OEM VS. Aftermarket: When to Use OEM Motorcycle Parts


When it comes to replacing parts on your bike, there are two roads you can follow: aftermarket and OEM. Both routes can get you where you want to go, but like any good ride, it’s nice to have options. Aftermarket parts are great when you want to improve or change performance, look and feel.

OEM Parts Schematic

On the other hand, OEM is the only route that keeps things just the way they are, which can be a good thing! First and foremost, OEM parts come straight from the same manufacturing plant your beloved two-wheeled companion was birthed. When you replace a part on your bike with OE parts, you’re putting the EXACT same part from the factory that your bike designed to work with.

Truthfully speaking, if you were to peek outside our offices here, you’d see our bikes littered with aftermarket parts and accessories. However, there are areas on our bikes we simply need to work flawlessly, fit perfectly and last a long time. For these, we go OEM.

Motorcycle OEM Gaskets

Engine Internals An engine is made up of hundreds of parts working harmoniously to make that rear wheel light up when you crack the throttle. The consequence of one part failing or not operating properly is a helluva lot worse than a leaky valve stem. We’ve seen countless seized, blown and down-right destroyed motors from people going cheap on engine internals. For something as important as your engine, it pays to go OEM.

Gaskets After you replace those engine internals, you’re going to need new gaskets when putting it all back together. Whether it’s the cylinder base gasket or the power valve gasket on your two stroke, the importance of a quality gasket stays the same. The reason we recommend OEM gaskets, is that they simply work better than aftermarket gaskets most of the time. Lesser quality gaskets can be a bear to get off, and leak over time. Nothing is worse than having to tear your engine back down, just to replace a leaky gasket.

Seals Seals are vital elements to vital components on your bike, from suspension to chassis, and even inside your engine. They are the unsung heroes of your machine, but a leaky seal can bring trouble. The two reasons we like using OEM seals are because they fit/install better and last longer. Like anything on your bike, seals have a life span; and we’ve found OEM to provide more longevity than alternative options. Tired of leaky fork seals? Switch to OEM and we bet the frequent leaks stop!

Bearings Like seals, bearings play important roles throughout you entire bike. From crank bearings to wheel bearings, essential components on your ride depend on quality bearings. Many aftermarket bearings are made in China, NOT up to OEM spec or quality and don’t provide the same performance or durability.

Fairings Nothing is quite as frustrating as a part that just doesn’t fit. One area that aftermarket companies frequently miss the boat on is bodywork. OEM fairings and body pieces eliminate the panel-stretching, hole-drilling mess that is often required on not-so-stock plastic or fiberglass. Also, matching colors or graphics are a guaranty with OEM!

Filters and Oil Let’s start with oil. The easiest way to get a motorcycle shop throwing tire irons at each other is by bringing up a “best oil” debate. If you haven’t found “your” oil, or don’t know where to start, try OEM. Bikes are engineered specifically to use their respective OEM oil, making it a safe choice. Oil and air filters are also important aspects of engine performance and we see many riders sticking to OEM as well. Filters clean and keep out contaminates and should not be overlooked.

Aside from durability and computability, a lot of the time there simply are no aftermarket options and OEM is the only replacement option. That is why we are proud to now serve OEM parts to our loyal customers! If you have any questions about OEM vs aftermarket or finding a part number on an OEM schematic, give our customer service support members a call (877) 668-6872. Find your OEM parts here.