Genuine, OE, OEM, Original and aftermarket Ducati parts ???

What are the differences between Genuine, OE, OEM, Original and / or Aftermarket parts…?


Searching for spare parts to upgrade, restore or service your bike you’ll often see the above jargon. This in itself isn’t a problem, however these terms are often used interchangeably or actually misused which causes lots of confusion. But, is it really that hard to distinguish OE from OEM parts? No, it isn’t but there are some things to think about since our bikes (like us) also get older.

In contrast to what many people believe motorcycle “manufacturers” design, develop and assemble motorcycles instead of manufacturing these. Most of the times a brand gives a designer or engineer a task to design a bike with specific characteristics and conditions it has to fulfill. The characteristics / conditions can be anything like for example a specific engine which should be fitted or a design to attract a new target audience etc. Besides market research this is the start of the developing process.

At a given moment, when the design is internally approved, they will finetune the design. An huge and important part of this process is technical engineering and development. Ducati / Aprilia or any other Italian motorcycle are no exceptions in this.

Long story short: As you’ll understand motorcycle “manufacturers” use hundreds of parts from hundreds of other independent companies to develop and ultimately assemble a good but cost effective motorcycle as in the end they need to make profit. These other companies which supply Ducati are the OEM’s.


Reached the jargon so let us have a closer look at the meaning of the often used jargon terms.


Genuine / Original / OE spare parts

Genuine parts are manufactured for the brand (in our cases often Ducati, Aprilia, Vespa) and supplied in a branded packaging or even a physical logo on the parts itself.

These parts are also known as original and OE (which stands for Original Equipment) parts. Basically it’s very simple:

Genuine Ducati  =  Original Ducati  =  Ducati OE

Please also consider that parts over the time are being further developed which may result in part-no. being replaced by a new The new part-no. is, like the old part-no., still a Genuine part as it’s supplied by the brand.


OEM spare parts

Thanks to marketeers many people tend to believe OEM parts are genuine parts…. but bottomline it’s wrong, so here we go:

OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer. If Original Equipment is a part that came on the bike when it was originally made, the OEM is the company that actually manufactured that part. Companies like Ducati, Aprilia, Vespa etc. do not internally manufacture every part. In fact most of the parts are just installed by them and manufacturing is outsourced to other companies.

Briefly, an OEM part becomes a “Ducati” part, even though Ducati did not manufacture it themselves.

You’ll understand there are many OEM manufacturers worldwide. The quality, reliability as well as the fit are exactly the same as Genuine (OE or Original) parts, but OEM parts are usually sold at a lower cost.

A couple of OEM’s Ducati uses are: Brembo, Showa, SKF, NTN, Mahle, Champion, NSK, NGK, Domino / Tomaselli, Ohlins, CEV, PRC (Carbon), MS Composit (carbon), Pierobon,  Magneti Marelli, Bosch etc. etc.

If looking for the “real deal” you should look for Genuine parts even though the difference is just the packaging and sometimes a stamp on the part itself.


Aftermarket parts

Aftermarket parts are made by other manufacturers than the OEM’s to fit specific bikes or models. A big misunderstanding is that these parts are of less quality than Genuine or OEM parts. Manufacturers of aftermarket parts analyze very specifically what they can improve to the original fitted parts to achieve better parts.

Please be ware every motorcycle brand has to think about the total selling price and so might sometimes use cheaper parts or materials for financial reasons. A couple of aftermarket brands which, depending of the customers needs, can / will outperform Genuine or OEM parts are: Edo Vigna Racing (EVR), Ilmberger carbonparts, Rizoma etc.


Still unclear? Let’s give you an example:

Let’s take the fuel filter used in a 1997 Ducati 916SPS. A quick look in the parts fiche gives part-no. 42540041B. This is also the latest part-no. of this part as it replaced 42540141A, 42540041A, 800088585.
After ordering this part and having a close look, we notice the part is manufactured by Mahle / Knecht and manufacturer part-no. is KL-145. So briefly Mahle (Knecht is part of the Mahle group) is the OEM.


Hope the above is of any help, but at least we now clarified these terms and how we use them to our customers.


Thanks for reading.


PS. Does this differentiation cover all parts? We’d wish it did and to be honest in 90% of the cases it will, but when trading used parts there are different things to think about. Is the part of your interest NEW, NOS, Used and If “used” from what state of vehicle did it come from? We’ll explain this diversification in next blog, but rest assured we don’t trade any roadworthy bikes or parts which have been involved in a crash or collision.

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