Motorcycle CC Explained (Engine Size, Displacement, Power)

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The size of a motorcycle’s engine typically correlates to how powerful the bike is.

What Does “CC” Mean in a Motorcycle?

CC, or cubic centimeters, is all about the motorcycle’s engine size.

The Cubic Centimeters/Cubic Capacity (CC) communicates the volume of the bike’s combustion chamber – i.e. the cylinders.

CC is given in cubic centimeters and is derived by a volume formula to measure the total combustion area inside all the cylinders on the bike.

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How Does CC Affect a Bike?

An engine with higher CCs has more volume inside the engine, which means there is more room for air and fuel within each combustion cycle.

This means each stroke of the cylinder converts more energy than a smaller cylinder would.

More energy = more power, all else being equal.

In general, higher CCs mean a larger-sized engine and a heavier bike compared to a bike with lower CCs.

This also means that a larger CC engine will consumer more fuel than a smaller engine.

The configuration and design on the engine will have a big effect on the final “power” output as well, but comparing CC is a good starting point.

Higher CC vs Lower CC

Higher CC vs. lower CC is not necessarily better or worse. It all depends on what you’re looking to get out of your bike.

Higher CC engines typically correlate to motorcycles that are heavier, faster, larger, and more powerful.

What does 150cc mean?

When a bike’s CC is listed as part of the model name, it’s typically rounded up.

i.e. A 1,200cc motorcycle engine may actually be 1,198cc or something like that, while a 150cc bike may have an engine with a displacement of 148 or 149cc.

If you’re doing high-mileage maintenance or performance upgrades, boring a motorcycle’s cylinders will increase the actual CC of the bike.

What is a good CC for a motorcycle?

There is not hard and fast rule as to what CC motorcycle is ideal.

It all depends on the design of the engine and the bike overall.

Different types of motorcycles suited for different types of riding will benefit from small or larger engines.

If you’re a new rider, a motorcycle with a smaller CC engine will be easier for you to control as you’re learning the basics.

If you’re an experienced rider who likes to travel long distances at higher speeds, a motorcycle engine with higher CC is probably right for you.

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