Isn’t nostalgia such a strong emotion? It might evoke warm feelings from a bygone era and evoke pleasant recollections. A trigger is all you require. The Bajaj Chetak is a prime example; its name is so well-known that it conjures up images of a time when a great deal of these basic two-stroke motorbikes whizzed down the road, leaving a thrummy exhaust tone and a plume of smoke in their wake. Few two-wheelers now can match the emotional resonance of the reliable workhorse that once ruled the hearts of millions.
Moving forward to the present, it is difficult to ignore the motivations behind Bajaj Auto’s choice to revive the Chetak brand as it enters the market for electric scooters. Even if it’s the greatest marketing move ever, a boardroom choice can only have a limited impact on a product’s future. Beyond that, the characteristics of the product—in this case, the Chetak electric—could make or break it.
Design of the Bajaj Chetak
Even though the Chetak trademark is rooted in history, the new e-style scooter is really stylish and modern, so ignore the marketing pitch for the time being. This is without a doubt one of the most attractive scooters to appear on Indian roads, outside of a Vespa, and just that alone will attract attention. The bodywork is mostly made of metal, but the design has a natural flow and elegance to the manner the lines bend around it. It is stunningly lovely.
A design without unattractive panel gaps is achieved by using features like the LED DRL inside the headlamp (also LED), faux grille on the front apron, and a single-piece rear portion. The incorporated, dynamic turn indicators on the taillamps, similar to those on Audi automobiles, look fantastic as well.
It’s also smart of Bajaj to use a single-side swingarm at the back and a trailing link suspension up front because it highlights the alloy wheels. The ‘Posh’ variation, which you can see above, comes with a disc brake up front and metallic grey paint on the wheels and seats to make them look, well, premium. There is an Urbane variation with solid colours and drum brakes on both ends for a little less money.
The sense of quality endures in both cases, regardless of the variety. With Chetak’s build, in our opinion, Bajaj has really upped the ante, and the way everything is put together gives that impression.
Power and performance of the Bajaj Chetak
On paper, the electric scooter’s 3.8kW/4.1kW (continuous/peak power) engine produces 16Nm of torque, which may not sound like much, but in practise is quite different. As when you press the throttle, the scooter accelerates swiftly, making it simple to keep up with metropolitan traffic. The scooter’s forward momentum can be altered by two ride modes, Eco and Sport, but here’s the intriguing part.
When the scooter is operated in Eco mode, the ICU, or Integrated Charging Unit, features a sensor that senses the throttle position. The technology monitors the increased power demand whenever the rider bends the grip past 85% and changes to Sport mode.
This saves the agony of constantly switching between settings and is perfect for short overtakes or while ascending a flyover. In order to maintain the range figure as high as is reasonably possible, Bajaj has limited the peak speed, and we noticed 69kph on the dash.
While it didn’t bother on the roads that travelled on today, many major thoroughfares in large cities like Mumbai and Delhi have a tendency to have quite fast-moving traffic. For this reason, we wish the top speed may be set at 75 to 80 kph, in line with 125cc bikes in this country.
Even though the Chetak’s performance is respectable, one shouldn’t anticipate it to be exciting, especially when compared to the Ather 450X. The Ather is designed for performance, whilst the Chetak is more utilitarian and should perform well in the role of a daily runabout. It makes no secret of its orientation because that is what it was designed for. The advertised battery range makes this even more clear.
Charging in the Bajaj Chetak
Speaking of time, it takes about 5 hours to recharge the battery from 0% to 100%, while the Chetak is 80 percent ready to use after 3.5 hours. Along with the electric scooter, Bajaj will include a home charger and arrange for a professional technician to install it. It is convenient to leave the scooter unattended because the charging cable plugs into a 5A socket under the seat that can be kept closed while charging. There isn’t a quick charging option available right now.
Ride quality of Bajaj Chetak
The Chetak’s suspension system is similar to that of other 110cc scooters, although the front trailing link setup has some drawbacks. While we only came into a few undulations and speed breaks in Pune city, the ride quality was very acceptable; yet, the scooter thudded over significant expansion gaps and jagged potholes. Despite this, the suspension is quite flexible, and the Chetak rides just like any other tiny, gasoline-powered scooter. Additionally, it maintains a firm grip in curves thanks to the MRFs mounted on 12-inch wheels on either end.