Mechanic courses versus home schooling

Anonymous Posts: 79,667
edited April 2009 in MTB general
Here's my consundrum: I want to be an able bike mechanic but am torn between taking a course at a trainer (bike doctor) which charges a grand for a 10 day course or buying a cheap bike and teaching myself. Hell, I already own Leonard Zinn's How to maintain your MTB book.

Paying a grand for 10 days just doesn't seem right.

Advice is wecome


  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    do you need the training?
    can you afford to mess it up a few times?
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Hi Nick,

    Having been made redundant, taking my steed to Evans for frequent tune-ups is no longer financially viable. I need the training. I want to learn how to bleed my disc brakes and fix my suspension fork.
  • scale20
    scale20 Posts: 1,300
    Its all easily done, rather than spend a grand on a course start spending the cash on getting a well stocked toolbox going. You dont have to spend all out getting all the top end bling park stuff.

    Part of the fun of owning your bike is messing and tweaking here and there and if you dont get your hands dirty you will never learn. Theres something quite satisfying about it.

    Most of the maint on my bike I do myself, and having the right tools is a must, however there are times when it will go into my LBS for maint, either because I dont have the time or its a little out of my league.

    If you have a good relationship with your LBS they should give you all the advice you need to do the jobs you want.

    You will save £££££££ I have.
    Niner Air 9 Rigid
    Whyte 129S 29er.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Thanks for that sterling advice Scale :)
  • -liam-
    -liam- Posts: 1,831
    All the info you need is out there - Parktools, Bikeradar, Youtube video guides, manufacturers service guides etc

    I've gone from a complete novice no more than 5 months ago to now being able to do anything that my bike needs me to do. I still ask questions from people on here with vast more amounts of knowledge than me but I've fitted new forks, bottom brackets, cassettes, I've recently removed and cleaned the freehub and I can bleed my brakes in 10 minutes. Non of it is rocket science and you shouldn't need to have to pay 100 quid for a bit of knowledge. Just get a few tools and have a go.
  • scale20
    scale20 Posts: 1,300
    Good point there Liam, you will find it all on the web.

    Never be affraid of asking questions.
    Niner Air 9 Rigid
    Whyte 129S 29er.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Liam and Scale

    Thanks for the amazing advice. Liam, you're a shining example of where I want to be skills wise so I shall take your advice and get cranking.

    Cheers :lol::wink:
  • dave_hill
    dave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Depends why you want to learn - is it just for yourself or is it because you want to work as a mechanic? If it's the latter then it's money well spent - you'll get a nice bit of paper to show at the end of it.

    If it's just for yourself...well, just chuck yourself in at the deep end! 99% of spannering is so easy you'll wonder what the fuss was about. As long as you read the instructions and how-to's carefully and take your tiem the first time you do a job there's nothing to it.

    Even wheel building isn't THAT difficult once you get the hang of it.

    And above all, have confidence! Half the time people don't attempt their own spannering because they're so afraid of f**king it up they talk themsleves out of it before they've even started!!
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  • Raymondavalon
    Raymondavalon Posts: 5,346
    I'll quote Rankin..

    "Experience is the hard teacher, she gives the test first and the lesson later"

    Nothing wrong with self taught skills..
  • Pick it up as you go along, start with a descent set of spanners, decent set of allan keys and some screwdrivers.

    Maybe pick up an old cheap bike to work on.

    Least that way you get something out of it, £1000 is a crazy amount to spend on teaching someone how to fettle with their bike.
  • This may be not such a good idea if you have been made redundant and dont have the cash but if you could pick up a couple of simliar £50 bikes that are neglected you could give yourself a learning project.

    Take apart one bike and swap everything to the other bike and vice versa. While you are doing this you can sort out all the niggles and neglected items and get each bike running smoothly. You can then sell them once they are both serviceable for £80 each and spend the profit on beer.

    If you can afford the jump to a couple of neglected front suspension bikes with discs it will be an even better self teaching course as you can take apart the brakes and the forks but you may then have to start buying parts to get them working properly if they are truly shot.
    Scott Ransom 10

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  • grumsta
    grumsta Posts: 994
    Get this - ... ol_Kit.ar7

    and this - ... 360037840/

    ...and you will be well on your way. I have only recently started doing most things myself and it's very satisfying (though can be frustrating too). Most things are pretty straightforward as long as you take your time.