motorcycle 101 guides

OEM vs Aftermarket Motorcycle Fairing - The Better Option

OEM vs Aftermarket Motorcycle Fairing - The Better Option

A motorcycle fairing is a multi-functional accessory that can improve your bike’s performance and looks. Many motorcyclists buy fairings for their functionality, aesthetic appeal, and ease of customization. 

Whether you are customizing your naked bike’s style, converting your cruiser into a tourer, or replacing a broken fairing on your motorcycle, you can buy a fairing from plenty of motorcycle dealerships or independent motorcycle aftermarket part shops.

For example, if you want to get a fairing for a Harley Davidson Softail Low Rider (a naked cruiser), you can purchase it from a local Harley dealership or another brand like Viking Bags. If you choose a Harley dealership, you will get an OEM fairing, while at Viking Bags, you will get an aftermarket fairing. This article highlights the differences between an OEM and an aftermarket fairing.

1. What Are OEM Fairings?

The acronym OEM stands for “Original Equipment Manufacturer.” An OEM fairing is designed by your motorcycle’s brand. An OEM manufacturer only produces fairings exclusively for a single motorcycle brand. For example, Honda will only create Honda fairings for its different lineups. The same applies to Harley Davidson, Indian, BMW, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and others.

2. What Are Aftermarket Fairings?

An aftermarket fairing is designed by a company not associated with a motorcycle manufacturer. Aftermarket fairings fit motorcycles perfectly and have distinct styling cues. Moreover, an aftermarket manufacturer can produce fairings for more than one motorcycle brand. Hence the biggest advantage of aftermarket fairing brands is that they provide a one-stop solution.

2.1 Should You Buy OEM or Aftermarket Fairings?

Most riders prefer OEM parts because they are usually reliable and complement the bike, while other riders are just loyal to certain brands. It is true that aftermarket fairings can seem cheap and out of place. But some aftermarket parts can be of higher quality than OEM parts, and also look better on the bike. Since OEM and aftermarket fairings have their pros and cons, consider the following factors before making a purchase:

2.2 Risk Factor

It is safer to buy a fairing built by the same company that designed your motorcycle. Especially if you are satisfied with your bike’s build, finish, and performance. The fairing will be designed bearing the motorcycle’s style theme and finish in mind so that it complements the bike. For this reason, some motorcyclists even prefer to buy used OEM fairings. Moreover, if your fairing gets damaged, you can take it to a dealership for replacements and repairs.

On the other hand, a brand selling aftermarket parts may not have high-quality products. Unless it is a renowned brand, you risk wasting money on a poorly-made motorcycle fairing. Even if most online reviews have positive comments, it is best to get an OEM fairing if you don’t like wasting expenses.

2.3 Warranty

All OEM fairings come with a one-year warranty. If you order the fairing online, the original manufacturer will take responsibility for any damaged goods. You can easily get a replacement online or by visiting the dealership.

Only some aftermarket brands offer fairings with a 6-12 month warranty. Before purchasing, make sure you check the warranty, refund policy, and replacement policy.

2.4 Availability

OEM fairings are not always available because there is only one supplier. Most OEM fairings are often unavailable online and at local dealerships. Unfortunately, dealerships often take a while to restock their products. In addition, finding a fairing at the dealership for an older model is even more difficult. Many companies discontinue the production of motorcycles to launch new products. As a result, the production of OEM parts also comes to a halt.

Aftermarket fairings are readily available because there are more suppliers. Based on the customer demand, these brands also manufacture fairings for discontinued motorcycles. If you are unable to find a fairing at one shop/brand, you can easily find it at another nearby. If you need a fairing on short notice, an aftermarket fairing will be the best option.

2.5 Variety

Each year, a limited variety of OEM motorcycle fairings is launched. Even if you don’t like the look, size, or shape of the fairing, you really don’t have much of an option. Compared to OEM fairings, aftermarket fairings come with more variety. Aftermarket brands sell fairings in different colors and other products, such as decals and stickers, to create a custom look. For a single motorcycle model, you will find aftermarket fairings with different shapes, sizes, colors, and designs.

2.6 Fitment

OEM fairings are usually designed to fit specific models with only a few exceptions. As long as they are compatible with the fitment specifications, that should be easy to install. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) fairings also include mounting hardware that makes installation quick and easy.

Meanwhile, aftermarket fairings may not have the fitment specifications due to having a custom build and may lack mounting hardware. Before you place your order, check whether your motorcycle model is mentioned in the fitment list and installation hardware is included.

2.7 Quality & Value for Money

OEM motorcycle fairings tend to maintain consistent quality, whether low or high quality. On the other hand, aftermarket fairings are designed to be better than the OEM versions to attract more customers. You are more likely to get a sturdy aftermarket fairing with a better finish and an aerodynamic design.

2.8 Price

For OEM and aftermarket fairings, their prices depend on the material, hardware kit, quality of the paint, design, aerodynamics, and intended model. Usually, an OEM fairing is more expensive than an aftermarket one.

Since OEM motorcycle fairings belong to popular brands, they tend to be more expensive, even if they are low quality. An OEM motorcycle fairing can cost 40-60% more than an aftermarket fairing, with a base price between $500-$1500.

Aftermarket faintings are less expensive, with their prices being based on quality and features. An aftermarket fairing can cost between $300-$700.

OEM vs Aftermarket Fairings
OEM Fairings
Pros Cons
Less Risk Not Always Available
Warranty Limited Variety
Quick & Easy Replacements Quality Not Guaranteed
Exact Fit Expensive
Aftermarket Fairings
Pros Cons
Better Availability Risk Factor
Greater Variety Fitment Issues
Less Expensive Warranty Issues
High Quality

3. Takeaway

Both OEM and aftermarket fairings have their equal share of pros and cons. If you are having trouble deciding whether to buy an OEM or an aftermarket fairing, pick one based on the size of your budget. But even if you have a large budget, don’t just buy the first fairing you see at a dealership. If you visit an aftermarket shop and dealership, comparing the quality and finish of the two fairings will be easier. Also, check online marketplaces, find possible fairings to buy, and compare their design and price before making a purchase.

Reading next

Here’s Why Motorcycle Fairings Are Essential for Comfortable Highway Rides
Easy Ways to Improve Motorcycle Engine Performance

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.