Classic Legends, a subsidiary of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, relaunched today Jawa Motorcycles in India in three variants—the Jawa, Jawa Forty Two and the Jawa Perak bobber. The Jawa and Jawa Forty Two will retail at 1.64 lakh and 1.55 lakh, respectively, while the Perak—which hits the roads next year—is priced at 1.89 lakh. All prices here are ex-showroom, Delhi.

“This whole journey is a sheer result of serendipity, pronoia and that gut feeling," said Anupam Thareja, founder of Classic Legends and India-focused private equity firm Phi Capital, and one of the three “amigos" responsible for the revival of the Czech brand—the other two being Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra and Boman Rustom Irani, chairman and managing director of Rustomjee Group.

Jawa and Jawa Forty Two are powered by the same 293cc liquid-cooled, DOHC engine that produces 27bhp of power and 28Nm of torque. The single-cylinder engine, nestled in a double-cradled chassis, is designed to resemble the original two-stroke motor—complete with cigar-shaped end pipes. It is mated to a six-speed transmission and is Bharat Stage-VI ready.

Continuing with the “modern classic" theme, both the Jawa bikes have 18-inch spoke wheels in the front and 17-inchers at the rear. These are shod with MRF Nylogrip Zappers—90/90 fore and 120/80 aft. Braking duties are handled by a 280mm with floating caliper and ABS at the front and 153mm drum brakes at the rear. A telescopic hydraulic suspension and gas canister, twin-shock hydraulic take care of the suspension. Both the bikes have a tank capacity of 14 litres.

The new Jawa bikes will be made at Mahindra’s plant in Pithampur.

And here’s where the similarities end and differences begin.

The original: Jawa

The The speedometer sits aflush with the headlight nacelle on the Jawa. Photo courtesy: Jawa Motorcycles website
The The speedometer sits aflush with the headlight nacelle on the Jawa. Photo courtesy: Jawa Motorcycles website

With the Jawa, Classic Legends has chosen to stick with the ethos that defined the original Czech motorcycle—“simple, rugged and reliable"—so much so that they named the motorcycle after the first Jawa that was produced in 1929. No prefix, no suffix.

The Jawa, then, is decidedly retro—a hark back to the 1970s. The maroon paint scheme, chrome-embellished fuel tank and pinstripes at all the right places come together in just the right, classic proportions. The motorcycle can be had in black and grey, too, but you wouldn’t do that—not with that old-school headlight nacelle that wants to be maroon.

Jawa Forty Two: Yes, it’s the answer

According to Thareja, the Jawa Forty Two is the personification of what Jawa would have evolved into if it had remained in continuous production.

The Forty Two is a quirky classic—with its offset speedometer and bar-end mirrors. Photo courtesy: Jawa Motorcycles website
The Forty Two is a quirky classic—with its offset speedometer and bar-end mirrors. Photo courtesy: Jawa Motorcycles website

The Forty Two is a quirky classic—with its offset speedometer and bar-end mirrors, and understated paint schemes—Hally’s Teal, Galactic Green, Starlight Blue, Lumos Lime, Nebula Blue and Comet Red. There isn’t a nacelle upfront, like on the Jawa, but a simple round headlight sits flush at the top of the front forks. The seat is flat, as are the ’bars—ensuring that city rides are quick and nimble and highway jaunts a breeze.

If there was any motorcycle in India that could underscore the “retro modern" moniker, the Forty Two will be it.

If there was any motorcycle that could underscore the “retro modern” moniker, the Jawa Forty Two is it. Photo courtesy: Jawa Motorcycles website
If there was any motorcycle that could underscore the “retro modern” moniker, the Jawa Forty Two is it. Photo courtesy: Jawa Motorcycles website

The black sheep: Jawa Perak

The Perak stands out. ’nuff said.

Standing next to the Jawa and the Jawa Forty Two at the unveiling in Mumbai today, the Perak occupied a space of it’s own—and commanded it’s own paparazzi.

A true-blue European bobber in matte black flesh, the Perak is anti-social. Photo courtesy: Autocar
A true-blue European bobber in matte black flesh, the Perak is anti-social. Photo courtesy: Autocar

And why shouldn’t it? Just look at it! A true-blue European bobber in matte black flesh, the Perak is anti-social. It has space for one (a cantilevered seat) atop a monoshock suspension, demands commitment (drag bars, bar-end mirrors), and throws caution to the wind with its slash-cut, double-barrel exhausts. True, the familiar Jawa geometry is there, but you are not looking at it.

The Perak, when it gets launched next year, will get its own 334cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder motor that will make 30bhp and 31Nm.

Availability and pre-bookings

The Jawa dealerships are ready, but not yet open for customers. Sixty-four stores will be opened across major cities by early December while test drives and deliveries are expected to start by February 2019. Online bookings, however, have started at a booking amount of 5,000.

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