Aftermarket Motorcycle Bodykits, how good are they?
Aftermarket Bodykits, how good are these?…. Should I get aftermarket or OEM?
When shopping for a fairing kit for your Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, or Yamaha sportbike, most riders should atleast consider an aftermarket bodykit. There are several different manufactures that do make these, and nearly all if not every manufacturer will be in China or surrounding asian countries. Now I am talking about full painted oem replacement abs bodykits, not to be confused with race fairings which many of those are made in the USA. Are aftermarket bodykits as good as factory fairings? I will tell you in one word “NO, but some kits can be very close”. Also understand that not all aftermarket bodykit manufactures are created equal. Some will use lower grade machines and less than perfect molds than what others may use.
1 key element that will determine fitment is if the bodykit is “Injection” molded or “Compression” molded. Most bikes say… 2004 and newer are usually injection molded and have the best fitment. Injection molded is the same manufacturer process as the OEM fairings that costs an arm and a leg to purchase new. Compression molded is a cheaper and cruder way to produce the fairings and thus provide a lower quality fitment compared to injection molded aftermarket bodykits. A good plan when shopping for a bodykit is to try to ask others which ones they have bought and get thier imput to help you make a good decision. Go to forums and search threads that have aftermarket bodykits/fairings in the posting. XDC does sell between 10-17 fairing kits each month with only 1 return in a full year of selling these. I believe XDC does sell the best on the market, then again I am writing this review. So take what you want and leave the rest behind. Let me go into more details of what makes some bodykits better than others and other variables to consider before buying…
An important factor to consider is how many fairings do you really need to replace? If you need 50% or more, I would recommend considering an aftermarket bodykit for your bike. If you only need to replace 1, 2,.. or maybe 3 fairings only, it may be best to simply purchase new factory fairings. Understand that OEM is always best quality, fit, and finish and aftermarket is a good alternative to consider if you are on a budget and need most of your fairings replaced. Paint quality and overall finish is the step that requires the most skill and attention to detail. The fairings should be primed before painting. The paint should be of high quality and in a dust free environment. After painting and decals are added… several layers of UV protective varnish should be evenly sprayed onto each panel. The final step before completion should be simply letting the paint dry as quickly and safely as possible. Paint and clear coat drying can take a day or longer if a solidification machine is unavailable to assist in this process. A solidification machine can properly dry and cure the paint/UV clear coated finish within minutes. This helps reduce any dust/debris, and drip marks from occurring on the surface.
The last factor to consider is the paint matching. If you are trying to match the factory colors with an aftermarket kit that looks exactly as your bike, you may be surprised to find out, these are not painted to OEM specification codes, therefore the paint MAY not be a perfect match to your fuel tank. This is not much of an issue if the aftermarket bodykit you are going to purchase includes a gas tank cover, if not… difficult colors such as yellow, orange, light blue, metallic colors may not match the OEM fuel tank and you may want to get your fuel tank painted to match the aftermarket bodykit. Colors as white, black, most reds, and some blues may not have a big difference in the color match with the stock fuel tank and match very close. On average when trying to match the color of your tank to an aftermarket bodykit, expect anywhere from 75%-98% depending on the manufacturer of the bodykit.
Bottom line, do your homework and talk to other riders who have purchased aftermarket bodykits and get their feedback, and if you only need just a couple of fairings to bring your bike back to pre-crash condition, it may be wise to simply fork out the money on OEM fairings instead of buying an aftermarket bodykit if the cost is similar. Ebay may be a good bet for some clean used fairings as well… but just do your due diligence/research before buying. Get what is best for you and your bike and consider these details I have given.