Danish bicycle VIN-system

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VIN from Ebsen Danmark A/S placed on the seat tube
(rotated version for readability)

The Danish bicycle VIN-system is a system introduced in 1942 by the Danish government, providing all bicycles in Denmark with a unique code. The code is a combination of letters and digits embedded into the bicycle frame and consists of a manufacturer code, a serial number, and construction year code.

Since 1948, it has been illegal[1] to sell bicycle frames in Denmark without an embedded VIN. Because of this, insurance companies in Denmark will not pay indemnities for stolen bicycles without a VIN.[2]

Location of the VIN[edit]

By default, the VIN is to be engraved into the seat tube or the down tube, but if these are made of such a material that hinders this, it may alternately be put on the bottom bracket shell. In very special instances, and only with the approval of the Danish National Police Commissioner’s Office, it may be applied by other means and on other locations.[1]

Components of the VIN[edit]

The bicycle VIN is constructed of three elements: a letter-block, a digit-block and a letter-block:

Block 1 2 3
Description Manufacturers code Frame serial number Production year
Length 1-4 (letters) 1- (digits) 1 (letter)
Example 1 WDA 1234 Z
Example 2 S 57 A

The manufacturers-code, is a 1, 2, 3 or 4-letter block. If the code starts with a W, it is an imported bicycle frame. The second block is the frame serial number from that manufacturer. This shall have at least one digit, but can otherwise have any number of digits. The third block is a single letter code that identifies the production year. Certain limits regarding letters are instated for the VIN:[3]

  • I is omitted as it can be confused with 1 (one)
  • O is omitted as it can be confused with 0 (zero)
  • Y is omitted as it can be confused with V
  • Since 1956 Q is omitted, as it can be confused with 0 (zero)
  • W is omitted, to avoid confusion with the manufacturer code (where W is reserved for imported frames)

In the examples above, the first bicycle is a bicycle imported by FDB, with serial number 1234 and made in either 1963, 1984 or 2005. The second bike is a SCO bicycle, with serial number 57, made in 1942, 1964, 1985 or 2006.

Common manufacturer codes[edit]

This table shows examples of manufacturer codes, but is in no way to be considered a complete listing.

Code Manufacturer name Code Manufacturer name Code Manufacturer name
AK Centurion (previously Åge Krøll) HN Hede Nielsens Fabrikker A/S RD Scandinavia Racing Discount
AR Raleigh (previously Vilhelm Nellemann A/S) IA1 Ivan A Hansen REC Recykel ApS
AV Winther cykler (alias Anders Winther A/S) IC2 Ebsen Danmark A/S SI1 Søgreni cykler
AZ Jørgensø Import JE Jupiter S SCO (alias Smith & Co)
BA Banani (previously Bent A Nielsen) JKH Jyde-Kompagniet A/S SS SCO (alias Smith & Co)
BL SCO bicycles sold in the Bilka supermarket chain (see also S) JWG3 Cykelbanditten STE Stangerup Efterfølgere
BK Kildemoes (alias Børge Kildemoes) KM Motobecane SX Saxil cykler (also see BN)
BN Saxil Bicycles (SX until approx. 2000) LL Sorte Jernhest TU Trek
BT Taarnby a/s MB MBK TV Batavus
CC Christiania Bicycles (also Pedersen-cyklen) MR Ritter Import UR Urania cykler
CGE Cykelgear.dk N Nordisk Cykelfabrik A/S VI VIVA bikes
CK Jensen cykler (alias C K Jensen) NH Nihola Cykler ApS VEL Velorbis
CM Mosquito PA Pedal-atleten VG Grebart cykler
CPH CPHBiKE ApS PD Styer-Puch A/S    
CS Christiania Bicycles PF Peter From    
DA FDB POL VIN provided by the police - usually for private import    
DB Rocky PL CREATE    
DI1 Dibbern Cykler PR Pro Movec    
EE Egedesø (alias Everton) PS Schrøder cykler    
FAK Falcon PY Python Pro    
GD Titania Cykler        
GR L. H. V. Grønning, Skibhusvej 146, Odense        
GW3 G&W Cykler        

1: Even though I in general is not used, it appears that some brands are using it[citation needed].
2: Even though I in general is not used, Ebsen Danmark A/S bicycles are in fact using it in their manufacturercode (verified).
3: Even though W in general is not used, it appears that some brands are using it[citation needed].

Production year identification codes[edit]

1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963
1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 - 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984
1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020            

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lov nr. 135 af 23. marts 1948: Bekendtgørelse af lov om mærkning af cykelstel m.v." (in Danish). 1948-03-23. Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  2. ^ Lund, Preben (2011-06-12). "Demand for marking of stolen goods". DR Nyheder (in Danish). Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  3. ^ Dansk Cyklist Forbund. "How to decode the bicycles age" (in Danish). Archived from the original on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2011-07-07.