University of California, San Francisco

A seized tilt sensor has been installed to stop this XSR firing. One of the challenges was preparing a trade in bike for sale. When you last chopped in a bike, did you list every fault? there is a big responsibility on the technician to find every possible problem before a bike's sold on.

Yamaha wants at least one bronze level tech in each dealer, so what is stopping this from happening? "It's humorous, but also annoying," Paul tells me. "The moment some dealership holders or general managers see somebody behind a computer learning a module, they see it as inefficient they do not see the benefit. "We say Okay, but this mechanic is maybe studying two hours for different models, which means they can use up one day less at our office doing training'. How is that not beneficial? "Also, some of the students aren't allowed to study the new modules that we release online at work, and have to do it at home. We can not change that overnight, but that is why we have made the system so easy. it'll work just also on a laptop, tablet or smartphone." Once logged onto the system, a technician's progress may be monitored live by Yamaha. "There is a yearly training fee around 400 to 500 euros," says Paul. "But if a dealer meets the basic training standards, they can earn back some of that money. We use the money we make to not only develop and upgrade the training, but to translate it to all languages." So what are the incentives for the mechanics to progress? "The biggest problem when looking at training is that the dealer says I do not want to train them, because they will leave'. Bosses should talk to their staff to learn what motivates them. They could also offer them a contract if you are going to invest in somebody, you want them to invest their knowledge back into your business, so maybe you say that if the mechanic leaves in some time, they have to pay back some of the cost. "It's useful not just for Yamaha, but for the mechanic, who can have much better prospects with clear skill levels. If there is no room to grow inside their dealership, some will leave, and maybe go to other brands, but we find that if you are trained well, you tend to stick with that brand. The Yamaha seed is placed." Stephanie Fowler, joint managing director of Fowlers of Bristol obviously understands the benefits, "While Fowlers is without doubt a big dealership by anybody's standards, it remains at heart much a family business, and we think 100 in investing in people both our staff and our customers. As far as the former is worried, this investment gives at least two big benefits, firstly, there is a low staff turnover because they're greatly respected and treated, and also, the company's on going investment in training means its staff are both experienced and knowledgeable, also as being greatly experienced. Customers are served by familiar friendly faces people they trust to either work on their machines, help them find the right bike or help with picking suited clothing, accessories and equipment. "A great example of this trustworthiness is Dave Ball, who is one of our master technicians. Dave worked at Fowlers for more than 20 years and has recently been acknowledged for a second year as one of the best in Europe. This company was formal' training for its technicians for well over 40 years, and the most of the staff in the workshop joined us as apprentices and, in some cases, worked their way right up to master technicians and managers. "Fowlers' service department has generally had a policy of growing its own' technicians, a term frequently used by my father, the late Harry Fowler, who was a stickler for detail, honesty and professionalism ethics that remain firmly implanted inside the business today, where opportunities abound thanks to the availability of factory training with the different manufacturers of our eleven franchises."

Being one of Europe's ten best Yamaha mechanics is an unbelievable achievement, but Dave who won a UK based Suzuki mechanics competition in 2013, and was a finalist in the Yamaha European GP in 2007 was still disappointed when he did not make it into the top three, who will soon be going to Japan for the last leg of the competition. But it is clear that the scores, as they were in the UK part, were close. finally, the European winner was Switzerland's Dominique Jimmy Mathys of Mathys Motos, who also took away euros to use up on Yamaha music merchandise, and 4500 euros for his dealership to invest in workshop equipment. Germany's Michael Hns came second, and Remco van Wijk of the Netherlands was 3rd all three will head to Japan for the finals. Surely the incentives are Clear to any bike dealer, and it strikes me that, if you go to a dealership that is proud to support and train its mechanics, you have not just got the reassurance of a greatly knowledgeable technician, it is also a forward thinking business that values its staff. To me, they are more probably to value the buyer too. As Yamaha's core business ethos says we're all customers, so treat people as you want to be treated.' There are many more excellent mechanics among all the brands around Europe and of course the UK who are proven to have the capability to diagnose faults, but are we approaching a future that will see only major dealers servicing our bikes as they grow more and more complex? "They are more complex," says Dave. "But they are easier to work on. A caliper is still a caliper, and an engine is still an engine. There are support systems on there too now, but the computer can point me in the right direction. In spite of bikes becoming more complex, the fundamentals are the same. "Electronics on bikes are already hugely tested, being made by just a couple of businesses and used on various machines. Really, it is most probably to be a wiring loom that has a problem now, and using a multimeter, with the right Voltage drop out tests that Yamaha explains in the training, you may be able to quickly find faults. CAN bus limitations the number of wires needed, and it does make diagnosis trickier without the right knowledge, but finally bikes are lots more dependable than they used to be. A bad earth on an old machine could throw people off, but the understanding of electronics in the workshop is much better than it used to be. Students love bikes