Every bike comes with a distinctive serial number that identifies it when it gets lost. The serial number is usually stamped beneath the bottom bracket of the bike’s frame, on the chainstays, or the seat tube. However, some brands engrave their serial number on the headset.
How Do I Locate My Bike’s Serial Number?
The location of your bike’s serial number largely depends on the brand of bike you possess. Even though most bikes have serial numbers stenciled beneath the bottom bracket, others have the number on the seat downtube, the crank, the headset, and the rear stays.
Once you locate your bike’s serial number, it is recommended that you record it and save some copies since you will require it in the future. It will be prudent to take a clear and readable picture of the serial number alongside your picture standing beside the bike. Suppose the bike has a barcode sticker; take a picture of it too.
What Next After Identifying My Bike’s Serial Number?
In proving that you are the bike owner, ensure that you register it with the bike’s serial number database. There are several registration services, both locally and internationally. The services include; Bike index and Bike Register, among many others. Additionally, in New York and Chicago, you can register your bike’s serial number with the police department.
Maybe you have searched all over for the bike serial number in vain. Don’t worry; some old bikes might not come with serial numbers. You can still register your wheels with the help of a bike registration company.
To establish that you are the legal owner of the bike without a serial number, visit Project 529, a company that passionately helps recover stolen bikes, and acquire a registration sticker from them. The sticker identifies you as the bike owner and will be used to track it down in case it gets lost.
What Happens If You Lose Your Bike?
Suppose your bike gets lost; you can look it up using the frame or serial number. Local police and bike tracking organizations play a vital role in tracking your lost bike. You can also try tracking your bike personally by using reputed websites such as Bike Index and Bike Register.
The bike tracking websites are designed to assist you in locating your lost bike by using the frame number registered with them. All you need is to access the website, key your serial number into the search bar, and watch the displayed results. After doing your detective work through the bike tracking websites, you can go ahead and repossess your wheels on your own. However, it is advisable to inform the police and let them recover the wheels for you. Going for it by yourself might pose risks to you as you may not know how the thief will react.
Importance Of The Serial Number
Now that we have established how to locate your bike’s serial number, registration and tracking it down if it is stolen, let’s figure out the importance of your bike’s serial number.
Your bike’s serial number serves as its identity that is used to search for the bike; suppose it gets stolen by crooks. You might be having a tracking device on your bike, but it is not sufficient to ensure the safety of your bike. It is easy for the police and bike tracking organizations to track your bike when you supply them with the serial number.
Secondly, the serial number can isolate your bike from thousands out there. Without the number, it is hard to figure out your bike from a multitude of many others.
Another fact highlighting the importance of the serial number is that after registering the bike with a tracking agency, you are provided with a sticker that you will attach to the frame. When potential thieves spot the sticker, it deters them from attempting on your bike because they fear being tracked down.
You should also be aware that most thieves don’t intend to use your stolen bike. They might opt to dispose of it as fast as possible; hence chances are, then they will disassemble it and opt to sell it as parts. In such a case scenario, the serial number will aid in locating that single part it is stamped, hence apprehending the criminals and subjecting them to justice.
Telling Whether Your Secondhand Bike Is Stolen
Before purchasing a secondhand bike, ensure that you have located the serial number and look up the bike on bike registration sites like Bike Index. But if the serial number has been scratched out, you have a reason to worry that the bike you are about to purchase is stolen goods. The scratching might be a way to conceal the identity of the bike.
Other Indicators That The Bike Is A Stolen Item
Besides the serial number, other minor indicators might trigger your mind to identify a stolen bike. The indicators include;
1. Throw Away Price
Suppose the bike you intend to buy is offered at a throwaway price, then think twice before committing yourself. Bike thieves are known to dispose of their precious catch at lower prices to net customers with ease. However, not all low-priced commodities are stolen goods.
2. Less Information
Suppose the bike you intend to purchase is listed online and the information provided is scanty, be cautious. Thieves might not display evidence of their loot online. They fear that if the information given online is traced, they will be apprehended. So if you wish to buy your wheels online, ensure that the seller displays the bike properly and the commodity photo is displayed.
3. Metered Information By Seller
Whoever owns a stolen bike will avoid questions concerning the bike they are about to sell to you. If you suspect that the sellers are giving vague answers or trying to avoid your questions altogether, you have a valid reason to suspect that they are not the original owners of the bike.
The bike’s serial number or frame number is a vital identifier of your bike. Ensure that you safeguard the number as it will pull you out of miseries if you lose your wheels and want to look it up.