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How to Tell the Year a Kawasaki KX Was Made

by Jesse Strickland

The Kawasaki KX series is a line of motorcycles introduced in the mid-1970s. They were generally used as dirt bikes in motocross events, but some KX motorcycles are street legal. Identifying the model year is most easily accomplished by decoding the motorcycle's Vehicle Identification Number. VINs were standardized for all motor vehicles starting in 1980 and they hold a wealth of information, including when and where the vehicle was made, and even what number it was off the line at that location.


Locate the VIN, which can be found on the steering head, below the handlebars. Write down the VIN on a piece of paper.


Find the 10th character, which designates the model year. Use the following list to decode the character:

A=1980 B=1981 C=1982 D=1983 E=1984 F=1985 G=1986 H=1987 J=1988 K=1989 L=1990 M=1991 N=1992 P=1993 R=1994 S=1995 T=1996 V=1997 W=1998 X=1999 Y=2000 1=2001 2=2002 3=2003 4=2004 5=2005 6=2006 7=2007 8=2008 9=2009

2010 models are designated with an "A" again, 2011 models are designated with a "B," and so on.


Call Kawasaki customer service at (949) 460-5688. Prior to 1980, there was no standardized VIN format. Kawasaki motorcycle VINs prior to 1980 were 10-12 characters long. The customer service agent may be able to help you decode the pre-1980 VIN, or she may be able to help you identify the model year through other means. Office hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time.


  • Go to Kawasaki's online "Vehicle Information Portal" (see References). Enter your 17-character VIN for more information about the motorcycle, including diagrams, specifications, manuals and warranty information.

About the Author

Jesse Strickland has been a professional writer since 2001. He has experience writing for websites, magazines, newspapers, television and schools on subjects including music, beauty and digital products. His work has appeared in "Shuffle Magazine," "Creative Loafing," "Independent Weekly" and at and Strickland has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

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