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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, ive been thinking lately about taking classes to become a ducati mechanic. I am really interested in working with ducati motorcycles and maybe becoming a ducati certified mechanic. My experience as a mechanic is not much but I am really interested and wouldnt mind going through years of training to get there.

I have been thinking about going to the local shops like Ducshop or atlanta motor world to get recommendations but haven't had the time to do so. I really like being around motorcycles and getting my hands dirty. I am supposed to become an Risk management consultant but I wouldn't mind opening up my own dealer or motorcycle shop.

I know I will be making lots of money as a Risk consultant in the future but it just doesn't seem that exiting to me. to be honest "I think" i would rather be part of the Ducati assembly line in italy and live in a humble place with my nice motorcycle to ride in the italian alps on the weekends.

So; Do you guys know where I can go get trained?
How long does it take to get a certification?

These are serious questions, PLEASE DO NOT BE AN ASS TO ME saying that I am wannabe motorcycle man or whatever comes to mind. Pardon my ignorance if there is something wrong with the thread. Just wondering because I am really interested.
 

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I'll bet if you walked into the service department with a large pizza the guys would be happy to talk about how they got certified. Follow your dreams! Good luck.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'll bet if you walked into the service department with a large pizza the guys would be happy to talk about how they got certified. Follow your dreams! Good luck.
And some Beers!:D

"Follow your dreams" same thing the mechanic from the shop told me the other day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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I graduated from Wyotech and the Duc/BMW/Triumph program a couple months ago and am now working at D&D Cycles in Pensacola, if you have any questions about Wyotech let me know. I could write pages and pages about my experience at Wyotech (both good and bad) but its gettin late and I've gotta work tomorrow so I'll keep it short.
I believe the current cost for wyotech is like $30k+ so its not cheap and its 7am-4pm 5 days a week for at least 9 months.
IIRC the only other way to get Ducati certification is to work at a Ducati dealership and have them send you to the Ducati factory classes (the factory classes are at Wyotech but taught by Bruce Meyers and Van Singley in a seperate classroom). Its not impossible to get a job at a Ducati shop without certification but its certainly not easy (its not easy even with certification).

The first 6 months at Wyotech is the "core program" where you spend 3-6 weeks in a bunch of different specific classes such as Electrics (6 weeks), 2-stroke/4-stroke engines, Dyno/Carbs, frames & suspension, final drive, etc... That first 6 months takes a lot of patience. Generally there are too many students and not enough equipment/instructors. The curriculum is getting better though its a big lopsided, for example while at Wyotech I rebuilt a conventional fork about 30 times and a cartridge fork about 20 times while only changing a tire 3 times. In the shop I'm at now we change tires constantly, guess how many forks I've rebuilt? zero.

The Euro program is much better, the instructor is a cool guy (Chip Ream) that worked for Ducati NA for years and has been working on Ducatis since what seems like the beginning of time lol. As with the core program its a very top-heavy curriculum but not-so real world. We did a LOT of valve adjustments but guess how Ducati likes to teach valve adjustments? with the heads on a table (ie not on an actual bike). 6 weeks of the 12 spent in the Euro program is BMW. Ducati gets just over 3 weeks and Triumph gets just under 3 weeks (most of the training for Triumph is battery maintenance oddly enough) BMW is a tough course, there are a LOT of tests and a LOT of tasks that have to be done. Ducati and Triumph are much less structured, there aren't any specific tasks or lectures, Chip just kind of teaches off the top of his head (like I said he's been around this stuff since the beginning of time). When I was there we didn't have any new bikes to work on, mostly old Supersports, Monsters, and a 998, 748, ST2, etc. Right now Ducati getting ready for the big Factory update class there, after that the Wyotech class should have the 696 back and the factory class got an 1198 so their 1098 should be going to the Wyotech class if it hasn't already. Possibly their 999S as well.

If you go ever go to the Wyotech campus, talk to Chip and tell him you talked to Woodrow Wilson (don't ask lol). You could try asking for him when you call Wyotech but he tends to ignore phone calls.

My only regret from Wyotech is not taking the Asian specialty in addition to Euro. They do a LOT more real world-ish service work (changing lots of tires, complete frame replacements, a bit more engine building, and generally most of the things you do actually working in a shop. The Euro program is kind of learning how to do the things that are specific to those bikes rather than practicing the basics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow 30 grand sure seems like a lot of money. Do you think its worth paying that much to get certified??? I dont know if it will pay in the end. I am guessing right now but if I was to do the course I would do it next year when I am done with my undergrad studies. It definitely sounds like a great experience.

When I am telling you I have very little experience in mechanics its saying that I only do oil changes and put slip ons. thats about it. but yeah even though its a lot of money I am still interested in it. Just not sure if its a good investment.

Was it 30 grand for all european bikes courses?

If so:

do they offer ducati classes alone?
 

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Wow 30 grand sure seems like a lot of money. Do you think its worth paying that much to get certified??? I dont know if it will pay in the end. I am guessing right now but if I was to do the course I would do it next year when I am done with my undergrad studies. It definitely sounds like a great experience.

When I am telling you I have very little experience in mechanics its saying that I only do oil changes and put slip ons. thats about it. but yeah even though its a lot of money I am still interested in it. Just not sure if its a good investment.

Was it 30 grand for all european bikes courses?

If so:

do they offer ducati classes alone?
To start you might try a community college just to learn the basics. May get more hands on in a smaller class environment? Once you learn the basics it becomes a matter of applying those basics to specific vehicles. Without the basic understanding of how things work you won’t get too far. Knowing how something is supposed to function crosses over to anything mechanical, electrical, etc.. its just accomplished in different ways between manufactures, but the basics stay the same. It is hard work though, but if you love doing it and are passionate about it, you can be one of the best!! Good mechanics can make a pretty good living, but you’ll work your ass off for it.. :)

I have mixed feeling about places like Wyotech. While they do get you a cert if you pass, it is a business. Don’t mean to sound negative about it, but I went through a similar experience (and know others that have gone to different schools for film, art, audio, cars, etc. with the same feelings about it) when attaining my A&P license… not cheap, limited real world hands on work with modern equip, big sales pitch, not really living up to the hype, but if your goal is being certified, that is one place you can attain it and it is full time / saturation -- sometimes to the point of brain overload… Aircraft certification is probably a little more intense, but I’m sure a school like Wyotech is similar.

I do sincerely wish you luck in your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
yellow blur:

So, say I get some training at a community college, is there a better place to learn how to work on ducatis other than Wyotech? now that you tell me that, I dont just want to be certified (even though is one of my goals) but I want to be really good at it. So if there is a chance that I can get as good or better without paying 30 grand it would be better. Eventually I want to be certified but not my biggest concern right now.

my only fear is seeing how my brother has worked his ass off as a boat mechanic back in puerto rico (thats where im from) and not having success I am afraid that the same thing will happen to me. I see my father and he is a successful businessman but on the side he has his own race car and he does everything to the car himself with my brother. And now I am trying to convince my self to go with what I really like (which is everything with an engine on it and wheels) and leave business which I am pretty sure that will get me a descent living. Damn its a tough decision but in the end I am not sure if being a businessman will make me happy. I dont like what I am doing at school but then again most of the time work is different. I want to commit to the whole motorcycle thing, just afraid to step ahead.
 

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going to wyotec will jump start you 5 years so yes its expensive. dealer will know hiring you from their that you have done alot of the things he wants you to do.
dont expect to get rich
 

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the Euro course is Triumph/BMW/Ducati, you can't take just one of them. Honestly its good to have the BMW/Triumph certs too, there are a lot of multi-line Euro dealers out there and BMW certified techs make the most $$$ out of all of them.

I think it was worth it but I'm sure there are plenty who graduated and don't think so. I know I've friends working at Petco, Wal-Mart, etc because they couldn't find jobs right away. Fortunately for the Euro grads, Chip has connections all over the place and if you go to school in Daytona you have the opportunity to meet a lot of people in the Ducati world. Most Ducati shop owners and technicians go through the Wyotech campus for further training at some point, such as the update course coming up, and of course you've got Bruce and Van there most of the time. Plus its Daytona so you could go to Ducati Day during bike week and run into people like Austin Gray and Michael Lock.

I've been working for 3 weeks now and am starting off at $11/hour so I'm not making a fortune but there is a lot of opportunity to make more money as you get more certifications and move up the food chain in a shop.

The one other thing I will say about Wyotech is that it makes it a lot easier to get your foot in the door. Ducati dealerships are a LOT more picky about who works on customer bikes because they are considered higher end dealers. Its relatively easy to get a job in an Asian dealership with no experience just sweeping floors, doing oil changes and other basic stuff, etc and then learning from there but Euro dealers are a lot less open to that sort of thing from my experience.

That said, there are a lot of people that graduate Wyotech that don't give a crap about what they're doing and unfortunately some of those people get jobs working for dealerships. This means there are dealers out there that have had very bad experiences with Wyotech grads and won't hire another. Wyotech has a board with every motorcycle dealership in the US that have hired Wyotech graduates and we used to joke that it was a list of places not to apply (its not actually that bad but there are definitely some dealers out there that won't even consider wyotech graduates)
 

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Go find a job at a dealership - prefer a ducati shop, but this is not critical. Take some type of mechanical training classes at a local community college while working full time at the dealership. This shows ambition, eagerness to learn, and will also give you a taste of what you are in for. Real life experience before you fork out 30 large and nine months of your life for something that you may not even like.

Good Luck.
 

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1. Go to WyoTech
2. Try to find an entry level position to gain experience
3. Learn everything you can.

Once you start to figure them out you'll know a two valve closer from a DS closer by feel. Your index finger will be calibrated to 110~120 hz...

As a dealer principle I will say - "There is no substitute for experience" you could read every book, take every course, etc and I'd probably still hire a guy who has done it over one who "thinks" they know how to do it because they've read it somehwere.

We send our guys to Ducati, Ohlins, DynoJet and other specific training after they are hired and have some hands on. Suddenly the stuff they learn in class means far more.

You won't at the Demon's level for a very long time! Maybe never but you can learn a lot and do a lot so that within five years you should be fairly capable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well I think I should get basic training first. Maybe go to night classes while I go to school here in Atlanta. my plan is to eventually open a motorcycle dealer/shop myself. Its going to take some time but I am in no hurry. as a backup plan I am still going to graduate in Risk management and probably do my masters. Then I will be certified in both, risk consultant and mechanic. Im in for a long ride but I will work my ass off doing what I really like.
 

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Doesn't a run of the mill motorcycle mechanic make like $35k a year?

$30K to go to school to only make $35K/year doesn't sound so smart to me.

I'd much rather get a degree in Mechanical Engineering and MAKE the engines that Ducati certified mechanics will work on.
 

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+1 on the community college/mechanic schools. You will get your investment back even if you only work on your own bikes/vehicles. As stated before, combining tech schooling (to learn the fundamentals) with practical experince is the key and will only help you achieve greater success in the moto dealership business.

I think bikes mechanics really need to go into business for themselves to earn a decent living. I think for most the pay is to low for the work involved and hence not enougth great mechanics out there.

The moto dealership business is really tuff to make it, because you have bring in enough $ to pay for rent + qualified staff and stilll not have to charge $$$ for your services.
 

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Doesn't a run of the mill motorcycle mechanic make like $35k a year?

$30K to go to school to only make $35K/year doesn't sound so smart to me.

I'd much rather get a degree in Mechanical Engineering and MAKE the engines that Ducati certified mechanics will work on.
I also went to Wyotech over in FL prior to it becoming Wyotech (so it was significantly cheaper)

The biggest problem with those schools is that they are out to make a profit. I saw some of the dumbest people I've ever met in my life at that school... and saw them pass with flying colors simply because the management is more interested in collecting their tuition than what kind of product they are sending out.

The biggest benefit is that you can get certified which in theory gives you a leg up with getting a job. In reality (and specially after going there) I've found plenty of dealers who are leery soon as you mention that you've gone there due to past experiences with horrible grads.

The community college suggestion is very good actually, I personally started in an automotive program before seeing the light and switching to bikes. Kind of nice since those programs tend to be a little behind the technology curve from current... which works nicely with bikes because they are a little behind cars so really you're learning about new bike tech :)
 

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I also went to Wyotech over in FL prior to it becoming Wyotech (so it was significantly cheaper)

The biggest problem with those schools is that they are out to make a profit. I saw some of the dumbest people I've ever met in my life at that school... and saw them pass with flying colors simply because the management is more interested in collecting their tuition than what kind of product they are sending out.

The biggest benefit is that you can get certified which in theory gives you a leg up with getting a job. In reality (and specially after going there) I've found plenty of dealers who are leery soon as you mention that you've gone there due to past experiences with horrible grads.

The community college suggestion is very good actually, I personally started in an automotive program before seeing the light and switching to bikes. Kind of nice since those programs tend to be a little behind the technology curve from current... which works nicely with bikes because they are a little behind cars so really you're learning about new bike tech :)
It's hard to find a good mechanic these days. Seems like everyone wants to sell you something you really don't need. From reading up on the "don't buy an 848" thread, you seem like you know your stuff and I'm sure there are many riders out there who really appreciate what you do for them.

I thought about the whole moto mech thing once, then I found out that they aren't really taken care of well....maybe it's all those dumb grads that you speak of that are ruining it for everybody.

Seriously, all they have to do is raise the entry level amount for a fresh mech grad to 55K/year and I'm there. I'm not greedy and I would much rather work on bikes for that money than be another paper pusher in an office somewhere
 

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yellow blur:

So, say I get some training at a community college, is there a better place to learn how to work on ducatis other than Wyotech? now that you tell me that, I dont just want to be certified (even though is one of my goals) but I want to be really good at it. So if there is a chance that I can get as good or better without paying 30 grand it would be better. Eventually I want to be certified but not my biggest concern right now.

my only fear is seeing how my brother has worked his ass off as a boat mechanic back in puerto rico (thats where im from) and not having success I am afraid that the same thing will happen to me. I see my father and he is a successful businessman but on the side he has his own race car and he does everything to the car himself with my brother. And now I am trying to convince my self to go with what I really like (which is everything with an engine on it and wheels) and leave business which I am pretty sure that will get me a descent living. Damn its a tough decision but in the end I am not sure if being a businessman will make me happy. I dont like what I am doing at school but then again most of the time work is different. I want to commit to the whole motorcycle thing, just afraid to step ahead.
I agree with the majority of what has been said. The comments about the standard of classmates attending these types of schools is very accurate, (I would have to say about 75-85% plus in my aircraft classes had no business being there - and I also worked with quiet a few in the real world) but that doesn’t mean you need to fall in that category. The price of this school seems VERY steep to me but if you do go that route: Don’t learn what they teach just to pass the test, learn it to apply it.

You certainly sound like you have mechanics in your blood with your dad and brother, so you know the potential hardships, but that can go for ANYTHING!! Before I got serious about it I had told an old timer who owned a shop that I was going to become a professional mechanic (I used to deliver auto parts), he told me it was hard work and I should reconsider, etc.. I didn’t care, I knew what I wanted to do.. Turns out he was totally right about the hard work part, but I don’t regret it. These are great skill to have and it doesn‘t mean you won‘t decide to go a different direction later on in life. If you have the knack for it, you’ll go far. If you love it you’ll stick with it. I was VERY passionate about it, learned everything I could from doing my own cars & bikes, my friends, their friends & family, etc…mostly self taught but also took night classes to learn about different systems, was fortunate enough to land a job at one of the places I used to deliver to (long since moved on but we’re still good friends 33 years later), had a little side business which kept me going in the hard times and the good. Always something new to learn and there‘s NEVER a shortage of work!!!!

Sounds like you have the passion to learn and I can’t agree more about the paper pusher part -- there’s NOTHING like working with your hands. I’d much rather bust my knuckle (you’ll do a lot of that) then get a paper cut.. they hurt….!! LOL!!

As repeated: Since you’re starting from scratch, get some basic training, get an idea what its all about. Use that knowledge on your own vehicles -- unfortunately you’ll find good tools don’t come cheep, and you’ll need many -- (You’ll owe most of your paycheck to Snap-On - but good tools are worth it if you‘re making your living with them) When you feel confidante enough to work on other peoples cars or bikes (won‘t take long and it‘s good experience), try to find a shop that will take you under their wing, work hard, observe, become a sponge and absorb the skills and knowledge of those around you, and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn in just one year. And yes, there is NO substitute for working on the real thing over books. Put the 2 together and you’re golden!

As you’ve probably figured out if you’ve read any of the posts, Troubleshooting is probably one of the most needed skills. Actually repairing the problem correctly is the other - not always as easy as it sounds (or looks).

If you go with your gut, you can’t go wrong. You may not like it once you get involved and there WILL be those times when you ask yourself what the hell you‘re doing - should have taken that desk job, but it is also a very rewarding career. Nothing like taking a POS and turning it into a finely tuned machine -- MUSIC!!!! :D :cool: :) :yeah:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, already spoke to my parents and my dad said it was perfectly fine as long as I get my degree in Risk managment first. I only have 1 semester to go. Then afterwards I might be going to UK to work there for 6 months (without no bike). I have to see where I have time to get the basic training. Maybe take them after classes. its gonna be tough but i love bikes so I should be able to do it. summer might be working during morning, going to school in the afternoon and then going to classes at night. I should also talk to my brother since he is a teacher in mechanics.

Does anybody know a mechanic school around atlanta?
How much it costs?
 
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