You can choose either with new old stock (NOS) or just plain new original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, used OEM parts, or aftermarket replacements. Each motorcycle part option has its own pros and cons and differing levels of difficulty to acquire.
- OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer
- NOS: New Old Stock
- Aftermarket: Parts produced by someone other than the original manufacturer.
- Used parts: Parts taken from a broken or dismantled motorcycled.
Some good places to find parts for your motorcycle project include:
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NOS & OEM Motorcycle Parts
These are parts that were originally manufactured with your motorcycle and have never been used. Often they’ve been stored in a warehouse or a garage for a long time and even come delivered in the old packaging. Kind of cool.
The good thing about NOS OEM parts is that you can be certain that they’ll work for your old motorcycle.
The drawback is that they’re usually more expensive. Be careful with NOS rubber parts as rubber tends to harden and crack over time, even when it’s not being used.
Just plain new OEM parts are a similar situation. They come straight from the manufacturer, but for parts that haven’t continued to be used in newer models, production runs will be small and prices will be much higher.
Used Motorcycle Parts
If you’ve bought a classic, yet common old motorcycle there are bound to be a variety of private sellers and motorcycle salvage operations that are parting out the exact same make, year, and model bike that you’re rebuilding.
Be sure to shop around for the best price and best condition of the part you’re looking for. Inspect the pictures and read the description to be sure the listing you’re looking at is for the part you actually need.
Most used parts you buy online will still need an inspection and cleaning before being installed on your motorcycle.
Aftermarket Motorcycle Parts
Depending on the model of the old motorcycle you’re working on, there may be a large selection of aftermarket parts specifically designed for your bike. If not, there’s bound to be universal aftermarket parts that serve as great options for replacing wear components like cables, brake pads, chains, and sprockets.
Find Parts for your Motorcycle
To be sure you’re buying the right replacement OEM part for your motorcycle when shopping online:
- Get the manufacturer’s parts reference for the year and model of your bike.
- You can also find part numbers from the parts diagrams listed on sites like bikebandit.com or in your manufacturer’s parts manual.
- Use the part number to search on Google, suppliers like Bikebandit and Old Bike Barn, and eBay.
- Check out specialty motorcycle suppliers like z1enterprises.com
Model-Specific Motorcycle Owners Forums
If you’re still having trouble locating parts for your bike, you can also try to classified and for sale sections on model-specific forums.
Model specific forums are a wealth of knowledge for old motorcycles. A quick search of the forum will often bring up detailed answers to the very specific question you might have.
You can also follow along the custom builds and restorations of other member’s projects and get some inspiration and tips for yourself.
Some of the best model specific and style-specific motorcycle forums are listed below: