Whether you own a dirt bike or a custom motorcycle, you may at some point prefer to repair and maintain your own vehicle. Not only is it cheaper than taking it to a shop, but it allows more creativity, control, and ability to customize the vehicle’s speed and strength.
Unfortunately, doing all the work on your bike yourself comes with some challenges. If you weren’t a natural mechanic when you purchased your motorcycle and have decided to do your own repairs, you’ll have to learn your way around your bike and how to handle the necessary tools. Rebuilding a master cylinder or choosing the right air filter or motorcycle exhaust will take skills and practice. From checking if it’s time for an oil change and replacing broken foot pegs to installing valve stems and tire repair, you’ll also need to find reliable suppliers of parts and accessories.
In this buying guide, we will discuss the different types of replacement motorcycle parts and provide some tips on how to ensure they fit your motorcycle.
Know the Different Types of Replacement Motorcycle Parts and Accessories
There are three primary types of replacement motorcycle parts you can purchase: used motorcycle parts, original equipment manufacturer (OEM), and aftermarket motorcycle parts.
Used Motorcycle Parts – Used motorcycle parts and accessories are parts and accessories that have already been used. They may be parts taken from a motorcycle that no longer runs, or the seller may no longer have use for them because they are upgrading or altering their bike with different parts. Compared to brand new parts, used motorcycle parts are quite cheap. The downside is that they come with no warranty, and there’s no guarantee how well they will perform or how long they will last.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) – OEMs are parts and accessories made by the original manufacturer, such as Harley Davidson, Ducati, BMW, Honda, Yamaha, and so on. Many motorcycle owners prefer OEM parts because of their quality, warranty and support, and reliable distribution network. There’s also little to no risk that the part won’t fit your motorcycle.
However, because OEM parts are brand new and original, they will be expensive. And if you’re customizing your bike, OEM parts won’t offer a lot of variety. They will be limited to the brand’s original colors and designs.
Aftermarket Motorcycle Parts – Aftermarket motorcycle parts manufacturers are not authorized or connected with the motorcycle brand; however, many aftermarket parts makers meet and sometimes exceed the specifications of the original design. As third-party motorcycle parts manufacturers, they can take the original design and improve on problems.
An aftermarket parts manufacturer may enhance the part’s functions and quality. They may even make the part in different colors to give consumers a wider selection to choose from. You can also find aftermarket parts in materials different from the original, such as aluminum, carbon fiber, or titanium. It’s for these reasons that many motorcycle owners who customize their bikes turn to aftermarket parts to create a look that is unique.
Ensuring the Part or Accessory Fits Your Motorcycle
Buying motorcycle gear, like jackets, modular helmets, knee braces, rain pants and rain jackets, armored shorts, and race suits, is pretty straightforward. Whether you’re buying rain gear, protective gear, motorcycle helmets, or helmet accessories, you only need to worry about getting the gear in your size. Purchasing gear that doesn’t fit you won’t have any effects on the motorcycle’s performance.
However, when you’re purchasing parts for your motorcycle, the biggest concern is whether the part will be compatible with your bike. Buying a part that doesn’t fit your motorcycle means it won’t work on your bike and is useless.
When buying motorcycle parts and accessories, a correct and complete description of the product is crucial. The last thing you want is to pay for the item in your shopping cart, wait for days or weeks for the vital part or accessory to arrive, and discover that it doesn’t fit. This is where fitment data, or compatibility, plays a crucial role, particularly when purchasing motorcycle parts online. What’s interesting about certain motorcycle parts is that they may fit different bike models.
By ensuring the part or accessory fits before you buy it, you can save yourself time and frustration. Whether you’re looking online for tire accessories, riding gear, exhaust systems, or sprocket kits, the top places to look are eBay and Amazon. Both ecommerce platforms encourage buyers to leave reviews on the items they’ve purchased. Other buyers look at these product reviews because it helps them determine the quality of the product and if the description is accurate.
The most reliable online sellers will always have fitment data on their product listings. Reputable online sellers want to give their customers the confidence to buy from them by ensuring fitment information is clear and complete on all their listing descriptions. Their goal is to save everyone the trouble of back-and-forth messaging concerning the compatibility of the part. It also saves both parties the costly hassle of returns.
If you encounter a seller that has no information on compatibility for their items, you can always reach out to the seller and ask them for more information. Keep in mind that most sellers do not monitor their message alerts 24/7; you may not receive a reply until they are back online. Also, you could end up waiting and later find out that the part isn’t compatible with your motorcycle.
Understanding Fitment for Your Motorcycle
Whether you’re buying aftermarket motorcycle parts, used, or OEM parts, compatibility or fitment is an essential aspect of buying parts and accessories for any vehicle. Fitment is the year/make/model of the vehicle. For motorcycles, cars, boats, etc., fitment can be further classified by engine, sub model, and other vehicle attributes. So whether you’re buying foot controls, motorcycle batteries, crash bars, spark plugs, brake pads, brake calipers, or exhaust pipes, you will need fitment and compatibility data to determine if the part or motorcycle accessory fits your bike.
On eBay, ensuring the part you plan to purchase will fit your motorcycle is made easy, thanks to the platform’s Parts Compatibility tool. From battery chargers and wheel components to motorcycle brakes, sellers of motorcycle parts and accessories list their items in the Motorcycle Parts & Accessories category and specify parts compatibility or fitment. So when you click an item to get a full view of the product listing, you will see a list of all the vehicles that part fits in the description tab.
On Amazon, there’s a Part Finder that helps you find fitment-specific products for your motorcycle. Part Finder was built with technology that identifies millions of parts by using ACES (Aftermarket Catalog Exchange Standard). ACES is the industry standard for automotive catalog applications in North America.
When searching for a part, be as specific as possible. Be sure you’re searching in the Motorcycle category. Search using relevant keywords, such as part number, part type, your motorcycle’s model/make/year.
While there are different types of motorcycle parts and accessories to choose from, making sure the part fits before you buy should be your primary concern. You can avoid buying a part or accessory that is incompatible with your motorcycle by knowing your bike’s year/make/model or fitment data. It also helps to buy parts and accessories from reputable sellers that provide clear, accurate, and complete fitment information on their product descriptions.