Model Identification for Australian Released Motorcycles:
Because of the ADR rules, the Build Date on the VIN plate on the steering head will often NOT show the correct model year. The VIN plate is added at the factory, not in Australia, so it can be months before the bike is packed, shipped, warehoused and then placed on the Dealer floor.
The 10th number a long from the left of the 17 digit vin is the year.
EG: 2 is 2002
Before 2001 the 10th number was a letters
EG: 1999 model will be a X and a 1998 model will be a W
Most manufacturers release their bikes BEFORE the Model year. It is normal to find (say) a 2004 model with a 10/2003 build date.
Soooo! If you are not sure, please ask!!
This can be particularly important for older bikes if you want to get the correct cable or bearing....
Model Identification for Motorcycles released outside Australia: Quite often there are subtle differences between the models released in different markets. In general, the basic model code will be the same, but may vary on details such as carburation and running gear such as lights, indicators and guards. For example, a model from Japan will usually include pre heaters in the carby and may be jetted differently to account for the octane rating of the fuel in a local market.