I'm relatively new to motorcycles, my flat mate taught me how to drive his two Royal Enfields around New Delhi, and for the past year and a half I've been taking care of them as they break down ;)

Was just curious what the 'cc' actually means when you say a Hero Honda has 150 cc, or an Enfield as 350 cc, or a really beast Enfield has 500 cc. I know vaguely that more cc is more powerful, but am curious as to how one could actually measure cc.

  • 1
    What happens when they rebore it.. It will change cc too..?
    – user3732
    Sep 21, 2013 at 14:57
  • @user3732, only a little bit.
    – dlu
    Sep 20, 2016 at 17:27

5 Answers 5


cc is the size of the engine, in cubic centimeters - literally the volume of the cylinders. A larger cylinder can ingest more air (and more fuel), thus converting more energy per cycle than a smaller one, so making more power - assuming all other factors are the same, and there are many factors that affect power output.

You can measure it by a simple volume calculation - area of the piston (pi x radius squared) x stroke x number of cylinders.

  • 9
    Its worth noting that the size the bike is marketed as is rarely exact for example my Ducati Monster M600 (600cc) is actually a 583cc engine.
    – Mauro
    May 14, 2013 at 14:24
  • 2
    Indeed - the same is usually true of car engines - my 1.6L Honda is actually 1595cc
    – Nick C
    May 15, 2013 at 9:00
  • 4
    one of the reasons for the above was to also circumvent cc based taxation slabs.
    – chilljeet
    Feb 27, 2015 at 10:28
  • 1
    Don't forget that to calculate the total cubic capacity of an engine you may need to take into account nuances in the engine design. Some pistons have a dished crown and some allowance may be needed for the "squish band" machined into the face of the cylinder head but generally pi x bore diameter x stoke x number of cylinders will get you somewhere near. Aug 3, 2015 at 10:06
  • A cubic centimetre equals one ml (millilitre), or one thousands of a litre. In other words 1000 cc equals 1 litre. Aug 3, 2015 at 14:51

The "swept volume" of one cylinder is given by :

pi * r^2 * L

r = cylinder radius (bore / 2 ) in centimetres L = stroke in centimetres

Then multiply by the number of cylinders (they will all be the same bore and stroke)

Example : Bullet 350 bore and stroke given as 70 mm ( 7.0 cm) bore and 90 mm (9.0 cm) stroke So : r = (7.0 / 2) 3.5 cm L = 9.0 cm Then : pi * 3.5 ^2 * 9.0 * 1 (cylinder) = 346.3606 cubic centimetres Note : the capacity is usually rounded, in this case to 350 cc


"cc" Stands for Cylinder Capacity or Cubic Centimeters. Luckily Cylinder Capacity is measured in Cubic Centimeters, so it's all good. As others have pointed out, bigger cylinders make more power because they can burn more fuel per stroke.

  • 2
    1000 cylinder capacities? Maybe a sufficient number of people were confused enough at one time to have this make it into some published definition. Even so, let's not propogate this nonsense. Cubic centimeter is a scientific measurement. "Cylinder capacity" has no meaning.
    – justinm410
    Sep 20, 2016 at 16:50

the actual meaning of cc is the cylinder capacity so larger the cylinder more area avalible for burning of fuel so the larger the space for the moment of piston is also provided in this case so more power will be generated when cc is larger

  • 6
    Um, cc means cubic centimeter not cylinder capacity ... 500cc is 1/2 a liter. May 28, 2015 at 22:39

cc is nothing but the total displacement volume of a piston inside the cylinder. as cc increases, there will be more intake of air fuel mixture and output power ofthe engine will increase...

  • 4
    you are not correct. Jun 1, 2016 at 21:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .