, ATV, lawn, and power products, gives you many opportunities that would not happen in another career.

I would especially recommend it if you enjoy troubleshooting, love doing things for yourself, or like holding a position of some prestige.

A little secret from a motorcycle mechanic for over 20 years, the majority of people think working on so-called “toys” for a living is fun and exciting, and if you can find the right place it most certainly can be.

What is the scope of a motorcycle mechanic?

A motorcycle mechanic has one of the largest scopes of practice of any career.

You can see motorcycle mechanics working on things like chainsaws, lawnmowers, generators, snowmobiles, even boat motors, if it has an engine under 2000cc chances are it is a motorcycle mechanics’ job to repair and maintain it.

Products available for motorcycle mechanics to work on

  • Motorcycles
  • All-terain vehicles
  • Side by sides
  • Snowmobiles
  • Dirt bikes
  • Go carts
  • Personal watercraft
  • Outboard boat motors
  • Chainsaws
  • Trimmers
  • Lawnmowers
  • Water pumps
  • Generators
  • Tillers
  • Log splitters
  • Off-road skateboards
  • Argos

Occupations for motorcycle mechanics

  • Pre-delivery inspector
  • Engine assembler
  • Servicing specialist
  • Teardown and repair specialist
  • Performance parts installation and tuning
  • Teacher
  • Service writer
  • Shop forman
  • Shop manager
  • Pre-delivery inspector
  • Engine assembler
  • Servicing specialist
  • Teardown and repair specialist
  • Performance parts installation and tuning
  • Teacher
  • Service writer
  • Shop Forman
  • Shop manager
  • Insurance inspector and appraiser

What does a motorcycle mechanic do?

This is probably the most confusing part for most people due to the large scope that motorcycle mechanics covers and the easy transition to other things small engine-related.

A motorcycle mechanic career can but is not limited to pre-delivery inspection, servicing and maintenance, teardown and repair, performance part installation and tuning, teaching, or other things like service writer or manager.

Pre-delivery inspections

Pre-delivery inspections are done on just about any product with a motor because most products cannot be shipped fully set up.

Also, the manufacturer wants to be sure someone checks out the product for safety and quality assurance purposes.

This includes uncrating the product, assembling the remaining parts, checking critical fasteners, filling and checking off all fuel and lubrication needs, and testing the product.

Perhaps this is why it is the beginning for many motorcycle mechanics.

It gives you experience with all the parts and components, how and what to fill or lubricate, requires fewer tools, and you get to test all the new stuff first and provide valuable feedback from an insider perspective.

This is also a good place to finish off your career or even get reacquainted with the passion that brought you into the industry.

This is because you always get to try the new products first and as such, you will have valuable insight into something that only a select few will know.

The work is fairly clean, you won’t need a full toolkit and you get to help people with their new product.

Servicing and maintenance

This is the bread and butter of almost every dealership you will run into and as such can be a large part of a motorcycle mechanics career.

It is a great place to focus on in the second and third years of your apprenticeship as you will learn the everyday needs of whatever you are working on.

You will also learn how to satisfy and even prevent these issues providing safety and value to customers.

Most of the service work you will see includes valve inspections and adjustments, chain or belt replacement and adjustment, brakes or tire servicing and replacement, and even fuel system cleaning.

However, if you work with power products you may be asked to service or repair whatever the engine or motor is attached to.

I personally have worked on water pumps, log splitter hydraulics, rototiller blades, and even off-road skateboard tires.

To say a motorcycle mechanic could make a good living just servicing and maintaining all the things associated with small engines would be a tremendous understatement.

I still find myself doing this kind of work and I am still amazed at what people can strap a motor to.

Teardown and repair

This kind of repair is more of a rarety than it once was. The top-end rebuild on a motorcycle was, for a time confused with a tune-up because they were such commonplace.

In fact, some models had replacing piston rings listed in the maintenance category of the service manual.

Not to take away from motorcycle mechanics trained today, they can do awesome things like reprogramming fuel and ignition maps, but finding a 4th-year apprentice who is comfortable with an engine rebuild, are few and far between.

This is not by choice, anyone who has had the pleasure of a full rebuild will tell of how impressive it is.

Nowadays in most cases, replacing a motorcycle is more cost-effective than rebuilding major engine components.

Performance parts installation and tuning

Perhaps one of the most interesting things that happened to not just motorcycles but just about all Powersports, is the integration of computer-controlled electronics.

This is probably the biggest contributor to the growth of the performance side of motorcycle mechanics.

Computer-controlled electronics have allowed mechanics to fine-tune fuel, ignition, and even safety features making for a truly custom experience.

Issues such as dead spots in fuel curves causing a choppy throttle or even backfiring have pretty much been eliminated in the newest models.

Skills not normally considered mechanic work like computer programming and airflow design modeling have been quickly changing the landscape of a motorcycle mechanic does.

Other paths

Other careers such a teaching motorcycle mechanics, service writer, or even shop manager can be branched into pretty easily.

It is quite common to see old mechanics who hold titles of management within the industry.

Are motorcycle mechanics in demand?

Motorcycle employment rates in the united states have been pretty steady for several years now.

According to the United States Board of Labor and Statistics for May of 2020, the top 5 states employed about 700 mechanics each, except for California at 1200.

The top 5 states with the largest location quotient (jobs available compared to the national average) is well over 3 with Montana coming in at a whopping 5.9.

Statistics like this confirm the need for motorcycle mechanics in the United States.

How much money does a motorcycle mechanic make a year?

Most motorcycle mechanics in the united states make $38,000 to $49,000 a year which translates to $18 to $23 an hour.

Some of the more senior mechanics or in places of high demand can easily see $60,000 a year at $30 an hour.

There are a few perks that motorcycle mechanics can get depending on where they are employed.

Some of these include the use of demo units, continuous training, and access to the facility for personal use.

Final thoughts

Motorcycle mechanics today is very different from years past as the combination of computer technology and futuristic thinking has opened the field to more people than ever.

To me, that is one of the most exciting reasons to become a motorcycle mechanic.

The one thing I don’t expect to change is the depth of scope, motorcycle mechanics are very hands-on and used to improvising making them more valuable than ever!


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