After a somewhat unsuccessful attempt at making a dent in the Indian scooter market, way back in 2007 with the Kristal DTS-i, Bajaj seems ready to make a comeback to this space. Now rumours about this have been around for the last few years, but if you remember well, it was our resident bike guru, Rishad, who first reported that the Pune-based two-wheeler giant will be bringing back its Chetak brand. You can read about it here
Well, seems he was right on the money with this one, as some new images have surfaced on the internet which seem to confirm that Bajaj’s new scooter will be here very soon and will indeed sport the Chetak moniker. But why get back to scooters, you may ask? Well, looking at the state of the Indian two-wheeler market, it’s amply clear that scooters are pretty much ruling the roost, or rather it’s just one scooter, the Honda Activa, that has been outselling all other two-wheelers in the country for a major chunk of this year. With just one manufacturer, and indeed just one model dominating this space, this certainly leaves room for other manufacturers to make a grasp at a piece of the pie here. And let’s not forget manufacturers like Vespa and Aprilia that have proven that there actually does exist a niche for specialised, premium scooters. Some years back, Rajiv Bajaj himself had commented that the company will be looking at getting back into the scooter space when the time is right. Well, it’s the perfect time we say.
So what do we know about this scooter? As of yet, not much. If the images are to be taken literally, then it looks like this new Chetak will be a mash-up of modern and classic, with distinctly new-age scooter lines up front, with a curvy aft section and sculpted seat reminiscent of retro scooters, namely the Vespa. From what we can understand, this will be a contemporary scooter, with modern-day suspension components, brakes and engine. The image, however, represents a drum brake setup with trailing-link suspension at the front. We’re a bit surprised that Bajaj, known for top-notch tech even in its commuter bikes, doesn't seem to have offered telescopic front forks and disc brakes. But at the end of the day, the company could offer these components as options, and in any case, it looks like Bajaj might be targeting the premium retro-modern segment much in the same way as Vespa does.
At this stage, there is absolutely no word on the engine, but it would be a fair estimate to put its cubic capacity roughly between 125-150cc. We don’t expect this engine to really break the mould in this segment, and guess that it’ll be an air-cooled, single-cylinder mill running a carburettor setup, but this motor could feature the company’s patented DTS-i tech. And while the Chetak of the past always featured a manual gearbox, this one should be equipped with a variomatic transmission, just like most modern-day scooters.
At this stage, it’s a little too early to say when the scooter will be launched or at what price. However, from what we understand, the launch might happen sometime as early as 2017 and knowing Bajaj, it's sure to undercut its competition when it comes to pricing.