There are a lot of differing opinions in the discussion of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) vs. Aftermarket motorcycle parts, when deciding what you need for your bike. One opinion that is frequently stated is that OEM parts are better than aftermarket motorcycle parts. This argument stems from the fact that if the company that made the motorcycle is also making the parts then the parts must be better for the bike than something that's made by someone else. Of course the most important part in the choice is what you, the buyer, are most comfortable with. Here's a quick comparison of the two types of parts.
Aftermarket Motorcycle Parts In order to reproduce a part for a motorcycle, the manufacturer must first apply for the rights to produce the part. The manufacturers then operate under stringent guidelines, and need to be very precise in their design and production. Well produced aftermarket motorcycle parts are sometimes hard to distinguish from the original parts. In fact manufacturers usually have the flexibility to actually improve on the design and quality of an original part, and aftermarket parts are generally less expensive than OEM parts. A potential problem for riders who choose to use aftermarket parts is if they are installed by a technician that isn't certified, it may affect the warranty. OEM Motorcycle Parts An OEM part is theoretically made by the same manufacturer that produced the part for the original vehicle. However, this isn't always the case, as auto and motorcycle manufacturers many times don't make the parts themselves, but outsource the work to a separate company. Quality Aftermarket Parts There is a wide variety in the look and quality of aftermarket parts. The best ways for a consumer to gather information is to research manufacturers online, talk to parts dealers that they trust, read reviews, and become active in forums. Some of the more common users of aftermarket parts are:
Custom motorcycle builders often use aftermarket parts so they can put together bikes that have a unique design and look.
The wide variety of parts available makes it pretty easy for even a novice rider to take advantage of many customizable parts.
People with bikes that are older may use aftermarket parts because the design or function of the part may be improved from the original version.
Insurance companies frequently choose aftermarket parts to replaced damaged parts after an accident.
The bottom line when deciding between an OEM and an aftermarket part for your motorcycle is to familiarize yourself with the differences between the parts, and make a good decision based on your own needs.