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Old 17th July 2015, 17:38   #1
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Default Restored: Dad's Bajaj Chetak comes back to life

Looking at ACMohan's tread on his restored Chetak, I decided its high time I shared the story of the restoration of our Chetak as well.

Restoring bikes doesn't come new to me and I have hands down experience rebuilding some bikes, which are incredibly rare in India.

Here is a link for those who are interested in reading further on these bikes, my Yamaha RD 200 & RD 125 http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...-rd-200-a.html (My Barn Finds: Yamaha RD 125 & RD 200)

Now coming back to our Bajaj Chetak. The Chetak is my fathers second two wheeler, previously he had owned a Enfield 200(not a great bike as per my father). The Chetak served him well over the years, with some usual niggles and he never felt the need to upgrade.
He is a teacher by profession and used the Chetak for is local commutes around South Mumbai.

I as a teenager have many fond memories of riding with my father on the Chetak. In our family of four back then, I used to normally stand in the front, with my mom holding my sister used to sit at the back. Then as i started growing tall at a past pace. my dad couldn't ride with me in the front and hence, slowly we stopped commuting on the Chetak and it was kept back in South Mumbai, where my father works. I still remember asking by father to get the Chetak during our summer vacations every year and go on a spin whenever possible.

So, as the years passed I always used to remind my father if ever the day comes when he plans to part away from the Chetak I would be the one who would buy it form him

Now, fast forward to December 2013, when the unthinkable happened. As mentioned above, the Chetak used to be kept in South Mumbai and my dad used to park it below the flyover near the Grantroad station every day as he has been doing for the past 20 plus years. Then one morning when he went to get the bike from the same place he was amazed to not find the bike where he had parked last night. Many thoughts started running in his mind as to what could have happened. After frantically searching for the Chetak around the flyover he spoke to the shopkeepers around if by chance the RTO guys towed it away for some reason. That's when one of the shopkeepers told my dad that last night some one was burning some rubbish lying around which lead to a few bikes catching fire. So the fire brigade was called and the cops took the burnt bikes to Lamington road police station. So my dad went to the police station and this is the site of the Chetak he was greeted with:


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Later when he spoke with the cops they informed him that he needs to get the original papers of the bike and that they are doing an investigation post which only the Chetak can be taken from their custody.

That night he came home and told us what had happened and we were all devastated looking at the state of our Chetak. My dad frequently kept visiting the cops to get an update, but as usual they told him they are still investigating and would need more time. So, slowly my dad started loosing hope and plus he wan't sure what would he do even after getting the Chetak from the cops. So one day when I asked him for an update he told me that he will let the Chetak be with the cops and mostly buy an Activa for his commuting purpose. That's is when I reminded him again the Chetak is not going anywhere and if you're not interested then I am going to get it out from the cops and restore it to its fully glory myself. Hearing this he started inquiring with me whether it would be possible to restore it back to original as the Chetak is no longer manufactured. I assured him that it can be and it will be done. No way we were letting the Chetak go and it still had many more years to serve us.

So, finally after many months my dad got a call from the cops that he could collect the bike. So, on a Saturday we arranged for a tempo to get the Chetak from lamington road. The tempo was supposed to reach the police station directly and I and my dad set off on my Ninja 650(now sold). This is the condition the Chetak was lying at the police station over the months after the fire incident.

Restored: Dad's Bajaj Chetak comes back to life-img_2507.jpg

There was work going on in the police compound and the workers had dumped all the rubble next to the Chetak making it difficult to move it. So while we thinking what to do a cop came walking towards us and asked us what was the issue. We explained the situation and he asked the laborers working in the compound to help us out. While the Chetak was being pulled out their was a sea people standing in the neighboring building wondering what are we doing with this burnt up Chetak. That's when I told my dad that they should see the bike(Ninja 650) we came on to collect the Chetak


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Another sad sight of an R1 lying in the same compound, which was impounded by the cops.
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A Rajdoot 175 which belonged to a cop
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So the Chetak was loaded up in the tempo and taken to my friend Tony's place in Malad, where it was to be worked upon.

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My dad's half faced helmet which was totally deformed in the fire.
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To be continued...

Last edited by SnS_12 : 17th July 2015 at 21:18.
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Old 17th July 2015, 19:52   #2
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Default re: Restored: Dad's Bajaj Chetak comes back to life

Now, comes the difficult part of sourcing each and every part of the Chetak. Since the bike was so badly burnt up almost every part had to be sourced new, wherever possible. The body of the bike was in a bad shape and nothing could be done about it. The chances of getting a bran new body were next to none, so, we had to look for a donor bike. The mechanic who was working on the bike started the process of looking for a donor bike. Got a few but the body condition was not up to our expectation. So finally after a lot searching we landed up with two donor bikes. Both models were not the same as my dad's Chetak, but this was the best the mechanic could manage and he to use the best parts of both bikes.

Some pics of the donor bikes:

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Once we finalized on the body parts they were sent off for painting. The shade chosen was the same shade I had painted MR RD 125 parts in, which was titanium.

The engine was stripped off and fitted with a new block and piston. Pics of the same below:

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Once the engine was completely rebuilt and all the painted parts had arrived the process of reassembling the Chetak started

Coming back to life

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Finally, after all the ups and downs the day arrived when we could bring the Chetak back home.

The overall cost was around 50k, which includes cost of the donor bikes, painting, spare parts and labour and it took a year to be completed.

Love at first sight
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Happy Ending....

Last edited by SnS_12 : 18th July 2015 at 08:43. Reason: Added cost of restoration and time taken.
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Old 20th July 2015, 14:52   #3
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Default Re: Restored: Dad's Bajaj Chetak comes back to life

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the 2-wheelers section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 20th July 2015, 15:21   #4
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Default Re: Restored: Dad's Bajaj Chetak comes back to life

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnS_12 View Post
...
Happy Ending....
Total cost 50K
Total time 1 Year

But the look on your father's face... Priceless!

There are truly some things that money cannot buy.

Awesome work! Take a bow sir
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Old 6th September 2015, 12:27   #5
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Default Re: Restored: Dad's Bajaj Chetak comes back to life

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnS_12 View Post

Happy Ending....
Mate, what a journey!

Its very heartening to see such threads, which show how an automobile must be cared for - not to be treated as an assemblage of metal and plastic, a machine for commute, but rather a loving member of family

I have time and again spoken to my neighbor who is letting his Chethak slowly rust, and I even offered him help to get it restored. I will show him this thread, and hope for the best.
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