Buying Aftermarket Motorcycle Parts

Buying Aftermarket motorcycle partsShopping for aftermarket motorcycle parts is very very easy online these days; in fact you are probably going to be spoilt for choice! Even if you are on a typical biker’s budget (thats tight if you are like me!) The difficult thing often is to decide what is a motorcycle aftermarket part?

Well at the risk of sounding like an idiot, how about all of them?

Let me explain….

The days are long gone when motorcycle companies made all the components that went into their bikes…

In fact it is highly unlikely that they ever did! Motorcycle manufacturers have design departments, capable of designing a complete motorcycle. They have the capital and infrastructure necessary to assemble the bikes. But taking on the manufacture of every single component? Its a big ask for any automotive based company to do that.

Enter the component manufacturers. They work in partnership with the  motorcycle manufacturers to produce the components to the exact design and specification required. They even agree to badge and box up these components with the manufacturers labeling, so they are sold as the manufacturers parts. These are called OEM (Original equipment manufacturer) parts. These are the  parts found at an authorized distributor of your bike. They have the exact same specifications that came with the original part, and the bike manufacturers and dealers aren’t exactly slow in telling you! They are generally more expensive and almost always recommended by dealers partly because they are the parts you should use under warranty repairs and maintenance and partly because of the higher income they’ll get selling OEM parts.

But what about the component manufacturers who make these parts? This is their expertise, their livelihood. Bottom line is they need to sell parts!

So, after a certain period of time, the motorcycle  manufacturer will allow the component manufacturer to produce aftermarket motorcycle parts for sale in their own packaging but at a reduced price. The part now becomes an aftermarket OEM part.

These parts are generally  like for like changes, the only difference should be price. Aftermarket motorcycle parts invariably come out cheaper that the OEM parts; in fact sometimes the price difference counts against them, because the aftermarket parts cost so much less than the OEM parts, the savings are unbelievable!

There is also a totally different market for aftermarket motorcycle parts; the improvement enhancers. These aftermarket parts are sold to us on the basis that our motorcycles are going to be much better in some way with these new aftermarket parts. These parts work from the assumption that most mass produced bikes are produced to a budget, which is correct. So certain components are going to be put on the bikes that leave a lot of room for improvement. Exhausts is the common one, but other components that give an enhancement might be braided brake lines, brake discs, and so on.

The other aftermarket motorcycleparts are the “bling” category: you may not go any faster with these aftermarket parts, you may not ride more comfortably; but friend you are gonna get there in style! Again plenty of aftermarket parts suppliers fall into this category; a lot of them are stocked by  J&P Cycles® , particularly for the cruiser aftermarket.

There’s a lot of competition out there that’s why occasionally aftermarket motorcycle parts may come up as OEM parts. This is where a site like Bike Bandit comes into its own. It has a huge range of OEM parts, plus a great range of aftermarket motorcycle parts, so it allows you to make some direct price comparisons all on one site. I already mentioned J&P Cycles® for the Harley and cruiser aftermarket parts; another site worth checking out for aftermarket motorcycle parts is RideGear . They also have a range of products for street bikes and cruisers, but nowhere near as extensive as J&P Cycles®

So, aftermarket or OEM parts? The basic rule is, if you have a warranty, stick with OEM parts. It will be a painful experience financially even at a low cost OEM supplier like Bike Bandit , but at least here you know you are getting very competitive prices.

If you are looking for “bling”, or performance enhancements, all the suppliers on this page are worth checking out. But don’t expect to save money. If you are like me when there is money to spend on your pride and joy, it is almost impossible to keep to a budget…..


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  1. Rob Fleming - June 6, 2011

    New blog post: Buying Aftermarket Motorcycle Parts

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