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Are you a motorcycle enthusiast? A career as a motorcycle technician may be the perfect way to pursue your passion while earning a living.1 The motorcycle industry offers exciting opportunities to apply your knowledge in a variety of environments from the racetrack to custom bike shops.

Keep reading to learn all about what a motorcycle technician does, the types of bikes they work on, job opportunities in the industry, salary and more.

Turn your passion into a career. Training at Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) can help prepare you for a career to work on motorcycles, ATVs, side-by-sides, snowmobiles and personal watercraft. As technology advances, the industry will need technicians who can keep pace.

17,000+ Total motorcycle technician employment expected nationwide by 20313
$43,370 Median annual salary* for motorcycle technicians30

*Not entry-level and is dependent on factors like experience, location, and employer compensation.

What Is a Motorcycle Technician?

Motorcycle technicians (also called motorcycle mechanics) are small-engine repair mechanics who specialize in two- and three-wheeled vehicles like motorcycles, dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles and mopeds.

A motorcycle technician is responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and repair of small-engine vehicles. They work on engines, ignition systems, brakes, transmissions and more.

Some technicians choose to specialize in one type of vehicle or work on a specific brand. A typical day in the life of a motorcycle technician varies based on the employer. However, many of the tasks and training requirements are common.

Motorcycle Mechanic Responsibilities

Here are some responsibilities a typical motorcycle mechanic job description might have:

  • Perform routine maintenance tasks such as changing oil and replacing spark plugs
  • Repair engines and transmissions
  • Listen to engines, examine vehicle frames, and use diagnostic machines to identify problems and suggest solutions
  • Complete minor body repairs such as removing dents from fenders
  • Replace worn, damaged and defective parts
  • Check the condition and pressure of tires, and adjust them according to specifications
  • Disassemble and reassemble equipment in order to perform repairs
  • Communicate important repair information to customers

Types of Motorcycle Jobs

There are plenty of jobs for motorcycle enthusiasts. Skilled technicians are needed across a wide variety of industries, giving technicians the opportunity to hone in on something they’re passionate about.

Most of our grads start out working as entry-level technicians or in other entry-level roles. As with any industry, over time, you may be able to advance in your career with hard work. Common entry-level and advanced roles in the motorcycle industry include:77

Service Technician

If you love hands-on work, consider an entry-level career as a service technician. These techs are often the first to spot a problem on a bike and identify a solution. Great technicians can perform a variety of repairs and are always up for new challenges.

Whether they’re completing an oil change, disassembling an engine or removing dents to make a fender look good as new, their dexterity allows them to perform each task with precision detail.

Mobile Mechanic

Mobile motorcycle mechanics bring the shop to their customers. Rather than having customers tow their bikes across town, they can contact mobile mechanics who can meet them roadside or wherever they may be to perform the repairs. Mechanics in this advanced role specialize in getting these bikes back on the road as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Parts Associate

Motorcycle parts associates know the ins and outs of what makes a motorcycle run. They often work in dealerships and assist customers with finding specific parts. Responsibilities may include compiling and maintaining parts inventory, and recommending parts to customers. These entry-level associates have the ability to think on their feet and provide exceptional customer service.

Shop Manager

A shop manager acts as a foreman in a workshop or motorcycle repair shop setting. This advanced role typically involves managing employees in a nearby area such as an office attached to the shop.

Other responsibilities often include hiring and training staff, performing employee evaluations, creating and assigning work schedules, and making salary decisions. A shop manager also maintains the shop’s equipment and ensures all systems and processes are running smoothly.

Race Team Technician

Race team technicians are vital members of a race team crew, and they’re tasked with the responsibility of getting bikes ready for competitions and monitoring the bikes to ensure they’re in tip-top shape for racing.

Depending on the size of the team and the level of competition, techs in this advanced role may be responsible for maintenance and setup between events, making repairs to bikes during the race or both.

Service Writer

Service writers act as liaisons between businesses and their customers. They have in-depth knowledge of their product line and have a natural ability to develop relationships with their customers. Some responsibilities of this entry-level role include tracking repairs, processing warranties, developing cost estimates and scheduling technicians.

Where You Can Work in the Motorcycle Industry

Motorcycle mechanics are needed across a wide variety of industries, not just dealerships! You might be surprised by the different settings where motorcycle mechanics work.

  • Brand-specific dealerships: Technicians who decide to specialize in particular makes often work in brand-specific dealerships. Popular brands include BMW Motorrad, Harley-Davidson, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Honda.
  • Multiline dealerships: Motorcycle technicians can also pursue careers in multiline dealerships, which carry vehicles from different brands. This is a great path for technicians looking for variety in their work.
  • Independent repair shops: Technicians at independent repair shops often use computers to diagnose and test for problems, similar to how they would in a dealership setting. Their work includes performing minor body repairs, servicing ignitions and transmissions, fixing brakes, replacing and adjusting spark plugs, and even overhauling engines.
  • Custom bike shops: Those who consider themselves creative types often thrive working in custom bike shops. Technicians in this line of work may build motorcycles from scratch or customize them with painted decals, custom tires and more.
  • Police departments: Police officers often ride motorcycles because they offer greater mobility. This means they need technicians to keep their bikes up and running! Many technicians who desire to go into this industry choose to specialize in their career working on police model motorcycles.
  • Motorcycle mechanic school: Many technicians decide to pass on their knowledge to the next generation as instructors. Experienced mechanics who want to take the education route can teach in technical trade schools, online learning courses or even on-the-job training.
  • Self-employment: Some technicians decide to go independent and take the self-employed route. These techs find and manage their own client base, and may provide a variety of repair and maintenance services.

Check out this video of John Maxwell, an MMI graduate who went from working in the food service industry to working as a professional technician at Chattahoochee Harley-Davidson:6

Motorcycle Mechanic Working Conditions

An important aspect to consider when researching any job is working conditions. This varies based on a mechanic’s role. In a typical work setting, motorcycle mechanics work both indoors and outdoors to test and repair bikes.

They typically work among other mechanics and have the ability to keep up with their fast-paced environment. Motorcycle mechanics must abide by safety procedures in order to protect themselves, their colleagues and their customers.

When it comes to interpersonal relationships, it’s important for mechanics to have great communication and customer service skills. Motorcycle mechanics often work on repairs alone. However, they must also be able to talk with bike owners and collaborate with other mechanics to get the job done.

Successful mechanics play close attention to detail and take pride in their work. They often have repeat clients and receive new business through word of mouth, which requires them to develop trusting relationships with their customers. Passion, a great work ethic and professionalism go a long way in this industry.

Motorcycle Mechanic Salary

The average motorcycle mechanic salary depends on many factors, such as location, skill level and industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for motorcycle mechanics in the United States was $43,370 in May 2022.30 This means half of motorcycle technicians earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

A career as a motorcycle mechanic is truly for enthusiasts. As technology continues to advance, a new generation of technicians will be needed to fill these openings.

How to Become a Motorcycle Mechanic

As with most careers, you will most likely need to advance your education in order to become a motorcycle mechanic.

While some technicians learn through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training, attending a motorcycle mechanic school such as Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) can jump-start your training and prepare you for a career in the field in less than a year.7

MMI’s 48-week Motorcycle Technician Specialist training program teaches students the fundamentals from the ground up. Students learn the foundations of motorcycles, ATVs, side-by-sides and personal watercraft.

They learn to diagnose and troubleshoot engine issues, test performance and drivability, and receive specialized training on leading brands in the industry.

In the Motorcycle Technician Prerequisite (MTP) program, students train through classroom preparation and hands-on experience. This prerequisite covers the key components of motorcycle technology and serves as a foundation for professional development.

From here, students can customize their training by choosing one or more of the following manufacturer-specific programs:

After completing the 48-week program, students may also choose to advance their motorcycle mechanic education by completing optional manufacturer-specific training programs, which include Harley-Davidson Early Model, Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle, and Performance and Drivability.

The program is available at our MMI Phoenix (Arizona) and MMI Orlando (Florida) campuses. Both campuses are equipped with industry tools and technology, so you’ll be training with the same equipment used by technicians today!

Along the way, you’ll learn from instructors who are passionate and experienced, and want to invest in you as you complete your education.

Overall, the motorcycle industry is full of exciting opportunities for technicians. Whether you’re gearing up to graduate high school or are looking to make a career change, MMI can provide you with the training to help you achieve your goals of becoming a motorcycle technician.

Get There. Faster. Smarter.

Scheduling that lets you work while in school and frequent start dates mean it’s never too soon or too late to start your training at Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. Request more information today!