078 – We Chat with Chris Dower On How To Become An MTB Mechanic

078 – We Chat with Chris Dower On How To Become An MTB Mechanic

Todays Guest:

Chris Dower – MTB Mechanic

On todays episode and number Seventy Eight we are chatting with Chris Dower about how to become a bike mechanic, what that comprises of, why bike mechanics will never be out of work and how you can build it into a great career. Plus much more.

On episode Seventy Four we had Lauren Jenkins on the show chatting about being a freelance mountain bike journalist (listen here). Lauren very kindly mentioned that her boyfriend was a mountain bike mechanic, had worked abroad as a mechanic and was just crazy about mountain biking. I reached out and Chris agreed to come on the show for a chat about how he got started fixing bikes, how his career has progressed and the direction he plans on taking it.

We had the Mech Monkey mechanic boys on the podcast way back on episode Eleven talking about bike prep and maintenance (listen here), which was awesome, but I wanted to chat more with Chris about how to get started as a bike mechanic, your different options available and how to built it into a successful career.  

So for anybody looking to fix bikes for a living, or get their foot in the door of a bike store then this is the episode for you. We chat about being a bike mechanic from the grassroots up, what to expect and why you will never be out of a job! Enjoy!  

Find Out:

  • How Chris got interested in mountain biking
  • How his Dad is a major reason why he is now a mechanic
  • How his passion for riding and fixing bikes turned into a career
  • What Chris’s interview was like for his first mechanic job
  • Why Chris started assembling bikes before fixing them in his first job
  • What the training looks like being a bike mechanic
  • How Chris has advanced his career
  • Why Chris made the decision to work abroad as a mechanic
  • The challenges and rewards that brought
  • Why Chris was learning on the spot quite a lot of the time and how that made him a better mechanic
  • Why Chris never chased the EWS or UCI direction to mechanic
  • What Chris thinks about the brands that sell direct to the consumer and the issues with maintenance this can cause
  • What Chris thinks the future is for such brands and how things will have to change
  • The advancement in technology and why it will soon be impossible to do major work on your own bike
  • How to look at setting up your own side gig as a bike mechanic and the costs involved
  • What Chris plans to do in the future with his mechanic skills
  • Where to follow Chris on socials

It was great getting Chris on the show to have a chat about being a bike mechanic and about how he has seen things change for the better and how bikes and components have improved so much over the years. Chris is super passionate about his work, he loves being around bikes and the communities that they create. We chat a little about Chris’s local scene, what it is like and the kind of trails Chris rides. Chris has worked abroad for a couple of seasons as a support mechanic for a guiding business, building bikes, bleeding brakes, fixing suspension and even fixing breakages on the spot without the proper tools to hand. Chris learned a lot over this time period which helped him become the great mechanic he is today. He also learned about having to set up your bike in a different way when riding in different conditions, something that has helped him understand the finer details of being a bike mechanic. We chat about how working abroad has helped and how to do something like that for yourself.

We chat about how the maintenance world has changed over the last number of years and why it is only getting busier. We chat about the state of the local bike store and how the maintenance department plays such a huge roll in creating turnover and in a lot of cases helping keep the lights on. Maintenance departments and taking up more and more floor space in your local bike store but it has to be this way, otherwise they would not survive. So what happens when bikes get so advanced that you cant work on them yourself or the tools you require are just to expensive to purchase to use a few times? Well, I think that can only be a good thing from your local bike maintenance stores perspective. They relay on this work to keep the doors open and keep doing what they are passionate about, fixing your bike. Ok, I know we all enjoy tinkering with our own bikes, its part and parcel of being a mountain biker but when things get tricky and we get a little out of our depth its always good to have that local bike store to take your bike to and have them run their professional eye over the issue. And who doesn’t like a awesome smooth running bike? So as bikes get more advanced and complicated we will find ourselves running to our local bike mechanic a little more often. And I believe that is a good thing. We keep these small business open, we keep people in jobs they love and who knows, we may even build up a few new friendships along the way, and who doesn’t need a great bike mechanic as a friend!    


To Connect with Chris:

Instagram: dowerz5

Resources in this Episode:

Instagram: pilothousecycles

To Share Your Thoughts or Get In Contact:

  • Share this show on, Instagram or Facebook
  • Leave a note in the ‘Contact Us’ section on the website

To Help Out The Show:

Thanks so much to Chris for coming on the show and sharing his story.

And thank you once again for Listening!

Join me next week for another MTB TRIBE Podcast show!