Are you shopping for a new motorcycle and feeling a little confused about all of the power options? Perhaps you're wondering what CC means and what might be the right power size for you? From 40cc up to 250cc or more, motorcycles come in a wide array of power options. Here we explain what CC actually means and how to determine the best power output for your personal motorcycle needs.

What Does CC Mean?

Image via Flickr by Hannes Maurerer

Just like with any new hobby, sometimes motorcycle terminology can be confusing. In the beginning. The term “CC” is tossed out in many different automotive groups. It applies to much more than just motorcycles, though. It also applies to both cars, and even lawnmower or power tools. In the world of gasoline engines, “CC” stands for cubic centimeters. It is a measure of the size of the engine chamber in your motorcycle.

In the world of two-wheelers, most engines fall somewhere between 50 and 2000cc. The smaller ones in the 50cc to 125cc area are mostly mopeds and scooters. On the flip side, the top end of 2000cc is typically saved for the large touring motorcycles. Regardless, the majority of motorcycles fall between 125 and 1500cc.

Does Size Matter?

Yes, in motorcycles the engine size and power definitely matters. If you get a motorcycle that isn't powerful enough for your needs, you might not be able to pack enough gear or keep up with your friends on those long rides. If you get one that has too much power, it will be much heavier, faster, and harder to handle. That is never a good combination for new riders. Additionally, the smaller engines get better gas mileage.

Riding Conditions and Purpose

Once you decide to purchase a motorcycle, ask yourself some questions before you set out shopping. Be honest with yourself so that you don't choose a motorcycle that doesn't fit your specific needs. First, determine your riding experience. Beginners need a less powerful bike. Will you be commuting, going on long distance rides, racing, or carving out corners? Will you be mostly on city streets, off-road, or on the highway? How many miles a year do you think you'll ride and in what kind of weather conditions? All of these things will impact what size bike is right for you. Also, more powerful bikes cost more money, so determine your budget and stick to it.

Choosing which motorcycle is right for you can be difficult and even time consuming. Take the time to do your research and talk to professionals. Test-ride different sizes and talk with your friends or family that ride. The last thing you want is to buy a bike that is too big or too small for your specific riding needs. There are so many different motorcycle styles and sizes to choose from that many riders ultimately decide that one motorcycle isn't enough and end up buying several motorcycles for different purposes, such as touring or off-road.  The point is, take your time and try to remain logical.

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