Tuesday, March 27, 2012

May the Parts Be With You

Written By: GearHead.com

So you noticed on your last ride, that your fairing was a little looser than normal, your tachometer stopped working, and that a blinker light was out. After a closer post ride inspection, you’ve found a couple bolts have rattled loose from the fairing, the tachometer cable finally bit the dust, and the drive sprockets and chain are due for replacement. So now that you know what you need to replace, where do you go from here? When it comes to purchasing a part for your ride, there are several things to consider:

Local vs. Online?
If you need to get and ride today and have a critical repair, then a local motorsports shop is probably your best ticket. If it’s something that can wait a few days to repair, then an online parts dealer may be a better option since you will most likely be able to find cheaper prices. Typically online motorcycle parts stores offer a larger selection of parts, a low priceguarantee on parts, and free shipping if you spend a certain amount.

New vs. Used?
Sometimes if you’re searching for a vintage bike, part, or a particular piece that isn’t manufactured anymore such as a gas tank or seat, you may be forced to look for other routes. One place to look is a motorcycle salvage yard if there is one in close proximity. These are a great place to pull parts for old bikes, unfortunately, they are not as common unless you live in a larger city. Many local dealers even have an online parts store to showcase inventory they are liquidating. If you can’t find the part you’re looking for, you can search motorcycle classifieds such as CycleTrader.com for a parts bike.

OEM vs. Aftermarket
You’ve seen OEM on parts websites before or in your dealership and you’ve bought aftermarket parts, but what exactly is the difference? OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer and represents any product that is actually used or was used for a particular bike straight from the factory. So if you purchase a part that is a genuine OEM Honda motorcycle part, you can be rest assured that the part will fit your motorcycle exactly. Conversely, aftermarket parts are any non-factory parts that are made to fit that bike, but are not the designated as an official Honda (or other brand) replacement part. Aftermarket parts may not always be as durable or fit quite as well, but they are usually less expensive than OEM equivalent. Many times aftermarket parts are just as good, or better than OEM, so it’s important to do some research on that part or manufacturer before a purchase. Usually you’re safe with buying aftermarket parts for maintenance items and parts that wear out often such as chains, tires, sprockets, brake pads, etc., but the adage, “You get what you pay for”, usually rings true with regard to parts.

In summary, if you want to make sure you get the exact fit replacement part at the best price, always buy genuineOEM parts from an online parts store. If you’re okay sacrificing on quality and guaranteed fit in order to save some cash, then aftermarket might be the route for you. If you can’t find an OEM or aftermarket part, check out a salvage yard. Have fun and ride safe!