What Are The Best And Worst CC Engine Sizes For Beginner Motorcycle Riders?


Best And Worst CC Engine Sizes For Beginner Motorcycle Riders


The motorcycle experience isn’t just about hopping on a two-wheeler and riding away. It demands a certain level of knowledge, which can often be overwhelming for new riders who are just getting caught up in the excitement of wanting to be a motorcycle rider and all the visions they have in their mind about what that will look like!

Once out of the training school, many beginner motorcycle riders still don’t know what size motorcycle to start riding on or what engine size (in CCs) to look for. But, do not worry- that is what we wrote this blog. In this blog, we will be discussing the kind of CC motorcycles you should look for one you are a beginner motorcycle rider.  So, if you are in that boat, keep on reading.


What is CC?

CC is an abbreviation for Cubic Centimetres. CC essentially is the measurement of the engine displacement in the motorcycle’s motor (displacement is a little complicated to explain so just think of it as the “size of the engine”) … in other words, the size of a motorcycle’s internal combustion engine. Internal combustion engines use both fuel and air to create combustion (as well as a spark, produced by a spark plug but we’re trying to keep it simple here so set that aside)).

Once that gas and air are combined and compressed inside the cylinders of the engine, the gas/air mixture is ignited and this is referred to as combustion. And combustion is basically an explosion that obviously creates the energy of which an internal combustion engine is used to power a motorcycle (and autos, trucks, etc.). 

But, how does the size of the engine or the CC specification matter? The more cubic centimeters a motorcycle’s engine has, the more capacity it has to intake fuel and air. If the engine takes in a larger quantity of air and fuel, more combustion will take place and more power will be produced. This translates to increased speed.

While it is true that an increased CC means more speed and power, as a beginner, you need to realize that increased combustion, and increased power, translates to a motorcycle that is simply quicker/faster and therefore can reach a point that is not conducive to safety as beginners simply can not handle a too powerful of a motorcycle.


A 300CC Engine And A 600CC Engine: How Are They Any Different?

Even though you might think that the Cubic Centimetres of a motorcycle may not be that important, the truth is that such a difference (between say 300CC and 600CC) can be very important, especially in comparison to the size/strength of a beginner rider.  So, why is it that a smaller 300CC engine is a big difference from say a  600CC engine? The answer lies in both the power generation and the weight of the motor/bike. 

If you are a beginner, a 300CC engine is a far better option than a 600CC engine. Not only are 300CC engines less powerful and less likely to overwhelm a new rider, but they are also more rider or user-friendly because their lighter weight makes them easier to maneuver. With a 300CC engine, you get a bit more leeway to make errors and learn from them.

And, we don’t think we have to mention how important leeway is, particularly when learning a skill like motorcycling. The size of the engine can determine whether a mistake turns into a learning opportunity or an unfortunate medical visit.

If you ask any rider with a little bit of experience, they will say that a smaller engine is a good place to start. As mentioned, you get more wiggle room which allows you to perhaps give a little too much throttle to the engine and not have the bike get away from you because, for example, it has a smaller and let powerful motor. When you are first starting out, it is least likely that you will be concerned about speed vs. safety.

You will be more concerned about simply learning the ropes of riding a motorcycle, how to accelerate your motorcycle without accidentally doing a wheelie or spinning the back tire and how to turn and maneuver your bike without crashing into something. A smaller engine will help you learn all these tricks easier as it is more likely you won’t have to learn them at a speed/rate faster than what you are capable of handling.  


Will I Need A Larger Displacement Bike If I Am Bigger in Size?

It is possible if you are particularly taller or weigh significantly more than say an average adult.  Say you’re over 6’2″ or say you’re over 250 lbs, then 300CCs may actually feel small or underpowered but in reality, most beginners will not be frustrated by a motorcycle that seems too slow or sluggish so in general, even if you are larger/taller than average, 300CCs or so is going to do the job.

But, for riders who are substantially taller or shorter than average, you do want to be aware that a motorcycle that is too tall or too small can add to the challenges a beginner motorcycle rider has to contend with.  You would want to be considered if the motorcycle’s suspension could handle someone of your size/weight as there are limits to this.

In fact, again, if you are significantly beyond the height/weight of an average male rider for example (say 6’5” and weigh close to 400 pounds) it is recommended that you go for a larger engine like 500CC or 600CC simply to make sure the beginner bike isn’t too small or too underpowered to operate safely.


Worst CC Motorcycle To Start On

Higher cc bikes simply introduce more risks. Powerful motorcycles need considerable expertise in throttle control as well as braking and balance. Motorcycles with displacements more than 300cc offer begins to offer substantially more aggressive acceleration potential thereby increasing your likelihood of accelerating faster than you, a beginner/rookie motorcyclist, can simply handle.

Additionally, they can reach faster speeds and so they can quickly get up to speeds that are beyond the legal speed limits and thereby not only putting you in a position of increased risk of an accident but also increased risk of traffic law violations.


Ideal Beginner Motorcycle Small Engine Motorcycles To Start On


1. Yamaha MT-03

The Yamaha MT-03, being among the quickest 300cc motorcycles on the market, is ideal for riders who crave aggressive styling. Its compact chassis has been trimmed of all extraneous components, resulting in a hyper-naked bike ideal for city riding and lightweight for easy maneuvering at slow speeds. The twin-cylinder engine produces 41 horsepower and is quick yet mild enough to allow a beginner to figure out how to manage the power of the motorcycle.

Again, as a “hyper-naked” bike, it has a very aggressive appearance, with a prominent racing look and sleek, crisp lines. It is a dream bike if you are seeking a daily vehicle that is perfect for beginners while still providing enough excitement for more seasoned riders.


2. Honda CB300R

We are talking about the best motorcycle for beginners and Honda doesn’t make it to that list? That simply cannot happen as Honda has a long history of catering to the beginner motorcycle rider market. Honda has a wide selection of 300cc and smaller bikes, with the CB300R being among the most renowned. Its classic sport bike styling is popular among a broad set of riders, yet its fittings and functionality are firmly in the twenty-first century.

The lack of extraneous bodywork keeps everything light and nimble. Honda describes it as the “stepping stone motorcycle” for individuals wishing to eventually move on to a more powerful, large CC motorcycle.


3. Kawasaki Versys-X 300

The Kawasaki Versys-X 300 is an excellent choice for riders searching for a bike that can cruise, travel, and even do some off-roading occasionally. The calibrated 296cc engine produces 39bhp and 19 ft-lb of torque, delivering steady, predictable power that comes on slowly. It is a fantastic choice for riders searching for a tiny, easy-to-learn adventure motorcycle that is also reasonably priced at $5,399.


4. KTM 390 Duke

The KTM 390 Duke, with its compact chassis, great stability, and controlled power transmission, is clearly among the most desirable smaller naked style bikes on the market. Its single-cylinder, four-stroke engine provides efficient, easy-to-control performance and peak speeds of 104mph.

A 32.7-inch seat provides adequate legroom for convenience while also allowing you to put your foot down when necessary. The 390’s lightweight appeal and superb, controlled performance are suited for beginning riders, weighing only 328 lbs. 


5. Sinnis Terrain 380 (currently not available through US distributors)

The Sinnis Terrain 380 is among the list’s newest competitors, but it is already garnering a lot of interest. The Sinnis Terrain 380 is a definite upgrade for motorcyclists who have already established themselves on entry-level motorcycles and are ready to take the game to the next level. Its 8-valve liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine and six-speed transmission combine to make an adventure motorcycle that can travel well beyond the pavement.


Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing a bigger motorcycle, bigger is definitely not better and that includes both the size of the motorcycle and particularly the size of the engine CCs.  The greater the power of a bike, the more knowledgeable and skilled you must be to manage it effectively and safely. Motorcycles are exciting, liberating, and may take you on exciting adventures.

However, if you don’t know how to handle a bike, particularly more powerful motorcycles can lead to a rider being overwhelmed and potentially to accidents.  So, as we’ve explained above, choose your beginner motorcycle’s engine CC size wisely and error on the side of smaller rather than larger.