Motorcycle aftermarket parts are a great way to customize your bike or fix what is broken. They are one of three common part types that you can get for motorcycles and are available at a variety of prices. You can find an aftermarket part for sale online, or you might be able to pick it up at your local motorcycle shop.
In this post, we will discuss the differences between aftermarket and other part types and where you can buy them. We will also cover the topic of motorcycle insurance in connection to aftermarket parts. That way, you can make an informed decision about what to purchase for building your dream bike!
What are aftermarket parts?
To explain what aftermarket parts are, let’s first start with defining OEM parts.
OEM parts are “original equipment manufacturer” items. They are created by the original motorcycle manufacturer and are sold to dealerships in bulk. These parts can vary from new, used, or rebuilt, but they will all be genuine parts made by that specific company (for example, Harley Davidson OEM parts are manufactured by Harley Davidson). OEM parts are the most expensive type and usually come with a warranty.
Aftermarket parts are also designed for use on motorcycles, but they are created by an unrelated, third-party company. These parts can vary from new to used as well and may not be the genuine article, meaning they will not have been made by a specific motorcycle manufacturer. Aftermarket parts have no warranty or guarantee about their quality and performance, and they are generally less expensive than OEM parts.
OEM vs. Aftermarket Motorcycle Parts
It seems plain as day that OEM replacement motorcycle parts are better than aftermarket ones. However, not everything is that simple.
OEM parts are hard to come by, and they are usually way too costly for most motorcycle enthusiasts. New aftermarket parts, on the other hand, are an extremely affordable option.
Not only that, but aftermarket motorcycle gear is also of high quality. You might find it difficult to believe if you are not familiar with motorcycles or motorcycle accessories, but there are many customers on the market today who prefer these parts over OEM. The aftermarket industry is experiencing a renaissance, and with good reason.
Do aftermarket parts add value to a motorcycle?
In the motorcycle industry, customization is the name of the game. Bike owners often start personalizing their rides even before they take them out of the dealership. In fact, a nice quote from the bike world describes this attitude, “The cost of a new motorcycle is only a deposit on the aftermarket parts.”
Bike riders invest hundreds, even thousands of dollars on aftermarket parts, accessories, style add-ons, and upgrades. (Not every add-on is an upgrade, depending on who you ask.)
Does this custom motorcycle gear have value to a rider? The answer is yes, and not just because of the aesthetic. It’s also about performance upgrades or personalization, which may be more important than you think.
But do aftermarket parts increase the trade value of custom motorcycles? Well, not exactly.
Typically, no matter how many add-ons a motorcycle has (or how much they’re worth in total), they don’t increase its value much. They may contribute to a faster sale, but not so much to the sale price.
This is good news for motorcycle enthusiasts who are looking for an already customized bike. If you run into a model that already has all (or most) of the add-ons you intend to install later on anyway, it’s likely you are getting a good deal out of that sale.
Does your motorcycle insurance cover aftermarket parts and custom work?
In general, motorcycle insurance policies and companies do not offer coverage for aftermarket parts or custom work. Anything that alters the motorcycle’s performance or appearance is usually not included in standard insurance coverage. This means that, as you customize your motorcycle with aftermarket parts, you need to be careful with your insurance policy.
Some insurers allow for a certain level of coverage for modifications, but not all. Before you start any work on your bike, it’s best to do a bit of research on this topic to know what to expect from motorcycle policies.
Where to buy motorcycle aftermarket parts?
The old days of walking from one dealership or scrapyard to another are long past. Swap meets are also slowly being phased out. Today, it’s much easier to find motorcycle aftermarket parts online.
If you are looking for a specific part that is not in stock at your local seller’s, the internet is the next best thing. For most people – especially in the wake of a global pandemic – it is the first best thing.
If you have the make and model of your bike handy (or even just know what year), there are many websites out there with a wide selection of replacement parts for motorcycles. You can choose whether you want to order an OEM part or an aftermarket one, and even between new and used parts.
Of course, there is always the possibility that you won’t get what you paid for with online shopping. Make sure that you’re familiar with the website’s return and refund policies in case you’re not satisfied with your purchase. You should also look into the potential shipping costs and delivery times. If you need a part fast, maybe it’s best not to order from a store that will take at least a week to get it to you.
For a bit more security and protection, you can look through eCommerce sites such as Amazon or eBay. Hundreds of aftermarket parts stores on these platforms are hoping to meet your needs.
Each of these online shops must meet specific standards of the platform they’re selling on and have detailed fitment data that will help you find the right part for your motorcycle. If anything goes wrong, you will have the Amazon or eBay customer service teams ready to pay your money back and potentially sanction the business owner.
How to Avoid Fake Parts
Many consumers believe that aftermarket parts are counterfeit or fake parts. This cannot be further than the truth. In fact, it’s the OEM parts that get replicated in cheaper materials more often, from their design to the construction to the packaging.
Fake motorcycle parts of any kind are made from inferior materials that will deteriorate quickly, potentially catching on fire or making a motorcycle more dangerous to ride. These fake aftermarket components could also mean expensive repairs in the future!
To help you avoid buying fake parts, we’ve put together this list of advice to keep in mind:
- Price – If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a new OEM part is almost as cheap as a used one, it’d be best to think twice before making the purchase.
- Packaging – If you find misspellings or grammatical errors on the packaging, it’s highly likely that the part you’re looking at is not from a quality brand.
- Seller research – Before making a final decision, try researching the seller’s name or store name online. If someone bought a fake part from them and is disappointed and/or angry, they might have left a comment on a forum or social media.
- Appearance and weight – Because they are made from cheaper materials, counterfeits are usually lighter in weight than original parts. They also may appear sloppy and rushed in construction. Try to thoroughly examine the part before you buy it or before installation. Compare it to parts you know are high in quality in terms of weight and craftsmanship.
Even though some motorcycle owners and bike builders prefer only OEM or only used parts, the truth is that aftermarket parts are at the core of the motorcycle industry. Without them, the vast majority of riders wouldn’t be able to replace their bike parts or upgrade and customize their dream ride the way they want to.
You can find aftermarket parts wherever you want. The convenience of online shopping is undeniable – hardly anyone visits brick-and-mortar dealerships nowadays.
You may want to check with your insurer about whether or not any aftermarket parts qualify in terms of coverage – this all depends on what kind of policy you have, so get in touch with them as soon as you can.
When looking for your next aftermarket add-on, you need to be careful not to invest in a fake part.
The best way to find out whether or not your aftermarket part is the real deal? Check with other riders about their experiences with a particular product in question.
If you’d like to become a motorcycle aftermarket seller, please contact MyFitment for more information. We’d love to help you set up your online store and catalog of motorcycle aftermarket parts!