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Honda also generally includes Model Year codes (see below) when referring to particular motorcycle models by Model Name.
This is also the standard way of referring to Model Yearsoutside of the USA, where people usually mention the calendar year corresponding to the Model Year, e.g., "1990 VFR750F", as opposed to "VFR750FL".
Commencing with the 1979 model year, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. Beginning with the 1981 Model Year, the model year code also appears in the 10th position of each vehicle's unique VIN, as well as on the vehicle's paint code sticker (usually located under the seat). The definition reads as follows: "The term 'model year', with reference to any specific calendar year, means a manufacturer's annual production period (as determined by the EPA Administrator) which includes January 1 of such calendar year.
There is clearly a rationale behind each official designation, although absent direct input from Honda, it is impossible to achieve an absolutely complete understanding.
As you can see, there are several ways of referring to various Honda motorcycle models and parts.
For general purposes, the Model Name is sufficient, but for other purposes, such as diagnosing problems, more particularity is required, so the Model Number may be more suitable.
If you're searching through a long list of Honda part numbers, the only sure way to separate the parts originally designed for your model from the rest is to search using the PCN.
Doing so will leave out the "shared" parts, but those are unlikely to be critical parts such as bodywork—and it's still better than the alternative!
These alphanumeric PCNs consisted of two letters and one number; later PCNs consist of three letters. There is no known pattern accounting for Honda's choice of particular Product Code Numbers (though the 900-series do not appear to have been assigned to any street-type motorcycles).