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The Intersection Between Harley-Davidson, Youtube, and Motorcycle Mechanics Institute

UTI Profile Image Universal Technical Institute Sep 28, 2018 ·
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John Maxwell knows just about everything a Harley-Davidson enthusiast needs to know.

Curious about what kind of gear you should take with you before you head out on your Harley? No problem. What about the essential equipment for your toolbox? Yeah, he knows what you need. Or how about the right sunglasses for your next ride? Come on, that one’s easy!

In fact, Maxwell has a YouTube channel to answer all of those questions and lots more.

The Harley Tech is a YouTuber, Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) graduate, and certified technician who works at Chattahoochee Harley-Davidson in Columbus, Georgia.

Maxwell draws viewers with his laid back sense of humor, relatable demeanor and authentic appreciation for everything he talks about.


Harley Davidson Motorcycle Mechanics in Training


He loves interacting with people, but he wanted more reach than his shop could offer. So he decided to start a YouTube channel where he could connect with other motorcycle enthusiasts.

Maxwell filmed his first YouTube video in August 2017, where he showcased 2018 Harley model releases.

“The first video was me having fun and goofing off more than anything else,” says the 33-year-old. “It got a stupid number of views, considering I'd never uploaded anything before, so I brought the camera back a couple days later and set it up and started working.”





Now more than 65 videos later, John has a fervent following of viewers who ask him questions about everything from manual labor to recommended gear. He even has fans who visit him at the shop. Some even bring gifts.


Harley Davidson Motorcycles


It All Started with a Magazine

Maxwell had an unusual path to becoming a Harley-Davidson fan. He had a little experience riding dirt bikes with this stepdad where he grew up in Georgia, but his interest in motorcycles started to become a passion during a trip to Europe when he was 13. He wanted something to read that would keep his interest during the long flight, and that’s when he saw a thick magazine that was celebrating the 95th anniversary of Harley-Davidson.

He went on to write an eighth-grade research paper about Harley-Davidson, and then he saved up and bought his first Harley-Davidson Sportster when he was 23. It was a model that was inspired by the magazine he bought back when was 13. And he still has it today.

Maxwell worked nights at bars and restaurants, but he spent his days riding. That first year he put nearly 10,000 miles on his bike. He loved the open road so much that he’d go 200 miles just to grab lunch.


Motorcycle Mechanics Institute Classroom


A Career Change

When Maxwell found out that his first child was on the way, he decided it was time for a career change so he was no longer working nights. But he didn’t want to give up his Harley-Davidson.

“If you're going to have a job and have kids, you don't get to ride your motorcycle as much, that's the rule,” John says. “A lot of people would trade their motorcycles in and give up their bikes, but that's not the life I wanted.”





Working with an Icon

When Maxwell researched mechanic schools and enrolled at MMI, he had no experience as a technician. He was industrious though, and he got a job at a Harley-Davidson in Orlando while he was still attending school.

When he graduated and moved back to Columbus in 2012, it didn’t take long before he landed a job at Chattahoochee Harley-Davidson—the dealership where he bought his Sportster. 

Why does he love Harley-Davidson? “The American heritage, the surviving tough times over 115 years, and not quitting when it was tough.” Plus, he says, the usability and power of a Harley-Davidson is a lot of fun.

Maxwell loves the fact that working for Harley-Davidson provides a virtual endless stream of content for his YouTube channel. As a full-time technician, he gets a unique look into Harley-Davidson developments. Working on bikes makes him a true authority that people trust.

“This year I definitely plan to do more of the new bike stuff, because that's what keeps me interested in this job,” Maxwell says. “Every year there's something new, whether it's totally new bikes, or they change how something works. There's a freshness that comes to this industry, so I want to showcase that more on the channel this year.”

Spreading Harley Knowledge 

John rides every day, even with a growing family. He says the sense of freedom that he gets from being on a bike is critical.

“It's definitely different from being in a car,” Maxwell says. “You don't know who you're going to see or who you're going to meet. A simple stop at a gas station might lead into a 30-minute conversation and a new friend.”

While he continues to work full-time as a technician, Maxwell wants to grow his YouTube channel. He's heading to the Harley-Davidson dealer show this year to film, and he hopes to start uploading more than one video a week on his channel. 

People want to know if Maxwell had a background in video production, but just like heading off to MMI without any experience wrenching, he decided to tackle something new. He taught himself how to shoot and edit video by researching tutorials on YouTube. It’s where he learned what gear to buy, and about the filming process in general.

Maxwell gets inspired for new content while he’s at work, and he figures if he thinks it’s interesting other people will as well. 

“I would have never guessed it would get to here,” John says, talking about the popularity of his channel. “It's kind of like riding a wave. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and enjoy making the videos for myself and enjoy the feedback I get from other people. That's what keeps me going. The amount of feedback I get is incredible. All the videos get tons of comments, and there's appreciation for the work I put into it.”

For mechanic school students who might have their own YouTube dreams, John advises to surround yourself with supportive people and put in the work to make your vision a reality.

“Be honest, work hard, and don't listen to the naysayers,” John says. “With both motorcycle school and starting a YouTube channel, there were way more people who said I couldn't do it than who said I could. Work hard, and carry through with what you say you're going to do.”

Learn more about Motorcycle Mechanic Institute in Orlando, where John attended or about Harley Davidson Specialized Training.

 

 

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