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[Atom] [Brooks] [Campagnolo] [Dia-Compe and Weinmann] [Huret] [Maillard] [Normandy] [Nitto] [SR (Sakae)] [Sachs-Huret] [Shimano] [Strong] [Sansin] [Sunshine] [Sun Tour (Maeda)] [Sugino] [Tange] [Williams] [Dancing Chain] [Saddles]The date of manufacture of a bicycle's components can often be used to determine the date of manufacture of the bike itself.
Fueled by this first realization, and with the help of other bike folks, Larry and I have sorted out other codes (a project still ongoing).
This clearly is when the component was made and not when the bike was made, but unless the component or bike manufacturer had lots of stock lying around in inventory, the date should be a fairly good indication of the year of the bike.
At least it would be the earliest date that the bike could have been made.
For example, the back of cranks are usually marked with crank arm length in mm, typically in the range of 165 to 185.
Seatposts are marked with outside diameter, also in mm.