I fail to see the value of questions that ask to identify a specific bike, often based on a single photo and little textual information. I'd like to suggest to make these off-topic.

  • Even if a bike can be identified, the answer most likely has little value for the site as a whole.
  • As the source of the identity is a photo and not a textual description, existing answers are hard to index and re-use.

A surprising number of these questions come from users with very low reputation - often as their first question. I don't know what to make of this.


4 Answers 4


In many cases, we should be closing these as too broad. The vast majority are low quality. SE doesn't really have a good hit rate on these types of things, but some of them on occasion are good for some older bikes.

One of the things is that nothing is going to stop low rep users from asking such questions to begin with. So even if it became off topic, i'm not sure it would change anything significantly.


Or maybe we should just have a "blanket form" answer that covers a lot of sources and solutions for identifying bikes and just give that every time? I've only been here 4 days and I've already seen several of these posts, and they are always horrible.

  • That sounds like a good solution to me - basically making it a FAQ with resources. Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 7:56
  • I've asked a question that asks what methods one can use to determine the date of manufacture: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/47078/…
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 7:07
  • 3
    The problem is, the people who post these questions never read the FAQ.
    – ojs
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 11:18

Newbs tend not to understand "off topic" because they're asking a question about a bike and how could that be off-topic ?

Its the kind of question that may keep a new user or turn them off the site, and that's to be avoided if possible.

I think its worth trying to answer or comment as well as possible, to request extra info through comments, and to try and refine the question.

If OP doesn't try to participate, close as "too broad."

  • 4
    It's not too broad but too narrow, really....
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 6:53

Looks like this site is now top hit for googling "identify bmx by serial number", so everyone who even thinks about the problem is directed here. I'd really appreciate if we would have a separate reason for closing these questions rather than the rather unclear "too broad" or "offtopic" without separate subcategory for identifying BMX frames by serial number.


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