When changing wear and tear parts in suspension the big question is, OEM or aftermarket parts? Seals, dust covers, and bushings are made by multiple manufactures and come in all ranges of price. So whats the right choice?
UPDATE: At the time of this article SKF seals were not an option for motorcycle seals in the U.S. We now use both OEM and SKF seals and bushings for our suspension services.
Well the short answer is OEM. But what exactly is considered “OEM”? OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. And in the world of motorcycle suspension the industry standard for OEM seals, dust covers, and bushings are made by NOK. So more than likely your Showa, KYB, Sachs, and even Ohlins R&T forks and shocks have NOK parts in them. In fact if you take a look at the suspension companies and tuners out there, they ALL sell and use NOK parts.
So what makes NOK so special? Well in the case of fork seals for example, you need two very important properties. A fork seal needs to be soft and pliable. This allows the seal face to conform and create a tight seal with the fork tube surface. But if the seal is too soft it will wear out in no time flat! So the finding the perfect balance is the key. NOK seals seem to do this the best time and time again.
So next time you service or have your suspension serviced, do yourself a favor and only use OEM parts. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.