What Does a Bicycle Mechanic Do?

Lori Kilchermann

A bicycle mechanic builds new bicycles as well as repairs used ones. From basic assembly to damage repair, the bicycle mechanic is charged with making all types of bicycles not only pleasurable to ride, but safe as well. Of all the different types of services that a bicycle mechanic might offer, perhaps none is as involved as lacing a spoked wheel. Other difficult repairs for the mechanic are derailleur service for the bicycle's shifting mechanism and repairing bent or damaged frames. With exotic materials and composites being used on the modern bicycle, the mechanic must be schooled in several different methods of mechanical design.

Mountain bikers are often forced to make their own repairs.
Mountain bikers are often forced to make their own repairs.

One of the most basic tasks of the bicycle mechanic is to assemble a new bike. This is commonly a routine task, with most of the assembly having already been accomplished by the manufacturer. The simple addition of sub-assemblies, that were omitted from the bike to allow it to be packaged in a box, is all that is required of the bicycle mechanic prior to the receipt of the bicycle by the customer. It is also common for the customer to return to the mechanic for annual maintenance and the occasional required repair. This typically includes lubrication and tire repair as well as the installation of new braking components.

A bicycle mechanic repairs, and sometimes builds, bikes.
A bicycle mechanic repairs, and sometimes builds, bikes.

Other types of bike repair opportunity, aside from the normal bicycle shop, stem from the competitive biking world. Often, racing teams such as bicycle moto-cross (BMX), mountain bike and endurance road racing employ a bicycle mechanic to maintain the team's equipment. These bicycles are often made of lightweight materials that require a certain level of expertise to properly repair and maintain. From lightweight alloys to carbon fiber, the bicycle frames and wheels are often difficult to repair when damaged, even for the well-trained bicycle mechanic.

For some, the ultimate job for a bicycle mechanic is to work in the design and research field. Creating new designs for frames, wheels and pedal-crank systems can result in the evolution of the bicycle from primitive riding toy to an advanced mode of transportation. Riding position and component location are two of the most redesigned features of the bicycle since its inception. Commonly redesigned and upgraded by a bicycle mechanic, the modern evolution of the machine has allowed people to reach previously unattainable speeds, duration and durability while riding. From the single-speed, high-wheeler to the multi-geared, road racing bicycles of today, the advances and ingenuity of the bicycle can often be attributed to the strides of the mechanic.

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