Let’s Play a Game – Recognize the OEM vs Aftermarket Motorcycle Part

Over time, I have realized that I have a specialized skill I didn’t know about.  It is recognizing an OEM vs Aftermarket Motorcycle Part.

I have written about the value of OEM parts in the past, but this time I thought I would turn this into a little game, aptly named, “Recognize the OEM vs Aftermarket Motorcycle Part.”  Of course, this game is Harley-Davidson Shovelhead specific, but we go with what we know.

Let’s start with three parts and see how bada$$ you are.


Item #1: Floorboards

Picture #1 or Picture #2?

floor boards 1floor boards 2

Correct Answer: Picture #2.  See the V that is in the center of the two boards.  Chinese knock offs do not tent to have these.


Item #2: Speedometer

Picture #1 or Picture #2?

oem vs aftermarketoem vs aftermarket

Correct Answer: Picture #2.  This one is easy because my pictures kind of give it away.  Stewart-Warner made Harley-Davidson speedometers back in the day.  Aftermarket speedos will be missing the “Harley-Davidson” name on the face (below the odometer) and the tiny “Steward-Warner” under the top rim.


Item #3:  Exhaust

Picture #1 or Picture #2?

This one I have made a little tougher because it is at a distance.  Up close, the original part will have a part number.

oem vs aftermarketoem vs aftermarket

Correct Answer: Picture #1.  You need to double check the part number when you get up close, but the tell-tale sign of an original Shovelhead exhaust is the slits that run the circumference of the muffler near the tip.  You can see them in the left picture just below the saddlebag.


As I have mentioned in the past, large OEM parts tend to have a part number that can be decrypted.  Smaller parts require a discerning eye.  The trick that I have found is the Chinese manufacturers will not generally duplicate the part exactly.  I am not an expert in patent or trademark law or anything else, but my suspicion is that they do this on purpose – making the part just ever so slightly different so that they can say they didn’t copy it exactly.  The perfect example is the floorboards above.  The V shape would have been easy to add, but I have never seen that on aftermarket floorboards.

Anyways if you liked my little game of OEM vs aftermarket motorcycle part, please like or share on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, or like on Instagram.

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