Where can I find my bike frame and engine number?

Dr Ken German
By Dr Ken German

Previously an officer in the Metropolitan Police Stolen Car Squad – part of the Flying Squad – Dr Ken German has a BA and PhD in international vehicle crime; he’s been key to many anti-theft policies and vital governmental and insurance decisions. He also developed the potential for transponders and parts marking, helping to create Datatag. Dr Ken is a world authority on motorcycle crime, and a key advisor to the industry...

 

Buying a classic motorcycle can open up a whole new world of biking – machines with none of the electronics or fancy fuel injection of modern bikes, and with the potential for many happy evenings of tinkering in the garage. But making sure you’re getting one with that is what it claims to be can be harder, thanks to the fact that the frame and engine numbers can be in some pretty unexpected locations.

On modern machines it’s usually a simple case of checking the headstock and the rear of the engine, so this guide will show the exact position of most bikes that now have ‘classic’ status, or in the case of mopeds, scooters, flat twins etc, an approximate position…

 

Depending on the bike, locations to look for the numbers are:

  • Headstock
  • Nearside top of crankcase below barrel(s)
  • Top of crankcase behind barrel(s)
  • Cross member below tank/saddle join
  • Front of crankcase
  • Approx position only
  • Top nearside of crankcase behind barrel
  • Nearside frame down-tube below headstock
  • Offside top of crankcase below barrel(s)
  • Cylinder head
  • Offside rear fork leg in front of wheel spindle
  • Approx position
  • Front nearside of crankcase
  • Front nearside frame down-tube on lug
  • Recess under nearside crankcase
  • Offside radiator frame loop
  • Reynolds fork approx position
  • Under offside of crankcase
  • Under and forward of nearside crankcase
  • Nearside rear fork assembly near wheel spindle
  • Nearside down tube lug
  • Offside frame down-tube below head stock
  • Offside crankcase cover

 

Where can I find my bike frame and engine number? | Classic bikes

 

Where to find your motorbike frame or engine number

Using the image above and the following key, you should be able to look in the correct location for almost any model of classic motorcycle. The numbers correspond to the picture above, while the codes mean the following:

FS

Frame number is stamped into the frame.

FP

Frame number stamped onto plate affixed to the frame.

ES

Engine number stamped into engine/crankcase.

EP

Engine number stamped onto plate affixed to the engine/crankcase

 

As an example, 1FS-2ES shows that the frame number is stamped into the frame (FS) at position 1, and that the engine number is stamped into the crankcase (ES) on the nearside barrel at position 2. You will find variations in locations for some brands – BSA for instance has three possible frame number locations and one for the engine. The numbers represent the area to look – number 24 for instance is where the frame meets the top tube.

This is intended to be a guide for those who aren’t experts in each marque, but we do welcome any updates or additions – please drop us an email at enquiries@bikesocial.co.uk

 

Motorcycle manufacturer’s frame/engine number locations

AJS

1FS-2ES

AMBASSADOR

1FS (nearside)-5ES-12EP (Primary chain case)

ARIEL

1FS-1FP-2ES

ASPES

1FS-1FP (125CC-3ES) OR NONE.

BATAVUS

1FS-19EP

BENELLI

1FS-1FP-1EP-3ES-15ES-18ES

BETA

4FS-3ES

BMW

1FS-1FP-7ES (Approx) by oil filler cap.

BRIDGESTONE

1FP- 4FP (top of shock mount)-18EP (near kick start)

BSA

1FS-8FS-14FS-2ES

BULTACO

1FS-7ES

CARABELLA

1FS-3ES

CASAL

1FS-1FP-3EP-9EP

CCM

1FS (Bottom) 2ES

COSSACK

1FS-1FP-2ES (Approx)-13ES-7ES

COTTON

1FS-11FS-21FS

CZ

1FP-7ES

DMW

1FS (nearside)-5ES-12EP (Primary chain case)

D’NIEPR

1FS-1FP-2ES (Approx) 13ES-7ES

DOT

1FS-5ES-9ES-12EP (primary chain case)

DOUGLAS

7ES (above barrel)

DUCATI

1FS-5ES-3ES

EXCELSIOR

8FS-13ES

FANTIC

4FS-7EP

FRANCIS BARNETT

1FS-7ES-2ES

GARELLI

1FP-3ES-7ES

GILERA

4FS-3ES

GREEVES

1FP-8FS-9ES-12EP (Primary chain case)

HARLEY DAVIDSON

1FS-9ES-23ES-2ES (Approx) Pre 1969 no frame numbers.

HONDA

1FP-1FS-7ES-16FP-3ES-7FP-15ES (Approx)-20ES (mini bike)

HUSQVARNA

1FS-13ES*- 3ES* (*Only visible with engine removed)

HRD

1FS-2ES (Approx) 20ES

INDIAN

1FP-1EP

ITALJET

1FS-9ES (Approx)

JAWA

1FP-1FS-3ES-7ES

KAWASAKI

1FP-1FS-3ES-7ES

KTM

1FS-1FP-7EP-7FP

LAVERDA

1FS-1FP or under tank on frame-10EP-3ES

MONARK

1FS (Various engines)

MONTESA

1FS-1FP-7ES-3ES

MATCHLESS

1FP-1FS-2ES-7ES

MINSK

1FS-1FP-2ES (Approx)-13ES-7ES

MOTO GUZZI

FS- 1FP -9ES-17FP (Approx) 22FP

MORINI

1FS-9FS-9ES

MV

1FS-1FP4FS

MZ

1FS-1FP- 17EP

NORTON

1FS-1FP-2ES (NVT 2FP-3ES)

OSSA

1FS-5E

PARILLA

1FS-7ES-12ES

PUCH

1FP-4ES (Approx)-3ES (Approx)

PANTHER

1FS-8FS-2ES

PLANETA

1FS-1FP-2ES (Approx)-13ES-7ES

PUMA

7FP-7EP

ROYAL ENFIELD

1FS-2ES

SCOTT

21FS (by radiator) 7ES-13ES (Approx)

SUZUKI

1FS-7ES-11FP-7EP-5ES

SUNBEAM

24FS-5 ES (Bottom)

TRIUMPH

1FS-1FP-8FS-2ES

URAL

1FS-1FP-2ES (Approx)-13ES-7ES

VELOCETTE

1FP (and top tube under tank) 7ES-13ES (Approx)

VINCENT

1FS-2ES (Approx)-20ES

VESPA

14FS-18ES (Approx)

VILLIERS

20FS-11FS-24FS-22FS-5ES (below barrel)-2ES-3ES

YAMAHA

1FS-7ES-3ES-9ES

 

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