For decades, Bajaj Chetak has always been synonymous with the word “scooter”. Designed and engineered to be commuter-friendly, the Chetak defined what bikes should be, easy to use and accessible in terms of cost and convenience.
Decades later, as we stand at the start of the electric revolution, the company has transformed the iconic moniker in a new, electric avatar. But with dime a dozen e-scooters in the market, each with its own set of quirks, can the Chetak create for the e-scooter the same cult-following as it did for the regular variant?
Built in India, for Indian roads and weather, the Chetak gets a full metal jacket, the first for any e-scooter in India. This allows it to tackle any terrain you throw at it while looking good.
And look good it does. Looks are subjective, but it is sure to turn the heads of most people when they see the new Chetak pass by. The designers have managed to blend the old with the new, giving the scooter a neo-retro look. This can be seen in its overall silhouette consisting of flush fitted panels and gentle curves all around the bodywork. Modern elements like a round, digital instrument cluster, sequential blinkers and the horseshoe-shaped DRL are neatly integrated into the design as well.
Complementing the stylish appearance is the single-sided rear swingarm and a 12-spoke alloy wheel setup. There’s something timeless about the design, which strikes the perfect balance between the future and the past.
The scooter comes packed with cutting-edge technology. While the first-generation Chetak existed in the time of rotary telephones and PCOs, the new Chetak brings connectivity to your fingertips. Thanks to the Chetak App, riders can accept/ reject calls, monitor vehicle data, change music, save documents and even track where the e-scooter is parked. The Chetak starts with a press of a button, without having to remove your keys from your pocket, a feature only seen in premium cars.
But that’s not it. Along with two riding modes, Eco and Sports, the Chetak gets a much-needed ‘reverse’ mode, a functionality not seen on the majority of e-scooters in India. All of this is aided by OTA (over-the-air updates), which ensures that the onboard software is always up to date.
Packing 0.005PS peak power and 16Nm of torque, the Chetak promises to have enough grunt to tackle city runabouts. On paper, the e-scooter offers a range of 90kms per charge, thanks to its 3.0kWh lithium-ion battery pack. While this should be enough for everyday commute, in case you do find yourself looking for a plug point, the Chetak can be topped-up anywhere (with a 5A household charging socket) from 0-90+kms in just four hours, the quickest in the industry.
Unlike some e-scooters that may behave unpredictably in tricky weather conditions, the Chetak’s IP67 rating makes sure you don’t have to worry about crossing our pool-sized potholes in the monsoon. Yet another party trick here is its solid gear transmission, instead of a belt-driven system seen on conventional scooters, which allows for a smooth jerk-free riding experience.
Speaking of jerk-free riding, the e-scooter allows for something called a ‘kick-down mode’ where it temporarily switches from ‘Eco’ mode to ‘Sports’ mode, in order to perform an overtake. There are other similar user-friendly functionalities sprinkled across the Chetak, like its ‘limp mode’, where performance and throttle response is automatically muted in favour of battery conversation. Considering the nascent stages of two-wheeler battery technology in India, it comes with a 3-year/50,000km warranty.
Overall, the Chetak is the perfect amalgamation of bleeding-edge technology with just the right amount of nostalgia that tips the balance in its favour. Living up to the legacy of an iconic moniker that captured the imagination of an entire nation wasn’t the easiest of tasks, to be frank. But it had to be Bajaj to nail it with perfection.