The most common term you’ll hear being thrown around in reference to motorcycles is cc. Cc stands for cubic centimeters and refers to an engine’s capacity. If you’re looking to buy a motorcycle, you’ll consider cc as it also affects the bike’s power output. This post covers “What does CC mean?”
So, what does cc have to do with engine capacity, and what figure is best when considering cc? Well, a motorbike’s engine capacity is measured in cubic centimeters (cc). This is the volume of fuel the cylinder will displace in each combustion cycle.
If you have a 250cc engine, the engine has a capacity of 250 cubic centimeters. Therefore, it can displace 250 cubic centimeters of fuel during air-fuel burning. The bigger the engine, the more volume it has for air-fuel mixing. Let’s look deeper into what cc means if you own a motorcycle or want to buy one.
What Does CC Mean in Bike Engines?
Most people think that cc in a motorcycle is equivalent to power. However, this is not the case.
What Does CC Mean?
Cc is the total displacement in a motorcycle’s engine. In a car’s engine, it is measured in liters. So, regarding our 250cc example, a motor with a 250cc rating can displace 0.25 liters of fuel in the combustion chamber.
Now, if an engine has four cylinders and each cylinder displaces 250cc, it will displace a total volume of 1000 cubic centimeters or one liter.
The displacement capacity is determined by multiplying the stroke length by the bore diameter. An engine will displace roughly the same fuel in each combustion cycle. The more displacement a motor has, the more room it has for air and fuel to mix. This means more power, more smoothness, and more torque.
A high cc, however, means low fuel economy. For this reason, motorcycles with a high cc rating consume more fuel per mile than those with a low cc rating. Now that we went through what CC means, let’s see what is a good CC for a motorbike engine.
What Is Good CC for Motorbike?
Different types of motorbikes use different engines. As such, a good cc number will depend on your riding needs. For instance, adventure touring bikes and cruisers like the Harley Davidson Low Rider has a 1,753cc engine. However, it is less fuel efficient than its cruiser counterparts like Kawasaki and Triumph.
If you’re looking for an entry-level bike, 300cc to 400cc is favorable motorcycle cc for beginners. This is because it strikes the right balance between handling top highway speeds and providing enough power. Still, you may benefit from 600cc to 900cc if you’re looking for more comfort features for highway cruising.
Does More CC Mean Higher Speed?
More cc does not always equal higher speed. Several factors affect a motorcycle’s speed, including the bore-to-stroke ratio, compression ratio, maximum revs per minute, and the bike’s weight.
The power-to-weight ratio is the most significant factor affecting the speed of a bike. That’s the horsepower divided by the weight. The lighter the motorbike, the less power it uses to push it through the air. That’s why sports bikes aim to balance engine capacity and weight, so the motorbike uses the least amount of fuel while being as swift as possible. With that in mind, a high power-to-weight ratio means more speed. Thus, all factors are constant, more cc could equal more speed, but that’s never the case since cc also affects other conditions.
How Does CC Affect an Engine’s Performance?
The number of cubic centimeters is used to know the amount of power a bike has in relation to its fuel consumption. Typically, you may think that the higher the cc, the more powerful an engine is. While this is primarily true, it’s not that simple.
Motorcycles are designed to fulfill specific purposes. A motorbike with a large displacement has a faster engine. However, for two bikes, one a sports bike and the other a cruiser with the same cc, the engines will significantly differ in their torque and horsepower. To this end, the cruiser is supposed to have lots of low-end power, and the sports bike should have higher torque. If the engines were swapped, the cruiser would lose low-end power while the sports bike wouldn’t be racy anymore, even with a similar cc rating.
Is Higher CC Better In Motorbikes?
High cc means that an engine can combust more air and fuel. It translates to more torque and more power at lower engine speeds. This is because the engine can burn more fuel per stroke, resulting in a higher power and higher torque.
A bigger displacement bike will also balance your riding habits with performance. It is also more efficient on the highway since you can accelerate faster. Nevertheless, a high cc engine has low fuel economy and is usually priced higher than lower cc engine motorbikes.
If you want a powerful bike, you may opt for a lower cc engine to benefit from high fuel economy. On the other hand, opting for a sports bike means foregoing great fuel economy for high cc.
Are CC and Horsepower the Same Thing?
Cc is the engine’s measure of volume, while horsepower is an engine’s measure of power. Hence, although related, they are not the same thing. Both metrics can be measured separately but cannot equal each other. Many variables come into play when measuring horsepower, such that two engines can have the same cc but different horsepower.
A lightweight 50cc engine can produce 3 to 9 hp, while a sports bike with a similar 50cc can output 10 to 20 hp and up to 15,000 RPM. Many factors affect horsepower, including engine size, transmission, drivetrain, and fuel quality.
What’s the Highest CC in a Motorbike?
The Triumph Rocket 3 is the largest production bike with the highest cc. It boasts 2,500cc, which means it can displace 2.5 liters of fuel, which is bigger than most car engines. When filled with fluids, the Triumph Rocket 3 is imposing at 291kg (641.5 pounds) and 320kg (705.5 pounds). With a peak power of 164HP and 6,000 RPM, the Rocket 3 is for the rider looking for an unparalleled thrilling experience.
Conclusion – What Does CC Mean?
Cc showcases the displacement in a motorcycle’s engine, so it makes sense to pay attention. At the low end, you’ll find dirt bikes from 200cc to 500cc and monsters like Triumph Rocket 3 raking 2,500 at the top of the scale. Keep in mind that a higher cc does not always mean higher speed. Nevertheless, there are some advantages to picking a bike with a higher cc, like more power and torque. However, you’ll pay more for fuel than small cc bikes.
So, before you pick a motorcycle, look closely at the cc to ensure you choose a bike whose cc meets your riding needs. And that is all for – what does CC mean?
Sam is Automole’s editor-in-chief and classic car enthusiast. Sam is studying mechanical engineering at Cockrell School of Engineering, Austin. He also writes for many top automotive publications and appears on the Collecting Cars Podcast.