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When it comes to replacing or repairing your motorcycle, you have two types of parts to choose from — OEM and aftermarket. But which one is better?
OEM parts vs. aftermarket parts — it’s one of the classic debates in the world of cars and motorcycles. It’s generally understood that if you bring your bike to the dealership for repairs, you will get OEM parts. On the other hand, going to an independent auto shop means having access to aftermarket options.
But what if you like working on your bike yourself? Fortunately, you can always order OEM or aftermarket motorcycle parts online. But you still need to choose. In this Service Honda buying guide, we’re diving into the world of motorcycle parts and accessories to show the pros and cons of OEM and aftermarket parts.
OEM Parts Explained
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts refer to motorcycle parts and accessories from original motorcycle manufacturers such as Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Ducati, and Harley Davidson, among many others. OEM motorcycle parts are 100% identical to the parts that come with your bike.
Discover our range of brake systems and OEM motorcycle parts and accessories. Get prices up to 30% off at Service Honda.
Reasons to Get OEM Motorcycle Parts
- 100% Original: OEM parts offer peace of mind knowing that you’re using a part or accessory that’s new and completely identical to the component that came with your motorcycle. You won’t need to worry about performance issues or buying the wrong part.
All you need to do is take out your broken or worn-out part and replace it with a new one from the same manufacturer. Even used OEM parts can give you the same level of confidence, provided they’ve been lightly used and come with a receipt.
- Warranty: Brand new OEM parts are backed by either the dealer (if you’re having it repaired in the dealership shop) or the manufacturer’s warranty. Motorcycle companies offer this guarantee because they know OEM parts are 100% compatible with the bikes they’re made for. This means that there’s a very low likelihood that they’ll malfunction within the warranty period. But in the off chance that something goes wrong with your OEM part, you can simply get in touch with the manufacturer’s customer care hotline for a replacement or repair.
- No Compatibility Issues: When you buy OEM motorcycle parts, you won’t have to worry about compatibility problems with the other components of your machine. Your replacement part is 100% genuine and identical to the part that came with your bike, so there’s no reason it won’t work as designed.
Disadvantages of OEM Motorcycle Parts
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- More Expensive: OEM parts are usually more expensive than their aftermarket alternatives, with some estimates showing that OEM parts can cost 60% more.
Some people call this “paying for the logo” — that is, you’re paying for the convenience and peace of mind that comes with buying straight from the manufacturer. However, it’s also true that OEM parts can give your bike more value, as many buyers look for motorcycles with all-original components.
- Difficult to Find: At Service Honda, we make it easy to find OEM parts and accessories from Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and many other manufacturers. However, there are parts for certain brands and models that can be difficult to find due to limited availability — a common problem with older bike models. Sure, we can help you find your specific part or accessory. But turnaround times may be slow, and you may have to pay a premium for rarer parts.
- Quality Not a Guarantee: The cost of OEM parts has nothing to do with quality — OEM parts aren’t necessarily better than aftermarket options. In fact, some of the best brands have been plagued with quality issues, so much so that some aftermarket parts turn out to be the better choice. This is because aftermarket manufacturers have reverse-engineered the part and improved on its weaknesses, creating a better product.
Aftermarket Parts Explained
Also known as generic parts, aftermarket parts come from third-party manufacturers. They’re not used parts as some people think; they’re still new but are made by a company other than your bike’s original manufacture. Aftermarket motorcycle parts aren’t illegal. While they may not be associated with the original manufacturer, they are perfectly legitimate.
Aftermarket parts are usually as safe and reliable as OEM parts and come with the bonus of being cheaper. However, because there are so many third-party manufacturers, you’ll need to do your due diligence to make sure you’re getting quality replacement parts.
Reasons to Get Aftermarket Motorcycle Parts
- Cheaper: Aftermarket parts are usually cheaper than OEM parts because they don’t come with the branding and marketing of major brand names. Aftermarket parts offer better value for money for parts that essentially do the same thing as their OEM counterparts.
- Easier to Find: The aftermarket parts market can be a goldmine for all kinds of parts and accessories that would normally be hard to track down if you go the OEM route. This includes parts for old bikes and accessories that original manufacturers no longer offer.
- More Variety: Aftermarket parts often improve on the original part and come in more options than offered by the manufacturer. High-quality aftermarket parts can come in better materials and different colors. This is why many motorcycle enthusiasts love aftermarket parts — the sheer number of customization options available to them.
Disadvantages of Aftermarket Motorcycle Parts
- Quality Problems: Subpar quality is perhaps the biggest issue hounding the aftermarket parts market. Yes, some third-party brands improve on the design and quality of OEM parts, but this is not always the case. Some parts are outright cheap knockoffs complete with the logo, and others are made from low-quality materials.
- Compatibility Issues: Fitment or compatibility issues are also common with aftermarket parts. Let’s say you want to upgrade your suspension, so you buy new springs from eBay. The seller indicates it’s for your bike’s brand and model, but when your order arrives, you find out it doesn’t even fit.
The best way to avoid this problem is to look for aftermarket parts suppliers that provide specific fitment data. This is usually the case with reliable manufacturers.
OEM Parts vs. Aftermarket Parts: Which One Is Better?
The short answer is: it depends.
The longer answer is that the right choice of parts and accessories boils down to what you need. If you’re looking for a simple replacement and don’t want any headaches, OEM is the way to go. If you want to improve and customize your ride, the aftermarket parts market has no shortage of options. You also have to consider other factors such as price, parts availability, and your bike’s resale value (if you intend to sell in the future).
Be sure to follow the Service Honda blog to find more buying guides and insights on the world of motorcycle parts and accessories. While you’re at it, explore our wide range of replacement OEM parts and accessories. Shop at Service Honda and get up to 30% off on select items.