Jawa is back! : Resurrecting the legend
Imagine the 70’s with its outlandish fashion sense, polka dot patterns, bright colours, transistor radios and music by Boney M. The Jawa used to roam the streets in India during these exciting times along with their contemporary Royal Enfield foes.
But the good times were brought to an end with Jawa-Yezdi folding their production in India, with 1996 being the swansong year of the motorcycle. So when Anand Mahindra teamed up with Anupam Thareja and Boman Irani and announced that they are bringing the much loved moniker back with the unveil of an all new Jawa, the world held its collective breath in anticipation. It felt like the clock had stopped and when the company, after teasing bikers with some juicy details, released the bike on Nov 15, the motorcycling community celebrated the second coming of their loved one.
Much like one’s favourite band getting back together, Jawa has been resurrected from its ashes to serve enthusiasts with three piping hot new hit singles. A retro and period faithful reimagination of their all time hit - the Jawa. A jazzy version titled the Jawa 42, which, in essence Jawa’s answer to the question of it being relevant to the younger customer. A bobber version of the Jawa called the Perak, which is to be introduced later as a factory custom motorcycle, which marks the entry of Jawa into the popular bobber bandwagon.
For those of who are unfamiliar with the brand, here’s a cruise down memory lane:
What is Jawa?
Jawa is a motorcycle manufacturer founded in Prague, then Czechosloviakia in 1929 by František Janeček, who bought the motorcycling division of Wanderer. So the Jawa name is derived from the initials Ja from the founder and Wa from the parent company from which it was spawned. Introduced In 1950s in India, production of Jawas were carried out in India by Ideal Jawa India Ltd. Under license based out of Mysore, starting in the early 60’s. Earlier models were manufactured in Czechoslovakia and bore the CZ Jawa emblem on the side of the fuel tank while locally made models had a O within the Jawa emblem.
What was it famous for?
They were famous for being the weapon of choice mostly for young riders with its beautiful styling, signature twin cigar-shaped exhausts and attractive colour schemes. It was also a very fast bike for the time owing to its overall lean built. Moreover, it was a very peppy and rapid motorcycle back in the day, owing to the two stroke nature of the engine and also the company’s many historic involvements in racing. It was a popular option for motorcyclists alongside the RE bullet at the time.
Jawa brochure from 1953. This was something highlighting their exploits and triumphs on the racetrack.
Who were their riders?
Jawas came from a time when practicality meant owning a scooter. Only the enthusiasts used to opt for motorcycles and the Jawa was a very popular choice among motorcyclists. The bike had a huge following in India, thanks to its chic exterior and lively two stroke motor. They were owned by individuals looking for a fun motorcycle. It used to be all about the sun getting the wind in your hair while enjoying a brisk evening ride on your favourite stretch of tarmac.
The company certainly did their part in getting the motorcycling community very excited. We can now safely say, after seeing three brand new bikes from the company being launched simultaneously, their seems to be a renewal of vows with the company and its fanbase.
The new motorcycles:-
A modern day reincarnation of the old Jawa by being faithful to the classic lines and general ethos of the old bike. They are calling the classic looking version as simply the ‘Jawa’. The bike has been adorned with the traditional handle that emerges from the speedo and headlamp housing. It has a halogen bulb setup as opposed to a more modern LED setup. Jawa have also provided the new bike with a period correct and jazzy looking speedo and guage cluster complete with a digital screen that is subtly incorporated into it.
The company has also given the motorcycle a period tank design and stripes complete with the vintage Jawa logo on the side of the tank. The retro-looking horn that is positioned true to that of the old one, tucked away under the headlight between the front forks adds to the nostalgia surrounding the new bike. The company has gone for a liberal use of chrome on the bike to keep it true to its old school roots.
The Jawa is available in 3 colours – Jawa Black, Jawa Grey and Jawa Maroon, which was the launch colour for this variant. It is aimed mainly at the purist looking for the look and feel of the old classic but with modern day real world usability.
The Jawa 42
The Jawa 42 is a modern day take on the classic Jawa. It comes with a contemporary, hip design that includes a retro, old school headlamp, modern looking wide handlebars. The contemporary single pod speedo and gauge cliuster which is offset to the right of the rider further adds to the whole modern day appeal of the bike.
The no nonsense colour schemes and minimal use of chrome further aims to make the bike appealing to the modern day motorcyclist as well.
The 42 meanwhile, is available in 6 colours which includes the launch colour Luminous Lime, as well as Halley’s Teal, Galactic Green, Nebula Blue, Starlight Blue and Comet Red.
Jawa took the whole world by surprise when it launched the Perak along with the Jawa and 42. It is Jawa’s attempt to break in to the bobber segment which is gaining traction nowadays. It is a very tastefully done bike with all the classic Jawa cues, but with a dash of old school bobber. It has a higher capacity 334cc motor as opposed to the standard 293cc unit. It is scheduled to be a later release and would be available as a factory custom motorcycle.
Photo shows a Jawa brochure from 1953. We wonder if this was an inspiration for the new Perak. Photo Credits : John Lloyd via flickr
Jawa have definitely succeeded in carrying over the spirit of the old bike in terms of overall looks and make up. The have stuck to the principles on which the band has been conceived around, employing a very retro and organic looking engine design reminiscent of the old workhorse. The signature looking twin exhausts complete the old school look of the bike.
Barring the radiator and the front disc brake, the bike stays true to the original form of the Jawa. They have also paid attention to fine details with the engraved fuel cap with branding that can be customized as per customer specification. Our only gripe against the new bikes after seeing first impressions would be that of the absence of a traditional kick start and that of the engine’s visual beauty being hampered by the radiator set up from the front.
Jawa is a breath of fresh air into a world of motorcycles that is dominated by stats about speed, acceleration and fuel efficiency. It is meant for those who ride for the pure joy of riding motorcycles. Its been decades since the Royal Enfield has been challenged properly by a manufacturer.
It has got the world excited about its motorcycles and we can not wait for the first ones to hit the road.
The essence of their motorcycles are portrayed beautifully in their new advertisement:-
To know more about them, check out their website. You may just fall in love and book yourself one!
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