What Does CC Mean In Engines? (Must Read!)

What Does CC Mean In Engines? (Must Read!)

Engine cc is one of the most talked topics when it comes to motorcycle engine specifications. More often than not, riders esquire about cc when choosing their bikes.

So, what does cc mean in engines? Engine cc refers to the capacity of the engine measured in cubic centimetres. A 150cc engine, for example, will have an engine whose cylinder volume capacity is 150 cubic centimetres.

While there are lot of nuances in engine cc measurements, for simplicity sake, it can be said as the volume of fuel displaced in the engine in each combustion cycle.

Having said that, let’s dig in to the specifics on what cc means, how is it different from engine horsepower, and does higher cc means better for motorcycles.

Meaning Of CC In Engines

Put simply, cc is a measure of the volume capacity of an engine cylinder measured in cubic centimeters.

The volume capacity of the engine cylinder is calculated by multiplying the bore area with the stroke length.

In each combustion cycle, roughly the same amount of fuel as cc will be combusted to generate power in the vehicle.

That is, a 150cc engine cylinder will have roughly 150 cubic centimeters (0.15 liter) of fuel getting used and burnt in each combustion cycle to generate power for your motorcycle.

Now, let’s extend this further to a 4 cylinder engine. Each cylinder has a volume capacity of, say, 150cc.

Then, in this case, for each combustion cycle, each cylinder displaces and burns 150 cubic centimeters (0.15 liter) of fuel. So, 4 cylinders combined will displace 4 times 150 cubic centimeters of fuel volume, which totals to 1000 cubic centimeters or 1 liter.

Similarly, a 6 cylinder engine of 500cc will displace 3 liters of fuel in each cycle.

To summarize, an engine cc refers to the volume capacity of the engine cylinder measured in cubic centimeters.

How Many CC’s Is A Horsepower?

An engine cc and horsepower, while related, do not have an equivalent measurement.

This is because cc is a measure of volume and horsepower is a measure of power. There are many variables that can result in different horsepower for the same cc and vice versa.

A 150cc engine, for example, can have a power of 10bhp to 18bhp in different motorcycles.

A simple correlation between cc and horsepower is, if the cc is increased, the horsepower will increase as well, provided all else is remaining the same.

Having said that, purely for rough calculations in motorcycle engines, you can assume a factor of 15cc for 1HP. Again, this is a gross approximation for motorcycle engines and can be vastly different for different models and makes.

Going by the above approximation, a 150cc engine will have a power output of 10HP. This is enough approximation since 150cc engine output in motorcycles usually falls around this figure.

Does More CC Means More Speed?

More cc in an engine does not necessarily mean more speed.

There are a lot of factors including motorcycle weight, compression ratio, bore to stroke ratio, etc. that affects equally along with the engine cc to the maximum speed that a motorcycle can achieve.

Most important of these factors being the power to weight ratio. The motorcycle power to weight ratio can have a significant say in the maximum speed achievable.

Usually, higher power to weight ratio translates to a higher speed if all else remain the same.

In the same vein, if all other factors remain the same, more cc translates to more speed. But, practically, more cc affects other variables as well and might necessarily translate to a higher speed.

Is Higher CC Engine Better?

A higher cc engine is not necessarily better.

A large engine with high cc in a motorcycle, while produces higher torque and in most cases, higher power output, also comes at a cost of lower mileage. Not to mention, high cc motorcycles usually are priced higher as well.

If you want an on-road performance motorcycle for your daily commute, it does not make sense at all to go for higher cc engine bikes.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a good sport bike, you might as well go for higher cc. It all depends on the needs of the rider you see!

To summarize, higher cc does not necessarily mean better. While higher cc engine produces more torque and power, they consume more fuel resulting in low mileage and also are of heavy weight.

The engine cc should be according to the needs of the rider whether he wants a performance motorcycle with a moderate cc engine or a sports bike with higher cc engines.

Are Engine CC And Horsepower The Same?

As discussed above, engine cc and horsepower are completely different.

While engine cc measures the volume capacity of the engine, horsepower measures the engine power output.

Although there is a good correlation between the two, both measure completely different things. CC stands for cubic capacity, a volume measure. 1 cubic capacity equals 1 mL as well. Horsepower, on the other hand, is a measure of power with 1 HP translating to 746 Watts.

In essence, both cc and horsepower measure two completely different aspects of an engine. Engine cc and horsepower are not at all the same.

Conclusion

  • Engine cc refers to the capacity of the engine measured in cubic centimetres.
  • A 150cc engine cylinder will have roughly 150 cubic centimetres (0.15 litre) of fuel getting used and burnt in each combustion cycle to generate power for your motorcycle.
  • In each combustion cycle, roughly the same amount of fuel as cc will be combusted to generate power in the vehicle.
  • More cc in an engine does not necessarily mean more speed.
  • Also, higher cc does not necessarily mean better. While higher cc engine produce more torque and power, they consume more fuel resulting in low mileage and also are of heavy weight.
  • Engine cc and horsepower are not at all the same. Both cc and horsepower measure two completely different aspects of an engine.
  • While engine cc measures the volume capacity of the engine, horsepower measures the engine power output.