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How Old is My Bike?

Unfortunately, exactly dating a Peugeot earlier than the late 1970s is an art rather than a science, and is often an estimate at best.  Even original owners have a hard time remembering the year that they purchased the bicycle.  That said, it is possible to date a bike within a couple of years with some confidence based on frame features and components.  See the 'Frames, Headbadges and Decals' webpage for a pictorial timeline of frame features, and the 'Parts & Accessories' webpage for information on when specific components were found on 'U' bicycles.

Older bicycles have a serial number on the underside of the bottom bracket.  If the number has six digits the frame was probably made in the 1960s, seven digits in the 1970s.  Sometimes, the first digit indicates the year within each decade that the frame was made.  For example, 1940481 and 2400884 represent 1971 and 1972, respectively.  However, there are many cases when the first digit suggests a frame production year that is older than the actual age of the bicycle.  For example, the serial number 1355592 on a 1975 bicycle.  The reverse has not been documented, so it is likely that bicycles are no older than the first digit in the factory serial number, but could be younger.  Sometimes local bike shops etched serial numbers into the rear dropout, but this number may or may not match the original.

1971 UO8 Serial Number Plate 1972 AO8 Serial Number Plate 1973 UE18 Aftermarket Dropout Serial Number Late 1960s UO8 Aftermarket Serial Number  
Photo by Greg Carps - Original Owner Webmaster's AO8   Photo by Mark Kaczmarczyk  

It is helpful to compare the serial numbers of older bicycles with dates that are sometimes found on the rims, hubs and derailleurs.  Although my 1972 AO8 has DEA rims and a Simplex Prestige rear derailleur clearly marked '1972' and '72', respectively, these dates also cannot be used alone to determine the age of a bicycle.  For example, my 1973 UE8 came equipped with a 1971 derailleur.  If your serial number and component dates match, you are probably in good shape.  If not, the bicycle is no older than the latest component, but you will have to estimate the age (e.g., early 70s).

1970 Simplex Prestige 537 Derailleur 1971 Simplex Prestige 637 Derailleur Underside 1971 Simplex Prestige Front Derailleur 1975 Chrolux Rim 1972 DEA Rim
1975 Wide-flange Normandy Hub        

Last Updated 6 March 2024