Home Vehicle How Do You Tell The Year Of A Motorcycle By The Vin

How Do You Tell The Year Of A Motorcycle By The Vin

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Being a proud owner of a motorcycle is a fun and exciting thing by itself since riding this vehicle has always been connected with adrenaline, speed, and the whole another world that always has something new to teach you about. In case you own a motorcycle you probably want to know as much as possible about your property, and a great thing is that you can find out so much just by using a VIN. This number contains only 17 characters, but it can tell plenty of information about the vehicle. Let’s find out more about it.

What is a VIN?

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VIN is an abbreviation for Vehicle Identification Number – a combination of numbers and letters that provides numerous information about the vehicle. Each character that is an integral part of a VIN number says something about the motorcycle that contains it. This number has started being used since 1980s by NHTSA and since then it provides useful data about each motorcycle, including the one you own. Even though to the person who is not familiar with this area VIN may seem as a set of random characters that doesn’t mean anything, this can’t be further from the truth. These numbers and letters together clearly indicate who is a vehicle manufacturer, the exact size of the engine, when is the particular motorcycle produced, its model, and much more. An interesting thing about VIN is that, for 30 years, it is completely unique for a particular vehicle.

What does VIN number look like?

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As we mentioned, motorcycle VIN contains 17 characters that include both letters and numbers. The numbers that are used are from 0 to 10, as well as capital letters from A to Z (except I, O, and Q). They need to be properly imprinted on the vehicle, so that they cannot be easily smudged, erased, or damaged in any way. By knowing these rules for making VIN you will be able to recognize if someone is trying to trick you and sell a vehicle with an improper VIN.

What does each character say?

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The first character indicated the country of origin, the second one refers to the manufacturer, and the third one is explaining what type of vehicle it is. In the case of a motorcycle the third character is either 1 or A. The next one tells more about the category of vehicle. The fifth and sixth characters are a letter and a number that say more about engine displacement and type. If you’re interested in knowing the year when your vehicle was produced take a look at tenth character. It can be either a letter or a number and each one of it indicates a particular year. The last eight character in the motorcycle VIN number is the serial number of the motorcycle.


If you are a motorcycle owner and you own one it is probably very important for you to get to know your vehicle as much as possible and collect all necessary info. Understanding VIN (vehicle identification number) will enable you to gather all vital information about your motorcycle: who is the manufacturer, when it was produced, what model it is, what type and displacement of engine it has, and much more. Getting familiar with these 17 characters can help you to understand your vehicle as well as prevent you from being tricked and sold a suspicious vehicle. Knowledge is power!