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Serial Numbers on Bikes: Why Do You Need Them and How to Find Them on Your Bike?

serial numbers on bikes

Why Serial Numbers on Bikes Are Important?

Once you have bought a new bicycle for yourself, no matter if it is a new one, or you bought from someone else (a second-hand bike), the first and main step you should undertake before starting your road trip on a bike is to check the availability of the bike serial numbers.

There are two main reasons why you should know the bike manufacturer serial number: the first reason is that if you know the serial number on your bike, you can easily determine the type and year of manufacture of your bike (all you need to do is to search the Internet for a table of serial numbers for bicycles). The second reason, which is also important, is that if your two-wheeled friend is stolen, it will be easier for you to find it since the police will find the bike with the number in the database, and it will be easier for you to prove that you are the owner of the bicycle.

We wrote this article to help you understand what that mysterious serial number on a bike is and why it’s so important. We’ll show you how to register your bike with the serial number on the database, and why you need to do it. Also, knowing all about this number will make it easier for you to find your lost bike and determine if your new bike is a stolen one when you buy a secondhand bicycle.

What the Letters and Numbers on the Frame or Other Parts of the Bike Mean?

bike id number

Let’s make it clear at once that the inscriptions on the frame in the form of stickers, paint, etc. are applied by the manufacturer and usually mean whatever the manufacturer wants: from the name of the model of the bike to the names of the technology of frame tubes and other advertising “tricks”.

Embossed or engraved numbers and letters, which are located not in the most visible places are bike id numbers. However, many parts of the bike may have their own ID numbers, for instance, some expensive bike forks are marked with special numbers to distinguish them from others. So, to know the serial numbers on bikes, you should search only on the frame of the bike.

So what is a serial number? Usually, the serial number of a bicycle is a series of unique numbers. The bike serial number format contains up to 10 characters engraved on the frame of the bicycle. Each manufacturer equips their bicycles with a special, unique number that is not repeated.

Why do manufacturers create these numbers? It’s very important for the identification of a bicycle, just like your DNA or fingerprints help determine your identity. Since bikes are made in large quantities and manufacturers make millions of identical models, it’s the serial number that helps identify the bike as yours. One of the advantages of the serial number for the bike is that it makes it easier for the repairman to find the right parts and replace broken parts with new ones that were made specifically for your bike.

What does the order of the numbers on the frame mean? S20ESTBB006-BM 19 – the bike serial number example. The decoding largely depends on the manufacturer itself, as each of them uses a different order of numbers, which can stand for different things. Usually, the first digits indicate the year of manufacture of the bike (in our example, you can see that the bike was made in 2020), all other digits can mean anything. To make things easier, you can decipher your code on the official bicycle manufacturer’s websites and figure out what all these numbers mean.

Where Do Bikes Have Serial Numbers?

The serial number is usually located in the following places:

  • at the bottom of the frame under the carriage. It’s a pretty awkward place, but that’s just where the manufacturer puts it very often. If you are stopped by the police and asked to see the bike number, you have to turn it upside down to read the letters and numbers.
  • at the front of the handlebar tube. This is much easier and more convenient – you can see the numbers quickly.
  • at the bottom or top of the seat tube. This is the tube on the bike’s frame to which the saddle is attached.

Once you have finished, make sure to take a photo of the number and ask someone to take a photo of you and the bike: these would make it easier to prove the ownership of the bike!

Registration of the Serial Numbers on Bikes

serial number bike

Having completed the steps mentioned above, your next task is to register your serial number bike in the database. This allows you to easily prove that the bike belongs to you. It’s no big deal: there are a lot of different serial number databases in the US and around the world, like Bike Index or Bike Register. It’s also possible to register your bike in your local police department. Just visit the official website of your county or city police department. Some sites even send you a special sticker that confirms your bike is registered. Such stickers deter burglars, and this will reduce the likelihood of your bike being stolen.

Now you know everything about the bike’s serial numbers, and therefore you can be protected in case of theft of the bike. Stay with us for more!

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