Two Stroke Tuesdays E20 : 1964 Jawa 250 - The Jawaboy
The Jawa affair basically started from my uncle. He had 4-5 garages in the city back in the days and was a well reputed chain of service centres. He ran them as a franchise and my dad, being the youngest in the family worked with his brother in his garage after his school. Although the garages closed down one by one in 89, the love for these bikes remained.
As a child, my dad told me umpteen stories of the Jawa. I started to hear these stories from 4th standard. He told me he learnt to ride on a Jawa and that he used a stool to get on one when his feet couldn't reach. He told me it all the foot controls on one side and had a kicker that turned to the gear lever. Basically everything Jawa that I knew from my younger days came from my Father and his stories.
When I passed out of 12th, he gave me a check of 20000 and asked me to do take up a part-time job and get a bike by putting up the rest from what I earned. He was suggesting that I go for the regulars like a Splendour or the run of the mill Bajaj. But I was adamant that I would have only a Jawa for a first motorcycle. It was after all the bike my dad raved about all through my childhood. I guess I wanted to experience or get a feel for what he was going on about. I searched for about a year for a Jawa but couldn't get one. I was just not getting one that I could buy, not because there weren't any, but because there was no whereabouts of any on sale.
I finally got my Jawa through a mechanic that I knew. I used to to take him around in search for one starting every morning. I basically had to get him loaded on alcohol and take him where he ordered me. On the 4th day of the search, he took me to Satana village near Nashik. It was about an 80km journey one way. Went there on my friends Bajaj sunny. He took me to a well off person in the Village who apparently had a Jawa on sale. He agreed to sell it to me for a sum of 4500 rupees. I had 5000 rupees cash with me so I agreed immediately and asked to get the deal done then and there and give me the bike. He asked us to come back tomorrow to collect the bike as it was in a garage. He was very adamant on his terms. After much persuasion stating the distance we had travelled to get there, he finally agreed to take us there and get us the bike. We went to this closed garage and on opening the gate, we saw that the place was full of mud and swarming with pigs. The owner told us he had put in in the shop for getting it fixed but it happened to just sit there.
I could see just the chasis. I couldn't see any body panels as such. So I went around with a bucket and along with my hammered companion, slowly started rummaging for the pieces to my Jawa puzzle among the mud. I washed each part as I found it and kept it aside. I finally found all the parts exceptionalities for the body panels which were with a painter. So we went to the Painters, picked up the panels and brought the whole bike in pieces to my home in an auto. The bike sat at my home in bags for at least 4 months.
Finally, my dad took matters into his own hands and contacted an apprentice of my Uncle. His name was Abdul and he had a garage in Ahmed nagar. He told him the state of affairs and asked him to come over and identify which parts were needed to fix up . He added that he would get whatever parts were needed and would take them back to him for him to fix the bike up.
He came after almost a month and gave a list of whatever parts were missing. It took another two months to get all the parts needed and get the bike over to Abdul's garage. He loaded everything up on a bus and took it over to Ahmed Nagar and stayed there for 3 days while the bike was getting fixed up. The bike was completely dismantled and the engine was in pieces. The mechanic built the whole engine back up from the ground and assembled the bike in 3 days. On the night of the 3rd day, my father rode back to Nashik on the Jawa in a journey which was about 200kms.
50 kms before hitting Nashik, my father met with an accident while riding the Jawa and he lost the headlight. So on the break of the dawn the very next day, I woke up to the roar of my Jawa. My dad rode the bike in and I just couldn't believe my eyes. I hardly slept for the 3 days my father was away and there was no way to contact him or keep myself up to date on the proceedings as neither him nor I had a mobile phone at the time. I just had this hope that my dad would come back with the bike in about 4-5 days. On hearing the Jawa firing that morning, I was thinking I was still in a dream. It was only when my dad woke me up saying the bike is here that I came to terms with reality. I was taken over by a profound sense of euphoria. I had finally got my Jawa that I could actually ride after all this months of frustration.
Next thing I knew, I was on the bike and off riding it. I did not even know how the motorcycle worked and had no clue of how to ride it. I had only heard of how its kick turns to the gear. So I leapt out of bed and hopped on the Jawa hoping to ride it all on a whim. I rode for about 3-4 kms when the bike stopped all of a sudden because I didn't change down. I had no idea how to get it started and had to push the bike all the way back home. On getting back home, My dad told me how to get the bike started and how to ride it properly. He taught me how to put the bike in neutral and how to operate the kicker and gears. Even though my bike was nowhere close to being in good condition, I used it for at least 2-3 years. Then I decided that I had to build the bike and settled on getting the bike painted Tomato red with the chasis, wheels and engine in matte black.
I got a painter nearby my place to get the bike painted for me. I rented out his compressor for about 500 Rupees and paid him another 300 to get it painted over at my place. We brought everything to my home painted the whole bike right there. I rode the bike in this state for 4- 5 years and even attended IBW in Goa a couple of times on it. The first time I rode there was in 2014 and at that time, I wasn't even confident of getting there as my bike was not in the best condition. There were all kinds of noises coming from the engine and the signs did not look promising. Despite all this, the Jawa kept plugging on and I went there and returned in one piece without a niggle on the way.
I got my first Jawa in 2009 and by 2014, I was completely taken over by the bike. I was a man possessed by the brand and I ended up having 17 motorcycles which were a combination of Yezdis and mostly Jawas. By Diwali of 2014, I had the entire 17 motorcycles outside my home and I even remember my mom doing a Pooja ritual on them all. I took out loans and even sold my gold to get these motorcycles. I went to extreme lengths to fuel my passion for these bikes. This is what got me tag of Jawaboy and I have been known by that ever since.
Although I have sold most of the motorcycles from the above collection, I have kept a few Jawas and Yezdis that were the most close to my heart. I have also added other Two Strokes like a Vespa, a Lambretta and an RX 135 to my collection now. Notable among my collection of bikes would be my Yezdi with the full fairing and body kit, a Yezdi Deluxe 175 and my recently acquired Jawa 350/360 Twin that I sourced from Europe.
The work Jawa was etched in my mind since I could remember and as soon as I owned one, I fell in love with Two Strokes.The working of a Jawa is simple. All you need to do is ensure there is a current supply in the bike and that there was fuel in the tank and you were good to go. These were the only things you had to take note of and nothing more. You needn't worry about engine oil levels, brake oil, gear oil and all that sort of things. All that one had to keep track of in a modern motorcycle, you needn't bother in a Jawa.
Turn the tap on for the fuel and make sure there is a steady current flow and the bike would run no matter what state the motorcycle was in. The bike is a true fighter and keeps going. I mean it would bloody run even if the clutch cable was broken. It was just motorcycling at its purest form. It was raw, unrefined and unadulterated motorcycling at its best. You were treated to the glorious Jawa Two Stroke roar, the vibrations, the smell of the oil burning and the smoke bellowing out the signature twin exhausts from the back. You were made aware of what you were riding every second and you knew that you were alive. That was the thing about riding these old Jawas, you felt each beat of the engine. Being a two stroke, it meant that you were treated to more explosions from within the engine and this translated to more feel at the handle. Also, one power stroke every two strokes on a bike weighing no more than your average Big Mac meant you had the reigns to an absolute pocket rocket. The low centre of gravity meant the bike was nippy, nimble and could be ridden by riders of all kinds of size and experience.
The construction of the bike to was extremely simple and meant that anybody with a tool kit and basic engineering acumen could strip it down and build it back up. I just can't explain the love I have for these motorcycles. It is something that gets me going and something that will stay with me till the day I die. It is just like the Ideal Jawa tag went, it is a true Forever Bike!