OEM vs. Aftermarket
Where do you get more bang for your dirt riding buck
As one of the largest online parts retailers in the world, we are constantly asked one common question. “Am I better off going with the OEM part or the aftermarket that’s available?” As simple as it seems the answer should be, it really all depends on what parts you’re looking for. Sure if you get the OEM part you know it’s a genuine (enter your favorite manufacture here) part, but did you know that many of the OE parts are made by the same aftermarket companies you’re comparing against? We’re diving into our most common parts for dirtbike / dual-sport owners to compare which is better for your hard earned cash. We’ll be using a 2015 Honda CRF 450R for our unit due to its popularity and gigantic availability of aftermarket products. Sit back and read so you can see if we’re spot on or off our rockers.
OEM Price: Varies UFO Complete Body Kit: $161.95
Whether you took a digger or just want to give your bike a fresh new look, changing out bodywork on dirtbikes is a common thing and you want to get the most for your hard earned money. As we just started adding the price of the front and rear fenders and one rear side panel the total was almost passing the cost of the UFO body kit that has everything you need (F & R fenders, side panels, shrouds and number plate). Advantage aftermarket! In addition to the cost, you can usually get the kits in a variety of colors if you really wanted to change things up.
OE Price: $160.50 Wiseco Piston Kit: From $151.95
Todays modern 4-stroke engines have plated cylinders, so when it comes time to do maintenance and replace a piston you don’t need to worry about finding the right size for your cylinder. Pricewise, the OEM parts when put together come pretty close to the cost of a Wiseco piston kit BUT with many applicatons you may have the option to increase your compression ratio for more power. Just know that in doing so may require better fuel than you can find at your local gas station, so be sure to do your homework before making a modification like this.
OE Engine Parts
OE Price: Varies Aftermarket Price: Varies
When it comes to hard parts for your motorcycle (engine cases, transmission gears, forks, etc) unless you’re looking at a specialty shop, you’re not going to find much in the way of aftermarket. Sure you’ll find things like clutch baskets from companies like Barnett or Hinson Racing and pistons from Wiseco, Pro-X or JE Pistons but we’re talking about the core internal parts in the cases. There might be a few select bearings from the aftermarket you can get for things like crankshafts, but even then we still highly recommend sticking with OE for those. Know that if you have an older motorcycle, OE parts may be hard to find because manufactures are only required to make them available for so long after the last year’s production.
OE Price: $39.95 per set Aftermarket Price: From $19.95
Brake pads are one of those items that we mentioned are likely made from one of the aftermarket brands, but specifically for your bike. Not all pads are created equal though. To keep costs down, some pads may use a softer organic compound that will wear faster, especially when taken off-road and are subject to contamination from the elements. Furthermore the lesser priced pads may also lead to squeaking brakes that you might not have had with the OE pads. If you go higher quality pads (and usually more expensive) such as the Galfer 1054 Semi-Metalic or Renthal RC-1 Works Brake Pads, you’re less likely to encounter those kinds of problems.
OEM Price: 190.25 Aftermarket Price: From 70.95
When it comes to clutch plates and which might be better, it really just comes down to personal preference. Regardless whichever way you’re considering to purchase, the kits we offer here are top quality. You can save by running the EBC CK Series clutch plates at $70.95. You can go big and make your bike clutch a semi-auto unit so you can take on slow speed trails with ease, by upgrading to a Rekluse Radius X clutch kit for a bit more at $599.00.
OE Price: $49.95 Aftermarket Price: From $9.95
When we looked up the price of the OEM air filter, knowing what aftermarket parts sell for, we literally had to do a double take. When it comes to foam dirt bike filters, there’s not really a huge difference from brand to brand. Ultimately this is why so many brands are making and selling some so cheap, that you can practically throw them away after a use cycle and just slap on another one thus eliminating the need to get your hands covered in sticky oil. Take the Maxima ProFilter RTU Air Filter for example. Priced at only $9.95 you could pick yourself up 5 of them and break even to the cost of one OE filter.
OE Price: $862.93 Aftermarket Price: From $305.99
We’re surprised to be relating exhaust mufflers to the air filter comparison you just read but we can’t help it. The stock replacement mufflers on the CRF come out to just over $850. JUST FOR THE MUFFLERS! To their credit, most manufacutres have been getting decent performance out of their newer exhausts but that’s not to say that the aftermarket isn’t still doing it better and for a cheaper price. With selections from both FMF and Yoshimura, you can get a great deal on a new exhaust for your CRF for substantially less and likely see an increase of power (with proper fuel tune) and decrease in weight. If you’re really looking for some performance gains, then you’ll want to consider one of their full system replacement kits.
OEM Price: $79.95 Aftermarket Price: From $15.95
We know off-road stuff and it’s not uncommon for anyone that rides MX, or even off-road trails to, to have a wide variety of sprockets in their garage. Some tracks or terrain call for lower gearing to increase the torque, or maybe you’re venturing out to the desert and need more top speed and a higher gear ratio. With OEM you have the option of 3 different sprockets, at least on this bike. The stock sprocket and one tooth higher, lower and of course it’s steel. The aftermarket gives you a whole world to explore! If you choose to run the Renthal Chainwheel rear sprocket, you’ll have 6 different tooth options and their sprockets are made from 7075 T6 aluminum alloy making them super durable and 66% lighter than the comparable steel sprockets. You’re not just limited to Renthal though. Be sure to check out the offerings from JT, Sunstar, Moose Racing, MSR and the other available sprockets from Renthal.
OEM Price: $32.40 Aftermarket Price: From $5.95
Maybe you wouldn’t have thought grips to be one of those items to be on this post, but fact of the matter is that they’re a regularly replaced item and if you go with the factory to replace them, you’ve paid too much money. One reason that the factory price is so much higher is because the throttle grip comes with a new throttle tube. Sure that grip is worn but the tube is still fine so you just need to cut the remains of the grip off with a razor blade and slide on some new grips. Since you’re running off-road, make sure you get grips with a decent pattern that ensure you keep your grip if they get wet but won’t be so hard on your hands that you get blisters. Both Renthal And Pro Taper (top handlebar manufactures…. see a pattern here) both have a great line up of grips you should take a look at in addition to offerings from Scott, ODI and ProGrip.
There you have it. Aside from a select few items, you’re just as good running aftermarket parts on your motorcycle as you would be if you ran the stuff from the factory. One significant advantage of purchasing aftermarket parts is that we have more warehouses across the country with a larger inventory of aftermarket so chances are you can have your parts within 1-2 days vs. our average of 4-5 days. The choice is yours and either way you go, we’ll be here to serve you with a great selection of parts, gear and tires at some of the best prices you’ll find on the web. Keep Riding!