Frame ID > Serial #
Interpreting the Serial numbers and features
on BMX Products, Inc. Frames
Identifying the serial numbers on the early Mongoose frames is actually quite easy and intuitive. For the most part the early Mongoose frames from 1975 and into early 1976 were done with hand stamped 5 digit numbers starting from 10000. For example, a frame from 1975 will have the numbers like 11994.
A feature of an early 1975 frame is the brake tab. The brake tab on these frames is rectangular in shape. Some time late 1975 and onwards it became a single layer of steel, more oval and thinner in shape.
The early 75 coaster brake tab is also thicker and is comprised of two layers of steel welded together
Another feature of an early 1975 frame was the chainstay brace where it connected the seat tube. Note the flared shape of the 75 frame vs the later style (which carried on through all the later years of this frame style) and the extended seat tube.
A further feature was the headtube was offset to extend more to the bottom than it was to the top. It is our guess that it was done this way to allow clearance for the squarer shoulder on Ashtabula forks. This feature carried over for the first few years till the ashtabula forks were replaced with the more rounder style Tange made forks.
In early 1976, the letter C was added to denote the office location of Chatsworth, California so the serial numbers would look like C17834.
Another feature of an early frame built in 1975 - 1977 was the extra single gusset above the bottom bracket.
In May 1976 the serial number process changed again with the addition of a month code. From here frames were stamped with the letter C for Chatsworth, a letter for the month, and a number for the year of production. It was around feb/march 77 that the extra single gusset was dropped from the frame.
Of course these are general guidelines in identifying Mongoose frames and there are the anomalies to this process of serial number identification.
The serial numbers were hand stamped on the bottom bracket tubes then packed in (empty beer) boxes waiting to be welded to frame tubes.
The frame components were manufactured in different stages and or departments and some of the parts were exhausted quicker than others, it this process that lead to some of the frames “crossing over” to different years, especially during the end of the year.
RECO (Racer Engineering Company) manufactured frames for BMX Products, Inc. for the first 3 years of production, after that the frames were made “in house” by BMX Products, Inc. RECO was a frame welding company that BMX Products, Inc. used to make their early frames. BMX Products Inc. in the early years moved into the unit next door to RECO and eventually bought them out.
So serial numbers that ran from May 1976 through to March 1981 will have three digits in sequence overtop the serial number of that frame. Let’s look at some serial number examples below to get a better understand how the process worked.
This guideline also applies to Team Mongoose, Supergoose, Jag, Blue Max, Roger DeCoster, Super-X, and Moto-Trac frames.
Each frame had a combination of three key numbers or letters. For example:
Again, the C stands for Chatsworth [California] where the frames were manufactured. The next letter in the sequence is the month code.
A = January
B = February
C = March
The next number is the last number of the year the frame was produced.
6 = 1976
7 = 1977
8 = 1978
9 = 1979
0 = 1980
1 = 1981
The rest of the serial numbers are sequential and are the number of frames produced in that series.
NB: Super X has an “X” instead of a “C” in the serial number.
The Team Mongoose and Supergoose frames are a little different. The same coding applies to the first part of the serial numbers as we discussed above, however, if a capital T is in front of or above the CXX it indicates that it is a 100% Chromoly frame. The Team Mongoose, Team Minigoose and Supergoose, all should have a T in this area. (Moosegoose, Two/Four, Two/Six, and the Kos Krusier also have 100 % Chromoly tubing).
Another feature of a Team / Supergoose frame is the flattened seat stay where the chain passes it. This was done to give better clearance for the chain. Very early team frames had a "T" but without the flattened seat stay, but these are very few and were in 1977 mainly. NB: a Supergoose is just a full cromo team frame that has nickel (79/80) or chrome plating (81 onwards) as its final finish. As opposed to a candy coated full cromo frame = team frame. NBB: In 1982 and onwards, a Team frame was also offered in "Show Chrome" as well as red or blue candy coat. (there are a couple of known Supergoose frames without the flat seat stay.
Serial numbers from 1981
In April 1981 and onwards the frames were coded differently. The "C" was dropped and they started out with a single letter followed by a sequence of numbers. (nb: The frames were still made in Chatsworth up until 1984 when they moved to Moorpark. This applies to all frames made, EXCEPT those starting with the letter "M" as these frames were made in the Merida factory in Taiwan.) As before, the letter indicates the month and the first number or the second digit in the sequence indicates the last number for that year. Also of note is the "T" (for team), was also dropped. When they dropped the "C", it was realised that there was no need for it, as there were other ways to ID a Team/Supergoose (full cromo) frame. There was a few "crazy" months around April, May and June in 1981, when there was mix of old and new dropouts being used. So there is actually a month or more where there was a "Team/Supergoose" frame that had no "T" in serial but still had "old style" dropouts....
The easiest way is to check the brake bridge for the extra two slotted holes that were added. These extra holes were only on the full cromo frames that had the "step down" type dropouts. (If your frame does not have 3 holes in the brake bridge, its NOT a supergoose, even if its chrome) See dropouts page here.
J2009981: according to this serial number the frame was manufactured in October of 1982.
Sometime in 1982 the bottom bracket brace was replaced with an open design (see picture below). USA made frames from post gusset era, still had the month first, then the year but they were stamped not on the bottom bracket but on the brace behind the bottom bracket. All USA made frames after they dropped the “C” were month, then year, then serial number.
As a general rule anything with a Gusset behind the head tube was manufactured in the USA.
There are a few key components to look for on a BMX Products, Inc. frame.
- Gusset at the front behind the headtube.
- A round hole below the upper seat mast.
- Unique Heliarc weld pattern ("heli arc" is another name for TIG. It's proper name is GTAW, or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding. The "heli" in heli arc comes from the shielding gas helium that was used. )
NON GUSSETT FRAMES (POST 1982 FRAMES)
To start with, any frame with a serial number starting with "M" was made in Tiawan in the Merida factory. In 1982, BMX Products started to manufacture a new range of non-gussett frame starting with the Pro Class 20" frames. Then next came the first Californian and Expert frames and were USA made, while they were getting setup for Tiawan production. The top of the range frames were USA made, (ie: Pro class, Rupe, Supergoose). USA made frames continued the standard USA numbering. After the company was sold to Service Cycle, it seems all frame production was moved to Tiawan. We have been told that when the company was sold the new owners only wanted complete boxed bikes and the rest of the stock of frames were destroyed.
So to start the decoding of these serial numbers.
- First Letter = "M" (Merida factory in Tiawan)
- First Number = (year of manufacture)
- Second Letter = (Month of Manufacture) up to feb 1985
- Second Letter = (Model) only after march 1985 (only for C=cali or E=Expert)
- Third Letter = (Month of Manufacture) only after march 1985
- Remaining numbers = serial number of production (NB: these numbers started again from 0 every month)
Here is a typical example.
- M = Merida (Tiawan Made)
- 3 = 1983
- E = May
- 3533 = production serial number
NB: There are a few anomailes to this, that do show up from time to time. if you are unsure, then email us your pics and serial number.