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Preface: Jawa needs no introduction. The brand has made a re-entry into the Indian bike market with the help of Classic Legends Private Limited. Two models are currently on sale, the Jawa (Classic) and the Jawa 42. The latter is priced at Rs 1.55 lakh and also the affordable of the two. We rode this one extensively and here is our verdict on the bike.
Old school charm: We are sure the 42 will be appreciated by the young at heart. It's not only more affordable but also has less chrome and look a lot ‘modern’ and ‘younger’ than the regular Jawa or the classic version. This one also offers you matt finish for the paint scheme without missing out on the old-world charm of the brand. So, you get a round headlamp, spoke wheels and there is lack of any body panels around. The rear fender is exposed and the retro lines work in tandem to make the bike look cool enough for your ego requirements. See the off-set speedometer console? This one even gets ‘opposite’ needle for the speed.
The engine looks big for the capacity and fills up the space below the tank properly. What’s unique here is that the Jawa bikes get a twin exhaust set-up and this along with the large radiator adds to the bulk quotient. This may be a 293cc motorcycle but the mechanical mass makes it look from a segment above. There is black treatment for the front suspension upper part, the mirrors and the single pod console. Chrome on the other hand is only visible around the engine casing, rear suspension and the silencers.
Prospective owners will be happy to see that the Jawa brand name is visible at places - right from the handlebar grips to the inside of the lamp and even the rear seat.
Basic features sorted: Don’t expect the bikes to pamper you with features. This isn’t its forte at all. You do get the basic kit of an electric start, front disc and a single channel ABS but that’s about it. Dual channel ABS will be offered from June 2019 onwards.
Heart of the matter: Classic Legends is a subsidiary of Mahindra and this means, for the new age Jawas, access to the Mahindra Mojo’s motor was available. So, no surprises then, the Jawa bikes also make is of the same 293cc but with heavy revisions. The engine is also tuned to deliver excellent low-end punch along with a seamless and smooth mid-range torque band. It generates 27 bhp of power which is about 35% more than what its rival, the Classic 350 manages. Maximum torque stands at 28 Nm and do remember, the Jawa 42 is about 22 kilos lighter than its chief competitor.
Apart from the numbers, the engine is clearly inspired from the good old Jawa 250 - this is evident from the fact that it retains the forward inclined oval crankcase. Further, the 293cc unit is the first liquid cooled motor in the world to sport machined exterior fins and the company claims it meets the upcoming emissions norms. Sorted. The engine comes mated to a 6-speed gearbox as standard. How good is it? Read on…
Performance on tap: The first thing that hits you hard is the smoothness on offer. The thump is certainly missing but blip the throttle and the twin exhausts mean business. Owners can even remove the DP killer from the exhaust outlets and once you do this, the bike sounds oh-so-sweet! The crackles at higher revs are certainly addictive.
We rode the Jawa 42 on a mix of open four lane highways and narrow countryside twisties leading to our destination. The highway run first. The bike has enough juice to do speeds that will put you into a trouble spot easily. 50 comes up in the first gear, 75 in 2nd and given the road, the Jawa 42 will show a clean pair of heels to the Enfield 350. The speedometer will eventually go over 130 easily and keeping an indicated 90-100 km/h all day long is not an issue for the engine.
Vibrations at these speeds are very well controlled too. This is a boon for those who will using the bike for weekly Sunday rides. The engine has been co-developed at Mahindra Racing’s Varese facility in Italy and should be reliable in the long run. Also, as you go thru the gears, you appreciate the slick shifting nature of the gearbox. We didn't encounter any false neutrals even when we resorted to clutches shifts.
As we left the highway for narrow rural roads, there was a paradigm shift in the way the bike behaved. And we mean this in a good way. Our speeds came down to 50-70 km/h and with light traffic for company, we made fast progress through winding roads. With the gearbox in 5th, there was more than ample torque at the lower end of the rev range. At these speeds, the Jawa 42 made such fun-commutes a very easy and fuss-free affair.
Comfort: The countryside roads weren’t too smooth but the suspension did its job rather well. We must add here that the stock seat is bothersome and needs extra padding. We had to take a break every 30-45 for our backsides - it was that bad!
At the end of the three-hour ride, our palms weren’t shaking - vibrations are that controlled and the engineering folks deserve a big thumbs up for this. No matter what rev range you are in, the bike largely remains smooth. We like the way the suspension works too with the front offering 135mm of travel and the rear being adjustable in five steps. It offers a very good balance between ride and handling. Not that the Jawa 42 will not offer you ‘knee down’ moments - it just pushes you to ride in a slightly relaxed manner. And isn’t this what a typical customer wants?
The upright riding posture along with the wider handlebars (as compared to the normal Jawa) also aids in terms of a relaxed and comfortable posture. The Jawa 42 comes with an 18-inch wheel up front and 17 inches at the back. And because these are spoke wheels, tyres aren’t tubeless! In terms of pillion comfort, the 42 doesn’t live up to our expectations. First, the seat isn’t generous in terms of length and second, the grab handles aren’t big enough.
Verdict: When a marque makes a re-entry, expectations tend to run high. The Jawa 42 in this case, not only meets these demands but also impresses us with the entire package. Easy to ride, looks great and rides even better. Pricing is spot on and deliveries have not started across the country. If you have always wanted an alternative to the now common Enfield, this one needs your attention.
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