Understanding Motorcycle VINs and Submodels
Finding out a motorcycle's model is pretty straightforward. However, finding the VIN and submodel is a little more complicated.
Motorcycle Model vs. Motorcycle Submodel
The model is the name used by the manufacturer to identify and market a particular type of motorcycle.
However, most manufacturers offer several variations of that particular motorcycle. These variations are the submodels. For example, one variant of a particular model might be supplied with a full fairing, while another variant might be supplied without a fairing.
The Importance of Knowing the Submodel
The contrast between submodels can be anything from the paint color the motorcycle comes in, to mechanical variations such as a different braking system.
Mechanical variations mean you'll need to know your motorcycle's submodel when buying replacement OEM parts and accessories. Differences between submodels can also affect the retail value of the motorcycle, so insurance companies often require submodel information before writing up an insurance policy.
Determining a Motorcycle's VIN and Submodel
To determine the submodel of a particular motorcycle, first you'll have to get the vehicle identification number (VIN).
The VIN is usually stamped on the neck of the motorcycle's frame or on a VIN plate attached to the neck. You'll also find the VIN on your motorcycle's title, registration and insurance documents.
Since 1981, all motorcycle VINs consist of 17 characters that can be broken down as follows:
- First three characters = world manufacturer identifier or WMI
- Next six characters = vehicle attribute section
- Final eight characters = vehicle identification section
Character 1 = Country of manufacture
Character 2 = Manufacturer
Character 3 = Vehicle type
Character 4 = Vehicle category
Character 5 = Engine displacement
Character 6 = Engine type
Character 7 = Model design
Character 8 = Model type
Character 9 = Security mark validating the VIN
Character 10 = Year code
Character 11 = Place of manufacture
Characters 12-17 = Serial number
Once you have the VIN, you can determine the motorcycle's submodel and buy replacement OEM parts.
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