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What year is it?

I'm considering a used P38 via the internet. The owner doesn't know what year it is but the seat is not welded to the frame. Is there a number stamped on the frame that gives the year or a serial number which would indicate the year built?

Hi Howard,

Somewhere on the right rear dropout - the tab of steel that the rear derailleur attaches to - should be a serial number. If you can find the serial number under the paint, you can email or phone Lightning and they can determine how old it is.

Also: sometime in 1996, Lightning added a small ovalized cross brace between the top tubes, just in front of the seat. They made some changes for the better in the frame and seat at this time.

So if your prospective bike has this little tube, it cannot be older than 1996.

If the frame lacks this little tube, I would still consider buying the bike, but I would be inclined to pay somewhat less for it.

About two thirds down the gallery area of this site is a photo of two red P38 bikes, one old and one new, showing the cross brace in front of the seat of the newer bike.

Sometimes the components can be an indicator of the bike's age too, but this can be tricky because it is easy to swap new components onto an old bike.

Make sure you get the frame size that fits you. Even if the bike is a real beauty, it will not work for you unless it fits properly. But you already know this...

Good luck hunting, and let us know how it goes.

Hope this helps some,

Thanks for the reply.
I had some friends in LA check it out this morning. The ad said pristine but it wasn't.
It had the small ovalized tube but it also had a seat with curved bars under the front edge. I notice that the photos on the Lightning website have eliminated these 'horns' under the seat. What year was that change made?

I believe the new Lightning mesh seat - without the little horns that stick out in front - is something that has been available only in the last year or so.

I do not think the newer seat should be a major concern, unless perhaps you are height challenged and have a hard time getting your feet planted on the ground at stops.

The newer seat is probably better for that purpose. Though you are unlikely to find it on a used bike, being so recent.



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