Carbon copy? No, the can’t it is in it. Canceled check? liquid corn? Circus clown? Well, rats—what walk the “cc” mean on a motorcycle, anyway? 

The “cc” represents cubic centimeters and also is supplied to measure the displacement the a motorcycle engine. You might hear human being throw this metric about in conversations over your motorcycle helmet speakers when stating a motorcycle’s performance, yet it’s a lot of more facility than simply “cc’s equal power.” 

Below, we’ll get in a little more depth on exactly how cc’s impact a bike’s power and also performance. However to recognize why a motorcycle’s cc rating is useful, let’s an initial get acquainted with the ide of displacement. 

What Is Displacement? 

A motorcycle’s displacement is another method to measure the volume that its cylinders. Basically, displacement steps the lot of room that the engine pistons move within one stroke. 

More displacement have the right to mean a more powerful engine. One engine with much more displacement provides an ext room because that the fuel-air mixture, which method that the cycle is able to combust more fuel in ~ once. 

When we’re talk cc’s, we’re talking displacement. Next, fine look in ~ why you hear cc’s referenced so regularly in motorcycle culture. 

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How numerous cc’s execute You Need? 

The dimension of motorcycle engines varies greatly. In ~ the bottom that the scale, you’ll uncover dirt bikes and small-cc motorcycles prefer the Honda Rebel 300, v engine sizes from roughly 200 cc to 500 cc. At the top are monsters favor the 2,500 cc Triumph Rocket 3. 

You’ll find strong opinions ~ above the topic of cc’s in ~ the motorcycle community. Because that example, bikes in the 250-300 cc variety are typical recommendations for folks looking come buy their very first motorcycle. However you’ll likewise meet riders who will phone call you the you’ll outgrow a 250 cc bike practically immediately and that the worth beginning out top top something an ext powerful. 

The advice, as always, is to ride what girlfriend like. That true the if you ride on large highways, a small-cc bicycle simply might not have the juice come reach and also comfortably preserve a highway setravel speed. However, a bicycle with much more cc’s won’t make you a much more skillful rider, and it might not even necessarily carry out the strength you’re in search of if other elements aren’t right. 

Here’s the truth: If you’re just looking in ~ cc’s, you not obtaining the full picture of a motorcycle’s capabilities. Detect the best motorcycle because that you requires a holistic testimonial of exactly how the bicycle feels and rides. For that, you’ll should look in ~ some other factors. 

Looking past cc’s

So, what are the other factors besides cc’s that determine just how a motorcycle performs? First, stop talk about motorcycle weight. A big, chunky bike prefer a Honda yellow Wing demands a much larger engine than a super-light bike prefer a Kawasaki Ninja. And conversely, once you placed a gold Wing-sized engine into a lightweight sport bike chassis, you acquire the ludicrous speed and also acceleration that a supersport bike. 

The communication of human body weight and engine displacement produces horsepower and torque, both of which are an ext useful 보다 cc’s for assessing how a motorcycle feels and also rides: 

Torque is force applied at a distance. It actions the force of the combustion in the cylinders, used to the length of the crankshaft. Horsepower is torque multiply by RPM. It steps how fast the engine does job-related (i.e., relocating the motorcycle). A motorcycle’s horsepower can be boosted through assorted techniques, such as manipulating gear ratios to use torque an ext efficiently. 

If you had actually to choose one measurement come learn around the attributes of a motorcycle, horsepower would be a great choice. But note that every one of this is a streamlined explanation, and also these metrics have complicated interactions that gearheads deserve to spend year mastering in the garage. 

Finally, us can’t forget the intangibles, like exactly how a motorcycle fits the rider’s body and whether that controls space intuitively inserted for the rider. These are vital for any vehicle, but they’re an essential for a motorcycle, where the rider and the vehicle are much much more physically intertwined. 

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Source: Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock

At Cardo, we’re constantly game to assist riders learn much more about the equipments that power their passion.


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Make sure you don’t miss our background of the motorcycle, and check the end our overview to the different species of motorcycles to learn about the remarkable diversity of bikes available today. And before friend head out on the road, don’t forget your Cardo Packtalk Bold—the gold conventional of motorcycle interaction systems that allows you listen every word of that countless conversation around cc’s, torque and also all the rest.