What Does CC Mean Motorcycle Terminology Lesson

“What Does CC Mean” Motorcycle Terminology Lesson

When you start out with any new hobby the terminology can be confusing. When looking at “what does cc mean” motorcycle terminology is no different. The term “cc” is thrown around throughout many different automotive circles, not just for motorcycles, so the meaning that you will learn here can be translated to the car or even lawnmower world.

In the engine world “cc” stands for cubic centimeters. This is a measure of the size of the engine chamber for motorcycles. The term “cc” will often be picked up by new or wannabe motorcycle riders as the most important factor when determining how fast a motorcycle goes.

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The sizes of “cc”

In the two-wheel world you find that most engines will fall somewhere between 50cc and 2000cc. The 50cc to 125cc area is mostly made up of scooters and mopeds. The top end of town up towards 2000cc is saved for the large capacity cruiser style motorcycles.

The vast majority of road motorcycles fall between 125cc and 1400cc.

Some of the most common sizes for road motorcycles include 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, 600cc, 650cc, 800cc, 1000cc, 1200cc and 1400cc. However, there are many different sizes between these too.


What does “cc” mean

As we have mentioned already, “cc” stands for cubic centimeters and is a measure of the capacity of the engine chamber in a motorcycle. The engine chamber in a motorcycle is used to mix together both the fuel (gas/petrol) with air, this is then ignited and the explosion that is caused creates the power that is used by the motorcycle to drive power to the rear wheel, which then sends you moving along the road.

In general the bigger the engine chamber in a motorcycle the more power that it could potentially produce. This is only part of the story though, as there are several different types of motorcycle engines all of which produce power in different ways.

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Other factors which need to be taken into account

There are two other key factors which need to be taken into account for this “what does cc mean” motorcycle terminology lesson.

  • The number of cylinders in the engine – There are 3 main options that you will see which are single cylinder, twin cylinder and quad cylinder. These three types of engines produce power in different rev ranges and in general the more cylinders the more power the motorcycle will make. For example a 400cc single cylinder motorcycle is unlikely to make as much power as a 400cc quad cylinder motorcycle.
  • 2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke Engines – A 2 stroke and 4 stroke engine have a different process for compressing and igniting the fuel that is then used to create the power. A 2-stroke engine of a 250cc capacity is more efficient in creating power and will usually produce twice the power of a 4-stroke 250cc motorcycle.
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Hopefully this “What does cc mean” motorcycle terminology lesson has provided you with the information you need to no longer be intimidated or confused the next time that you see “600cc” in a motorcycle advertisement in the paper.


What size motorcycle do you prefer? Tell us why in the comments below.


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