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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Motorcycle school

Been thinking about studying mechanics in my spare time and since bikes are more interesting to me than cages, i probably will study motorcycles online or through the mail courses.

There are about 4 of these schools that offer motorcycle studies: Ashworth University, Penn Foster, Stafford Career Institute, and ICS.

Has anyone considered this and which would you choose?

Bike mechs normally don't make as much as others but money is not a big issue. A bike is more assessable for me to work on as i grow older and the fun factor is built in. A local bike shop advertised for mechs and was even willing to train the right guy.

Any advice?


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-22-2008, 04:42 PM
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I did one year at a voc-tech school way back when. As a teacher now, I can't imagine how you could learn mechanics by mail. Machining, specialized tools, teams working together and experience can't be taught out of a text book. Look for a community college that has a small engine / marine class if you can't find motorcycle mech near your home.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-23-2008, 11:48 PM
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I would tend to agree, There is no substitute for "hands on training". The books always make things look easier than they really are.

Jim W
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 01:36 AM
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Have ya seen if the local bike shop thinks you might be "the right guy"?

For something like wrenching, I wouldn't even consider online/ mail school - only hands on. There's a huge difference between reading about and doing - and doing and doing right. I've done plenty of work on my own bikes - but didn't have a clue what I was getting into till I did it... even though I'd "book learned" how to do it.

What I'd do is talk to the local shop (or a few local shops that you wouldn't mind being associated with). Find out if they'd be willing to train ya - or if there's a nearby school that they've seen good mechanics come out of.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 09:51 AM
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A buddy of mine started taking one of those thru-the-mail classes.
The books they sent him seemed to be quite informative and they'd also send him different tools once a month or something like that (kinda basic tools... feeler gauge, circuit tester, allen wrenches...)

He had a bike to work on as he went through the "classes" so there was "hands on" work he did. Just no one to guide him through the learning process, except trial and error on occasion.

Like any schooling, you have to apply what you learn for it to be any good. So, IMO, mail order or online classes can be beneficial as a cheaper alternative to a vo-tech or MMI (Motorcycle Mechanics Institute) type school, as long as you put your mind to it and WANT to learn and excel.

Granted, a shop looking for a mechanic may be a little reluctant to hire a mail order grad (not sure what kind of credentials mail order classes may give you) as opposed to an actual schooled grad, but that really all comes down to how well you sell yourself to the employer as knowing what your doing and being confident that you can do the work they're looking for.

As to my buddy, well, he ended up quitting the classes after a few months or so. He got a job at the machine shop I used to work at and started taking a Machinist's Apprentice class, was happy enough there to no longer persue the mechanics class. But he has mentioned that there was a good bit he learned from what he did complete. He also recently got his Journeymans Papers as a Machinist.

Best of luck, Stone, in whatever you decide on this. Your destiny is in your hands.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 10:25 AM
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stone--First go see if you are or could be the right guy at the local shop, or if you even want to be the right guy... Check that out 1st, OJT can be very good if the teacher is good, and they should have tools to work with... Besides you might make a nickel or two instead of spending a bunch of jingles... Just my worthless thoughts...
Have a good one...Old Dog...

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-24-2008, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
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My reaction to checking out these mail order schools is one of being underwhelmed but thought to check in with those that may know something about them. There are no schools in my area so any kind of education is a problem. We have a college but it is mostly liberal arts and expensive so haven't bothered.

It may be the school of hard knocks may be the way to go as books are still available and i can read. My first car was overhauled by reading a book, starting to see a pattern here.

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