We recently caught up with Maya Ivkovic from Road Racerz to discover what it takes to become a Motorcycle Mechanic in the UK. This is what she said…
“Motorcycling is an extremely popular hobby and lifestyle for thousands in the UK. More and more people are starting to be obsessed with bikes, going to motorcycle rallies, and discovering new routes every year. At the moment, there are more than a million registered motorcyclists living in the UK, meaning that there is a higher demand for motorcycle mechanics.
Are you a motorcycle freak yourself? Are you obsessed not only with riding but also with engine contraction and mechanics? If the answer is yes to both, maybe you should consider a career as a motorcycle mechanic!
The great thing about pursuing this career is that it is never too late to start learning and many UK based people work well into their 60s. You may have an enjoyable and fulfilling career, with an excellent prospect to earn some series of cash.
But what does it take to be a motorcycle mechanic in the UK? Let’s find out!
What does it take to be a motorcycle mechanic?
There are many benefits to being a motorcycle mechanic: Good salary up to £35,000, flexible work hours of about 38 to 45 hours a week, and no night shifts. Sounds good, right? However, there are some personality traits you need to have if you plan to build a successful career.
It would help if you were deeply passionate about motorcycles
As you know, motorcycle enthusiasts treat their bikes like their loyal companions, and they will not mind breaking the bank for their babies. However, they will need to find a person who they can trust to do fine repair work.
Establishing yourself as an authority among numerous motorcycle mechanics will require your ability to connect with your customers.
You will need to be flexible
Maybe you are thinking how cool it would be only to fix rally bikes, but the reality is that you will have to do maintenance and repairs of different kinds: from mopeds and scooters, to even dirt bikes too. This will give you an opportunity to specialise in a certain kind of motorbike as you get used to a certain make and memorise the troubleshooting of specific engine issues.
In the meantime, especially in the beginning, you would have to train yourself with several models until you find your footing. You might be also called for on-site bike check-ups, instead of just staying put at your shop. This will definitely require some flexibility in schedule and work environment.
You need to get used to working in a noisy and dirty environment
We agree you may not get as dirty as car mechanics because there is no need for you to crawl under the bike. Nevertheless, there is a lot of filth and grease involved in your workplace. The loud engine sounds and other machine noises will become a regular part of your surroundings, so make sure to protect yourself.
There are earplugs or noise cancellation headphones available for you to use. Make sure you regularly clean oil spills and grease splatters to prevent any accidents. There are certain measures a true mechanic can do to ensure their environment is work-friendly and safe.
It would be best if you were willing to work extra hours during the summer months
Nice weather drags out those motorcycle freaks, who were waiting for months to take their bike out for a ride. Many of them will require annual engine maintenance to prepare for their journey. This part of the year is usually seasonal work for most of the motorcycle mechanics.
What are the motorcycle mechanics’ primary duties?
Every motorcycle mechanic needs to know the job basics such as:
- Knowing his way around ignition points on the motorcycle engine
- Changing the spark plug
- Checking and changing the brakes
- Checking the electrical systems
- Knowing his way around the engine and being able to make all kinds of repairs
- Knowing how to do a diagnostic test to see what is wrong with a bike
Ways to become a motorcycle mechanic in the UK
Being a motorcycle fan can help you a great deal when pursuing a professional motorcycle mechanic career. However, turning your hobby into a full-time job can be little more than just being able to change the bike’s oil or repairing the brakes.
You may face more complex issues such as major engine overhauls after an accident, and in these situations, you need to have specialised knowledge acquired in one of these two ways. Let’s see what they are!
1. Become a Certified Motorcycle Mechanic
According to the National Career Service in the UK, you need at least attain a level 3 or a level 2 course to train as a professional motorcycle mechanic. Once you manage to sign on a particular course or school, you need to choose your training program.
Depending on your desire to gain more knowledge and authority in motorcycle mechanics, you can acquire some of these titles.
- Certificate in motorcycle repair and maintenance
- Motorcycle Maintenance diploma
- Apprenticeship in motorcycle repair and maintenance
- Advanced apprenticeship in motorcycle repair and maintenance
The more advanced courses can help you specialize in certain kinds of engine repair or even those that are motorbike-focused. If you want to obtain more qualifications, you need to put in more time and money into your education. Being specialised in handling, maintaining and repairing a certain kind of engine can ultimately bring more income in the long run, especially when it comes to rally and race bikes.
One of the schools where you can get a university degree in motorcycle maintenance and repair is University Centre Myerscough, with its three courses that last from one to two years, depending on the level of education you want to choose.
Another institution that is worth mentioning is the West Herts College with its light vehicle maintenance and repair course that can be taken for a year.
The apprenticeship can last up to 5 years, depending on the level of your education. This final step of your journey is crucial to embody all the things you have learned in school.
Alongside experienced mechanics, you can learn practical skills and tips to make your work so much easier in the future. On the other hand, you will learn traits essential to do mechanics’ jobs such as being independent, realistic, practical, investigative, and curious.
2. You have all experience necessary, then try the direct route!
Many mechanics can land a great job and salary without having to study a formal course and graduate from an institution. However, they would need to be very skilled and gain much experience in handling motorcycles.
If you find yourself among this group, you may try applying to a motorcycle shop. Knowing your way around the motorcycle and its engine can work to your advantage. There are many shop owners who are willing to hire knowledgeable mechanics rather than going for the inexperienced individuals fresh from mechanic school. You would just have to prove your worth and show the owner what you can offer using your skills and work ethic.
Remember that being ahead of the game means continuously investing in your knowledge. No matter how you became a motorcycle mechanic, may it be through formal education or through personal experience, you still need to continuously learn about new technologies and new skills.
Learning is never-ending for mechanics as there are always new bikes being released which gives them plenty of opportunities to become better at what they do. In the end, the idea is to be innovative and motivated to do the best work you can. What is a better way to stay focused than feeding your mind with valuable information?
Another great tip for staying “in the game” is to join a local motorcycle club and attend their gatherings. Being a mechanic, you are most likely a motorcycle lover yourself, and so this will not come as a significant obligation, but rather a pleasure for you.
You can meet a lot of new people and organically draw more customers to your shop. This is also where you can learn tips and tricks on repair and maintenance from fellow mechanics as well as gain confidence as you share your own best practices.
How much time do I need to invest in becoming a certified motorcycle mechanic?
The time you spend at school depends on the degree you want to have — most of the university programs run for 1 to 3 years. An internship can last between one to five years, depending on your training. Remember, if you have real practical experience, you can almost immediately find employment in a local motorcycle shop and begin your motorcycle career.
Being passionate about motorcycling is an excellent start if you want to become a motorcycle mechanic. However, you need to invest time and money to get the right education to be able to in turn, do your job really well. Talented, experienced, and motivated individuals can get jobs without certification if they manage to prove their expertise.
No matter which path you chose to become a motorcycle mechanic, remember to keep haunting knowledge on a daily basis. True bike enthusiasts will recognize your passion and will be happy to come back to you whenever they need fine repair work on their beloved babies. Passion meets and attracts passion, and this is when you can truly call yourself a mechanic.”
Who is Maya Ivkovic?
Maja Ivkovic works with Road Racerz which reviews all the latest Motorcycle accessories and gears, plus guides and stories about riding. Maja enjoys researching and writing about motorcycles and gathering experience from other motorcycle freaks out there!