How to Read a Honda Motorcycle Engine Number

by William Bronleigh
modern sports motorcycle image by terex from

Finding the engine serial number on a Honda motorcycle can be easy or more of a challenge, depending on the model of motorcycle. Cruisers have engines that are relatively exposed, and the engine number should be easy to spot. Sport bikes may have fairings that cover the engine, making the engine number more difficult to locate.

At first glance, a motorcycle engine serial number looks complex. However, motorcycle manufacturers create these numbers to convey key information in a small space. Knowing the rules of how Honda chooses numbers for their engines will provide information for ordering parts for your specific engine.

Locating the Engine Serial Number

Step 1

Open your owner's manual to the general information section. Here, you'll find detailed information describing the location of the engine serial number.

Step 2

The crankcase is the lowest section of the engine, below the engine cylinders.

Look for the serial number on the lower portion of the engine, which is called the crankcase. Newer Honda models (1990 and above) often have it stamped on the rear of the crankcase, usually close to the swing arm pivot point. Older models (earlier than1990) may have it stamped on the lower left or lower right section of the crankcase.

Write the engine serial number down for further reference. The number should be in the following pattern, where X represents a letter, and # represents a number: XX##E - #######. E is a common designation for all engine serial numbers.

Interpreting the Engine Serial Number

Step 1

Look at the first four digits before the E. These digits represent the motorcycle model number. The last character represents the year of the particular model. Refer to the Honda Motorcycle Model and Engine Code website for a list of these codes (see Resources).

Step 2

Engine parts.

Read the seven digits after the dash. These digits convey information regarding the engine casing. This information is important when ordering engine parts for your specific engine. As motorcycle manufacturers often alter engines within a specific model of motorcycle, this serial number is important.

Tell the Honda service center the engine serial number when ordering parts. This ensures the correct replacement part.

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