Which Bicycle Mechanics Training Course

Back in the early 80's when I first started working in a bike shop, there were no training schools. You learned from those who had been working there the longest and/or from the owner. Most bike mechanics got a job in the local bike shop as they liked riding bikes, had their own tools to do their own maintenance and taught themselves the basics. 
Nowadays if you wanted to start your own bike shop where would you find the knowledge? As bicycles have become more technical and specialist bicycle mechanics are required.   

The minimum standard for Cycle Tech UK mechanics is Cytech 2, City & Guilds level 2 or the Equivalent from the training schools found below. With ongoing training to level 3 and updates to working your way to be a Pro mechanic. 
If you have the experience but no qualification, many (But not all) of the schools do a 1-day assessment for the level 2. If there is an area of expertise you don't have, you may be able to cover this over 3 days, like wheel building. 

Which course to take? Which Qualification?
City & Guilds, ASET, EAL OR Cytech

First what training do you require? Is it just a certificate to say you are qualified or do you want to gain experience from real-life situations you will face to backup the certificate you hold?   

I am being asked all the time, from would be bicycle mechanics, which is the best training course out there? As they are finding it difficult to decide which 10-day course/training center to choose. 

"There are now many training schools, with different costs and level of teaching"

I highly recommend City & Guilds. C&G offers the Highest Standards In Bicycle Training

Part of running your own business is being able to problem solve. Without the negative thinking, but able to find a way around everyday issues thrown at you: Cycle Tech members also spend a day working with me (Put the training in to practice), to go over what we find the other schools do not show, from working on bikes that have been used: Like what lubricants to use, how to remove a freewheel, how to clamp a carbon bike correctly in a work stand, how to clean a drive chain, how to remove sized components and many more things you may be surprised what is not covered or not covered in great detail................. Could also be down with the instructor, some classes have been left with 1 instructor to 12 students.  
Would you let someone work on your bike, who has just completed a 2 week course without any experience?

Below is a list of training centers across the UK:   

Most of us have heard of City & Guilds, and is a very long-established organisation. For those all ready in the bicycle trade, you would of heard of Cytech and may have been on their courses.

Costs are a guide only, please check with the training centers as more likely to go up.

If you already have the skills or have been in the cycle trade for a long time and wish to have a qualification. You can take a 1 day Cytech assessment. 

1. About Cytech: Cytech is owned by the UK cycle industry via the Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) and is the internationally recognised training and accreditation scheme for bicycle technicians.Cycle Tech UK is not associated (although many of our mechanics are trained by them).
1A. Cytech courses are run by ATG Training in London, Aylesbury, and Stafford. Cost Technical two FROM £1068.00 to £1500.00 inc. VAT. 
ATG Training is a large independent training provider with specialised training centers in London, Aylesbury, and Stafford. ATG Training also deliver the NVQ qualification.
From mid-May, ATG Aylesbury will be based on the Activate Learning Technology Campus at Blackbird Leys Oxford OX4 6HN
1B. Cytech at PJCs in Milton Keynes. Cost Level 2 From £920.00 inc vat (All ways good feedback & small groups.) 

Cytech technical two assessment
It is a one day pass or fail assessment so is only advised for experienced mechanics who would like to have the accreditation. Assessment is based on practical skills, general industry and workplace knowledge and also professionalism (tidy and organised). The cost is £325 plus VAT

The method is assessed on the proper use of tools and the quality of the end result. (You will not be penalised if your method is different to how it would have been taught by us).

Assessment structure:
Wheel build –  A 26” rear disc wheel in an asymmetrical 3 cross pattern. (including measuring for spoke length)
Service – Full strip of the frame. Prep frame (face and thread chasing). Rebuild + set up with new cables. Test ride. Final adjustments. Assessor test ride.
Questions throughout regarding workshop health and safety, working practices, different types of components etc. 

Please note:- If a bike with hydraulic brakes is chosen to work on a bleed will be expected on at least one of the brakes. This will likely be a Shimano type.

10% discount, for any subsequent mechanic who is looking to book on the assessment (as long as they are listed on the directory of mechanics)

Date                      Location               Places remaining
05 Jan 2018         Aylesbury                            04
02 Feb                   Stafford                              FULLY BOOKED
21 Mar                  London                                 06
05 Apr                   Stafford                               03
05 Apr                   Aylesbury                            06
02 May                 London                                 06

View 2015 prices for Cytech. From ATG, See PDF below:

2. About City and Guilds VSQ in Cycle Maintenance and Repair:
The skills assessed are listed See PDF course material
2A The Bike Inn These courses are run at the Mechanic training courses L2 & L3, accredited qualification for entry into the cycle trade, self-support, own bicycle maintenance and advanced skill updating. All areas covered from E-Bikes, electronic gearing, suspension and hydraulic braking too mention a few! Cost C&G Level 2From £1050.00 inc vat (Feedback: very good courses, set-in their ways) Alf Webb developed the course. 
Run by Jon Colborne Helmwind Cycles Unit 4B Cross Croft Appleby-in-Westmorland Cumbria CA16 6HX Tel: 017683 61979 Mob: 07564 275827 The Bike Inn

View more about The Bike Inn 2012 see PDF below:

City and Guilds you can also find at: 

  1. The Bike Inn in Spalding Lincolnshire offer the Highest Standards In Bicycle Training Read more........
  2. Cycle Wales. £P.O.A (Feedback very good, small courses, plenty of tools and lots of information)
  3. Downland Cycles Upper Hardres Kent (Feedback very good, small courses, plenty of tools and lots of information)
  4. Cycle Training UK  Bermondsey London SE16 £1000.00 
  5. Bike Right Manchester 

View more about Cycle Wales 2012 see PDF below:

3. About EAL:
EAL is the specialist, employer-recognised awarding organisation for the engineering, manufacturing, building services and related sectors. 
Eal certification at Cycle Systems Academy The professional level two qualification in Cycle Maintenance and Repair runs over ten full days - either two consecutive Monday to Friday weeks, or five weekends spread over a period of months. Cost Level 2 VRQ £1100.00 inc vat FROM 2015 THEY WILL BE RUNNING COURSES FROM THE TRAINING CENTER IN DEVON (Feedback; After a big shake up, Cycle Systems have replaced a lot of their tutor's and running E.A.L course's, new positive feedback, reports of not being kept up to date with dates for courses when deposits have been paid)     
Sean at CSA has re structured the training school and has new teachers, Sean also receives funding and is able to offer better pricing, with also offering weekend training over 5 weekends for those who can't take the time off.
New training centre with good reports of training to a very high level and covering a 2 week level 3 course Diploma VRQ
New Address: Seale Hayne College Newton Abbot, South Devon, TQ 12 6NQ

New from Cycle Systems Academy online

The new GET YOUR TECH SKILLS DIALLED FOR 2018 offers a spectacular five months' worth of online membership based webinars and training beginning on Thursday 8th Feb 2018 

Sean of Cycle Systems explains: "Split into five modules covering;
  • Suspension Forks
  • Rear Suspension including dropper posts
  • Electronic Groupsets
  • e-Bikes
  • Advanced Wheels including tubular gluing

We've been listening to mechanics who find it hard to take the time out of their busy schedule to visit us, but who are passionate about keeping their skills up to date enough so as to maintain their position of being the best of the best in the bike trade."

These workshops will be run with top names from the world of bike mechanics, including Mat Clark from Plush Suspension, Graeme Freestone King from Campagnolo, Scott Dedenbach from the Cyclocross network and of course Sean Lally, lead instructor at CSA. And you don't have to be fully professional to join either - discussions and lessons will also include the serious bike tech enthusiasts who know and love Cycle Systems.

"In addition to live, interactive video content" Sean continues, "Members will also be able access a virtual classroom for questions and discussion throughout. It's an amazing opportunity to get into close cuber proximitywith the leaders in the trade and to get all your tech queries about 2018 developments updated."

To get your skills dialled in 2018 go to www.facebook.com/groups/CSA2018 or contact Sean Lally

4. About ASET:  Is a government recognised awarding body. Weldtech Training Courses carry the approval of the Bicycle Association of Great Britain (BAGB), the UK's manufacturers, importers and distributors association. These courses are run by Velotech Cycling Ltd Chesterton, near Stoke on Trent. Cost £1000.00 inc vat 
The platinum course is the equivalent to level 2 NVQ & Cytech 2 
(Feedback: Very slow to start course, too much chatting and not enough practical) 

5. Ryan Builds Wheels: Wheel building master class in Bristol www.ryanbuildswheels.co.uk

6. e-Bike training: BOSCH & Shimano - you need to be at least a level 2 mechanic and have experience of working on bicycle. Contact me for details and booking BOSCH training. 

7. Park Tool School for home mechanics

Cycle Tech UK offer courses from 1/2 day - 2 day across parts of the UK
The course is aimed at the beginner and those with a little mechanical knowledge. 
This is a great way to find out what is involved and to go from a hobby mechanic to a home mechanic or take it further and become a professional mechanic and start your own business. 
Huge discounts on tools and parts when attending a home mechanics school.
For more information please visit ParkTool Home Bicycle School or email: info@cycle-tech.co.uk 

8. Our courses are for the home mechanic and Park Tool School

9. Frame Building Courses

  • Bicycles by design. See Web
  • The Bicycle Academy. See Web
  • Downland Cycles. See Web
10. Bike Fit Training - Torke Cycling

There are many bike shop owners that don't feel the need for qualifications and they think there knowledge is greater than anyone can teach them! 
And if you think you can learn everything in a 2 week course you will be wrong! It takes years of experience, continues training courses and product knowledge before you can run a successful business. You may soon find that the training centers are lacking the professionalism you will be expecting, especially if you have come from a different profession where you was sent on regular training course's. That's hope there are positive changes in 2013. I know from my experiences from starting in the bike trade after leaving school, then moving to the motor trade starting a 3 year apprenticeship and going on many Peugeot dealer training course's, I feel the cycle industry has got a long way to go. 
Everybody needs to start somewhere, and those that have been in the cycle trade for a long time, there is still something new to learn or something they haven't seen before. Going on training courses also give you the chance to meet other people from the cycle industry, to share your experiences. 
One question you should ask yourself; would an insurance company payout to someone who did not have the correct qualification for their profession in the event of a claim?   
When you are paying for it out of your own money, you want the best value and for the training to start and finish on time.

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