A lot of bikers like to do their own repairs and maintenance, which means they need to buy motorcycle parts, accessories and tools. Tracking down reliable suppliers for these things can sometimes be difficult, but in this article we’ll cover the basics of how you can go about finding the best places to get hold of them.
If you’re looking to replace a broken or worn out motorcycle part with a direct replacement of the original, rather than fitting a new high performance item, for example, then you have a few choices available. Often the best option is to buy an replacement produced by the manufacturer, these are often referred to as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts.
This will usually be the most expensive route but you can confidently expect the part to be an exact copy of the one you are replacing and that it will be of good quality. It will most likely have been manufactured on the same production line, in the same factory, using the same plans and machinery as the original part that was used in your motorcycle when it was first built.
If you are looking for a cheap motorcycle part, or simply cannot find an original, the alternative option is to buy a ‘pattern part’. This is a spare part that has been produced by a third party manufacturer using a ‘pattern’ (in the sense of the word meaning diagram or plan) of the original manufacturer’s part. Although pattern parts are often much cheaper than OEM parts, the quality can vary considerably.
When buying pattern parts the important thing is to do a lot of research because, while some of them can be just as good as their more expensive counterparts, they can often be of poor quality. It usually pays to choose an established, well known brand, but sometimes it can be hard to resist the temptation of a real bargain, so it’s a good idea to ask around on motorcycling forums for opinions from people who may have bought the same item.
There are some components of your bike that you need to have absolute confidence in, for the sake of your own safety. For example, when you buy motorcycle brake parts you need to know that they are of excellent quality and will perform as expected under all conditions; the consequences of fitting your motorcycle brakes with cheap, substandard parts don’t bear thinking about.
Used motorcycle parts
For non-critical parts, like bodywork, instruments and so forth, you can often find a bargain by contacting your local motorcycle breaker – a company which specialises in buying up damaged motorbikes and stripping them down to recover and sell any spare parts which are still usable. This is a great way to get hold of OEM parts at a bargain price, and you can often find them in good-as-new condition.
Motorcycle breakers are great places to get hold of second hand aftermarket high performance exhausts, or other bolt-on goodies which have been stripped off crashed bikes.
eBay is an excellent source of used motorcycle parts. Quite often people will choose to strip down a damaged or unwanted old motorcycle and sell the parts individually on eBay, since this enables them to make more money than they would by selling the whole bike to a breaker. If parts for that particular model of motorcycle are in high demand, it’s usually worth more in bits than it is as a complete, fully working motorbike.