Reinstating the charm of JAVA motorcycles

| Anoushka Thapliyal

If you are an Indian born before 1980’s you must have heard, seen or owned a Jawa bike in your early days. Bike’s like Jawa, Royal enfield, Rajdoot,Yezdi were quite a big thing back then. While some are still running heavy on the motorcycle industry, others have all but disappeared.  

Jawa bikeimage courtesy: Java motorcycles

Companies like Royal enfield and Jawa have always been strong competitors in performance, prestige and looks. However due to some intricate issues, Jawa stopped making their motorcycles.

But like there’s always light at the end of the tunnel; after a big sabbatical, Jawa is coming back stronger than ever.

Jawa bike
image courtesy: Java motorcycles

But why was Jawa so popular back then?

Jawa is a czechoslovakian brand found in 1929 by František Janeček who purchased motorcycle division of wanderer. It got its name from first two letters of  Janeček and Wanderer. By 1950’s Jawa reached great heights and was one of the top manufacturers in the world exporting to at least 120 countries.  

In 1961, Jawa made its royal entry to the Indian market via Rustom and Farrokh Irani. They started a firm called Ideal Jawa and started importing Jawa motorcycles in India. In the same year with the support of then king Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar a factory was established in Mysore.

During 1961-1971 Jawa sold  250/350 (Model 353/354) all across India. The demand kept growing and Idea Jawa launched ‘Yezdi’.

Jawa launched ‘Yezdi’image courtesy: Java motorcycles

For a young man growing in that generation it wasn’t just a bike, but magic. Pride is what people felt when they bought a Jawa bike. The motorcycle was an ultimate symbol of freedom and class.

So what exactly happened?

Yamaha and Honda started dominating the motorcycle industry and with the increasing levels of pollution norms and extensive labour troubles, Ideal Jawa was forced to shut down in 1996.

However, even after the shut down, these bikes were considered as collectables and several groups were created amongst people who shared common passion for Jawa bikes. 

So the thing is Jawa bikes are making a comeback. But why should you be excited?

Jawa launched ‘Yezdi’
image courtesy: Java motorcycles

On 15th November 2018, the brand unveiled its new 300cc engine and three new models Jawa, Jawa 42 and perak. These bikes come in total of 9 colors and will be powered by the new 293cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with DOHC. The engine churns out 27 hp and 28 Nm of torque with a 6 speed transmission. The company assures that the bikes will deliver generous mid-range and flat torque curve.

The classic Jawa is priced at 1.64 lakhs, Jawa forty two at 1.5 lakhs and Jawa Perak at 1.89 lakhs.

Jawa forty
image courtesy: Java motorcycles

Now that i’ve sold you on nostalgia and character of the ultimate machine.

You really need to think what you’re going to wear on such a beast. Simple clothing wouldn’t do. My advice would be chukka boots and leather jacket.

Motorcyclists and leather jackets go together like bonnie and clyde, Sherlock holmes and Dr.Watson, Batman and Robin. You get the point right? Anyway, coming back to chukka boots.

chukka boots

What are they? Chukka boots are ankle high leather boots with open lacing and two/three eyelets. They also come in suede but i think we can all agree, leather looks so much better.

But why are we singing chukka praises?

Well it’s because the vintage feel of the motorcycle parallels the boots. Chukka boots were originally worn by off-duty polo players as they were more comfortable.

Their design also resembles Jodhpur boots and the name comes from the Indian word chukkar which means a circle or taking a turn.

Shoes fit for royalty, they were made popular by Duke of Windsor who frequently wore them on and off the polo field.

Shoes fit for royalty

These shoes have a classic regal feel to them and they only enhance your overall appearance. That is why i would strongly suggest you to wear chukka boots whenever you go out on your bike.

I’m sure while reading this blog you’ve already imagined the feel you’ll get when you’re on your new Jawa motorcycle, donned head to toe in leather with chukka boots, ready to make the female population swoon. So go ahead and feel that feel for real.

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