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Asian Serial Number Guide

Old 11-03-23, 05:23 PM
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This quote is from post No. 636. 12-16-22, 12:39 PM #636 H2Rick

Originally Posted by H2Rick
OK.......maybe I can get these TWO identical1983-ish Schwinn World Tourists figured out.....and you're NOT seeing double.
#1 is s/n SA003919 with headstock badge #0150.

Second one is s/n GD806531 with headstock badge #1048


. . .

Now, if someone can shed some light on the big difference in the serial numbers (different manufacturers?) and badge numbers to help me solve this really perplexing mystery, I'd be eternally grateful.
I can shed some light on the serial numbers.

SA003919 - is from the China Bicycle Corporation. The first letter "S" presumably is for Schwinn. The "A" is for January and the first "0" is for 1990 as the date of frame manufacture.

GD806531 - The first letter "G" is from Giant of Taiwan. The first digit "8" is for 1988 as the year of frame manufacture.
I have seen no good documentation as to what the second letter means. However early letters usually mean early in the year for frame manufacture.

So both bicycles are later than 1983.
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Old 11-04-23, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Hummer
This quote is from post No. 636. 12-16-22, 12:39 PM #636 H2Rick



I can shed some light on the serial numbers.

SA003919 - is from the China Bicycle Corporation. The first letter "S" presumably is for Schwinn. The "A" is for January and the first "0" is for 1990 as the date of frame manufacture.

GD806531 - The first letter "G" is from Giant of Taiwan. The first digit "8" is for 1988 as the year of frame manufacture.
I have seen no good documentation as to what the second letter means. However early letters usually mean early in the year for frame manufacture.

So both bicycles are later than 1983.
Hummer: Thanks for your input, however,,,,,,
The very last time that Schwinn offered the FFS (Front Freewheel System, which both these bikes have) on any of their models was 1987. In fact, the World Tourist model was discontinued after the 1987 model year.
I now believe that Bike #1 is actaully a Panasonic-built bike and the headstock badge date code of 0150 indicates the 150th day of 1980 where the first digit is the last number of the year. So this particular bike would have been produced around the end of May 1980. The Schwinn catalogs don't show the 1980 World Tourist with the FFS on them, so this particular bike would have been sold as a 1981 model.
Now, as to Bike #2, I agree with your assessment that it's probably a Giant-built Schwinn. The headstock date code on this bike is 1048 which interprets as the 48th day of 1981 so this bike MAY have been sold as a 1982 model.. I have found that the headstock date codes are always correct as to construction date but some of them are poorly stamped and I need to confirm that 1048 stamping since I still have this bike. However, the left rear dropout does NOT have the date code stamping where you would expect a Giant-built bike to have it.
The next part of the puzzle is why would Schwinn have 2 bikes of the same identical model being produced by 2 different manufacturers during 2 different model years that close together ??? I know that the Japanese yen was increasing in value during the late 1970's-early 1980's and maybe that's why production of the model was turned over to Giant for the 1981 model year.
Does anyone else want to shed some light on this very perplexing mystery ?? Yes, I know the fate of nations doesn't depend on this but I'd stll like to get this settled.

Last edited by H2Rick; 11-04-23 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 11-05-23, 07:31 PM
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First, have these bicycles been repainted and/or had the decals replaced?

The bicycle with the "S" serial number has the 1990 Schwinn decal schema. The bicycle with "G" serial number has the 1988 decal schema.

Originally Posted by H2Rick
The very last time that Schwinn offered the FFS (Front Freewheel System, which both these bikes have) on any of their models was 1987.
Second, Is it possible that someone replaced the original drivetrain on both bicycles with Shimano FFS?


Originally Posted by H2Rick
In fact, the World Tourist model was discontinued after the 1987 model year.
Third: I have an image of the 1989 Schwinn dealer price list. The World Tourist model is listed under the Uprights section.


Originally Posted by H2Rick
I now believe that Bike #1 is actaully a Panasonic-built bike and the headstock badge date code of 0150 indicates
the 150th day of 1980 where the first digit is the last number of the year.
Originally Posted by H2Rick
The headstock date code on this bike is 1048 which interprets as the 48th day of 1981 so this bike MAY have been sold as a 1982 model..
Fourth, headstock badge date code. My understanding of the coding is that the last digit is for the year and the first 3 digits are for the day of that year.

The bicycle with the "G" serial number has a head badge date code 1048, year 1988 and day 104. The is a good match for the first digit "8" in the serial number.


Originally Posted by H2Rick
However, the left rear dropout does NOT have the date code stamping where you would expect a Giant-built bike to have it.
Fifth, Giant date codes and serial numbers. Up until 1986 Giant stamped date codes into the frame on the dropout or the bottom bracket.
At the end of 1986 Giant discontinued the practice of a separate date code and changed their serial number coding system.


In conclusion the only thing about your Schwinn World Tourists that is "1983-ish" is the Shimano FFS drive train. The paint and decal schema and the serial numbers point to 1990 and 1988.
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Old 11-07-23, 01:10 PM
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Well, you may have a 1989 price list showing the World Tourist as still available but those were probably leftover units they were still trying to get rid of. These FFS 10 speed equipped bikes were initially somewhat expensive compared to other offerings and they are HEAVY and the FFS was unusual (most potential buyers don't want something TOO new) so Schwinn probably experienced "extreme consumer resistance" to this model. NO/NO catalogs that I've found (and believe me there are PLENTY to look at) show a World Tourist available after 1987. As well, the catalogs show the World Tourist from its introduction in the 1980 model year and on until the end in 1987 as available in a variety of colors....but NOT in "Frosty Silver" and certainly not with contrasting charcoal-colored fenders.
However...... the World and World Sport WERE available in Frosty Silver. I suspect what happened was that the Chinese or Taiwanese contractor had a large surplus of Frosty Silver-painted frames on hand and so Schwinn went ahead and told them to install the FFS on them, slap on a "World Tourist" decal and touring-style bars
with Charcoal colored fenders and call it good.

My understanding of the headstock date code is exactly the opposite of yours, so we'll agree to disagree on that one.

Both of these bikes are in mint condition and appear to my eyes to be totally original excepting the tires/tubes. I looked back over the pics I posted and the "S" bike still has the "Schwinn Quality" decal on it at the top front of the seat tube. You are correct about the origin because it says Made In China below the "Schwinn Quality" hot-cross bun decal.. So now I know it's not a Panasonic-Schwinn and thank you for prodding me to look back at my pics. . This bike has a dealer sticker from The Cycle Exchange somewhere in Virginia. The "G" bike has a dealer sticker on it from Hampton/Denbigh Cycleries. I looked this one up and strangely they are still in business somewhere also in VA IIRC. This bike does NOT have the "Schwinn Quality" hot cross bun decal anywhere on it or any kind of a sticker showing country of origin. How both of these VA bikes ended up in a bike co-op in Arizona where I bought them is a mystery that will never be solved. Both have the odd speck of rust (to be expected coming from the East Coast) but from 5 feet away they are not noticeable.

I don't believe this will ever get sorted out.
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Old 11-09-23, 01:12 AM
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87 Marin Pine Mountain - Taiwan or Japan?

Hi all. Back with another 80's mtb:
This is an '87 Marin Pine Mountain. Wondering where it was made; read somewhere that most were Taiwanese made, with a few exceptions: Titanium models & team steel bikes were made in the US, and the early Prestige Pine Mountains were their one Japanese product. Hoping the serial number will shed some light:
A7A00139
Complete bike photos will have to wait until morning, but here's a few odd detail shots from the garage.








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Old 11-09-23, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ElGenerale
Hi all. Back with another 80's mtb:
This is an '87 Marin Pine Mountain. Wondering where it was made; read somewhere that most were Taiwanese made, with a few exceptions: Titanium models & team steel bikes were made in the US, and the early Prestige Pine Mountains were their one Japanese product. Hoping the serial number will shed some light:
A7A00139
Complete bike photos will have to wait until morning, but here's a few odd detail shots from the garage.








Wow, waiting on what others have on this bike. This looks like a great find!
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Old 11-09-23, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Hummer
Third: I have an image of the 1989 Schwinn dealer price list. The World Tourist model is listed under the Uprights section.
Originally Posted by H2Rick
My understanding of the headstock date code is exactly the opposite of yours, so we'll agree to disagree on that one.
My dozen-ish Schwinns that have a headbadge date stamp follow the DDDY format.
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Old 11-09-23, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ElGenerale

I reckon that "Cuda FINN" device (a counterpart to a Shark-Fin?) should be strapped to the stay NOT including the derailleur cable, eh? Or perhaps slip/pinch a short stretch of housing in there.

Oh and nice Hite-Rite photobomb.
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Old 11-09-23, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue
I reckon that "Cuda FINN" device (a counterpart to a Shark-Fin?) should be strapped to the stay NOT including the derailleur cable, eh? Or perhaps slip/pinch a short stretch of housing in there.
Good eye! Between my lousy eyesight and limited lighting, I didn't see this when taking pictures last night. One of many things to tend to before giving it a spin. Here's a photo that captures many of the other issues:



And here's a few shots from today:



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Old 11-09-23, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ElGenerale
Redneck pro tip - if you use propane in the small cylinders, either for camping or a hand-held torch, you can use the plastic cap to replace the missing cap on the front shifter. Trim about 1/3 off the "height" of the cap. Put a round piece of sponge-y double-face tape inside it, and loosely wrap a zip-tie around it. Put in place so the latch on the zip-tie doesn't interfere with shifter movement. Tighten down and trim the zip-tie. I still lose 'em now and then, but I have plenty to spare.

Now I wanna get one of those "Cuda FINN"s for my Barracuda.

('Course, this thread hijack should probably be carried on in the "Show us your vintage MTB" thread - Show us your vintage mountain bikes! )
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Old 11-10-23, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ElGenerale
. . .
This is an '87 Marin Pine Mountain. Wondering where it was made; read somewhere that most were Taiwanese made, with a few exceptions: Titanium models & team steel bikes were made in the US, and the early Prestige Pine Mountains were their one Japanese product. Hoping the serial number will shed some light:
A7A00139
. . .

The serial number is from Araya of Japan. Araya also made mountain bikes for Univega, Peugeot USA, and the brand name Focus, among others.
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Old 11-10-23, 01:03 PM
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T-Mar I've got a serial number question for you. So I have a vintage Japanese made GT Timberline with serial number G5I00001, and based on some research it is G for the production line, 5 for the year 1985, I for the 9th month September, and then 00001 is the production number for that month. However, on my review of several (probably 6) other similar GT Timberlines (mostly all for sale), they all seem to start with G5Ixxxxx, so how does that work? Did that production line just switch to producing Timberlines in September of 85? Or did only the September 85 Timberlines survive? Ha! I wouldn't think anything of it if I saw several different prefixes, I just find it strange that most have G5I. I've attached a photo of the bike, just for reference. Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 11-10-23, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by TXtea
. . .
However, on my review of several (probably 6) other similar GT Timberlines (mostly all for sale), they all seem to start with G5Ixxxxx, so how does that work? Did that production line just switch to producing Timberlines in September of 85? Or did only the September 85 Timberlines survive? Ha! I wouldn't think anything of it if I saw several different prefixes, I just find it strange that most have G5I. I've attached a photo of the bike, just for reference. Thanks in advance for the help.
I have seen several serial numbers for these early GT Timberline. Some of the serial numbers starting sequences: GT4K, GT5B, GT5I, GT5J, GT5L. It is odd that you have only seen the one month.
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Old 11-11-23, 10:27 PM
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Fresh find: another Nishiki Cresta with the rare 3 pulley system Suntour derailleur. This variant is the LePree. Suntour Mountech front derailleur. Auto trimming down tube levers.

This bike had it all. front & rear racks, handlebar bag, flick stand, computer, toe clips, 3 cages, rear rack plastic deck add on, front fork low rider rack mounts, suicide levers! Foam grips. Sugino GP crank with Cycloid chainrings. Cantilever brakes.

Been sitting in a barn with 3 other bikes for many years. All 4 covered in the same dirt.

Tange 2 double butted cro-mo.

Estimating this is a 1985 or 1986.
Serial KD13112 with a W below it.









a number of spots of paint damage




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Old 11-12-23, 05:18 PM
  #690  
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Great score, rickpaulos !!! That's a real piece of history.
Is that stylized "w" on the bb not the corporate symbol belonging to Western Cycle ??
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Old 12-11-23, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by gravelinmygears
I was told that this is an 86 Nishiki Bel Air. It’s a repaint. No catalogs anywhere so no idea what original parts are. Serial WE18 513. Bike measures 20”.
Great looking build, I love the proportions. What size tires did you go with here? I just picked up one of these frames today and our serial numbers are like 50 bikes apart. It was an impulse after taking a couple measurements and liking the geo but you're pics make me want to build it up.


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Old 12-12-23, 04:29 AM
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unknown Frame Number

Hi,

my name is Björn from Hamburg, i recently bought a road bike frame with a Kuwahara Headset, the fork and rear ends are chromed with Suntour GS Dropouts, fork is marked as Tange 6K, framenumber under the crank is M6M41860 .
What the heck could the Manufacturer/Brand of this bike be ? It has also a K.C.L Hightension Double Butted Tubing decal on the seatstay...

pics are in my album...

Last edited by Discobauer; 12-12-23 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 12-19-23, 10:00 AM
  #693  
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Originally Posted by Discobauer
Hi,

my name is Björn from Hamburg, i recently bought a road bike frame with a Kuwahara Headset, the fork and rear ends are chromed with Suntour GS Dropouts, fork is marked as Tange 6K, framenumber under the crank is M6M41860 .
What the heck could the Manufacturer/Brand of this bike be ? It has also a K.C.L Hightension Double Butted Tubing decal on the seatstay...

pics are in my album...
Hello Björn and welcome to the forum.

here is the link to your pictures: https://www.bikeforums.net/g/user/572920

The serial number is for a frame made by Miki of Sakai, Japan. However, the bicycle may have been assembled by Kuwahara.

The serial number and fork date indicate a frame made in late 1976. From the pictures a good quality frame for 1976.

There are Apollo brand bicycles in Canada. Many of the frames have Kuwahara serial numbers but some have Miki serial numbers with a Kuwahara decal and/or Kuwahara head set.

In this thread there is an example.

Apollo MK VI Road Bike
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Old 12-19-23, 02:31 PM
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Hello Hummer,
thank you to confirm that it is an Apollo road bike from 1976 and for the link to my album. Since i have not enough posts here to be able to post pics and links i haven´t done them into the thread. After many research thru the internet about the Kuwahara road bikes and Kuwahara made ones i came to this very informative forum. I have seen pics from apollo bikes and was already thinking because of the chromed ends it should be one and the year 1976 was as well my thought, now you confirmed that. I already ordered some Apollo decals from an australian seller and from a canadian one because i am restoring this nice piece of steel to its original needs. I like the old vintage steel bikes very much what made me buying this frame from a local private seller in my neighbourhood when it was announced in the net. When i have enough posts i will bring up some pics of the result here.
Thank you

Last edited by Discobauer; 12-24-23 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 12-20-23, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Discobauer
. . .
thank you to confirm that it is an apollo road bike from 1976 . . .
I did not intent to say that the bicycle was branded as an Apollo, only that it came from Kuwahara. It might be an Apollo, but I do not know how an Apollo brand bicycle would get to Hamburg, Germany.

In this thread there is an Apollo that is a close match to your frame. Unfortunately there is no information about the Apollo.

The ultimate Apollo thread........


Originally Posted by VintageRide

pic assist:



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Old 12-20-23, 01:04 PM
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Hi Hummer,
all what i could find about the old kuwahara road bikes in the internet, searching with the frames details, i always landed to apollo. There are not many bikes with the chromed ends, most have smaller or less chrome parts. And the Kuwahara ones have the serial number mostly in other places than under the crank case what i have seen.

Cheers

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Old 12-20-23, 01:05 PM
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Soon i can post some pics...
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Old 12-20-23, 01:07 PM
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Just need five more posts now
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Old 12-20-23, 01:18 PM
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Only God knows how the bike came to Hamburg...

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Old 12-22-23, 06:46 AM
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Maybe a Canadien Guy moved to Hamburg and took his Bike here...
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