Will Used Motorcycle Parts Really Save You Money?

Will Used Motorcycle Parts Really Save You Money?Hands Up! How many people out there stated their motorcycling lives scratching around for used motorcycle parts to keep a heap of junk going, just so they could get their riding fix on a field, or a piece of waste ground? Even then I questioned the wisdom of getting parts for virtually nothing only to see the bike give up on me after 5 minutes!

Now things have moved on and we live in an age where anything can be bought off the internet, even used motorcycle parts! But do they really represent value for money? My aim in this article is to give you my thoughts on the subject, the results of a little price checking exercise, and some of the site that in my opinion make a good starting point if you are looking for a used part for your motorcycle.

Preaching to the converted?

Before I go on, let me get on my soapbox. Like any road going vehicle, a motorcycle’s performance is based on the smooth running of thousands of parts, large and small. Faulty parts on a car are frequently nuisances that prevent the owner from enjoying full use of the vehicle. Broken parts on a motorcycle can spell tragedy for its driver and extensive damage to the machine. The safety and security of four wheels on each corner doesn’t exist when a motorcycle’s rear wheel locks up at 70 mph, skids out of control and throws its rider.

Be smart, be covered…,

As the owner, rider and insured party of your motorcycle, it pays to be a smart consumer on purchases and repairs. Make these points a regular part of your routine: Know as much as possible about the history of the model you already own or are thinking about buying. Obtain and save all sales receipts, warranty information and service manuals.
If you can, document every worn, broken or non-functional part on your own bike, before and after repairs are made. Basically, make sure you cover your a**, because if you don’t, nobody else will. Do I do all of this stuff? Frankly not, at least not till now! O.K., I’m done let?s move on……..
Show me the money!!!

What does this have to do with used motorcycle parts? Well in my personal experience the main attractions of buying used parts over new is price and availability. But with the growth of online parts retailers is this really true? I decided to try and find out.

How old is too old?

Can you find parts on the internet for say a 1980 Suzuki GS1100E? Apparently you can because there is a testimonial which says so on one of the parts retailers? websites. I’m always a bit skeptical about these testimonials so I decided to use this model and do a quick check on the online retailers to see if the parts for this bike were available, plus get some quotes from some of the used motorcycle parts suppliers.

I wasn?t that surprised at the results. I tried to locate a new crankshaft for the Suzuki and failed to get anything out of five online retailers. One however came up with the goods and a price as well!

From New parts to Used Parts

I had an idea about pricing for a new crankshaft for the Suzuki, so now all I had to do was fire off some emails to potential suppliers of the used motorcycle part. The response was a little disappointing however. I e mailed 4 sites, 2 which sold their own stock of used motorcycle parts and two which linked into a parts finder service with other salvage yards. The 2 which sold from their own stock on the ground were very helpful and responsive but didn?t have the part available. The parts finder services were also very responsive, I got e mails back immediately telling me I would be contacted shortly by the other salvage yards in the service. Lo and behold, the emails started flooding in! Unfortunately none of them had the part I was supposedly looking for (remember, the crankshaft for the 1980 Suzuki?)

Still waiting…..

At the time of writing I am still waiting for someone to tell me they have a used crankshaft for the 1980 Suzuki bike I “owned” for the experiment. However in the meantime I was able to get an idea of how much a used crankshaft for the bike would cost (if I could get one). The price was less than half that of a new one, but this quote came with several conditions attached to it. For example, no warranty (expected) price would vary depending on condition (expected) and so on. Nothing out of the ordinary in fact.

Conclusions

My personal conclusions from this exercise are that you can save a lot of money if you look for used motorcycle parts on the internet BUT older bikes (like 1980 Suzuki?s) may not be the easiest bike to get used parts for; however if you have a bike that is say 5 years old, and one of the common makes, you should be laughing all the way the salvage yard!

If you are struggling to get parts for your bike, try this online supplier for a stock of new parts going back to … (wait for it) 1969! At least that?s what they told me when I contacted them to check that they really had a new crankshaft on the shelf ready to ship for a 1980 Suzuki.One drawback with this retailer; no Harley or Triumph parts (I guess thats two drawbacks)! Anyway check them out and see what you think.

And try this site for a list of salvage yards…

A nice looking salvage site, with all the used motorcycle parts you could want…
A great directory of used motorcycle parts suppliers

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  1. Rob Fleming - June 6, 2011

    New blog post: Will Used Motorcycle Parts Really Save You Money? http://bit.ly/iq1kdw

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