Volantor : Onkar Nirmale
What are motorcycles? Motorcycles are a form of freedom, they are animals, animals that are ready to take you to the limitless skies. They’re two wheels cutting through the air, controlled by a soul who feels alive and untamed as each straight road arrives, as each curvy corner comes, as the symphony between human and machine writes a new story, a story that words fall short to express.
Sadly, these free-spirited animals are rare, they’re getting extinct in an electric age, where safety, convenience and ease of use are key factors to the majority of the humankind. But this need not be an end to this species, it instead is a new beginning, a new chapter in history. Volantor is designed as a new generation of these unbound symbols of freedom, a new age of two wheeled animals, which are quicker, smarter and more sophisticated than their predecessors.
Originated in London during the ’60’s, café racers are a genre of motorcycles which are user customized and tuned for performance and handling, focused on fast rides over short distances across the city.
This makes café racers an extremely solid choice for city commutes, even after 60 years. 2 wheelers are used majorly in cities as a quick mode of transport, as they’re maneuverable through traffic, easier to park, and are less of a hassle to carry across the city.
Users and Scenario
In the year 2025, metropolitan cities are a central location for young people to achieve their desires, to chase their dreams. These cities feature quality lifestyle, jobs and amenities for these youngsters to grow healthy, to see their lives become richer.
People aging from 20 to 40 define the user group of the bike, individuals working in different fields to achieve their goals, young couples working around the clock to achieve stability, elder couples working to enrich their families. These people to achieve all these things, have a need to move around in the city regularly, they need to travel daily for hours to do their duties and their work. After a long intensive week at work, they also need to relax and unwind into the peaceful and beautiful outskirts of the city, through shopping, roaming, touring or adventure activities. All this makes traveling and commuting a major part of their lives.
The transportation solutions that these metropolitan cities offer are majorly public transport and shared mobility. Metros and subways, buses and shared vehicles run the city’s neural network, which are paired by personal vehicles such as electric pods, micro cars, scooters and e-bicycles. However, this whole uniform system of transportation becomes very mundane and uninteresting to the free hearted young people. With no exciting and fun mode of transportation available, moving across the city becomes boring and dull, making the users overall dissatisfied and unhappy with the time they spend on the roads. This also affects the experience of these people on their holidays and weekends, taking away half the fun from their leisure time.
Vehicles like café racers can really fill these lives with excitement, fun and enjoyment, making the time spent commuting more rewarding than boring, making the weekends and holidays an exhilarating experience. However geared motorcycles, especially customized ones, aren’t really the choice of this generation for their daily commute through heavy traffic with an already challenging life. Motorcycles are exciting for everyone; however, majority of people stay away from them for reasons such as safety, ease of use, maintenance and features. Leaving a void in the industry for a vehicle which combines the good of both worlds, void for a vehicle which is thrilling, screams freedom, is quick, fast and fun, and also at the same time, is convenient, easy, safe as well as modern and smart. Volantor, targets this void.
Volantor features industry leading systems on board. It is a fully electric motorcycle with around 130 hp on offer to leave the entire city behind, thanks to its high performance and highly efficient electric 100kw motor, paired with a highly durable swappable battery unit. This high performance is achieved with a state-of-the-art cooling system connected to the batteries and motor, a cooling chamber mounted on the belly of the bike inhales cold air from the front, directing it towards batteries, and whirling it around the motor then shooting the heated air out the cooling exhaust. This system keeps batteries and motor at the optimum temperature even under extreme use and under unkind weather effects, making them function perfectly well. A torque tube replaces the conventional belt or chain drive unit reducing many wear and tear factors along with reduced complications for users.
With performance factors, Volantor also features many convenience and safety features. A highly adaptive and smart A.I. unit sits in the Command Centre of the bike, where a fuel tank would be situated on a standard I.C. engine bike. The Command Centre handles all the data of the bike, combining it with the user ride styles, city road and traffic data and time schedules, directly helping in reducing range anxiety of its users. As safety is key, the motorcycle also features a self-balancing motor unit connected to the fork, mounted in front of the command center, which eliminates the need of balancing and pushing the bike at slow traffic speeds. The bike is virtually fall proof and saves a lot of efforts in traffic, thanks to its self-balancing technology inspired by Honda’s motorcycle innovation. The bike also features air channels that allow smooth airflow across the bike to ensure stability of the vehicle at higher speeds.
To add to convenience and ease, the bike comes with electronically adjustable rear mono-shock suspension that helps adjust the seat height according to the user preferences. Paired with rear view camera, the infotainment display keeps user updated every second. The vehicle also features swappable batteries stacked as a unit of 3, which can be carried as a basket or individually as a backpack.
All these systems make the Volantor a highly modern, safe and exciting motorcycle, ready to take on the electric age!
The design of the Volantor initially revolted around the classic elements, stance and proportions of a standard café racer, inspired from abstract inkblots and patterns, the original directions featured a modernized version of a classic cafe racer. However, the outcomes were not as groundbreaking and true to the philosophy, as they originally were expected to be. One day, while browsing Instagram I came across the official Instagram handle of “The Flying Bulls” the aviation department of RedBull. Being the ‘aviation fuel head’ that I am, I couldn’t stop myself from imagining how an actual flying bull would look like. A raging muscular beast with head positioned to lead the horns ahead, with a strong body jumping towards its prey, which features a set of wings, wide open to take off. I continued to imagine that form on a pair of wheels and sketched it out at the middle of the night, giving me a key sketch.
On more detailed observation of Spanish Fighting Bulls which are of Taurine cattle breed, the silhouette of the bike became clearer. These bulls are very muscular and buffed, their shoulders, chest and neck show the most amount of volume with a sloping back narrowing belly making them look front heavy as forward pointing horns emphasize the salient and aggressive stance.
This silhouette was combined with the surfacing and forms inspired by the fifth-generation stealth fighter jets, especially the Lockheed Martin F22 Raptor and the F35 Lightning II. These stealth fighters are known for their agility, performance and response. The angular silhouette with a sleek volume wrapped in sharp and crisp lines define these jets, which makes them look lightweight and extremely maneuverable.
The heavy and robust characteristics of a bull emphasize the bikes dominating character on a city street, making it look ready to fight any kind of road and traffic ahead. Combined with the fast and sharp characteristics of a jet emphasize the bikes agility and stealthy, silent performance.
Volantor is a quiet beast, waiting to be unleashed.
This combination of robustness of a bull and agility of a stealth fighter gives the Volantor its name, ‘volan-tor’ derived from ‘Toro Volante’, Italian for ‘Flying Bull’.
The Blackbird Edition of the Volantor pays tribute to one of the most iconic artworks of the aviation industry, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Blackbird was developed in 1966 as a strategic reconnaissance aircraft by Skunk Works, which still holds the highest speed record today, as the fastest manned, air breathing stealth aircraft.
The Volantor Blackbird edition features color scheme of the SR-71, with the finish representing the black stealth coating of the plane. This blacked out version comes with all the trims and details in an anodized red accent color.
Onkar Nirmale is a Transportation Designer currently working at NextGen Energy as a junior designer, awaiting Masters in Transportation Design from ISD Rubika. He has an experience of more than 2 years working with different faces of the transportation design industry through companies like Pinnacle Industries and Eclipse motors. With projects varying from supercar, motorcycle, scooters to industrial equipment, commercial vehicles and exoskeleton.