What Does CC Mean And Stand For In Motorcycle Engines?

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More often than not, when you buy yourself a new motorcycle, the matter of CC of the motorcycle will arise.

While expert motorcycle owners will know what to buy and expect, amateur or first-time motorcycle owners will not know what to say, especially regarding the confusion of what CC even means.

CC is the short form of and is commonly mistaken for Cubic Capacity or Cylinder Capacity. While these terms aren’t far off, they aren’t exactly right.

So if you are wondering what does cc mean in motorcycle engines? Then simply put, CC is the measurement of the Volume capacity of the motorcycle’s engine cylinder, which is measured in Cubic Centimeters. This measurement denotes the amount of fuel burned to generate power for the vehicle.

For example, a motorcycle of 150 CC will burn 150 cubic centimeters of fuel per cylinder. If your motorcycle has, let’s say, four cylinders, then it will burn 150 cubic centimeters 4 times and will take a liter of fuel every combustion cycle.

Now that we have gotten what it means out of the way, l will now explain why it is important to your motorcycle and why you should know it.

3 Factors That CC (Cubic Centimeters) Affects

Finding out what does CC stand for and how it works in motorcycles

The CC of your motorcycle directly affects your motorcycle’s performance and fuel requirements.

The more CC the motorcycle has, the more power and torque usually correspond to a higher fuel requirement and engine displacement.

So make sure you know what you are getting into before purchasing a motorcycle with a high CC.

1. Fuel

As I mentioned above, the CC of your motorcycle will denote the amount of fuel you burn per combustion cycle.

Motorcycles with high CC usually have big engines, and it takes a lot of fuel and power to just turn the engine over. These engines have huge cylinders, which are very difficult to get a good air and fuel ratio.

This does not necessarily mean that bigger engines are fuel-intensive. While motorcycles with higher CC use more fuel than motorcycles with lower CC, if you ride your motorcycle outside its ideal range, then you will burn through a lot of fuel than you would have when riding in the ideal range.

2. Speed

CC in an engine does not necessarily translate to more speed. Many different factors go into determining the top speed of a motorcycle.

While CC is one of them, it is not as integral to other factors such as motorcycle weight or bore to stroke ratio, which equally affects the engine’s maximum speed.

Motorcycles with higher CC have bigger engines, which translate to more weight, but the engine’s added power should be more than enough to make up for it.

In short, CC does mean more speed, but it is not as significant as other motorcycle factors.

3. Horsepower

Similar to speed, the Horsepower of your motorcycle is also directly proportional to the amount of CC you have, considering all other factors remain constant.

CC is a measure of volume, and horsepower is a measure of power. Despite having higher CC, many other variables could result in a lower horsepower motorcycle.

The output power of the engine relies on various factors. While CC is one of them, it is again not a very significant factor when determining the engine’s horsepower.

Still, it does positively impact the overall power of the motorcycle as, again, motorcycles with higher CC have more powerful engines.

Significance Of CC In A Motorcycle

As I have explained above, the amount of CC your motorcycle has affects a lot of different factors, so understanding how it affects them should be a priority as a motorcycle owner as you don’t want to have certain behavior or tendencies your motorcycle exhibits that are completely natural for the motorcycle to exhibit but are not to your liking.

Weight Class

The amount of CC a motorcycle engine has typically determined the motorcycle’s weight class.

Generally, motorcycles are divided into three different categories, each of them having a different value for engine displacement:

  • Lightweight
  • Middleweight
  • Heavyweight

Lightweight motorcycles usually range from 50 to 350 CC and are easy to maneuver and handle for beginner motorcycle owners but lack the power and speed of the other two categories.

Middleweight motorcycles are, just as the name suggests, in the middle of the two categories in terms of both speed, power, and weight, with this category ranging from 400 to 900 CC.

Finally, you have the heavyweight class, which ranges from 1000 and beyond. This class offers the most weight and power.


If you are looking for a motorcycle to travel long distances or go on daily commutes, then it is safe to say the high CC motorcycles are ones you should generally stay away from. Motorcycles for daily driving and long distances are typically lightweight or middleweight in class.

They offer great mileage as they consume less fuel per combustion cycle than heavy bikes, which use a lot of fuel.

Similarly, if you want a motorcycle for speed and joyrides, consider getting higher-tier middleweight or heavy bikes to get the most out of your purchase.

Maintenance Costs

As the amount of CC inside your motorcycles increases, so do the maintenance costs. Motorcycles with high CC have powerful engines which run under high amounts of stress.

What’s worse is that they need to be in perfect condition. Otherwise, they can cause problems at any time, especially while riding, which can be risky.

Lower CC motorcycles are made to be driven daily and have less stress on their motorcycle, making them pretty low maintenance and easy to manage.

If you have money to spare, then by all means, get a fun heavy bike, but it will cost you a lot in terms of fuel and repairs.

3 Helpful Tips On CC In A Motorcycle

I will now talk about tips and bits of knowledge you should know when talking about CC in a motorcycle.

1. Know What CC Is Best For You

While you may be tempted to get a motorcycle with higher CC, you should know that you will not find it in smaller motorcycles.

Motorcycles with high CC are big and heavy, which can be difficult to manage, especially for people who are new to motorcycles or are not physically fit enough to move a heavy bike.

As mentioned above, motorcycles with higher engine displacement fall into different categories, so make sure to get a lightweight or middleweight motorcycle if you think you are not ready for a Heavy bike.

2. Engine Modification

If you are not happy with the amount of CC your motorcycle engine has to offer and are not willing to change the entire motorcycle, you can consider modifying your motorcycle. Be warned as this is a major change to the engine.

If you want to increase the engine’s displacement, you will need to bore the cylinders or get new ones that have a larger displacement amount, along with bigger pistons and rings.

These are known as big bore kits on the market, and you can purchase one and use it to upgrade your motorcycle or have a mechanic do it.

3. Finding Out Your Motorcycle’s CC

If you have been recently gifted a motorcycle or bought one without knowing the proper information regarding it, you may be curious to know how much CC the motorcycle uses.

Do not panic, as there are multiple ways you can figure out the CC of your motorcycle:

  • Checking the Name
  • Official documents
  • Stickers and stamps
  • Online

Usually, the name of the motorcycle contains the amount of CC the motorcycle has. Other times, you can find stickers on the side of the motorcycle or stamps on the engine, which may reveal the amount of CC.

If all else fails, you can simply search your motorcycle’s model online and find the specifications from there.


The CC of the motorcycle is a very important aspect of the motorcycle as it not only determines the amount of power, speed, and fuel consumption of your motorcycle has but also corresponds to the weight of the motorcycle, which is integral for the owner to know as they will be riding it.

So I am hoping you get the answer to what does cc mean in motorcycle engines? Knowing how much CC your motorcycle has also made it easier to manage fuel, as motorcycles with higher CC will undoubtedly use more fuel than ones with lower CC.

Despite the significance of cubic centimeters in a motorcycle, it is important to also know that other factors are just as important. You should also focus on them if you are looking to purchase a new motorcycle.

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