Stok­ing Nos­tal­gia

The Jawa mar­que has been res­ur­rected af­ter a long in­ter­reg­num. We rode the Jawa and Jawa Forty Two in royal Ra­jasthan. Here is our first im­pres­sion

Bike India - - FIRST RIDE - STORY: RAVI CHANDNANI PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: SAN­JAY RAIKAR

The retro bug has bit­ten many mo­tor­cy­cle com­pa­nies around the world. the lat­est to jump on the band­wagon is the re­cently res­ur­rected Jawa brand. the newly formed com­pany, called clas­sic leg­ends, is a joint ven­ture be­tween anand mahin­dra, bo­man irani, and anu­pam thareja and the first prod­uct to be launched is the Jawa and its dark-themed vari­ant, the Forty two. We rode both these bikes in ra­jasthan re­cently. to be­gin with, i spent most of the time with the Forty two. the ba­sic dif­fer­ences be­tween the Jawa and the Forty two are the han­dle­bar, the paint job, and the head­lamp cowl. apart from these, both the mo­tor­cy­cles are pretty much the same. both come with a 293-cc, sin­gle­cylin­der, liq­uid-cooled, Dohc, four-valve en­gine that pro­duces 27.3 ps and 28 nm. this en­gine is mated to a six-speed gear­box. a dou­ble-cra­dle frame houses the en­gine with a tele­scopic fork at the front and twin hy­draulic shocks with gas can­is­ters at the rear. brakes are pretty sim­ple with a 280-mm by­bre disc at the front and a 153-mm drum at the rear.

now, those are the ba­sic specs of both the bikes. it is the de­sign and styling that form the high­light of the Jawa and Forty two.

the com­pany spent a lot of time re­search­ing the styling of the orig­i­nal bike and it was dur­ing this re­search that they came to the con­clu­sion of pro­vid­ing the cus­tomers with a mo­tor­cy­cle that takes them on a nos­tal­gic trip. back in the day, Jawas were a com­mon sight and even to­day there are many clubs and en­thu­si­asts who can been seen rid­ing their old Jawa mo­tor­cy­cles proudly. this is ex­actly what the new bike does. the de­sign is quite close to that of the orig­i­nal mo­tor­cy­cle. its low and long stance, flat seat, side-pan­els, fuel-tank, spoke wheels, chromed twin shocks, and front fork all come to­gether to evoke nos­tal­gia.

the Forty two, how­ever, car­ries a dark theme with a blacked-out fork cover, a flat­ter and wider han­dle­bar, and a sin­gle re­verse speedome­ter. styling is one of the key el­e­ments that will help the com­pany at­tract more cus­tomers.

let us now move on to per­for­mance. to be­gin with, the first thing that i re­al­ized when i thumbed the starter but­ton and the en­gine came to life was the vi­bra­tion. at idle, vi­bra­tion isn’t both­er­some, but as you throt­tle up and start mov­ing, it only gets stronger. the vi­bra­tion some­what re­duces at 80 km/h but be­yond that it gets crazy again. this clearly in­di­cates that there is scope for im­prove­ment when it comes to re­fine­ment be­cause, cur­rently, it isn’t up to the mark.

next up is low- and mid-range ac­cel­er­a­tion, which is good and makes the Jawa easy to ride. the six-speed gear­box is smooth and the shifts are pre­cise. Fu­elling of both the bikes is good. there are no jerks or an on-off feel from the throt­tle. i liked the way the bike ac­cel­er­ated, though, as men­tioned ear­lier, the vi­bra­tion does tend to dampen the fun and it also makes high-speed cruis­ing both­er­some once you cross 100 km/h.

as for han­dling and ride qual­ity, both the bikes are iden­ti­cal. the front and rear sus­pen­sion is set on the firmer side, which means that on ul­tra-smooth roads these bikes of­fer a de­cent ride qual­ity. how­ever, on slightly bad roads to proper dirt paths, the ride qual­ity be­comes bumpy. ev­ery lit­tle un­du­la­tion fil­ters through to the rider. the rear sus­pen­sion is ad­justable but, de­spite be­ing set to the soft­est set­ting, the bike still felt quite firm. one would ex­pect the han­dling to be quite good given the fact that the sus­pen­sion is firm, but that wasn’t the case with both the bikes. it feels quite lazy to turn in and i did feel the front end twitch­ing at times, which doesn’t re­ally in­spire any con­fi­dence to push the bike hard into a cor­ner.

the main rea­son why the bike doesn’t re­ally han­dle that well is be­cause of the de­sign. the new Jawa fea­tures a taller 18-inch front wheel and a smaller 17-inch rear wheel. this shifts the weight from the front to the rear. When the rider sits on the bike, there is a greater load on the rear than on the front, which makes the front light and also the rea­son why it twitches. if Jawa ad­dress the weight-bias is­sue, the bikes will cer­tainly han­dle bet­ter.

at low speeds and in city traf­fic, the bike feels light and easy to man­age, but again the front-end twitch is what ru­ins the fun, at least for me. af­ter rid­ing the bike for more than 200 km, i felt that there is scope for im­prove­ment when it comes to ride qual­ity and han­dling as the cur­rent set-up doesn’t re­ally give the con­fi­dence to ride it hard.

brak­ing was good thanks to the 280-mm disc and twin-pot by­bre calipers with abs at the front. it has good feel and feed­back and the mrF tyres pro­vide good grip on most sur­faces.

over­all, the new Jawa and Forty two are two mo­tor­cy­cles that will mainly ap­peal to those who like the whole retro vibe and, of course, to Jawa en­thu­si­asts. how­ever, those look­ing to own a retro ma­chine with mod­ern tech­nol­ogy will be dis­ap­pointed as both the bikes are quite ba­sic and there is scope for im­prove­ment. an­other fac­tor that might lead to cus­tomer re­con­sid­er­a­tion is the price, rs 1.55 lakh for the Jawa Forty two and rs 1.64 lakh for the Jawa, which is more ex­pen­sive than the com­pe­ti­tion. nev­er­the­less, if you still want to go in for the Jawa just for old time’s sake, we would rec­om­mend you take a test-ride and come to your own con­clu­sion.

ABOVE LEFT : The head­lamp cowl with in­te­grated speedome­ter and slightly taller han­dle­bar sets the Jawa apart from the Forty TwoTOP: The 293-cc, liq­uid-cooled, sin­gle-cylin­der mo­tor lacks re­fine­ment but fea­tures good low and mid-range de­liv­ery

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