When you start shopping for a motorcycle, cc’s are sure to come up. Many of us think that more cc’s mean more motorcycle engine power. While sometimes this is true, it is not always the case. A cubic centimeter (or cc) is how they measure the volume of the cylinders in an engine. Sometimes this will affect the power or smoothness of the ride, but it is really just the measure of the engine’s displacement.
Understanding the Differences
Most motorcycles use an internal combustion engine. The fuel mixture enters the cylinder and is ignited, pushing the piston down. This is how the engine gets its power to turn. Typically, the larger the cylinder is (the more cc’s), the more fuel can be pushed in. This often increases the power and speed of the engine. However, you will sacrifice much of your fuel efficiency. On the other hand, an engine with fewer cc’s will get greater gas mileage, but will not run as smoothly or as quickly.
Torque and Horsepower
As we’ve stated, cc’s measure the size of an engine, but torque and horsepower determine the power.
Torque is a measurement of how hard an engine turns. This is usually influenced by the size and weight of the internal moving parts. The heavier the parts, the stronger the turning force. This gives you that initial pull from a stopped position.
Horsepower is the measurement of actual power. It is a combination of the torque, speed, and the weight of the bike and rider. These factors all come together to determine the actual power-to-weight ratio of the bike.
Clear as Mud, Right?
Ok, ok, we know that’s all a little confusing. Suffice it to say, cc’s are an important factor to consider when purchasing a motorcycle. The number of cc’s do affect the power, but the weight and aerodynamics will determine the speed.
Be sure that your choice meets your expectations and experience level to ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience for years to come.