New Bajaj Chetak – a modern classic in the making?

Back in 2016 we speculated that Bajaj Auto of India were to bring back their popular Chetak scooter to the market. It seems we were partially correct…

On 17 October 2019 Bajaj unveiled their new Chetak scooter; a classic name from their range once bestowed upon a scooter produced from old Piaggio tooling.
Bajaj were once the official producer of Vespa scooters in India until the 1970s when the agreement ended. The company continued production of machines based on the Vespa VBB model (Sportique in the England), naming it the Chetak.

A 1976 advert for the Bajaj Chetak scooter.

This eventually evolved into a 4-stroke geared scooter named the Legend, before Bajaj finally ended production of geared scooters, concentrating on automatic scooters and later motorcycles and three-wheelers only (the latter based upon the Ape they also produced under licence from Piaggio in the 1960s).

Currently a major stakeholder in European motorcycle manufacturer KTM, Bajaj’s return to the retro scooter market is not without a twist. Not only is their new Chetak scooter a metal bodied machine that looks heavily inspired by a certain Italian classic, but it is powered by an electric motor – and possibly has gears too.

Bajaj’s new Chetak e-scooter rides on 90/90 x 12 tyres, boasts a single sided front fork with disc brake, full LED lighting a 4kw motor with a claimed range of 85 kilometres in ‘sports’ mode and 95 kilometres in ‘eco’ mode on a single charge.

Digital display on headset suggests gears of some sort…

The scooter has an in-built charger and the battery is not thought to be removable, with a charge time of five hours suggested. Bajaj say they will also sell a home-charging station at a ‘nominal cost’ and this charger will also show the amount of energy consumed during charging.

The swingarm-mounted motor apparently sends power to the rear wheel via a ‘high-efficiency automated gearbox’. Bajaj has not revealed details on how this works, but the digital display on the headset shows a neutral light as well as what appears to be four ‘steps’ suggested ‘one down and three up’ position of gears of some sort or another. A semi-automatic box maybe with pre-select options? It all sounds pretty interesting.

According to Bajaj production has already begun with a phased release in India beginning in Pune in January 2020. The price locally is likely to be less than £1600 at current exchange rates.

Bajaj Auto also plans to export the model to various markets in Europe next year too. For more information Bajaj have created a specific Chetak website here.
(main photos from Bajaj Auto, launch shot by www.gaadiwaadi.com)

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