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Made in Taiwan.
The first number in the serial indicates year of production (1996 or 1997). X in the serial indicates production Month (E to L - May to Dec). Y in the serial indicates production Month (A to D - Jan to April).
Bikes made in Taiwan usually had an 5-8 month production and shipping timeline before they were sold in bike shops around the world. Bikes welded in the later months of the year would normally be made for the following year.