Tip & How-To about Cycling
Some of the most common bicycle questions on Fixya are related to asking for information on the age, value or make/model of a bicycle or bike frame. Many times those inquiries include the serial number of the item. Unfortunately the serial number is usually of little or no use.
Unlike the VIN of a car, there is no universal system for assigning serial numbers to bicycles. Even within a single brand the bikes are often made at different locations and even different countries, so the serial number may be completely different for different models. The serial number is primarily of use to the manufacturer in the case of recalls or quality control, to the dealer for their recordkeeping and warrantee claims, and for consumers and police to identify a stolen bike. Few manufacturers release any information at all regarding serial numbers, and then often for only a limited amount of bikes.
Nevertheless there are some brands that provide info on serial numbers, and although Public databases are hit or miss, and oriented primarily to vintage/antique and higher quality bikes, but may be useful. To check whether information based on serial number is available for your bike, simply Google (brand/model) bike serial number. Note that if you are not successful in such a search it is extremely unlikely that a Fixya request will yield any information.
Schwinn and some other brands often have date codes on the head badge or head tube (where the fork goes through the frame to the handlebars) and if you find such a code you may be able to determine date of frame manufacture by doing a Google search for the brand name plus the words "date code."
If the bike still has its original paint and decals and mostly OEM equipment the best central source of info on a bike is BikePedia . Just enter your make and model and in most cases it will display each model year, along with the paint scheme, so even if you don't know the year of manufacture you can find your bike. You can also confirm whether it has original equipment by checking the specs for your model. It may be helpful to understand the terminology for the various parts. Google "bicycle parts diagram." Knowing the terminology can also be helpful if you need to ask a question related to bikes or bike repair.
Be aware that knowing the age or model year is of limited value, except possibly when buy or selling in order to verify the information being presented. Condition and components affect value more than age, and just because a bike is 20 or more years old does not mean it is collectible - very few bikes are, and then only if they have original paint and most of their OEM parts. The make, model and year are also not needed to determine repair procedures or necessarily required for replacement parts, although knowing the OEM parts may help in determining compatibility. Many bikes share the same components (they are not made by the manufacturer of the bike) and one does not necessarily have to replace a part with it's exact match. In an older bike the OEM item may no longer be available.
If a bike has been repainted identification is extremely difficult (and as noted above, not that important) and the value is lowered dramatically, unless it is a professional repaint and OEM decals have been applied. Many repaints are "rattle can" jobs that look poor and chip easily.
As for how much your bike is worth, the best source will be your local Craigslist. Although prices listed for similarly equipped bikes will not tell you the final sale price, the prices listed will give you some idea. A second guide will be the price of the same or similar new bike. A used bike will sell for no more than 2/3 the price of a new one, more typically 1/2 or less. Appearance and mechanical condition greatly affect the price that can be asked, as well as demand/supply for that type of bike.
Finally, as with any inquiry on Fixya, it is extremely helpful to specify why you want the info you are requesting (what the original problem is) as there may be a better way to address the concern you have than the focus of your question.
Posted by Donald... on
May 09, 2017 | Fuji Cycling
Apr 17, 2017 | Cycling
May 08, 2016 | REDLINE Cycling