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Why are bike parts so expensive?

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by robbieb, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. So I went to get a new oil filter and air filter for my XT600 to give it a service before getting it registered.
    Oil filter, $16. Ok, it is smaller than a car, and not in a can for external mounting but still costs about as much. So I ask about the air filter. OEM, $110! :shock: (same one made for all models 1990 to 1999) One after market one was $100 and another $130! Why is it then that I can go and buy an air filter for the car, 4 times the size, for about $20, or one fifth the price!!!? And if you base it on dollars per area of air filter, the bike one costs 20 times more than that of a car!!!!
    I could just about go and buy a car filter, cut it in quarters and silicon a piece into the frame of the bike filter, and save $380 - $500, and I'm seriously considering giving it a go, unless anyone can dissuade me with sound reasoning. I even tried washing out the old one with kero as it was about a quarter contaminated with oil (come back through the carbs?), but I'm not sure I'm happy with the result.
    Ok, so it isn't a Duc or a BMW, but for a major Japanese manufacturer, I thought the price of this sort of stuff would be a lot less than what it is.

    Even the Kawasaki EL250 air filter (same motor as GPX and ZZR) was $65, and it is just some foam and plastic.

    How can they justify the price, even if they don't make as many as car parts?
  2. Thats bike parts for you.
    I was told years ago by a suzuki rep that Bikes have the largest number of DIY services done by the owners or friends of ,this might account for some of the price,the other is numbers sold /demand..
    What sort of filter is in ,if its foam you wash them and re-oil them you only replace when worn out and going flakie..
    You can change from paper to foam filters without problems..
  3. thats it. high priced spare parts prop up the lack of money from people having work done by dealers..
    and dont use a car air filter in a bike. if the bike is stock just get a new one and yes as they can be washed and re-oiled they can last for years. and pay for themselves as 5 washes makes the filter only cost $25 each year or so. or if you're like me, each 6 months
  4. Is that due to the different flow rates?
    If it hadn't been so full of gunk and oil I wouldn't have even thought about changing it. The kero seems to have just made the oil that was at one end disperse throughout the whole filter, I don't know if more washes with clean kero would make it better or if it is as good as it will get. Certainly it is better than it was as it isn't full of all the dirt and spiders it started out with. Maybe I'm just being too much of a tight arse and should quit whinging, but I still protest!
    You'd still have to pay that price on top of the labour as well, so I'm not taking it to the shop and pay that extra for something I can do myself.
  5. thats about it in a nutshell.. and sealing the thing will be a biatch. a really dirty filter may take a few washes to come back to life..
    i also complain but sometimes you just got to live with it. i had a second hand airbox sent to me and was stoked to find a filter in it with plenty of life left as a backup.
  6. Why not? As long as it seals onto the intake properly and doesn't upset the carburetion, it will do at least as good a job as any bike filter.

    As to parts prices, basically it's what the market would stand. For service parts have a hunt around online for non-OEM gear from overseas. Even with the AU$ in the toilet there are still savings to be made, particularly if you buy in bulk.

    By the way, I dunno about Ducatis, but prices for most (all, now I come to think of it) of the BMW parts I ever needed compared very favourably with the prices I keep seeing quoted here for Jap stuff. Funny how reputation trumps evidence in most people's minds :wink: .
  7. as long as you know it wont upset the carburation then no probs. but will it is the question. just easier to go the stocker one and be safe.
  8. now you know why people invest in washable filters.

    as to parts in general, suppliers have some argument with regards to economies of scale and that combined with the fact it only effects a relatively small number of people means it doesn't get much attention from consumer group.

    Personally I think the industry needs a good going through.
  9. true. pick on us little people why dont they.. well... im never going to service any bike i have ever again.. that'll learn em.. :p
  10. I have found that some bike parts are unusually expensive for what they are, especially consumables.

    Lightbulbs, chains, sprockets, brake discs and filters (of any kind) are all surprisingly expensive when compared to car equivalents. This includes non-genuine parts.

    It's probably to do with economies of scale. Smaller production run -> higher prices need to be charged for tooling costs.
    Other things which contribute are fewer motorcycle stores -> price gouging.
    Most high volume places like super-cheap auto don't carry much motorcycle stuff, other than oil. So everyone ends up having to use those small, high-margin stores we all hate.

    I don't believe that it is because some people service the motorcycle themselves. Servicing demand and parts prices should be unrelated, and quite a few people I know get professional servicing done for their bike. I'd be very surprised if the local bike mechanic had any input on parts pricing.
  11. local bloke near me is cheap as for bits.
  12. Just to clarify it is a foam filter your washing out ...If its foam you can also buy filter foam at clark rubber its fuel resistant and comes in differant thicknesses..
  13. it should be a foamy.
  14. Nope, it is the corrugated, paper type filter (although it doesn't really look like paper). OEM one that probably has been in the bike since new.
    The bloke at Yamaha said I could wash it out with kero, unless he thought it was a foam one.
    Bugger it, I think I'll just do the car filter option. It has been done before:

  15. i thought they were foam.. oh well.. show us how your home made filter turns out.. i just couldnt be assed these days.
  16. Invest in an aftermarket foam filter. You will clean it more regularly because it doesnt cost you an arm and a leg, and it will breathe better than the OEM paper filter.

    Oil filters, you can get a stainless reusable one, but I prefer to throw a good paper filter away than gamble on whether you cleaned the stainless one properly. Check for compatible Hi-flo filters for your bike, there will almost certainly be one. It'll be the difference between $5 and $20 per filter. Don't take no for an answer if they don't list your model, they miss models out sometimes, and companies use standard sizes all the time. I run Husqvarna filters in my Aprilia.
  17. a Hi-Flo for mine was $9 from metropolitan bike wreckers
  18. Here the link see if they make one.. http://www.knfilters.com/ And I would say the yamaha guy thought it was a foam filter Shiite we all did...
  19. Yeah, the K&N one for the XT is 100 bucks, but I didn't know that it was constructed and designed to be reusable until I went to the website.
    I might have to check it out further. You still have to wash it and re oil it, so don't know how much that would cost per filter refresh as opposed to cutting out the paper one and replacing it with cut down car filter element.
  20. The oil if a fair price and goes a long way and 1it kero is $5 and can be reused if you let it settle (depends on how big a tight ass you are) ...The K&N filters will last the life of the bike if you clean them regular like every 5000-10000ks or every 6-12mths..
    By the time you have cut glued and replaced the car to bike filters a few times add the labour ,the glue and the filter paper well just get the K&N ..