The easiest way to uncover mileage fraud and accidents
Vehicle history report by VIN
How to use the VIN Decoder
Our motorcycle VIN decoder is easy to use. Here’s how it works:
- Type your motorcycle’s VIN into the Enter VIN number field.
- Click Decode VIN.
A VIN decoder provides a brief VIN check, assuring that the VIN number is genuine and matches the details of your motorcycle. Get a full history report for more details.
What is a motorcycle VIN number?
All cars and motorcycles have unique VINs (vehicle identification numbers) for identification purposes. Vehicle manufacturers started using VINs in the 1950s, but the new system still had flaws because formats differed among manufacturers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the United States standardized the format in 1981. The new standard required all motor vehicles and trailers to have a unique 17-character vehicle identification number that consists of multiple parts with specific codings.
You can find a VIN on your superbike, cruiser, moped , ATV, dirt bike, and even (the occasional) electric scooter. Some racing motorcycles may not have a VIN as they can’t be registered, but if it’s street legal – you should be able to find it. Bear in mind that the location of the VIN depends on the bike’s type.
VIN numbers are placed on a sticker or engraved into metal and can’t be removed, replaced, or tampered with.
How to find my motorcycle’s VIN
A VIN number is necessary in various vehicle identification situations, so manufacturers usually put them on irreplaceable parts. VIN number locations on motorcycles differ by manufacturer, but you should find them near the headstock (steering neck), on a frame rail, or, on rare occasions, on the bottom of the engine.
Don’t forget to check the motorcycle’s registration and insurance papers because they also include the VIN. Make sure numbers in documents and on the motorcycle match.
What information do the VIN Decoder and motorcycle history report provide?
The primary purpose of a VIN number remains the identification of vehicles. However, used motorcycle buyers can perform a quick VIN lookup to decode it and get a history report.
You can always try our free VIN decoder to make sure the VIN is legitimate and reveal basic data about the motorcycle, including its manufacturer, make, model, year, and equipment list.
On the other hand, a full history report provides more valuable information about the motorcycle’s past that even its owner may not know. A full motorcycle VIN lookup on carVertical can reveal:
- Mileage rollbacks
- Theft records
- Damages (sometimes with photos)
- Registration and inspection dates
- Owner changes
- Motorcycle’s title info
- Specific model problems and recalls
Historical records help evaluate the vehicle’s condition and predict potential expenses and safety risks. Don’t skimp on a full history check when buying a used motorcycle.
What is the difference between a free motorcycle VIN check and a full history report?
Our free VIN decoder only provides basic vehicle identification data, which is available for free. A quick VIN lookup reveals the motorcycle’s make, model, year of manufacture, and equipment list.
However, mileage records, damage history, photos, and other desirable information provided in full history reports isn’t available for free. We collaborate with auctions, insurance companies, manufacturers, and other institutions to access reliable databases worldwide, ensuring our customers get detailed information.
Decoding the motorcycle VIN number
Motorcycle VIN numbers use the same format as car VINs: a combination of 17 characters that can be separated into multiple sections for decoding. Let’s look at the different sections of the vehicle identification number:
World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI)
The first 3 characters of a VIN represent the WMI code that uniquely identifies the manufacturer of a motorcycle:
- The 1st character shows the country in which the motorcycle was built. Characters in this spot range from numbers to letters, and each country has a unique character representing it.
- The 2nd character shows the brand’s name. For example, "Y" stands for "Yamaha," "S" for "Suzuki," "K" or "S" for "Kawasaki."
- The 3rd is the manufacturer’s division or motorcycle’s type (ATV, scooter, superbike, dirt bike, etc.).
The WMI section may have a different structure if the motorcycle isn’t mass-produced.
Vehicle Description Section (VDS)
The next 5 characters create the Vehicle Description Section, revealing most details about the motorcycle. The VDS reveals the brand, engine size, type, and frame style. The meaning and placement of characters in this section depend on the manufacturer.
The security check digit is necessary to ensure the VIN is legitimate. This digit results from a special mathematical operation that puts all other VIN characters into a formula. The VIN number is incorrect or fake if the result doesn’t match the check digit. VIN decoders perform this operation during a VIN check.
Vehicle Identifier Section (VIS)
The Vehicle Identifier Section consists of the last 8 characters and tells us the model year, assembly plant, and unique serial number of a motorcycle.
When buying a used motorcycle, you can always check the 10th character, which reveals the model year: "1", "2", and other upcoming numbers represent years "2001", "2002", etc. The letter "A" stands for "2010" while "B" is "2011", etc.
Why is checking the motorcycle VIN number important?
Motorcycles crash, get stolen, scammers tamper with their mileage, and more. No one wants to overpay for damaged goods. More importantly, you want to make sure the bike you’re buying is safe, and a motorcycle VIN check will help you.
While a free motorcycle VIN check helps to determine that the VIN is genuine (and confirms other basic details), a full history report reveals various legal and physical issues and lets you evaluate potential expenses.
Many used motorcycle buyers are seduced by the low prices of motorcycles with salvage titles. Experts agree that buying a damaged bike is fine if you know what the damage was and, if it’s repaired – how good the repairs are. Replacing damaged parts and panels is easy, but frame damages are the worst and often not worth repairing.
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