Winning the 2021 Victorian Premier’s Awards Design Award of the Year was icing on the cake for Savic Motorcycles in what will be a pivotal year for the company. By the end of 2022, Savic will be delivering its first C-Series bikes to eager customers who’ve been anxiously awaiting their orders.

From a design perspective, and even if you’re not personally into motorcycles, you would have to say that the C-Series is a work of art. Its smooth, minimal lines are sure to render it a classic and the C-Series will definitely turn heads.

various shots of the bikeA pioneer of sustainable Victorian design

Proudly designed and manufactured in Victoria, this zero-emissions, high-performance electric motorcycle is the realisation of a dream that began more than a decade ago when Dennis Savic, founder and CEO of Savic Motorcycles, was a mechanical engineering student.

“Victoria is Australia’s auto hub, so moving here from Perth to work in automotive engineering — firstly as a consultant and then at Ford — was a source of creative inspiration for me,” said Dennis. “It gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in all things Melbourne – the culture, the coffee, the creative talent, and the incredible support and encouragement I received.”

Bringing Dennis’ vision to life was the responsibility of concept designer Dave Hendroff — Savic Motorcycles’ Chief of Design. A chance conversation at a family gathering led Dennis to begin his collaboration with Dave, who is a relative by marriage. Together they have created a masterpiece of design and engineering based on a shared passion for motorcycles and timeless design.

“I love motorbikes. Although the C-Series is my first foray into formal automotive design, as an interior architect, I’ve always been consumed with motorcycles, riding, and sketching them since my teens,” said Dave.

Freedom to express his own design direction

Dennis’ design brief — to create something that hadn’t been seen before, that was differentiated by design but would be classical and timeless — gave Dave a wide scope.

“From a blank sheet of paper, it was my responsibility to give Dave the line drawings that articulated the architecture of the vehicle, the basic engineering and structure, but I purposefully minimised my input to maximise Dave’s creative freedom,” commented Dennis.

Dave delivered his preliminary concept sketch within a few weeks. For the next five years, there were fundamental changes, design iterations and refinements, but the overall aesthetic design has remained unchanged from initial concept to final prototype.

“The iterative loop between engineering, sketching and 3D design is key,” said Dennis. “The faster you can iterate that, the quicker you can move through the design process and the decisions that need to be made along the way.”

The evolution of a design classic

Designing an electric motorcycle comes with obvious challenges – particularly in incorporating a large battery pack and structural enclosure for the vehicle’s powertrain. The battery is always the controlling factor, and it is even more obvious on a bike.

“We began with the aesthetics of a café racer — a customised motorcycle modified to look like a 1960s Grand Prix racer,” explained Dave. “From there, our design had to incorporate modern technology and electrical components integrated into a classic, minimalist shape and design.”

“We spent many years trying to ‘deboxify’ the battery pack and invested a lot of time to achieve a sleek and minimalised A-class exterior,” he added.

While no design process is seamless, the symbiotic working relationship that evolved between Dennis and Dave was certainly close to it.

“In the automotive industry, engineers and designers are usually at war with each other when it comes to expressing their ideas and priorities,” said Dennis.

“But our collaboration was a meeting of minds, where we learned from each other every day and really complemented each other’s skill sets,” he added.

“Winning the Victorian Premier’s Design Award was a huge honour for us, and one that affirmed that great design provides a competitive advantage that has opened up wider investment opportunities for our business,” Dennis concluded.

The Savic C-Series, developed and assembled in the company’s West Melbourne workshops, will hit the road in late 2022.

But watch this space, as the C-Series is just the start for the dedicated and passionate design team at Savic Motorcycles.