OEM vs. Aftermarket
Where do you get more bang for your ATV riding buck
Which is better? Are factory parts better than the aftermarket parts that practically look the same? Is it worth paying 3 times as much for what seems to be an identical product for your ATV? The answer to that is Yes…….. and No. When it comes to replacing parts for your ATV it’s a 50/50 split as to whether you’re better off buying an aftermarket product over the factory items. You might not realize it but sometimes the factory part you ordered for your bike, is the exact same item you would have gotten if you looked at aftermarket products and at a much less expensive price. If you think you’re the only one that ponders questions like this you’re wrong. We get asked this on the daily, so we’re breaking it down for you. To compare prices, we’re going to use a 2014 Honda TRX 450ER as our machine of choice since it’s been available for years and has a plethora of aftermarket parts available for it. From engine internals to body work, we’re going to give you our honest opinion on where we feel your hard earned dollars will be best invested so sit back, take notes and be sure to leave a comment after you’re done to let us know if you think we hit the nail on the head or if we’re completely off base.
Internal Engine Components
When it comes to engine components, you’ll likely not find much from aftermarket companies and for good reason. When OEMs are making parts like transmission shafts, gears, shift forks and such, they have made excess to stock and supply for years to come. Aftermarket companies would have to get the parts, copy them and then start making the tooling and realistically it’s not cost effective for them to do this. What you will find are basic components for the clutch system or even your valve train in addition to cams and pistons from various aftermarket suppliers. When it comes to the hard core internals, we would always suggest sticking with the OE parts when it comes to this.
While the price from OEM to aftermarket won’t have a huge difference, the convenience is that with aftermarket brands you’ll get a complete kit with all clips, rings and piston pin. If you ordered all that from the factory, it would all be shipped individually.
OE Price: $154.05 Aftermarket: From 143.95
Todays modern 4-stroke engines have plated cylinders, so when it comes time to do maintenance and replace a piston you typically don’t have to worry about figuring out which size to get unless you’ve modified your cylinder to accept a larger size. Pricewise, the OEM parts when put together come pretty close to the cost of aftermarket piston kits 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. Some of our best selling piston kits are from brands like Vertex, JE Pistons or even the ever popular Wiseco.
OEM Price: 217.95 Aftermarket Price: From 108.95
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 CKF clutch plate kit at $108.95 or 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.
Sure you can get pads that are cheaper than the OE parts, but when it comes to quality and consistency are you willing to make a sacrifice with your braking system? If you’re going to go the aftermarket route, make sure you’re getting a quality brake pad in your calipers.
OE Price: $35.95 per set Aftermarket Price: From $20.95
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 Braking Sintered Sport CM44 brake pads, you’re less likely to encounter those kinds of problems.
OE Price: $44.20 Aftermarket Price: From $22.95
If you’re looking to replace your OE air filter, you’ve got a ton of options. You can simply replace the OE piece with a very similar foam filter, upgrade to a high-flow cotton gauze style filter like a K&N or even upgrade the intake system completely where you still have your option of the two filter styles. The stock replacement is the cheapest option with the No-Toil Dual Stage Foam Filter coming in at $22.95. The upgrade would be the K&N replacement at $56.99. With either choice you can’t go wrong.
OEM Price: $57.95 Aftermarket Price: From $33.95
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 can only choose 1 rear sprocket, at least on this bike. The aftermarket gives you a whole world to explore! If you choose to run the Renthal Chainwheel rear sprocket, you’ll have 4 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 and Sunstar or the other available sprockets from Renthal.
They can be cheaper, look better and potentially be even stronger than the OE parts you’re replacing. When it comes to wheels you can go from mild to wild and we will always suggest going the aftermarket route to fill your needs.
OEM Price: $245.95 (pr) Aftermarket Price: From $88.95 ea
When it comes to wheels for your ATV the OEM units are good but they’re expensive! The price of a set is almost $250 and if you go aftermarket you can save yourself nearly $100. Additionally if weight savings are a thing for you, you can save weight with aftermarket units or even have a stronger wheel if you choose to run something with a reinforcing ring or beadlock. Those later options are for sport riders and some utility riders who push hard and need performance so they’re going to be a little higher priced than the aftermarket replacement. You’ll get quality product from ITP and DWT that will have options for every style rider out there. From the cheapest lightest wheel on the market to the wheels that will take a heavy beating, they will have you covered, the ball is in your court to figure out which works best for you.
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!