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Motorcycle mechanics are specifically trained to help maintain, repair, and overhaul motorcycles. They usually also are skilled at working on transmissions, brakes, exhaust and ignition systems, and making minor repairs to damaged sections of a motorcycle's body. While some mechanics choose to specialize in the maintenance and repair of a few specific makes and models, others may generalize and work on a wide range of models. Opportunities for specialized training at mechanic and vocational schools can help mechanics to increase their niche skill sets and gain certification that specific motorcycle manufacturers might want when hiring. However, motorcycle mechanics often have a diverse set of skills and also can work on numerous types of other small engines, including those on mopeds, dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles.

Responsibilities of Motorcycle Mechanics

When a motorcycle breaks down, a mechanic uses a variety of techniques to determine the source of the problem and the extent of the repairs needed. In general, a motorcycle mechanic should be able to:

  • Use computerized diagnostic testing equipment
  • Complete maintenance checks and do inspections
  • Diagnose mechanical and electrical problems
  • Replace only a single part or several parts necessary for repairs
  • Make an accurate estimate of time required to perform required maintenance and repairs
  • Replace worn parts including valves, bearings, pistons, and other internal parts
  • Use various types of tools, including hoists, wrenches and compression gauges
  • Complete engine overhauls and disassemble engines when required

Motorcycle Mechanic Job Characteristics

Motorcycle mechanics usually work in repair shops that are well ventilated and provide lighting conducive to detail-oriented work. These shops often can be noisy, particularly when engines are being tested. Here's what can be expected on the job:

  • You should have a tolerance for noise, grease, and chemicals.
  • You may be busier and have more work during the warmer, summer months.
  • In most repair shops, routine maintenance may comprise much of your work and you may need to spend significant time on your feet or in other positions to make repairs.
  • You may want to work on other small engine equipment, such as snow blowers or all-terrain vehicles, during the off-season when it is less busy.
  • You may experience stress associated with meeting expected repair timelines and completing jobs.

The skills that are preferred in a good motorcycle mechanic include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently
  • Comfort with computers and computer diagnostic equipment
  • Ability to lift heavy parts and equipment
  • Aptitude for following instructions and diagrams in manufacturers manuals
  • Commitment to personal safety and that of your co-workers
  • Good time management

Motorcycle Mechanic Salary and Career Data

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the following data for motorcycle mechanics nationwide:

  • Total Employed: 15,420, in 2014
  • Job Growth: 6% growth, from 2012 to 2022
  • Average Salary: $35,810 in 2014

Those working in Hawaii, Nevada, Alaska, California, and Maryland had the highest mean annual wages, all above $42,000. Job prospects could increase for those with specialty manufacturer certification, and the highest levels of employment were in California followed by Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York.

Education, Certification and Licensing

A high school diploma or equivalent is needed to becoming a motorcycle mechanic, although college training can be found through mechanics and vocational schools. Automobile mechanics, science, and business math are usually part of some postsecondary programs. Things that you should learn through vocational training or on the job include how to:

  • Complete routine service and repair tasks
  • Replace parts such as spark plugs and ignition points
  • Disassemble, assemble, and test new equipment
  • Carry out computerized diagnosis and engine overhauls

Three to five years of on-the-job work experience and on-going training may be necessary before you become proficient in all aspects of motorcycle engine repair.

Certification is not needed to seek employment, but individuals can seek specialty certifications through specific manufacturers or mechanics training schools. The program length for these certification programs vary, but they are available for major manufacturers like BMW, Harley-Davidson to Kawasaki. A variety of certifications, including in drivelines, electrical, and generators, also are available through the Equipment & Engine Training Council (EETC).

Licensing is not necessary to work as a motorcycle mechanic.

Major Employers

  • Motorcycle dealers and retailers
  • Motorcycle repair shops
  • Manufacturers and manufacturer facilities
  • Local and state law enforcement agencies

Resources

  • Equipment & Engine Training Council
  • Motorcycle Industry Council
  • American Motorcyclist Association
  • The National Motorcycle Dealers Association
  • Independent Motorcycle Repair Shop Association

Sources:

  1. Certification Tests, Equipment & Engine Training Council, no date. http://www.eetc.org/?page=CertificationTests
  2. Motorcycle Mechanics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics. Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes493052.htm
  3. Small Engine Mechanics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, May 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/small-engine-mechanics.htm

Motorcycle Mechanics Skills

Below are the skills needed to be motorcycle mechanics according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Repairing3.883.62
Troubleshooting3.623.62
Active Listening3.383
Complex Problem Solving3.253
Critical Thinking3.253.12

Motorcycle Mechanics Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be motorcycle mechanics according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Hearing Sensitivity3.883.88
Manual Dexterity3.883.88
Deductive Reasoning3.753.25
Finger Dexterity3.753.75
Near Vision3.753.62

Motorcycle Mechanics Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be motorcycle mechanics according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Mechanical4.746.47
Customer and Personal Service4.114
Computers and Electronics3.553.89
Mathematics3.463.5
English Language3.272.97

Motorcycle Mechanics Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being motorcycle mechanics according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment4.493.86
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment4.275.04
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material4.012.93
Making Decisions and Solving Problems3.983.41
Getting Information3.892.8

Motorcycle Mechanics Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being motorcycle mechanics according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Attention to Detail4.67
Dependability4.47
Independence4.36
Integrity4.22
Analytical Thinking4.18

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Motorcycle Mechanics

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Motorcycle Mechanics jobs , as of 2017

   
Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim410 $40,480
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater380 $40,580
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land250 $33,660
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn240 $33,960
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington240 $36,680
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell200 $54,620
San Antonio-New Braunfels180 $39,480
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario160 $47,610
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward160 $49,750
Pittsburgh150 $33,500

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Motorcycle Mechanics

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to motorcycle mechanics

Source : 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 23.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Motorcycle Mechanics.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.