A motorcycle mechanic is a small engine mechanic who specializes in motorcycle and other motorized bikes with two or three wheels including traditional and nontraditional motorcycles, scooters, dirt bikes, mopeds.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2010, the median income for for this profession is $31,790. However, there are several factors that can greatly influence that income including the mechanics level of training, geographic location and the motorcycle repair industry that the mechanic is employed in. In general, mechanics with vocational or formal education make more money than their colleagues who only have a high school diploma or equivalent.
After a few years of experience, motorcycle mechanics could make more than they initially did, if they developed a specialty. Since motorcycles are popular during months where the weather is warm and dry, motorcycle mechanics who live in these climates will garner more earnings than their counterparts who live in less motorcycle friendly weather. The other issue that can affect a motorcycle mechanics salary is the industry that they are employed in. Some private dealerships will offer their mechanics a base salary with incentives. This means that the mechanics income can vary depending on the type of work available. Motorcycle mechanics in the government employed industry may have their income decided by union or other types of contracts.
A motorcycle mechanic's main duties are to service, inspect, repair and sometimes build motorcycle engines. Some duties that a motorcycle mechanic regularly performs include running diagnostic tests to determine what is wrong with the motorcycle, checking ignition points on a motorcycle engine, replacing spark plugs, inspecting and replacing brakes, overhauling engines or electrical systems on a motorcycle or making major repairs due to an owners accident or neglect. Often times, motorcycle mechanics will test drive a motorcycle that comes in for repair. This is done to help diagnose motorcycles issues and to decide if the motorcycle has been repaired correctly after all repairs have been made.
The most important skill a motorcycle mechanic must possess is to be a licensed motorcycle rider and have the ability to ride and handle a motorcycle, especially a motorcycle that may not be in good working order. The basic skills required for this profession include performing basic maintenance on motorcycles or other motorbikes with small engines.
While it is possible to learn these things on the job, employers are partial to career candidates that are motorcycle riders themselves and candidates that already have experience making basic repairs. While most motorcycle mechanic employers will consider applicants who have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, other employers may be more likely to choose candidates that have formal or vocational training in small engine repair. Many community colleges and vocational schools have programs tailored to motorcycle mechanics. If a candidate for this type of job cannot find a college or vocational problem specializing in motorcycle engines, it may be possible to find a motorcycle manufacturer who offers motorcycle repair classes or training.
In addition to formal training or job experience, motorcycle mechanics will also need to buy some tools to be successful. Most employers who utilize motorcycle mechanics will offer power tools, hoists for lifting motorcycles and equipment needed to diagnose engine problems, but they will not provide the mechanic with personal tools that the mechanic will need on a regular basis. The tools needed to begin a motorcycle career include basic wrenches and screwdrivers. The price for these tools can vary, but generally run around $500. Depending on the employers preference, a motorcycle mechanic may be able to build his or her tool supply over time, instead of buying all the tools at once.
Since motorcycles can be found all over the world, motorcycle mechanics can work anywhere they would like. In general, most motorcycle mechanic workplaces are well-ventilated and have extremely good lighting. This is important for the safety and well-being of the employees. However, because of the type of work that motorcycle mechanics do, most of these workplaces are extremely noisy. Often times these workplaces are compared to automobile mechanic workplaces, which can be somewhat accurate, but motorcycle mechanics do not get as dirty as automobile mechanics. The main reason for this is because motorcycle mechanics do not have to crawl on the ground or under motorcycles to work on them. Instead, motorcycles or motorbikes can be lifted in the air by hoists, so that a mechanic can stand while working on the bike.
There are also several industries that motorcycle mechanics can be employed by including motor vehicle dealers, transportation equipment manufacturers, automobile dealers and state government offices, specifically police departments. In many of these industries, a motorcycle mechanic is considered a full-time job. However, since motorcycles are most popular during the spring and summer months, motorcycle mechanics are often the busiest during this time. This may result in large amounts of overtime during these months. A great deal of motorcycle repair is done in a shop, but on-site repairs may be an important aspect of this career, which could include being called to an on-site repair in inclement weather.