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

The “cc” stands for cubic centimeters and is used to measure up the displacement of a motorcycle engine. You might hear human being throw this metric roughly in conversations over her motorcycle helmet speakers when stating a motorcycle’s performance, but it’s a lot of more facility than just “cc’s equal power.” 

Below, we’ll go into a little more depth on how cc’s impact a bike’s power and also performance. However to recognize why a motorcycle’s cc rating is useful, let’s first get acquainted v the principle of displacement. 

What Is Displacement? 

A motorcycle’s displacement is another means to measure up the volume that its cylinders. Basically, displacement measures the amount of an are that the engine pistons move within one stroke. 

More displacement can mean a much more powerful engine. An engine with much more displacement provides an ext room for the fuel-air mixture, which way that the bicycle is able to combust an ext fuel at once. 

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

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How plenty of cc’s carry out You Need? 

The size of motorcycle engines different greatly. In ~ the bottom the the scale, you’ll uncover dirt bikes and also small-cc motorcycles favor the Honda Rebel 300, with engine size from about 200 cc to 500 cc. At the peak are monsters choose the 2,500 cc Triumph Rocket 3. 

You’ll find strong opinions top top the subject of cc’s in ~ the motorcycle community. For example, bikes in the 250-300 cc variety are typical recommendations for folks looking to buy their very first motorcycle. But you’ll also meet riders who will tell you that you’ll outgrow a 250 cc bike virtually immediately and that it’s worth starting out on something more powerful. 

The advice, as always, is to ride what friend like. That true the if girlfriend ride on large highways, a small-cc bicycle simply might not have actually the juice to reach and comfortably keep a highway setravel speed. However, a cycle with more cc’s won’t make you a more skillful rider, and it may not even necessarily provide the strength you’re looking for if other elements aren’t right. 

Here’s the truth: If you’re only looking at cc’s, you not acquiring the full picture of a motorcycle’s capabilities. Finding the best motorcycle for you calls for a holistic evaluation of how the bike feels and rides. For that, you’ll need to look at some other factors. 

Looking beyond cc’s

So, what space the other determinants besides cc’s that determine exactly how a motorcycle performs? First, let’s talk about motorcycle weight. A big, chunky bike choose a Honda yellow Wing requirements a much larger engine 보다 a super-light bike like a Kawasaki Ninja. And also conversely, once you placed a yellow Wing-sized engine into a lightweight sport bike chassis, you obtain the ludicrous speed and also acceleration the a supersport bike. 

The interaction of human body weight and also engine displacement produces horsepower and torque, both of i m sorry are more useful than cc’s for assessing how a motorcycle feels and also rides: 

Torque is force used at a distance. It steps the pressure of the burning in the cylinders, used to the length of the crankshaft. Horsepower is torque multiply by RPM. It actions how rapid the engine does occupational (i.e., relocating the motorcycle). A motorcycle’s horsepower can be enhanced through miscellaneous techniques, such as manipulating equipment ratios to use torque more efficiently. 

If you had to pick one measurement come learn around the qualities of a motorcycle, horsepower would be a good choice. However note that all of this is a simplified explanation, and also these metrics have complex interactions the gearheads deserve to spend years mastering in the garage. 

Finally, us can’t forget the intangibles, like just how a motorcycle fits the rider’s body and whether that controls room intuitively inserted for the rider. This are crucial for any type of vehicle, but they’re crucial for a motorcycle, where the rider and the vehicle are much an ext physically intertwined. 

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Source: Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock

At Cardo, we’re always game to aid riders learn an ext about the machines that strength their passion.


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Make certain you don’t miss out on our history of the motorcycle, and also check out our overview to the different types of motorcycles come learn about the remarkable diversity the bikes easily accessible today. And before friend head out on the road, nothing forget her Cardo Packtalk Bold—the gold standard of motorcycle communication systems that lets you listen every word of that limitless conversation around cc’s, torque and all the rest.