I've recently purchased a Kawasaki GPZ500S (AKA EX500 or Ninja 500R) circa 1998.
I can't seem to find the VIN which should be embedded into the right hand side of the steering head (it's got the frame number instead).
Is it possible that it didn't came with one?


Said vehicle was intended for the european market, and was imported by an authorized dealer to Israel.


First of all, both answers seem to fit the glove, so thanks.
Just one last quibble: could it be possible that certain countries don't require a VIN?
Could this possibly be the case?

  • European market vehicles still should have a VIN. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_identification_number for more info on VINs.
    – dobey
    Aug 24, 2014 at 19:25
  • its also possible that someone got the frame powder coated and thats covered up the vin number, additionally my ducati had a frame number in the steering head but also a sticker on the frame with the vin number on it.
    – Mauro
    Dec 14, 2016 at 13:18
  • I have a 97 blackbird cbrxx 1100.. Which has no vin... It has a title that reflects that fact.. Stating vin number cert waived.. It was a stolen /theft salvaged rebuilt title.... Dont know what kind of hoops got jumped through for that. Jun 25, 2018 at 2:54

3 Answers 3


In the strict sense, yes it's possible. The probability that your bike has no VIN, though, is orders of magnitude less than miniscule, especially since it's not very old within the history of motor vehicles.

If it was built as a prototype and never intended to be placed in production, it may not have a VIN - that's the one possibility for a bike of that age.

In the broader sense, though, it's entirely possible that an older vehicle might not have a "VIN" by definition. I happen to own a 1968 truck, for example, that has no VIN; it has only a five-numeric-digit serial number - by definition not a VIN.

  • 1
    That serial number is the VIN. There was no industry-wide standard prior to 1981 in the US, when the NHTSA then required all road vehicles to have the standard 17 digit VIN defined by ISO in 1979/1980.
    – dobey
    Aug 24, 2014 at 13:17

It possible to have vehicles that no longer have a VIN despite having one originally since new replacement parts don't have a VIN on them... Motorcycles are worst case since there are so few places the VIN is located to begin with. On a car (with the VIN in a whole bunch of places from the factory), you can easily end up with original VIN parts being replaced with VINless new replacements as well as used parts with a totally different VIN on them...

The old "my father's hammer" problem applies to vehicles too, especially the smaller and simpler ones. :-)

  • 1
    This is exemplified in the popular (in the four-wheel-drive community) saying "I'm building Jeep. So far I have a serial number tag". Aug 24, 2014 at 16:39
  • According to what you're saying, if I were to order a brand new frame from Kawasaki, it wouldn't have a VIN? The thing is, you can't find a reference to a VIN even in the owners manual...
    – dd_dent
    Aug 24, 2014 at 21:11

If the frame number is 12 digits long (starts with ex500 or some variant of the bike model), THATs the actual VIN.

Related: http://www.kawasaki-rider.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=6903


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