MMI trains mechanics for modern and vintage bikes

Words & Photos: John Gunnell

BHL95 MMI Photo 02

I can turn wrenches on a car or truck, but motorcycles are a different story. Yet, I often think about whether my shop could do better restoring motorcycles than bringing old cars back to life. Motorcycles require less space and are generally easier to lift and move around. Then I think, “A bike shop may be a good idea, but where do you find skilled motorcycle mechanics?”

One answer to that question popped up while I was at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show in Indianapolis. The Motorcycle Mechanics Institute ( had a booth there. In it was a lime green Kawasaki dirt bike that drew me in a bit closer. Then, I learned a little more about MMI,

BHL95 MMI Photo 01The school operates campuses in Arizona and Florida and prepares students to work on modern bikes in contemporary bike shops. The school has partnerships with Harley, BMW, Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha, KTM and Kawasaki, which helps keep the curriculum in step with 2016 motorcycle technology.

Training course start with a dose of basic motorcycle theory and move to courses about internal combustion engines and modern motorcycle electronics. Students then move from theory to learning actual hands-on skills they will need to troubleshoot problems, find workable solutions, make repairs and test the repairs that they make.

The next phase of the training focuses on fixing certain brands of motorcycles. This can vary a bit from make to make. For example, MMI has teamed with Harley to provide a 24-week course in conjunction with Harley-Davidson University. This allows MMI students to earn credits that carryover into Harley-Davidson University’s PHD program. The six-month training program goes beyond teaching just standard repair techniques. It also teaches students how to install Harley-Davidson Screaming Eagle performance parts.

Being geared toward the restoration marketplace, I also had a personal interest in an upper-level elective course that MMI offers to advanced students. It includes training focused on the repair of vintage Harley-Davidson models. If I want to enter this program, I would first need to complete all the basic training required to earn full accreditation.




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