Ten commandments for the newbie bike mechanic


You’ve done your time earning that Cytech certificate and you’re eager to get to work on some real world bike fixing. But are you really ready?, asks Cycleworx’s Ben Thomson.

Have you considered just how ridiculous some of the customer’s home repair attempts may be?

Are you ready for them to tell you that they’re an engineer and that you’re doing it wrong?

Are you ready to adapt your training when somebody asks you to fix their lawnmower?

The customer has probably asked you for mates rates too.

Having just spent 90 minutes in your personal space, asking if things they found online are compatible with their supermarket-bought ‘deal’, you’ll want to hit the pub on lunch break, right? Wrong. Here’s the ten commandments that the fresh out of the pristine training facility mechanic must remember:


1: Don’t turn up to work drunk. 

The first time you will be scrubbing the toilet with a tooth brush for the rest of the day. Second time? There might not be a second time.

2: Don’t rest that expensive Colnago by its top tube on a corner.

People love their expensive road bikes as much as they love their partner (and often more). Don’t scratch it!!!

3: Don’t accidentally lube disc brake pads.

If they are making noise then oil won’t fix them, they need cleaning with the correct cleaner.

4: Don’t keep keep tightening that bolt if it’s not going in straight.

Bolts don’t self align, either you put it in wrong, or the the tread needs tapping. Also do yourself a favor and find out what a helicoil is.

5: Don’t throw out the packaging of parts until the repair is completed. 

You may have selected the wrong part, or the customer changes their mind. There’s nothing worse than brand new chains or expensive items laying around the shop with no packaging.


1: Do listen to your boss and manager.

They pay your wage and are there to help you; get on the wrong side of them and your career will go nowhere fast.

2: Do count the number of cogs on the cassette you just fitted before you spend hours trying to get a 10-speed cassette to work on a 9-speed transmission.

This school boy error can cost you hours.

3: Do check the pressure on the buggy’s wheels before inflating the tyre.

That angry mum with the screaming child that came in to get her buggy fixed will be a whole lot angrier when you have exploded her wheel.

4: Do check which type of fluid the disc brake uses before bleeding it.

The customer will be back and your shop’s google rating will be at an all time low.

5: Do reconnect the brakes after you refit the wheel.

Always grab the brake levers after a tube change. You want the customer to live and return for the right reasons in future.