Barnett Bicycle Institute for Bicycle Mechanics

Barnett Bicycle Institute is a school founded by John Barnett that offers classes in bicycle mechanics and materials for bicycle repair shops. Our specialties are suspension service and wheel building and truing techniques. Barnett's Manual DX is the most comprehensive guide to bicycle repair and maintenance in production anywhere.

 

E-Mail us to request information and answers to technical inquiries. We usually reply to emails within 1-2 business days, so please assume there was a technical problem if you don't hear back from us in a timely fashion.

The BBI Difference:
Philosophy and Instructional Approach

Our Philosophy of Bicycle Mechanics

Bicycle Mechanics is science, not art. Whether just tightening a bolt, making a delicate bearing adjustment, or precisely truing a wheel, we believe measurement quickly achieves accurate and repeatable results. We strive to eliminate subjectivity in every way. This means that you don’t have to "get it," or have "a knack." We believe we are unique amongst bicycle-mechanic schools in this philosophy.

Eliminate guesswork. How much of an adjustment is needed? In the old-school tradition of bicycle mechanics, you would use a trial-and-error method (a guess), then do it again differently when the results were unsatisfactory—in our approach, you analyze the problem, calculate the corrective action, then check the result and you are done! 

Eliminate reliance on subjective "feel." Is that shift quick? Does that axle rotate smoothly? Does that wheel spin so truly it doesn't even look like it's moving? Does that bolt feel like it's about to "bottom out?" These are all subjective judgments, and as long as they are the basis for mechanical technique, then results will be inconsistent. Each of these examples can be evaluated in non-subjective ways, and that is what we will teach you at BBI.

Eliminate reliance on memorization. Good mechanics know they don't know everything, but they know how to look up the answer when they need it. In order to do that, a good mechanic needs to be trained from the beginning on how to rely on information resources. Only BBI writes and publishes a manual for professional bicycle mechanics (Barnett's Manual DX). The manual is the heart of our training program, and it will become the most frequently used tool on your workbench. It's over 11,000 pages long, and includes over 10,000 hi-res color photos. Two things our students never need to worry about is whether they'll be able to remember everything they were shown or whether they did enough note taking during class!

Animation of a bicycle being assembledOur Instructional Approach

Incomparable personal attention.
Our class size is limited to 16 students—larger classes would enable us to boast about our total enrollment, but would you benefit?
With at least two instructors in the labs at all  times (and usually three), the maximum student-to-teacher ratio you would encounter is 8 to 1, but most of the time it's only 5.3 to 1! For most labs your instructor is monitoring just two or three other benches in addition to yours.

Five levels of learning.
See it, hear it, read it, do it, and share it. Our instructional approach starts with great instructors giving demonstrations that you watch from just a step away, while you hear the instructor carefully explain the method and reason of each step. At the same time, from worksheets in your hand or from the overhead projection screen, you can read the step and see the accompanying illustrations. After just a few minutes, it's your turn to do the same procedure at a workbench with a lab partner. You and your lab partner get hands-on time, while sharing with each other your insights and challenges about the procedure. And throughout the lab, a supervisor is close at hand giving you encouragement, feedback, and tips, while answering questions you might have.

Our commitment to help you learn after leaving the classroom is unmatched.
By providing you with written materials in excess of the subject matter covered in class, and by providing you with detailed worksheets that guide you through all procedures down to the last detail, you will have us at your side for years after you leave our classroom.

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Barnett's Manual

The most comprehensive guide to bicycle repair and maintenance...NOW ON DVD AND AVAILABLE BY DOWNLOAD!

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"I felt your instructors made the learning environment pleasant. They did not flaunt their knowledge or skills but rather shared them. I felt comfortable even when I screwed things up. Their professionalism was quite apparent; an excellent reflection on BBI and you. I was amazed at their seeming encyclopedic knowledge of bikes, parts, etc. They were quite patient, too. In the end I feel more confident than I thought I would. Please pass along my compliments to them..."

Timothy A. Dinan
Grosse Pointe Park, MI

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