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Asian Serial Number Guide

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Asian Serial Number Guide

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Old 12-26-15, 08:13 PM
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T-Mar
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Asian Serial Number Guide

Many of you will be aware of my penchant for collecting and analyzing serial numbers. This guide compiles the results of a decade of data collection of pre-1990 Asian serial numbers.

The guide is not necessarily comprehensive, as it only represents what has been collected and decrypted. The level of confidence in the decryption is high, unless otherwise stated, though it is dynamic and may not be 100% accurate. Contract manufactured brands are cross-reference to the manufacturer. The nationality of the brand owner ( pre- 1990) is stated in parentheses. Anybody having any further data, insight or corrections can contact me via the forum's private message process. Hopefully, it is self-explanatory with the use of the following legend:

F indicates an alpha character designating the fortnight (i.e. A= weeks 1-2, B=weeks 3-4,....Z = weeks 51-52)

M indicates an alpha character designating the month (i.e. A = January, B= February,... L = December)

Y indicates an alpha character designating the year . The year that corresponds to a particular alpha character can vary significantly. The specific convention will be listed under the manufacturer entry.

mm indicates two numeric characters designating the month (i.e 01 = January, 02=February,..... 12= December)

y indicates a numeric character designating the last digit of the year (i.e. 1 = 1971 or 1981, 2 = 1972 or 1982, etc.). With such codes, you have to determine the decade based on frame characteristics, components, etc.

yy indicates two numeric characters designating the last two digits of the year (i.e. 81 = 1981, 82= 1082, etc.)

xxxx indcates a numeric characters designating the sequential frame number within a the fortnight, month or year. This number string is typically four to six characters in length but can vary.

AMERICAN EAGLE (USA): see Kawamura.

AMERICAN FLYER (USA): see Kuwahara.

APOLLO (Canada): See Kuwahara.

A-PRO (Taiwan): Insuffcient data.

ARAYA (Japan): ARYMyxxxxx

AZUKI (?): See Kawamura, Kuwahara, Giant.

BIANCHI (Italy): See Hodaka, S(1)

BONTEKOE (Netherlands): see Miki

BRIDGESTONE (Japan): Myxxxxx & Fyxxxxx.
Grant Peterson, who was designer for Bridgestone starting in the mid-1980s, has stated that the alpha character is a month indicator, however, apparent fortnight indicators a high as "T" have been seen as early as 1973. The formats are easily confused with Miyata.

CAMPANIA (?): See K(1), Y(1).

CENTURION (USA): See Fairly, Katakura, Matsu****a, Mikki, N(1), Tano, U(1).

CENTURION (Germany): see Merida, Java Perdana

CHIMO (Canada): Insufficient data.

C. ITOH (Japan): See Bridgestone.

CONCORD (USA): See Dodsun, Kuwahara.

CORSARO (USA): See Nissan

CYCLONE (Japan): Insufficient data.

CYCLE PRO (USA): See Dodsun, Kawamura.

DIAMOND BACK (USA): See Fairly, U(1).

DODSUN (Taiwan): Insufficient data, but format appears to be DSBMymmxxxx(x) & DSym mxxxx(x) based on limited small size.

EDDY MERCKX (Belgium): See Miyata.

EMPEROR (Japan): Insufficient data.

FAIRLY (Taiwan): Fymmxxx(xx)

FEDERAL (Indonesia); Insufficient data but starts with FC. First numeral may be year indicator. Also see Kuwahara.

FERRARE (Japan): Insufficient data.

FUJI (Japan): P designates assumed production facility codes with known characters including F.G. I,J, K and M.

1971-1974: PyMxxxx, where years are based on the Imperial Japanese Calendar (i.e. 6 = Showa 46 = 1971, 7 = Showa 47 = 1972, 8 = Showa 48 = 1973, 9 = Showa 49 = 1974).

1975-1979: yyMxxxxx

1980-1989: PMyxxxxx

1984-1985 Special Series: Myxx(x)

GENERAL (USA): See Merida

GIANT (Taiwan):

1978-1986: Gmmyy on rear dropout.

1987-1989: GFyxxxxx

GITANE (France): See Nissan

GT (USA): See Hodaka, Fairly.

HIRAME (Japan): See Kuwahara

HODAKA (Taiwan): HyMxxxxx

HUNTER (?): See Yamaguchi

INTERNATIONAL (Canada ): See Bridgestone

ITOH (USA): See Bridgestone.

JAMIS (USA): See Hodaka.

JAVA PERDANA (Indonesia): JPyFxxxx Due to insufficient data, fortnight indicator may be a month indicator.

JET (?); See Bridgestone.

JUPITER KING (Japan): See Sank.
i
K(1) (Japan): KyMxxxxx Same as 1980s Fuji format. Possible Fuji division or contractor.

KABUKI (Japan, USA): See Bridgestone, Nissan.

KAMRA (japan): See Kawamura

KATAKURA (Japan): KMyxxxxx Format easily confused with Kawamura.

KAWAMURA (Japan):

Pre-1975: KSxxxxxx

1975-1987: PYxxxxx, where P indicates the market (A = Australia, C = Canada, E = Europe, K = USA 1975-1984 and late 1980s non-ferrous frames, W = USA 1985-1987). Y designates year where E = 1975, F= 1976,.... J=1980, then A = 1981, B=1982, ... G= 1987. Easily confused with Katakura format.

KENSTAR (Taiwan?): Insufficient data.

KENT (Taiwan?): Insufficient data.

KHS (Taiwan): ymmxxxxx. See also U(1).

KING (USA?): Insufficient data.

KOBE (USA): Insufficient data but some may be Bridgestone manufacture.

KUWAHARA (Japan): yy mmxxxx(x) Also see Federal.

LEEWORLD (USA): See M(1)

LOTUS (USA): See Pacific, Tsunoda, Yamaguchi.

M(1): Unknown manufacturer, frame date code format appears to be MCAmmyy

MAIKO (USA?): See Kawamura, Kuwahara, Giant.

MARUISHI (Japan): Unknown, but format appears to be Y?xxxxx based o n very limited sample size. Year indicators appear to be A =1971,1981,etc, , B = 1972, 1982, etc. Second alpha character appears to be either fortnight or month indicator. Easily confused with Tsunoda.

MATSURI (?): See Nissan.

MATSU****A/NATIONAL (Japan): yMxxxxx

MERIDA (Taiwan): Insufficient data, but format appears to be MyMxxxx(x) based on limited sample size. Month indicator could turn out to be fortnight indicator. Also reported to use My??xxxx, where ?? is two letters. Somes uses a space or hyphen in front of xxxx number string. Easily confused with Miki , use country of origin decal, if present, to identify,

MIELE (Canada): See S(1).

MIKI (Japan): MyFxxxx

BF member Hummer believes 3rd caracter is a month indcator using A to M, with I omitted.

MIYATA (Japan):

1972-1984: Yxxxxxx, where A = 1972, B= 1973,....M= 1984.

1985-1989: YFxxxxx, where N=1985, O = 1986,...S=1990.

Format change occurred in late 1984, during model year change. Easily confused with Bridgestone.

See also U(1) for some late 1980s contract manufactured models.

MITZUTANI (Japan): Insufficient data.

MONGOOSE (USA): Insufficient data.

MOTIONCRAFT (?): See Miki.

NIKO (USA); Niko was the private label brand of retail and mail order store Bikecology. Owner, Alan Goldsmith, also worked for Western States Imports (Centurion) . While I have no Niko serial numbers, 1980s Niko models do strongly resemble Centurion and owners are suggested to check the serial number formats of Centurion contractors.

NISHIKI (USA): See Araya, Dodsun, Fairly, Giant, Katakura, Kawamura.

NISSAN (Japan): YFxxxxxN based on limited size. All end with 'N', which is believed to represent Nissan Cycles, which appears on a sticker on some bicycles. The first alpha character appears to be the year with C = 1980.

NASHBAR (USA): see Maruishi

NORCO (Canada): See Dodsun, Kawamura, Miki, Yamaguchi.

NOVARA (USA): See Fairly

N(1) (Japan): NyFxxxx Manufacturer unknown. Some members believe that the 'N' prefix designates National but given that Panasonic and the Japanese manufactured Schwinns that came from Matsu****a/National do not use this format, it seems unlikely. There is evidence suggesting Tano, the major supplier to WSI/Centurion, though the format is different from that use in the 1970s.

BF member Hummer believes that the 3rd character is a month indicator with the 12 months being represented by A, B, D, E, G, H, K, L, M, N, P & S.

PACIFIC (Taiwan): Pyxxxxxx

PANASONIC (Japan): See Matsu****a.

PARKPRE (USA): Insufficient data.

PEUGEOT (France): See Araya

PISCEAN (Taiwan?): Insufficient data.

RALEIGH (UK): See Merida, Miki, N(1).

RENSHO (Japan): Insufficient data.

REX/REX II (Japan): Insufficient data. AKA Criterium Rex, the head badges on these bicycles denote Araya manufacture. They appear to be 1970s forerunners of the Araya branded bicycles of the early 1980s, but with a different serial number format. The format is similar to Bridgestone & Miyata, though frame characteristics, notably the distinctive seat stay caps, are different.

ROYCE UNION (Netherlands): Insufficient data.

S(1) (Japan): MSyxxxxx

S(2) (Japan): SyFxxxx

S(3) (Japan): sMyxxxxx

SAINT TROPEZ (?): Insufficient data.

SAKAI (Canada): See Miki, Yamaguchi

SANKI (Japan): Symmxxxx based on very few samples, low confidence

SANWA (USA): See Dodsun. Miki

SAVOY (?): Insufficient data but based on head badge, appears to be a sister brand to Royce Union.

SCHWINN (USA): See Bridgestone, Giant, Matsu****a, S(3).

SCOTT (USA): See Fairly.

SEKAI (USA 1974-1983, Canada 1984-1990): See Dodsun, Fairly, Fuji, K(1), Matsu****a, Miki, Yamamguchi, Y(1).

SEKINE (Japan): Insufficient data, but format appears to be Ym(m) xxxx(x) based on limited sample size. Year indicators appear to be V= 1972 or 1973, W = 1973 or 1974, etc.

SENATOR (?): Insufficient data.

SHIMANO (Japan): Shimano manufactured complete bicycles from September 1950 to May 1954 but these are extremely rare. After that, Shimano would commission frames to build up and use for displays at bicycle shows but these were generally high end models. Most Shimano bicycles that surface have been rebranded by their owners. Consequently, there is too much variation in serial number formats to list.

SHOGUN (Japan): See Mikki, S(1), S(2), N(1), Yamaguchi.

SILK (Japan): See Katakura.

SKYWAY (Japan): See Bridgestone

SOMA (USA?): See Kuwahara.

SPECIALIZED (USA): See Giant, Miyata, S(1)

SPEEDWAY (USA): See Kuwahara

SR (?): See Araya, Miki.

STEVE BAUER (Canada): See Yamaguchi

SUCHIA (?): Insufficient data.

SUPERCYLE (Canada): See Bridgestone

TAKARA (USA): See Fuji, Kuwahara, S(1), Y(1).

TANO (Japan): not yet decoded

TEAM CHANCE (Canada): See Hodaka

TSUNODA (Japan): Unknown, but format appears to be YFxxxxx though correlation for Y has not been determined. Some members believe that Tsunoda was only a trading company and not a manufacturer but Lotus bicycles often have labels stating "Made by Tsunoda Japan" and similar statements can be found in Lotus literature. Easily confused with Maruishi format.

U(1) (?): Uymmxxxxx Manufacturer unknown. These codes start appearing on Centurion and Diamond back models in the very late 1980s. It is known that China Bicycle Company started supplying entry level models to Western State Imports at this time, just before acquiring WSI in late 1989 and this would appear to be the logical manufacturer but bicycles with this S/N format have been reported with Made in Taiwan labels and CBC was located in China.

UNION (Netherlands): see Miki

UNIVEGA (USA): See Miyata, Dodsun, Giant.

UNIVERSITY (?): Insufficient data.

VENTURA (?): Insufficient data.

VISTA (USA): See Araya.

VOLKSCYCLE (USA): Insufficient data.

WORLD OF WHEELS (USA): See Kuwahara

Y(1) (Japan):Yyy mmxxxxx Manufacturer unknown but circumstantial evidence indicates it may be the pre-1980 Yamaguchi format.

YAMAGUCHI (Japan): YyFxxxx. There has been some speculation whether Yamaguchi is the manufacturer for this format but samples have been reported with Yamaguchi labels.

YOKOTA (Japan): Insufficient data.

ZEBRA (?): Insufficient data.

ZEBRAKENKO (Japan): Insufficient data

Last edited by T-Mar; 11-07-18 at 07:08 AM. Reason: added note on Kawamura non-ferrous frames
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Old 12-26-15, 08:22 PM
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Let me be first to welcome you back T-Mar. You have been missed by everyone in C&V.

Happy Holidays too!

PS: If Star Wars can make a huge return, why not T-Mar, all in the same month!

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Old 12-26-15, 08:29 PM
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You probably just managed to date a massive number of unknown frames.
As always, thanks!

The coolest part, for me, is seeing who some of the contracted builders were for brands.
Really neat glimpse into Asian bike manufacturing history.
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Old 12-26-15, 09:01 PM
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Hail to the Chief! Thanks for sharing!


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Old 12-26-15, 09:16 PM
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Indeed
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Old 12-26-15, 09:37 PM
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What a grand return!
Welcome back.
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Old 12-27-15, 04:25 AM
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So that's what you saved your 10,000th post for!
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Old 12-27-15, 09:51 AM
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This page is also nice. Perhaps one of us would like to update it with T-Mar's information above.
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Old 12-28-15, 11:54 AM
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Welcome back T-Mar
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Old 12-28-15, 01:36 PM
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I see a book in this.
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Old 12-28-15, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
I see a book in this.
Probably not much of a plot, but lots of pics of exposed bottoms. I'd buy it.
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Old 12-28-15, 11:45 PM
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T-mar walks back in and BOOM drops a big old knowledge bomb on all of us.

And are you f-ing (and I can type that) kidding me??! You can't type Matsu****a?? You have to type Matsu$hita instead??

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Old 12-29-15, 12:30 PM
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Along with everyone else, Welcome home; we've missed you!

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Old 12-29-15, 03:36 PM
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Welcome back...and it is a GRAND return!
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Old 12-29-15, 05:05 PM
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Welcome back, T-Mar! Thanks so much for sharing this Japanese serial number decoder!!
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Old 01-02-16, 02:56 PM
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Well, a week has passed and interest in this thread has died down, so it's proably an appropriate time to thank everyone for the warm welcome back. This post just might get me kicked off the forum, but I couldn't resist the setup...


Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
I see a book in this.
Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Probably not much of a plot, but lots of pics of exposed bottoms. I'd buy it.
Exclusive preview...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
bare bottoms.jpg (91.7 KB, 1494 views)
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Old 01-02-16, 04:33 PM
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I didn't see anything...
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Old 01-02-16, 05:05 PM
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Nice!
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Old 01-03-16, 12:42 AM
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Hey, welcome back @T-Mar!

Originally Posted by mountaindave View Post
And are you f-ing (and I can type that) kidding me??! You can't type Matsu****a?? You have to type Matsu$hita instead??
EDIT: Well, drat, my old workaround for that doesn't work anymore.
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Old 01-05-16, 07:26 AM
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Awesome T-Mar, good to see you back!
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Old 01-05-16, 08:00 PM
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Thanks for this wonderful contribution, T-Mar!

And I'll echo the others in a hearty Welcome Back!
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Old 01-07-16, 05:19 PM
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A belated welcome back, T-Mar, and a thank you for the pic as well--a good reminder that we should all be on guard against chafing.

One more data point: We had a Niko 'Mystere' mixte in the family for a while, a late 70s entry level bike, SN J8A0002. Niko were pretty certainly rebadged Centurions, and this fits the numbering system of Centurion supplier Miki: MyFxxxx, making it 1978 production.
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Old 01-10-16, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
A belated welcome back, T-Mar, and a thank you for the pic as well--a good reminder that we should all be on guard against chafing.

One more data point: We had a Niko 'Mystere' mixte in the family for a while, a late 70s entry level bike, SN J8A0002. Niko were pretty certainly rebadged Centurions, and this fits the numbering system of Centurion supplier Miki: MyFxxxx, making it 1978 production.
Thxs for the welcome back and Niko contribution. While the Niko's serial number convention is the same as Miki, the prefix is incorrect. Miki serial numbers start with an 'M'. While there is a possibility that Miki coded the serial numbers to the brand, this seems unlikely given that we've seen M-prefix serial numbers for numerous brands (Centurion, Norco, Sakai, Sanwa, Sekae, SR).

Given the format and your assessment, it was built in 1978. What we don't know is whether the 1st or 3rd characters represent the manufacturer. We, also don't know if the 2nd level age stratifier is for a month or a fortnight, though given that th sequential frame number is only four characters long, it is probably a fortnight indicator. Hopefully, some more Niko serial numbers will turn up, so that we can determine the exact nature of the format.
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Old 01-10-16, 08:05 AM
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Added Sanwa to the guide, based on serial numbers provided by members TenGrainBread and Primitive Don and brand nationality provided by member pcb. Thxs people!
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Old 01-10-16, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Well, a week has passed and interest in this thread has died down, so it's proably an appropriate time to thank everyone for the warm welcome back. This post just might get me kicked off the forum, but I couldn't resist the setup...






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It's just an instructional photo for chamois cream, eh?
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