This article will detail the many factors that relate and contribute to motorcycle parts’ cost, giving a detailed explanation for each and where you can source cheaper parts from. By the end of this article, you will understand why your treasured asset costs so much and what you can do to find more affordable components.
Here are the main reasons why motorcycle parts are expensive:
Parts for a motorcycle are expensive due to manufacturing costs, importing and exporting costs, factories’ location, transportation of parts to and from remote regions, economic instability for various regions, and factors such as motorcycles being a luxury item and distributors having monopoly control. Aftermarket parts typically price their products at the same price to stay competitive.
Riding a motorcycle is one of the greatest feelings you can have and feels almost like your flying; however, you quickly hit the ground when you realize the cost of your beloved hobby’s upkeep. Quite a few motorcycle parts are extremely expensive when compared to other vehicles.
Motorcycle parts overview
If you own a motorcycle, you know that parts are costly. This predicament of expensive parts does not just relate to high-end racing or motocross motorcycles but to all motorcycles varying in type from standard, cruiser, sports, touring, off-road, and more.
May enthusiasts who own a motorcycle may wonder why the parts are so expensive, with replacements for even minor parts steering towards the $100 mark and above. Many factors contribute to why they are so costly, and probably many aspects you may not have considered before reading this article.
Knowing these factors will help you understand why many parts for motorcycles aren’t cheap, and as such, you may be able to try to find a loophole in getting your parts from someplace cheaper.
Factors making motorcycle parts expensive
I have listed seven factors below that contribute towards costly motorcycle parts. You could break down and subdivide these aspects into more categories, but I will go over them in detail, providing a clear understanding of why they have so much weight regarding the issue at hand.
Individuals who purchase motorcycles comprise a small niche market that totals the world’s global private transportation sales. There is a limited amount of factories in specific regions that are not located worldwide since they only need to keep up with a small demand.
These manufacturers only need to produce enough motorcycles and parts to make a profit. If they were to expand their enterprise to such a degree as car manufacturers, their overheads would be too large.
Hence, because there are a limited amount of factories and therefore parts, the parts will be exorbitantly more expensive even for parts that may seem as if they should be cheap.
It really is all about the economies of scale. The manufacturers haven’t been able to produce enough parts to make their production efficient enough to get to the stage of large car manufacturers for example.
If the motorcycle manufacturers were able to produce enough parts to increase production and therefore purchase larger quantities of the raw materials, their costs would reduce because they would get better deals from the raw material manufacturers.
This price reduction would then get passed down to the consumers resulting in lower costs.
However, there aren’t enough people purchasing these parts, and so the economies of scale can’t be reached, keeping the prices higher.
Sole proprietor factor (manufacturing license)
This regards a manufacturer having rights to making the parts of the original manufacturer. This means that not just any company can manufacture parts if they wish to do so. They will require a license. You find this with motor vehicles; however, many companies are willing to purchase a license to reproduce parts for motor vehicles because there is a market to do so.
In the case of motorcycles, the market is small, and the opportunity to make a significant profit is minimized due to the small number of sales. Hence, manufacturers typically have to make the parts themselves and thus charge anything they want. They have the monopoly.
Sourcing motorcycle parts
I just discussed that there are a limited amount of factories supplying these parts. Now the factor of exporting and importing these parts come into play. Sourcing motorcycle parts can be a challenge, especially if the parts you need can only be required from a manufacturer with their factory situated in another country or even another continent.
This might not apply to everyone situated around the world; however, this can surely apply to countries like Australia and Africa’s continent. You might even find that if you live in the USA and are trying to source motorcycle parts from regions in the East, importing them will be expensive.
The state of a countries economy can also play a crucial role in why motorcycle parts are expensive. If you live in 3rd world or developing countries, then factors such as having a small market with high transportation costs will affect the price.
Moreover, the value of the currency and inflation regarding importing will also play a role in the price of motorcycle parts. Countries with excellent sustained economic growth hold more stock and have better exchange rates and slimmer margins on import fees.
As I said, because factories are limited to perhaps a handful worldwide, the economy’s factor could definitely play a significant role depending on where you are based.
If you live in a region where parts are relatively accessible, and more so if you live in a remote region far from populated areas, you still have to consider the transportation of the parts to the dealer.
This transportation is not the same as sourcing parts with regards to importing or exporting. This is the transportation of the parts to the dealership from the factory, where you, as a consumer, can pick them up. Transporting goods across the country is very expensive, especially when parts are transported over thousands of miles.
The luxury factor is probably one of the most relevant reasons that all motorcycle parts are expensive. However, motorcycles are a form of transportation they are deemed by society to be a luxury asset. That means they are classified in the same categories as boats and planes.
This means that just because of this factor, manufacturers and dealers increase the price. Perhaps if motorcycles were as standard as cars, they would not be classified as a luxury. Typically, a motorcycle is an individual’s second or third vehicle and used sparingly and not for everyday travel.
A significant problem with motorcycle parts dealers is that you will find that distributors push their dealers to stock and sell their specific parts. Consequently, dealers can’t sell anything else or any other parts for any other manufacturers or motorcycle models.
This business tactic leads to loss of profit, and as such, dealers try to cover themselves and make back any lost profits by increasing the prices of the parts they can sell.
Where can I find cheap motorcycle parts?
Years past, motorcycle parts were much more challenging to acquire than today, and one of the best ways you can find cheaper parts today is to look online. Many dealers, distributors, and individuals sell various parts for any motorcycle you can think of.
The best place you can search for parts after trying your dealer’s website are websites such as eBay. Millions of individuals worldwide sell almost anything on eBay, and you are more than likely to find the part you need at a relatively low price, even if it is second-hand.
By the way, I’m not associated with eBay, it’s just how it is these days.
Moreover, some individuals, dealers, and stores offer deals regarding shipping and will either be free or cost a particular amount depending on how much an item weighs. These deals apply to many countries worldwide, so if you are looking for a part that you can’t find, eBay or other sites are a great place.
We discovered that there are many factors that contribute to motorcycles parts being costly, more so than similar parts to that of motor vehicles.
Here are the 7 reasons motorcycle parts are so expensive:
- Manufacturing Factor (The economies of scale)
- Manufacturing Licence
- The State Of A Countries Economy
- Location Of The Factories
- Transportation Costs
- The Luxury Factor
- The monopoly Factor
However, these could be further broken down regarding specifics such as locations, the brand of motorcycle, model of motorcycle, etc.
I did not go into any more depth because knowing these seven factors will help you understand why the parts you require for your motorcycle are so expensive.
Lastly, I covered where the best place to source motorcycle parts would be, and luckily because of today’s digital world, the entire globe is connected. You are more than likely to find the parts you require online and hopefully be able to save some of your hard-earned money.