I built my first motorcycle 15 years ago. It’s crazy to think about — not only because it makes me feel wildly old, but because I look back on the process and realize just how much things have changed (for the better, of course) for the at-home DIY bike builder.
I’ll never forget the countless hours I spent scouring eBay, Craigsist, and the old ChopCult forums looking for the right parts. The right set of handlebars, the right set of old pipes, the right front end, the right wheels — piece by piece, part by part, and week by week.
I found a gas tank from a guy up in Boston, sent my carburetor down to a fella in Tennessee, and scored a freshly upholstered seat from a guy just north of Los Angeles. I repeated this process for everything I needed. I’d spend hours looking for the right guy with the right thing, reach out to them with a hopeful timbre in my voice, and eventually I’d get the thing.
There were swap meets and flea markets, and sometimes I’d strike some Craigslist gold. But mostly, for the niche style I was into, getting parts was an uphill battle.
Today, there’s a place for every type of rider. Building the cafe bike of your dream? There’s a place for that. Chasing chopper glory? You got a guy. Doing the dual-sport adventure rider thing? No problemo, compadre.
Here are the 7 Best Online Motorcycle Shops to Buy Anything You Need.
At this point in the game, Revzilla is practically a household name. What started out as three Philly guys trying to bridge the gear gap in the motorcycle world in 2007 has grown into an industry titan that offers customers damn near everything you could ever want for your motorcycle.
They’ve been characterized as the “Zappos of motorcycle gear,” and for good reason. They have everything — from helmets, jackets, boots, and gloves, to tires, exhaust systems, brake calipers, chain lube, and literally everything in between, they have what you need.
And they don’t stock for just one or two types of bikes, either. You can get stuff for your V-twin, touring bike, off-road machine, and everything else. Hell, they even have snow gear.
Dime City Cycles
Dime City Cycles is the DIY’ers dream. These guys used to lean specifically into the cafe bike scene, but over time, they’ve developed into a one-stop-shop platform for anyone building and riding any kind of custom motorcycle.
Choppers, bobbers, scramblers, cafe bikes, mile-munchers, and everything in between — if you’re trying to pimp it out, you’ll be able to get what you need.
They’re one of the more specialized retailers around, offering everything from popular carburetor rebuild kits, to jetting and vacuum sync kits, digital angle gauges (because who doesn’t love some good rake), and even tie-down anchors for your bike hauler.
Hell, they literally have a DIY frame jig kit for under $400 bucks. Yes, really.
Need a gasket you can’t find anywhere else? Try here.
If you’ve stepped into a motorcycle shop at any point in your life since the 1970s, chances are you’ve seen one of those massive thick-as-a-phonebook J&P catalogs resting on the front reception desk — probably somewhere between the cash register and the nearest ashtray.
That’s because J&P Cycles is the gold standard when it comes to finding the right aftermarket parts for your motorcycle, and have been for over 40 years.
My goal in writing up this list was to give people just getting into motorcycle customization some good leads on some smaller, more niche companies, but I’d be remiss not to mention J&P because they’re genuinely just that good and wide-reaching.
Name a part for any bike built in the last 60 years, and they probably have the right stuff for it. Enjoy!
Espinoza’s Leather Co.
There are plenty of places out there where you can snag a leather vest or a good riding jacket. But if you want the best — the best — then Espinoza’s is where you’re going.
Every single vest and jacket they make is made by hand, in-house at their Rosemeade, California shop.
If you’re lucky enough to live nearby, you can book an appointment with them to get measured up by one of their in-house tailors, but if that’s not an option, they have detailed videos on their website that’ll show you precisely how to measure your neck, torso, stomach/waist, back, arm, and bicep.
Be warned, though: these things ain’t cheap. And start to finish, your vest/jacket will take around 14 weeks from the time you place your order to the time it’s on your back.
Prism Supply is one of those shops that just… Completely embodies everything people love about the DIY spirit of building and riding custom motorcycles.
They’ve done everything from cafe bikes to chopper builds, and they’ve had their hands in just about every motorcycle cookie jar at one point or another.
Also, they once built a genny Shovel chopper in one day, and that’s just insane.
ANYWAY, they make this list because not only are they a small shop of incredibly talented builders, but they’ve also diversified their bonds in the last few years and have started making their own line of chopper parts.
If you’re looking to attain chopper Nirvana, they offer everything from their own DIY hardtail frames for Harley Sportsters, to simple foot control setups, jockey shifters, key switch brackets, quality DIY chopper/cafe racer wiring kits, petcocks, exhaust components, tools, lights, and a lot of other things that you’d probably almost definitely hate having to make yourself.
Old Bike Barn
It’s the year 2001. Myspace isn’t a thing yet, but somehow, some guy named Bear Haughton realizes that the internet has the potential to completely change the way people source parts for their old iron.
Bear, like Jeff Bezos but with a much greasier driveway and a garage full of old bike stuff, decides that he wants to be the guy everyone can turn to for whatever random, scarcely found parts they need. And so Old Bike Barn was born.
OBB has Harley stuff, but the site definitely specializes in metric Japanese bikes. So, whether you’re thinking of finally getting that old Honda CB350 back under its own power, just scored the XS650 hardtail project you’ve been dreaming of, or just picked up your first Honda Shadow starter bike, chances are, if you need it, Bear’s got it tucked away in the ol’ barn somewhere.
You’ve heard it before: “Dress for the slide; not the ride.” It sounds lame, but it’s true. It’s not about if you’re going to go down as much as it’s about when. Luckily, the folks over at Tobacco Motorwear make some of the best-looking and best-performing safety gear in the game.
Think: kevlar-lined denim jeans that come with breathable mesh. Jackets that don’t just look right, but are also lined with kevlar and body armor. Full-grain cowhide leather gloves that are also double stitched and come lined with Knox® knuckle armor.
Tobacco also offers a line of leather riding boots that actually look stylish. Like, “you could wear these boots to traffic court and not worry about being called a dirty biker” pretty.
Listen, we get it… Safety precautions sound lame. But when you’re sliding across the highway at 60 miles an hour because that girl in the Subaru in front of you decided to stop 200 feet short of the car semi-truck in front of her, you’ll be grateful you went the “better to be safe than sorry” route.