Two Stroke Tuesdays E28 : Bajaj Priya - The Cute Vintage
The Bajaj motorcycle corporation set off in India by selling Vespa scooters under license in collaboration with the Italian mark. The Bajaj Super or Bajaj 150 scooter was a licensed reproduction of the eight inch-wheeled Italian Vespa Super. Once the deal between the two parties expired in 1977, Bajaj set off on its own to produce its own version of the nimble and miniscule Italian trotter along with Maharashtra Scooters. The Bajaj Priya was thus born, with a nearly identical design to the Bajaj 150.
Photo Credits - Paul Hart via flickr
The Priya was a smash hit among the Indian motorist as sales soared and models kept evolving up until the scooter division of Bajaj became defunct in 2006 due to tightening emission norms and changing demands.
Photo Credits - Wikimedia Commons
So with Bajaj reviving its famous Chetak moniker in EV form, we trace back to the roots of the Middle Class workhorse in the Priya. We get to know why these beauties of yesteryear are such fun rides and are hot favorites with Two Stroke enthusiasts along with the Vespa 150.
We are in Kerala to talk to Arjun who owns two of these beauties to get to know why they are an enthusiast’s dream and get to understand why he prefers them over the Lambys and Vijai Super’s of the world.
I am Arjun E.V. and I am a Two Stroke lover and a motorcycle enthusiast based in Calicut, Kerala. I am the proud owner of 6 beautiful Two Stroke motorcycles among which two are Bajaj Priyas.
My love for the Priya actually stems from its original, the Vespa 150. As a Two Stroke lover, my need for speed was taken care of with the two Yamaha Rx’s I own. So, as a means to slow on down and enjoy the nuances of the Two Stroke motorcycle that one would otherwise miss while ripping it on a faster bike, I turned to the modest comfort of the Two Stroke scooter.
I was always the fan of the cute and colorful Vespas, with their attractive rear end that was shaped like a swan, their overall round design, the eight inch wheels that were as cute as a button, it’s short wheelbase and overall lean built. I desperately wanted to own one for myself but I just couldn’t find one for myself. So after a failed attempt with the boxier later model chetak, I was gradually turned to the Priya. It caught my fancy as soon as I clapped eyes on it as it was basically the same Vespa but for some minor changes and was more available.
Photo Credits - pxhere
I searched far and wide for a Priya in good nick and even came desperately close few times with seemingly done deals falling through at the last minute. I finally got one from neighboring Tamil Nadu where I did my college education. I ran it for a while before I was made aware of a couple of them that were for sale in the capital, Trivandrum. Before you know it, I was on the next train there with some cash in hand.
The fact that I have owned three of them over the years is a testament to how much I love these old timers. Although I had to part ways with my first Priya to make way for some funds to work on my other motorcycles, I still retain the two I bought back home here in Kerala. I kept the two because they had the old registration that went with the whole vintage theme. Also, I am a stickler for original and unrestored, which is why I have kept one of them just the way I got it. As for the other, I took to doing a restoration job on it as I still had that desire for a Vespa that was loud with a bright paintjob and reflected my personality. So I did the resto job my way and painted it Yellow.
They are a breeze to run. They are 150cc and have the eight inch Vespa wheels. Added to that the short wheelbase and overall miniscule size means they are very lively even with them pushing just a smudge above 6hp. They have three gears and the power is very encouraging for even a novice rider. It doesn’t require manhandling like some of the powerful scooters like the Lamby and the Vijai Super.
Also, being a bajaj with Piaggio engineering, they are pretty bulletproof and runs without any niggles. Even if you stumble upon any problems, they can be easily sorted and parts are cheap and available in plenty as they are mostly interchangeable with those of the Chetak.
People love seeing the Priya on the road apparently. It spreads joy and laughter wherever I seem to go. People wind down their glasses and give me compliments from inside their cars at Traffic lights and the old folk never hesitate to come up to me and strike a conversation about the Priya. They talk to me about how reliable they were, how they once had one or just complimenting how it looks. Every time I park it somewhere, I come back to a small crowd around it taking pictures of it and even people sitting on it and getting themselves a good portrait.
I remember the time I went to get the Yellow scooter’s papers renewed, the cop who was in charge of scrutinizing the vehicle before giving the go ahead didn’t even bother to check it fully. Instead he asked me if he could take it for a spin and later complimented me on how good it looks and how good of a job I had done in restoring it. It just gives me so much joy!
As for my motorcycles, I plan to enjoy each and every one of them as much as I possibly can, as long as I can. Even if they are deemed illegal eventually, I’ll run them in circles around my house for that fit of joy. I’ll park them where everyone can see and enjoy their beauty as well as sharing them with the world. There is a saying about motorcycles that I connect with a lot in life and what I plan to do till the day I die – “It’s all about putting the fun between your legs” . And that is exactly what I plan to do with each of my beauties.
Check out Arjun on Instagram @arjun_ev