Are Harley OEM Wheels Better Than Aftermarket?
We see a lot of people online comparing OEM vs aftermarket wheels. So, are Harley Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) motorcycle wheels better than aftermarket wheels?
Well, it depends on what you are looking for. Let’s take a look at four key considerations:
Harley-Davidson offers a little under 50 motorcycle wheels in a variety of styles, ranging in price from around $500 to about $2,500. Actual aftermarket prices for Harley wheels are going to vary by manufacturer.
SMT Harley motorcycle wheels can range anywhere from around $600 all the way up to $15,000 for full custom with all the bells and whistles. So there is some overlap between the cost of OEM wheels vs aftermarket motorcycle wheels.
Generally speaking, aftermarket wheels provide much more customization options to choose from at a variety of price points, sizes, and quality levels that best suit your budget as well as your personal style preferences.
The biggest culprit in cost differences is because most OEM rims are mass produced and made from cast alluminum, not individually milled to order from durable, high-quality aircraft-grade 6061-T6 billet aluminum like you would get from SMT Wheels.
OEM is also very limited in sizes and finishes, which we will touch on later in this article.
2. Customization: Designs, Colors & Finishes
Here’s where aftermarket Harley wheels win hands-down. Aftermarket wheels provide more customization options in a wider range of diameters, widths, styles, finishes, and designs to suit your dream bike theme.
For example, SMT’s aftermarket Harley wheels are available in over 100 designs with sizes ranging from 16 to 34 inches, available in four different finishes (chrome, black, double cut, and polished), Bulldog fat tire widths also available for your front wheel, and 2D or 3D cuts.
In addition, a selection of over 6,500+ Prismatic powder coat colors to closely match your ride. No matter what your style is (old-school or modern), no matter what model you have, you can have a wheel designed like no one else’s.
3. Performance: Mass Produced Cast VS Individually Milled
Aftermarket Harley wheels often offer enhanced performance compared to Harley OEM wheels. That’s because aftermarket wheels are usually lighter in weight, which can improve acceleration, handling, and fuel efficiency.
Additionally, most aftermarket wheels are stronger and more durable than OEM wheels, increasing overall reliability and resulting in greater longevity.
SMT high-performance aftermarket motorcycle wheels are made from aircraft-grade 6061-T6 billet aluminum alloy, much more durable than standard cast wheels, and machined in Glendale, AZ.
Compare the construction and performance with mass-produced cast OEM wheels vs made-to-order aftermarket wheels from SMT, and SMT wheels easily come out on top. Harley motorcycle owners, showmen, and dealers across the world choose SMT for their wheel needs because we offer the best performance in the industry with 5-star customer service that’s guaranteed to fit.
4. Choices: Size Matters
Harley OEM wheels are only available through official Harley-Davidson dealerships, which may limit options and availability. Aftermarket Harley wheels, on the other hand, are found in a larger number of stores, shops, and online marketplaces, providing a wider selection to choose from.
There are over a hundred SMT wheel designs for Harley motorcycles in a variety of sizes up to 34 inches (16″, 17″, 18″, 19″, 20″, 21″, 23″, 26″, 30″, 32″, and 34″). Harley OEM wheels stop at 21” in diameter. Additional options include a 5.5-inch wide front Bulldog wheel and a fat tire rear wheel up to 13 inches wide. Harley OEM rims are only 8 inches wide.
Choosing Aftermarket Motorcycle Wheels for Your Harley
If you’re like most Harley owners, you take great pride in the appearance and performance of your ride. That’s why you bought a Harley! It’s also why one of the first things owners choose to do is upgrade their stock wheels because high-quality wheels are critical to the bike’s performance and safety.
There are many factors worth considering when shopping for Harley aftermarket wheels. It’s important to know the size of your wheels and the design you want for your bike.
Shopping for new wheels can be a bit daunting, given the wide range of wheel models and styles available on the market. At SMT, we want you to feel completely at ease in shopping for our custom aftermarket Harley motorcycle wheels and parts. That’s why we offer our fit like a glove guarantee and have our fitment experts perform a follow up call with each order to verify everything is correct before we start manufacturing your wheel.
Interested in a payment plan? Financing is available through Snap Finance.
We love talking Harley bikes, so if you have any questions regarding one of our products or customizing your dream motorcycle, give us a call.