Are Bajaj motors worth buying

Bajaj Chetak 125/150

out bma 03/98

by Klaus Herder

The other day at the gas station: “You've done a great job of restoring the Vespa. How old is she? " "The scooter is brand new." “Yes, yes - you can see that the Vespa is new. But what year of construction is it? " “It's not a Vespa, it's a Bajaj. And the year of construction is 1997. ” At this point in the dialogue there is two possibilities. Either the questioner feels ripped off and leaves the scene shaking his head. Or he just wants to know everything about this sea-green unique specimen that looks like a Vespa, but actually isn't one. A few background information can't hurt: Bajaj (pronounced "Batjasch") - correctly Bajaj Auto Ltd. - is the largest vehicle manufacturer in India, the world's second largest scooter manufacturer and after all number four or five among the world's largest two-wheel giants. The company, based in Poona in southwest India, builds two- and three-wheelers from 50 to 150 ccm with over 17,000 employees. And around 800,000 of them annually. India is the second largest motorcycle market in the world, where Bajaj has a market share of around 50 percent. That means that over seven million Indians drive Bajaj.

In Germany, the "Indian madness" is not quite as pronounced. At the beginning of the eighties, the legendary Fritz “I import everything” Röth took care of the tinny warhorse (Chetak was the name of the horse of the famous Indian warrior Maharan Pratap). The import attempt resulted in a legal dispute with Vespa. The Italian parent company was the licensor for Bajaj many years earlier, but the relationship ended in a dispute and the Indians have been diligently producing for their own account ever since. Since the beginning of the nineties, the "Bajaj Motorfahrzeuge Vertriebsgesellschaft für Europa mbH" has officially taken care of the import of the million seller. Horex, Jawa and MZ-B customers are also supplied at the same address (Straße am Heizhaus, 10318 Berlin, phone 030/5099413).
The Bajaj Chetak has probably never been as valuable as it is today, because the flood of plastic-wrapped and incredibly user-friendly automatic scooters is causing a backlash among more and more people interested in scooters. “Back to the sheet metal” is the motto of the plastic opponents, and this is where a hand-switched veteran in the 1960s outfit of the Vespa Sprint comes in at the right time.
But not only the self-supporting cladding of the 3150 Mark cheap oldies is pure scooter stone age, fortunately the technology hidden under the sheet metal is too. E-starter, automatic starter, water cooling, separate lubrication - these are all just bells and whistles for warm showerers. Purists only need the classic, fan-cooled two-stroke single-cylinder engine, a kick starter, a choke and nothing else. Essential model maintenance measures were practically limited to the introduction of an electronic ignition. The petrol / oil mixture in a ratio of 1:50 is of course still mixed by yourself, because what is not there (oil pump) cannot break.
Disc brakes are not required to come to a standstill from a top speed of almost 90 km / h. Two drum brakes can do that - at least in theory - too.
Dealing with the Bajaj Chetak is surprisingly pleasant. Provided that you have a heart for oldies and the story is approached positively: turn the fuel tap, pull the choke - the Indian almost always jumps at the first step. The kick starter runs smoothly and is very generously dimensioned, but protrudes so far on the right side that it reliably bores into the driver's calf when maneuvering.
In recent years, Chetak buyers still had the choice between the “Standard” models with bench and “Classic” models with a rocking saddle and pillion bun, but from this year there will only be the much nicer oldie with individual seats. As wonderfully comfortable as the driver is on the saddle, the pillion has to be tough. The small cushion mercilessly passes on the blows coming through the weak rear suspension. To make matters worse, the pillion rider sits a little lower than the driver and therefore has to "blindly" surrender to his fate. However, as I said, the Chetak rider is very comfortably accommodated, there is enough foot space and the huge storage compartment on the leg shield does not unnecessarily restrict freedom of movement.
The clutch calls for a firm grip, but the four gears of the twist grip shift neatly into place. The rotary valve-controlled two-stroke pushes the scooter, which weighs 108 kilos with a full tank, surprisingly fast. The urban limit of 50 km / h is reached after just five seconds. The 125 has an output of 6.8 hp, while the 150 has just 0.8 hp more - in practice the difference is hardly noticeable. On the contrary: the weaker Chetak is even a bit more agile and easy to turn than its big brother. No matter how much displacement the Chetak has, the engine always runs robustly and accordingly loudly. The vibrations and the roar are hardly annoying - provided you have the aforementioned heart for two-stroke oldies.
The straight line of the Chetak is moderate, the cornering behavior mostly resembles an egg dance. This is due to the tightened right-hand engine. Real professionals find such a constellation a challenge and adapt their driving style accordingly. Note: Anyone can drive a plastic toilet, tin rollers are only for specialists.
The two drum brakes also require a very foresighted driving style. The front stopper has practically nothing to offer other than its presence, to make the rear ten-inch rubber whistle, it has to be slapped on the pedal quite brutally.
The processing, especially the painting and the processing of sheet metal edges, is Indian-casual, but acceptable with a little rework and good care. Really annoying, however, are the wobbly locks. The light and the equipment with spare wheel, two storage spaces (the second is in the left buttock), two decent rear-view mirrors and suitable on-board tools are surprisingly good. The purchase price is unrivaled, and the consumption is just okay with just under four liters of mixture. The 7.7 liter tank capacity is enough for around 200 kilometers at a time, until the usual questions and discussions arise again at the next refueling stop.
The Bajaj Chetak is one of the few opportunities to be able to buy a brand-new classic car suitable for everyday use. The show and fun value are correspondingly high.