The National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) has purchased the Barnett Bicycle Institute (BBI),  the 30-year-old professional mechanics school, from its Founder John Barnett.

For several years, the NBDA had been trying to develop its own online program for entry-level mechanic education and certification. NBDA president Todd Grant said the BBI purchase creates a clear road map for bringing it to fruition.

“The NBDA’s mission is to strengthen the specialty bicycle retailer, education being a key component of the association’s vision. We see that improving the service department, where every bike passes through, as a natural place for us to make a significant education investment,” Grant said.

“It’s a profitable operation, so it will be paying back into the association reserves, and we will determine the appropriate rate of reinvestment,” he added.

There are no immediate plans to change the name of the Institute, and the operation will remain in Colorado Springs. Classes will remain open to anyone interested in learning professional mechanic skills.

John Barnett began teaching off-season classes for professional mechanics in the 1980s, when he was still service manager at Criterium Bike Shop in Colorado Springs. BBI celebrated its 30th anniversary as a full-time operation this year. Between 250 and 300 students pass through Barnett’s classes each year.

Barnett will remain a full-time consultant to BBI for at least a year.