Becoming a dirt bike mechanic sounds like the dream job as you’re playing with your favorite toys all day long.
But is it actually worth it and does it pay well? This really depends.
Dirt bike mechanics working at dealerships typically earn less than $39,000 per year unless they are working with major manufacturers in competitive events. This equates to $14 to $18 per hour plus benefits. Given the low pay rates, most mechanics aim to own a dealership one day where they can sell dirt bikes, parts, accessories and hire staff do the lower-paying jobs.
Of course there are variations to these numbers and it’s based on the country you’re from, but reasonably accurate for those in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and South Africa.
A Career as a Dirt Bike Mechanic
It can certainly be rewarding to be a dirt bike mechanic full time. Even if you’re over the age of 30, it isn’t too late to pick up these skills. You don’t need to do this career for life either. If you learn how they operate, then you’ll be the last one stuck on the side of the track.
To get into this field, you won’t need much other than a love for motorcycles. There isn’t a specific dirt-bike-only trade and you’ll be learning on general motorcycles initially. This means you’ll be exposed to different engine types and a range of motorbikes in the workshops.
There are several trade schools and colleges that offer courses but nothing is really offered at a university level. After all, this is a trade and one that requires only a mild amount of engineering knowledge. Apart from some basic English and Maths, there isn’t much you need to get accepted and start learning.
A recent survey shows that motorcycle mechanics are happy with their job, despite the low pay and long hours. This problem stems from the fact that dirt bikes are just fun to tinker with…and getting paid is just a bonus.
Increasing Pay Rates
While most working in mainstream dealerships do make less than $40k annually, there are ways to increase this.
- Open up your own exclusive performance workshop. Many riders are always trying to extract more power out of their dirt bikes, especially the 2-stroke crowd.
- Join a factory racing team. Big brands like KTM and Yamaha have their own factory teams which travel the country or even the world. Being paid to travel the world and work on dirt bikes sounds epic. Just imagine being apart of the Dakar Rally and a key reason why a competitor won a stage..or even the whole event!
- Market yourself better. There are numerous active Facebook groups with local riders all discussing issues they’re having with their dirt bikes. You can become the go-to person who can solve these problems and get paid more than the dudes working at the big dealerships while charging far less. You’re effectively taking out the middle man.
- Specialise in 1 brand only. If we had to take a pick, we’d say go with KTM. Those riders have the biggest bank accounts and the type who typically wants to ride faster. If you can become the cities most specialized KTM dirt bike mechanic and know each model inside and out, then you’ll never be short of happy customers.
A dying industry?
With electric dirt bikes becoming a hot item over the next few years, we wander if this industry might be at risk of going into decline real soon.
Since these dirt bikes need next to no maintenance (their engines are electric and are self-contained), there won’t be much for a mechanic to do. The occasional handlebar replacement or a new set of rims and tyres…and that’s it!
With the rise of YouTube tutorials, most riders are also learning how to get jobs done easily themselves. This saves them money and the messing around with booking in a time slot with the mechanic and hauling their bike on the back of the truck.
So the payscale is quite low and the longevity of the job role is questionable. Yet if you’re passionate about repairing, maintaining and increasing the performance of dirt bikes all day long, then you’ve got the perfect job!