Are you shopping for new parts for your motorcycle or scooter right now?

Then, you might be wondering whether you buy an aftermarket part or an OEM one.

Are OEM parts really worth the extra price?

Perhaps you don’t know the difference between an aftermarket and an OEM part?

If that’s the case, stick around, because in this blog post, you’ll discover:

  • The differences between aftermarket vs. OEM parts
  • How to decide which is the best choice for you
  • 4 things to know before you buy new parts for your bike

Aftermarket vs. OEM parts

What is an OEM part?

An OEM, or “Original Equipment Manufacturer” part is made by the brand’s manufacturer.

For example, if you buy an OEM part for a Kymco Agility, that part is actually made by Kymco.

What is an aftermarket part?

Aftermarket parts are made by third-party companies that may or may not have any connections to the original manufacturer.

Aftermarket vs. OEM parts – Which One Should You Buy?

There’s no clear-cut answer to that question, as each type comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

When shopping for an aftermarket part, there are always going to be some risks – especially when it comes to quality.

With that in mind, there are many good aftermarket brands – you just need to do your research.

An OEM part might cost more than an aftermarket part, but you’re more likely to get a good quality replacement part for that price.

Take that with a grain of salt, however. 

Why? Because even the best and most respected motorcycle and scooter brands make OEM parts that are not up to snuff.

So, which one is it going to be?

In the end, it all comes down to this:


  • Would you spend a little extra money on a genuine OEM part?
  • Are you willing to take a risk by getting an aftermarket part?

4 Things You MUST Know Before Buying New Parts For Your Bike (OEM or Aftermarket)

1. Be 100% sure of your make and model

Perhaps it sounds like I’m treating you like an idiot by telling you this. But I’m not – I’m saving you from feeling like one.

The most important thing for you to remember is this – parts aren’t interchangeable between brands. An air filter for a Kawasaki will look different from a BMW.

Not only that, but parts aren’t necessarily interchangeable between models within the same brand.

So how can you determine what make and model you’ve got? Try the VIN.

What’s the VIN?

The VIN is like the birth certificate for your bike – if you enter your bike’s VIN into a vehicle database, it will tell you the manufacturer, model, and year the bike was made.

Usually, the VIN is stamped on the frame, but consult your owner’s manual for more precise information.

The engine also has its unique identification number, which is usually stamped on the engine case or the rear of the transmission case.

Again, just like the VIN, check your owner’s manual for the location of the engine number on your bike. 

2. Electrical components are NOT returnable

Are you buying a new bulb or a starter motor for your motorcycle? Then pay attention.

While it’s essential to get the right part for the right bike, at least you can return most of them to the store.

This isn’t the case with electrical components, however. If you buy a new starter motor and you find that it doesn’t fit – most stores won’t let you return it.

Therefore, make extra sure that you’re getting the correct electrical component – this will save you:

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. The frustration and anxiety that comes from wasting money on the wrong part


3. Use the old component as a reference point

Before you throw out that old part – don’t. It’s still valuable.

Pay particular attention to the shape of it, but also any serial numbers that might be stamped on it.

This gives you a complete 360° overview of what the replacement component is suppose to look like.

If you can, bring the old component with you to the motocycle parts store – that way, it will be easier for the staff to find and sell you the correct part. 

Haven’t removed the part yet?

Even better! If you haven’t removed the old part yet, take a photo of it. By doing this, you’ll know:

  1. Where it’s supposed to go
  2. Which way it’s supposed to go
  3. If there are any cables or hoses connected to it

All of these things will help you when you’re putting the new part on.

4. Don’t Be Cheap – Buy From a Reputable Company

No, this doesn’t mean that you have to shell out the equivalent of $2,000 for an aftermarket (or OEM part) exhaust. 

But as the headline above states: “don’t be cheap.”

There’s a reason why the phrase “you get what you pay for” exists – often, “cheap” doesn’t equal “high-quality.”

A component like a head gaskets might actually end up causing more damage to your engine if you one that’s dirt cheap.