How to Tell What Year a Dirt Bike is

Do you have a dirt bike and are wondering what year it was made? Most people have problems determining what year their dirt bike is. This is especially difficult if you have no other information about the bike.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to help you determine what year your dirt bike was made. This article will provide crucial tips on how to tell what year a dirt bike is, so the next time you’re wondering how old a bike is, here’s where to start.

What is VIN?

VIN is also called a VIN number, VIN code, or body number. VIN works like a vehicle’s fingerprint. The code shows the bike’s features, model, manufacturer, place, and year of manufacture. VIN represents the Vehicle Identification Number.

It is legally recommended that all bikes have a 17-long VIN. This number appears on titles, insurance cards, and registration. Additionally, a VIN is crucial when buying your bike parts.

Why Do You Need a VIN?

A VIN is a very crucial set of numbers used to identify a dirt bike. The dirt bike’s “life events” are usually held in the code, including registration, production, accidents, insurance coverage, inspection, purchase, recall, and warranty claims. These occurrences are stored in different registries and databases using the VIN.

When running the VIN, you will get its general and specific details, like how many users have used it before. For buyers, it’s important to know if the bike has had accidents or has been stolen since it helps you make a decision before buying.

VIN Breakdown

The first three characters represent the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI). The first symbol shows where the dirt bike was manufactured or the region the manufacturer is located. The second character gives more information about the manufacturer.

The fourth and eighth symbols show the brand, type, engine size, and style options. These symbols contain the attributes of your dirt bike. The next two characters denote the model variation and model version.

The eleventh character gives details of the specific plant where the dirt bike was made. The 12th and 17th symbols are specific to a bike and show when the model in question left the production line.

Location of a VIN

The VIN on a motorcycle and dirt bike is usually located on the right side of the handlebar stub. The handlebar stub is the short piece behind the front number plate and just above the front fork. Some are placed on the motor near the bottom of the cylinders.

To locate the VIN, turn the dirt bike’s handlebars to the left and check the point where the steering head pushes through the frame. The VIN is vertically engraved on the metal.

You can also get the VIN on your dirt bike’s paperwork like title, proof of insurance, and registration papers.

How Do I tell what year a dirt bike is using a Vehicle Identification Number?

The 10th number of the VIN shows the model year of your dirt bike. However, the model year isn’t the same as the production year. If your dirt bike was manufactured in February 2020 and came to the showroom in November 2020, they are the same.

But if the bike was manufactured in August 2020 but hit the showroom floor in 2021, it will be given a 2021 date. Once you identify the 10th digit, check the VIN decoder chart to confirm the dirt bike’s year of manufacture.

10th Digit on VINYear of manufacture

Engine Number vs. VIN

The dirt bike’s engine number has an 11-digit identifier found on the right side of the engine case. On the other hand, the VIN has 17 characters, so when looking for a used dirt bike without paperwork (not advisable), don’t get confused with the engine number.

You can only use the bike’s 17-digit VIN to identify the real owner of the dirt bike.

How Do I Know if a Dirt Bike is Stolen?

The only effective way to check if a used dirt bike is stolen is by using the paperwork and VIN. If you’re buying from the original owner, you need to ask for the CCO (Certificate of Origin) or MCO (Manufacturer Certificate of Origin). The dirt bike comes with the paperwork from the dealer, which indicates the VIN.

Once you have the VIN, run it through some stolen dirt bike databases to establish if it’s stolen.


If you’re a dirt bike enthusiast, you know how crucial it is to understand the year your favorite bike was produced. If you’re looking for a used dirt bike, knowing the year it was made will help you determine if it’s worth your money. I hope this article will help you clear up some confusion surrounding the manufacturing dates of a dirt bike.