Every week or two there is an "identify my bike" post on bicycles.stackexchange.com, typically with no other information besides a picture and the wording from labels on the bike. Is this considered on topic?


  • Identify my bike
  • Can anyone identify this frame?
  • Help please to identify my Tandem
  • Can someone help me identify this bicycle?

  • 8
    • These are borderline enough that, as a moderator, I've let the community decide. We can choose, here on meta, what the answer is with discussion and votes.
      – freiheit
      Feb 28, 2014 at 16:32
    • We've been allowing them for quite some time without any apparent dissent. I'd be interested in hearing an argument for making them off topic. The only problem I can think of with them is that they're not searchable in a way that would make them useful for future visitors, but that's not really an on/off topic issue. So, despite the fact that people seem to be voting to leave them on topic, what would be the reasoning for making them off topic?
      – jimchristie Mod
      Mar 1, 2014 at 14:42
    • 5
      It has been 4 years, but I believe a revisit of this question is needed in light of the number of low quality 'Identify my bike' questions the site is being flooded with. The number is now closer to one or two every day.
      – mattnz
      Feb 3, 2018 at 20:13
    • 2
      @freiheit We've had similar issues with font identification questions on Graphic Design SE and outlined some guidelines... not perfect but maybe food for thought for Bicycles SE.
      – curious
      May 31, 2018 at 20:49
    • 1
      Why are so many of the "identify my bike" questions about MTBSO?
      – shoover
      Jul 25, 2018 at 6:08
    • The vast majority of bike ID posts give the distinct impression of "I've 'acquired' this bike and now need to know what it is before I ebay it". As pointed out by @shoover above, the majority are weird brands of BSO that no-one has ever seen before
      – Andy P
      Jul 25, 2018 at 15:04
    • 1
      But specifically, most seem to be of the mountain-BSO or BSO-MX flavor.
      – shoover
      Jul 25, 2018 at 15:22
    • When I read the words 'I've acquired recently ...' I always have a bad feeling about it. Aren't these people meaning 'I've stolen a bike and I want to make sure that it's not registered somewhere before I flog it on ...' ? (I may be harsh, I concede. But having had a bike that was acquired by some unknown person I'm suspicious to paranoid, I guess.)
      – Carel
      Jun 24, 2019 at 18:36

    6 Answers 6


    Yes, a well written "identify this bike" question is on-topic.

    • Vote for the one you agree with more.
      – freiheit
      Feb 28, 2014 at 17:43
    • 2
      I think it depends on what they want - if they're looking for something to do with the bike (like restore it or some other things), I'm reasonably interested. If they're looking for a monetary evaluation of the bike, I'm very not interested.
      – Batman
      Feb 28, 2014 at 20:06
    • @Batman "What is this bike and how much is it worth?" are two separate questions. If that's what someone asks, we could easily edit out the "how much is it worth" portion and let the OP know that that's not a good fit for the site.
      – jimchristie Mod
      Mar 1, 2014 at 14:43
    • 3
      I generally find them boring questions but being interesting to me isn't one of the requirements for a good question. I see no reason why they shouldn't be on topic. Mar 4, 2014 at 16:04
    • @Batman plus bicycles, especially old bicycles, follow a pretty standard valuation scheme, and can always be found in bikeforum.com's archives which can be accessed with a simple google search
      – jfa
      Mar 9, 2014 at 22:47
    • 2
      Its not hard to find good examples of these questions, so it reasoable to allow them. However a vast majority appear to be posted with little or no research, if we are are lucky a photo, and an unidentifiable bike virtually identical to 10 other closed "Identify my bike". In the rear event the bike can be identified, the answer is valueless to anyone but the OP, so its not a good fit for a SE site. The shear volume of rubbish questions is now detracting from the site and actually preventing the useful ones being meaningful to future visitors.
      – mattnz
      Feb 4, 2018 at 2:42

    No, "identify this bike" questions are off-topic.

    • Vote for the one you agree with more.
      – freiheit
      Feb 28, 2014 at 17:43
    • If it is off topic then need to remove the tag and the would orphan all the existing.
      – paparazzo
      May 1, 2017 at 13:22
    • 7
      My thoughts for making them off topic is the ethos of SE is a QA site that provides useful answers for future as wel as current users, yet "identity my bike" is a QA that helps just one person at this instant in time and has no intrinsic long term value.
      – mattnz
      Jun 30, 2017 at 20:08


    I've posted a canonical "when was my bike made" question that will hopefully help reduce some of the fluff.

    Also relevant How do I ask a good "ID My Bike" question?


    Everything here is merely my opinon/view.

    They are sort of on topic, sometimes, but the default position should be that they are off topic.

    1) If people want help related to parts and standards for a certain frame, they should ask that question. Most such questions can be answered if they are prepared to take some measurements (i.e. put in a bit of effort themselves as well) IDing the frame is irrelevant.

    2) Allowing Bike ID questions with a minimum bounty of 250 rep? (i.e. even if the question seems pointless, if they've given something to the community, they should be allowed to ask, plus these people are more likely to want something interesting IDed.)

    3) Maybe just get a filter for certain key word combinations which each user wants to never ever see, so as to filter out the questions we have no interest in on an individual basis?

    Logged in for the first time in months today, there are just too many trash questions/same old questions to filter through when looking for anything interesting to answer.

    • 2
      I like the idea of requiring 250 rep for ID questions but I don’t think the SE system has any way of implementing this.
      – RoboKaren
      May 26, 2018 at 0:14
    • 1
      As for filtering, I’ve been tagging all of the ID my bike posts manually when the OP doesn’t. But I don’t know if SE has a negative Boolean filter option so you can see everything BUT some tags.
      – RoboKaren
      May 26, 2018 at 0:15
    • 2
      Maybe just a bicycles.stackexchange specific rule, that a 250 rep bounty must be placed, else the question gets locked/deleted could work? I can understand the point of view of those who will likely oppose this, but I don't think anyone can deny that it would eliminate the vast majority of impossible and or pointless bike IDs. Furthermore; why 250 rep? Because any system will be abused, people may attempt to gain e.g. 100 rep by spamming the system and or making multiple accounts. 250 rep would act as a slight deterrent.
      – user20209
      May 28, 2018 at 17:16

    My initial answer would have been that identify my bike questions are on topic. I have changed my mind. In addition to user20209's answer and mattnz's comment on the "off topic" answer, the signal to noise ratio of the tag is extremely low. That is, while it does sometimes produce productive discussions, questions very often present just a serial number, maybe a blurry photo, sometimes some details that are irrelevant.

    While it would orphan previous good discussions and prevent a few useful future discussions, the site will lose little if we declare these questions off-topic. It's possibly worth considering that while we close a lot of ID questions, it requires manual effort, and we usually have to track down the links to the canonical "how to ask a good ID my bike question" and "why serial #s are useless" answers.

    A counterargument could be that people are going to ask these questions anyway, maybe creating a new tag, posting without tags at all, or posting with random tags.


    I've tried to answer a few since I joined this SE and I personally think that it is not a problem that spams the platform - and the way the community is current handling this is just fine.

    Imo, there are roughly three categories of questions:

    1. The person provides enough information and a "motive": These can usually be worked with and there is a chance to research and communicate with the user -> no problem at all, usually good enough for useful comments or answers.
    2. The person doesn't provide enough information but will eventually respond via comments or edits -> also leads to some kind of answer/resolution. In worst case, these vanish in the archive unanswered but there is some interaction
    3. A single picture with no context gets thrown in and asking to "ID my bike" and no intention to improve the post -> From my experience, these get downvoted or closed rather quickly

    At least now, in 2024 after the Covid cycling boom, there are usually one or two "ID" questions on the main page (out of ~50 shown), so I think this isn't a massive factor, anymore.

    On the other side, I agree with Weiwen's answer that this usually doesn't provide any community value, its very unlikely that any of these questions can be used as reference for another, I think I've seen a few examples on real old 30/40/50s bikes but mostly, we have standalone cases.

    However, I don't think it impacts the overall user's experience and if you really don't want to see those, you can hide the tag. :)

    Conclusion: Not off-topic for me, just stay vigilant when it comes to quality.

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