Many of us have had the experience. You have a problem with your bike, it’s a tough job, you don’t have the tools or the time, the know-how or perhaps you just would rather have it done for you because there are other things you need to do. You get to the bike shop, probably your dealer but maybe an independent shop and you go to the service department. You start explaining what the trouble is and they give you a quick brush off or tell you “We’ll take care of it,” but you know they won’t. Something isn’t right. More times than you might realize, the guy you’re about to turn over your pride and joy to is clueless. He hasn’t had the training or experience to perform an oil change safely let alone diagnose anything difficult.
Dealers feel your pain, really. Finding that good mechanic is tough, holding on to him even tougher. There aren’t enough of them and everyone knows it and poaching from other shops isn’t uncommon. What to do?
Motorcycle Mechanics Institute is working hard to be a big part of the answer. You’ve probably heard the name but if you’re like me, you’ve never really closely looked at what they offer. You really should take a minute or two to do so, it’s pretty cool. They work with all of the big guys, Harley Davidson, American Honda, American Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki, to train the interested and motivated individual and get him up to speed, fast. The companies supply the current bikes so the students get hands on time with tools and bikes it would be almost impossible to gain on their own. I like it. There is sometimes this idea that a person needs a college degree to be successful when what they really need is solid training plus some good old fashioned drive and a great attitude.
There are huge benefits on both sides, someone looking to get into the service end of the business has the perfect route to get there and customers, like you and me, feel better leaving our bikes in the hands of strangers when we see they’ve had some training from the pros.
MMI is part of UTI, the Universal Technical Institute which offers a broad line of training including automotive and marine, too, so if you’re the technical type, they’re a good place to look for training and if you need service, maybe a good indicator of the guy you’re about to deal with.