Blogs

Bajaj Spirit: Gone, but not forgotten

The particular example of the Spirit that we laid our hands on was not in the perfect shape but while enjoying the ride Aninda was struck by nostalgia.

It had been given the award for the best scooter and best indigenous vehicle back in 2000 by Overdrive, which described it as a “perky little Bajaj Spirit”. Nearly 20 years on, I am cracking up like a hyena on Nitrous Oxide at the memory. It feels neither perky nor spirited. In fact, its three and a half horses and 60cc mill is laughable. The one I’m riding has been borrowed from a friend’s ex-girlfriend, no idea how he pulled that one off without getting killed, with immense difficulty. And lots of coaxing and cajoling.

“It feels neither perky nor spirited. In fact, its three and a half horses and 60cc mill is laughable”

But as it tuned out the scooter, or shall we say scooterette, appeared to be loyal to its mistress and refused to cooperate with anything we wanted it to do. Want to start it? Work at it. Want to stop it? Work at it. Want to keep going? Work at it. That the starter was broken is something I had expected. I remember the one on my friend’s secondhand Spirit that she used to ride around Pune back in 2003 when we were in college also needed to be kicked to life. But this? This will give you footballer’s legs if you ride it daily. More so, because the damn thing stalls every time you let go of the throttle. And of course, you’ll need those legs on the ground to get this thing to stop because it doesn’t really stop well. Well, it doesn’t stop at all unless the brake levers are touching the handlebars.

“Climbing the slope to do the lone pan shot that is needed for this column, saw me with the throttle pinned to the stop and paddling with my legs”

Climbing the slope to do the lone pan shot that is needed for this column, saw me with the throttle pinned to the stop and paddling with my legs. And of course people staring. It’s not everyday you see a nut job in a jacket, gloves and full face helmet trying to break in something quite so archaic and so ridiculously tiny. I’m sure they must have wondered, “What the hell is this bloke trying to do, riding something like this?”

“It’s not everyday you see a nut job in a jacket, gloves and full face helmet trying to break in something quite so archaic and so ridiculously tiny”

Thoughts that I remember thinking when my friend bought hers from a grease covered mechanic for four grand. She had another two grand in the kitty that went into repairing the thing. Her Spirit was far from perfect and spewed the thick white smoke that was the trademark of a two-stroke. Even so, you didn’t have to get off before a slope. And my friend, she didn’t mind the Spirit’s lack of performance. As long as it did the job. Of taking her from point A to B without her having to rely on Pune’s ridiculously-expensive-for- students and unreliable auto rickshaw network.

“Scooters back then weren’t fun to ride. But they were uncomplicated, light and easy to ride”

Which was the whole point of scooters back when the twist-and-go phenomenon was still in its early days. Irrespective of the marketing material handed out at showrooms, there was nothing stylish about these piddly machines. They weren’t fun to ride. But they were uncomplicated, light and easy to ride. They got the job done and nobody asked for more. Now, you get scooters that can pair with your phone! Hell, when did scooters become so complex?

Read our Hero Honda Karizma gone, but not forgotten blog here.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top