There is a difference between “Parts Hangers” and “Bike Mechanics.”
A Parts Hanger can resemble a Bike Mechanic, and knows their way around a bike, but doesn’t like working on bikes unless they’re installing new, high-end parts. You can tell a Parts Hanger by the way they check in a repair. If, when checking in a repair for service, the “mechanic” (and I use that term loosely in this situation) starts tallying up a list of new parts without properly checking over the bike, you may have a Parts Hanger on your hands. Inside the bike shop, a Parts Hanger “cherry-picks” the repairs they work on, leaving less expensive bikes or repairs that require actual work, for another mechanic to handle.
A real Bike Mechanic can actually fix bikes. It doesn’t matter what brand or style of bike, or what shape it is in… the real Bike Mechanic can make the bike function properly. Sure, there are instances where bikes are too far gone to repair, but in most cases, the real Bike Mechanic will do their best to repair the bike to the best functioning order it is capable of. Real Bike Mechanics are fluent in all bicycle styles, and you do not usually see them turn up their nose at a challenging repair.
Don’t get me wrong… real Bike Mechanics like working on nice things. It is extremely fun to piece together a custom build for a good customer, but that is not the only part of a Bike Mechanic’s job. It’s easy to work on nice stuff… it’s engineered to work flawlessly. The mark of a true Bike Mechanic is whether or not they can make the crappy stuff work. Real Bike Mechanics do not cut corners, and they get the job done right – the first time.
And Bicycle Race Mechanics take it exponentially farther…