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I have a bike I'm trying to sell because it's just been sitting in my basement. It looks as if someone primered it and the only thing I found was a serial number. Is there like a website I can look up more info on the bike using just that number?

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    posting a photo might be a good first step. Serial numbers exist on a per-manufacturer basis, and usually have a common prefix. Might be worth posting that too in case someone recognises it. – PeteH Dec 2 '15 at 13:57
  • bikeforums.net has no specific forum on the subject, but I do see a lot of questions posted asking for help identifying a bike. Do include pics. – Kennah Dec 11 '15 at 17:18
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    Post clear and well-lit pics and we can probably tell you something about it, but a brand ID is very unlikely unless it has some particularly unique features. – Criggie May 29 at 10:02
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We see many posts requesting help identifying bikes. Many older models had brand specific shapes or unique frame lugs that help identify them. With a few exceptions most modern bike frames have a generic shape. When you consider most frames are built in China in just a few factories it is easy to see why they all look similar. There is also some amount of multiple branding. Gary Fisher frames are made by Trek. Derby Cycles owns Focus, Univega, Nishiki and Raliegh brands. Dorel Cycles owns Pacific, IronHorse, Schwinn, Mongoose and Cannondale. This not to say that all the bikes made by a single conglomerate are the same quality. Just that there may be design influences that carryover betweem brands especially the one at the lower end of the product line.

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The serial number on its own is basically useless. They're not like VINs on cars: there's no global database of them and they're not even guaranteed to be unique. Each manufacturer of frames uses whatever scheme they want, and the serial numbers are purely for their own stock control.

To identify the frame, you need to compare its appearance to frames whose manufacturer you know. However, unless there's something very distinctive about your particular frame, it's unlikely that anyone will manage to identify it. Most frames have nothing particularly special about them, and many are made in enormous factories in China that sell frames to whatever brand wants to buy.

If you've identified a small number of possible manufacturers, the format of the serial number might allow you to tell which of them is correct. But even then, it's something of a long shot.

See also, Why shouldn't I care what model/make/year my bicycle is?

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