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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

One of the most common questions people ask me by e-mail are about identifying their bike's year and/or model. Please don't send me mail before you try to identify your bike yourself. I get more e-mail than I can handle with questions I can't answer to. Here follows some information that may help you.

How to find out the model year of my Suzuki?

It is quite easy if your bike is made for the American market and it's from the eighties or newer. You only need to find the identification plate with the VIN number somewhere on the frame of your bike. The tenth (10th) digit in the vehicles VIN code tells the model year of your bike, using the the following year codes:

80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
J
K
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
L
M
N
P
R
S
T
V
W
X
00
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
Y
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

VIN (Vehicle Data Card)


Established in 1954, American automobile manufacturers use a vehicle identification number, or VIN, to describe and identify motor vehicles. Beginning with the 1981 model year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the USA required that all over-the-road-vehicles sold must contain a 17-character VIN. This standard established a fixed VIN format. Often found on the steering head portion of the frame, the VIN encodes the vehicle's year, make, model, body and engine style and unique serial number. Each motorcycle Owner and Service Manual lists the location of the VIN and engine number.

In the early nineties, Suzuki instituted a frame program where street model replacement frames would receive an identification label which used a portion of the original VIN number. So if you have a late model Suzuki street motorcycle, even if it has received a replacement frame, it will have a VIN number or identification label on the steering head portion of the frame.

The VIN is a record of manufacture and can tell us in the first three digits the country of origin, the manufacturer and the vehicle type. For example: J (Japan) Y (Yamaha) and A (motorcycle). The next four or five digits denote the manufacturer’s model and series code for a particular machine i.e., SC282 (pre 1995 Honda Fireblade) or GM51A (Suzuki GS500E).

Some manufacturers use an eighth digit to identify the model series or engine. The ninth digit is a check digit and allows the manufacturer or authorities to see if the VIN is genuine or not (it would be unwise to give examples). The tenth digit denotes the year of manufacture.

A manufacturer’s assembly plant is identified by the eleventh number and the remaining digits are known as the sequential number. Useful, you might think, but unfortunately unlike most four-wheel vehicles, there is no legal requirement in most of the European countries (yet) for motorcycles to have a VIN, although it is used since 1977 as an International standard (ISO 3779).


Here's an example, a GSX-R1100 made for North American market.

WIM


World Manufacturer Identifier
Tells you the manufacturer
and type of the vehicle

J = Japan
S = Suzuki
1 = motorcycle

VDS


Vehicle Descriptor Section
See the following explanation on this page

Check digit


Allows the manufacturer or authorities to see if the VIN is genuine or not
0-9 or X

Year Code

Model year

See the list in the beginning of this page.

Factory Code


Manufacturer's assembly code
All Suzuki motorcycles made in Japan usually have the digit 2 here

VIS


Vehicle Identifier Section
Serial number, six digits
JS1
GV73A
X
N
2
123456

The N between the X and the 2 tells the bike is a 1992-year's model.

Here's an example of how a VIN plate can look like. A Suzuki GSX-R1100 from 1992. The digit N reveals the model year.

Here's an example of an identification plate from an European '90 GSX-R750. As you can see, there is no VIN number but the type code tells you things about the bike.



VDS (Vehicle Descriptor Section)

In countries that haven't adopted the use of VIN codes (most of the European countries) the VDS code that also can be found in the VIN code tells you the type (model code) of the bike. Suzuki uses a five digit (letters and numbers) that have the following meaning:

Vehicle category
Piston displacement
Engine type
Design sequence
Model variation
C
Scooter
B
Business model, commuter
N
Single cylinder sport street
G
Multiple cylinder sport street
F
Family
S
Off-road
V
V-type engine, street (V2, V4)
H Square Four

Note: I haven't found an official explanation for the digit H, but as far as I know it is only used for the80's GP racers, the RG400 and the RG500 Gamma models.
A
—49cc
B
50—69cc
C
70—79cc
D
80—89cc
E
9099cc
F
100124cc
G
125149cc
H
150199cc
J
200249cc
K
250399cc
M
400499cc
N
500599cc
P
600699cc
R
700749cc
S
750849cc
T
850999cc
U
10001099cc
V
11001199cc
W
12001299cc
X
13001399cc
Y
14001499cc
Z
1500—
1
2-stroke, single
2
2-stroke, twin
3
2-stroke, triple or four
4
4-stroke, single
5
4-stroke, twin
6
-
7
4-stroke, four
This digit tells the model version. The first version uses 1, the second 2 and so on.

Letters A, B, C... are used after the 9 is used.
Generally an A is used for the base model with non-restricted (full) power output.

Different letters can be used for new or special editions of the same model.
G
V
7
3
A
V
J
2
2
A
V
T
5
1
A
G
W
7
1
A
N
K
4
2
A
C
Z
4
1
A
H
M
3
1
B

The examples after GSX-R1100 (GV73A) are RGV250 Gamma (VJ22A), TL1000S, (VT51A), GV1300 Cavalcade (GW71A), Goose 350 (NK42A)and the RG500 Gamma (Italian model version).


Engine code

Suzuki uses generally a three-digit engine code starting with a letter and ending with two numbers that reveal the cylinder displacement and type of the engine.

Piston displacement
Engine type
Design sequence
A
—49cc
B
50—69cc
C
70—79cc
D
80—89cc
E
9099cc
F
100124cc
G
125149cc
H
150199cc
J
200249cc
K
250399cc
M
400499cc
N
500599cc
P
600699cc
R
700749cc
S
750849cc
T
850999cc
U
10001099cc
V
11001199cc
W
12001299cc
X
13001399cc
Y
14001499cc
Z
1500—

The same codes are used in the VDS code.
1
Two-stroke, single
2
Two-stroke, twin
3
Two-stroke, triple or four
4
Four-stroke, single
5
Four-stroke, twin
6
-
7
Four-stroke, four

The same codes are used in the VDS code.
Unlike type, the sequence number for engine uses a two-digit number starting with 01. Because of the late introduction of this code system, the engines used on several Suzuki models don't use this system. For example, the engine code of the GSX750S is the same as its frame type, GS75X.

Regarding R7** class, the GS750 is thought as the first version of the engine type, but it is not confirmed by Suzuki if they count it as 01.
R
7
19

The example above is showing the engine code of the 1990-year's GSX-R750 (R719), the 19th development version of a inline-four four-stroke engine.


Country codes

The code that tells you the country for which the motorcycle was made for is actually not carved in you bike's frame or engine but can be found at brochures, manuals or parts lists. Here follows the list of the country codes I know of:

E-00 Japan (domestic home market)
E-01 General (general export)
E-02 England (UK)
E-03 USA (America) except California
E-04 France
E-06 South Africa
E-15 Finland
E-16 Norway
E-17 Sweden
E-18 Switzerland
E-19 EU (European Union)
E-21 Belgium
E-22 Germany (former West-Germany)
E-24 Australia
E-25 Netherlands (Holland)
E-28 Canada
E-33 California
E-34 Italy
E-39 Austria
E-53 Spain
P-37 Brazil



If all this doesn't help?

If you can't find a VIN code on your bike and the engine's development sequel code don't reveal the exact year of your bike, there's frame number lists that can tell you the model year of your bike. I have lists with some frame codes, mostly from the seventies and eighties and I will publish them on my site soon. It will take me a while to type the numbers. Meanwhile, you can take a look at the scanned version of a Suzuki frame number list a friendly Suzuki fan mailed me some time ago. Please don't ask me to check out the frame numbers for you if you can't read it properly, I don't have a better version of it myself. There's also a list of frame and engine numbers of the Suzukis imported in Canada page, you may find the list very useful. There's also many frame numbers on the model history pages on my site. Use the search engine on the bottom of this page to find your way.


Example: Suzuki GSX600F

Year and model code Frame numbers (starting frame number)
1988 GSX600FJ GN72A-100001
1989 GSX600FK GN72A-104099
1990 GSX600FL GN72A-106385

1991 GSX600FM

GN72A-110633

1992 GSX600FN

GN72A-115034
1993 GSX600FP GN72A-118194
1994 GSX600FR GN72A-121465
1995 GSX600FS GN72A-12371



More: Frequently Asked Questions


More: All Suzuki models

Sources: Tatsuwo Sato, Motorcycle Rider, Suzuki Motor Company etc.


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