How to Read Your Motorcycle VIN

Vehicle Identification Number

What do your Harley-Davidson VIN numbers mean? The VIN, or vehicle information number of your motorcycle, is 17 characters long and contains the history of your bike. While it is not necessary to memorize this information, it is essential to locate it and read it on your bike. In essence, the VIN is the identification of your motorcycle. The registration, insurance card, and title list the VIN, but chances are you do not carry these papers with you while riding around Gladstone or Vancouver. 

Here are a few scenarios where being able to find your VIN will save you time:

  • Sales representatives will ask for the number when you are buying parts.
  • If you are selling your motorcycle, buyers will need the VIN to learn if the bike has been in an accident, rebuilt, or even stolen.
  • If you are purchasing a bike, you will want to know the motorcycle’s history.

Harley-Davidson VIN Decoder

When it comes to your Harley-Davidson VIN, decoding them isn’t hard when you know what you’re looking at. The VIN is a long line of letters and numbers divided into three sections. The first three characters represent the World Manufacturer Identifier. The following six characters are the Vehicle Description Section which details the vehicle attributes from the manufacturer. The last eight characters are the Vehicle Identifier Section showing the time and origin of manufacturing and its serial number.

The VIN contains numbers 0 through 9 and letters A to Z (except I, O, and Q to avoid confusion with the number 1 or 0). These are the only characters and numbers used, and there are no spaces between them. Here is a breakdown of what the symbols stand for:

  • First character: Country code
  • Second character: Manufacturer code
  • Third character: Vehicle type (motorcycles are typically “1” or “A”)
  • Characters four through nine: Identifies engine type, engine size, and model with the ninth character as an accuracy check
  • Tenth character: Year code
  • Eleventh character: Factory code
  • Twelfth through seventeenth characters: Serial number

You can request a VIN check through the department of motor vehicles for previous accident history. Cyclopedia has a Harley-Davidson VIN decoder to explain the VIN of your motorcycle.

Location of the VIN on Your Motorcycle

Now that you know what the VIN means, you need to locate it on your bike for reference. The VIN is generally located on the motorcycle’s neck and can be found by turning the handlebars to the left and looking on the right side. The number is etched vertically. 

Contact Latus Motors Harley-Davidson for Help

Now that you know the location of your Harley-Davidson VIN numbers and how to decode them, you will save yourself time when buying, selling, or repairing your bike in Portland. If you need assistance and want us to act as your Harley-Davidson VIN decoder, contact us today!

More From Latus Motors Harley-Davidson

  • Pan America Adventure Tour

    The Pan America Adventure Tour kicked off in April and is running through November, highlighting the all-new release of the Pan America™ 1250 and Pan America™ 1250 Special motorcycles by Harley-Davidson. The Pan America Adventure Tour is making its way into the Pacific Northwest soon, if you aren’t planning to hit the road and follow…

  • What is the 2021 Harley-Davidson LiveWire® Price?

    Are you interested in getting on the back of the FIRST mainstream electric motorcycle by Harley-Davidson? If so you’re probably wondering what the Harley-Davidson LiveWire® costs. The entry-level 2021 Harley-Davidson Livewire® price starts at $29,799. It represents a progressive change for a brand with a deep history in the cruiser class and embraces the need…

  • What is the 2021 Pan America Price?

    Highly capable and undeniably stylish, the 2021 Harley-Davidson Pan America has quickly made a name for itself as one of the top Adventure Touring models around. This bike can take you from breezy cruising through Portland to the toughest off-road conditions without missing a beat, but does it fit into your budget? The Harley-Davidson Pan…

Saved Vehicles


You don't have any saved vehicles!

Look for this link on your favorites:


Once you've saved some vehicles, you can view them here at any time.

Contact Us


Call Now

870 E Berkeley St. • Gladstone, OR 97027

Get Directions

Today's Hours:

Open Today! Sales: 10am-6pm

Open Today! Service: 9am-6pm

Latus Motors Harley-Davidson 45.383731, -122.580852.