I feel that the 2 frames above make good comparison, and I can see a constant in theior digits.
They are both made in Marvel factory.
They are both 1990 bikes, which is the 2nd and 3rd numbers.
The next number is the range in descending order. Eldridge was 3rd and Bear Valley was 4th. These numbers are clearly seen.
The rest of the numbers in the code are for size and factory production codes to recognise a date and individual responsible or manufacture. These are a little irrelevant for our purpose, and I feel it is the first digitd which recognise what frame you are looking at.
From seeing and talking with Marin owners and ATB sales, there were some exceptions to this rule, where frames were upgraded in the factory and appeared as another model in the showroom.
These basic rules of coding are applied to the later early 90's bikes in a very similar form.
Does anybody have any pre 1991 frames to compare with these other 2 which we are sure of?
OK, just thought i'd add to this thread again to contribute my data as it were....
Just picked up a 1990 Team Marin.....no mistaking due to decals pretty much in tact, pink forks, stem bars....and lighter Zolatone 2000 finish....(than the darker 91' Team Marin that i have here for comparison)....
The serial number appears to be, though it's difficult to read : M9111200 5
OK, so i can't make out whether there is a number in between the last zero and the five but there appears not to be....
I would agree with Ben and assume this means it was constructed at the Marvel factory, but in 91? (bit odd) and it is the first in the product range ie. the Team Marin....the other numbers i'm not sure about but it seems to be a 19"....
Hope this adds to the investigation....
or possibly it just muddies the waters further....
Merlin Elevator FS 93', Kestrel MXZ 90',
Funk Pro Comp 93', Funk Force GS 94',
Team Marin 90' & 91', Orange C16-R 95',