For racers and enthusiasts, the Jawa legacy lives on

Former racers (from left) Ravichandran, Jayant, Ravi Thirumalai, Gautam Kadam, CK Chinnappa and Balamuralikrishna pose with the new Jawa during the launch of Safina Motors in Bengaluru on Thursday. Janardhan BK/ DH Photo

When the daredevil bike racers of yore, bike enthusiasts and keen public come together, it turns out into a festival of biking.

It was a trip down memory lane with a modern touch when Jawa dealership, Safina Motors (owned by the Sait family), was launched here on Thursday evening. The Sait family ran this very Jawa and Yezdi dealership back in the two-stroke days.

When former racers CK Chinnappa, Somender Singh, Ravichandran, Jayant, Ravi Thirumalai, Gautam Kadam, Balamuralikrishna came together, there was a flood of memories of races at Sholavaram or Calcutta.

It was also a happy occasion for members of the Bangalore Jawa Yezdi Motorcycle Club (BJYMC). They had turned out in large numbers, on their old two-stroke bikes, to see the new model and to also welcome new members of the four-stroke Jawa.


Old two-stroke Jawa bikes. Janardhan BK/ DH Photo

Boman Irani, CMD of Rustomjee Group, is a happy man. He is from the family that manufactured Jawa and Yezdi at the plant in Mysore. Ideal Jawa (India) Ltd. became defunct in 1996. Jawas were initially imported and production began in the early 1960s.

“The Jawa is what our Irani family brought into India. Jawa is what we have contributed in terms of nation building. Whether it was young people, office-goers, people in the farmlands or milkmen, they all used the Jawa,” he reminisced. “I am super happy to see the Jawa back in this avatar.

“I must have prayed very hard in my life to see this become a reality. Jawa runs in my blood. When it went away for some time, I reached out to a lot of different people and companies to try and bring it back. Now that we have the fortune of having this venture with Classic Legends, I think it will be great going forward,” he said.

There is a special connection between Ideal Jawa and Karnataka. The factory was in Mysore. “My recollection was as a young kid with a t-shirt and shorts walking around the factory and meeting factory staff on the shop floor. When I became a little older, I recall riding the bikes that were in the R&D, testing stage and on the track,” he reminisced.

The look of the Jawa and Jawa forty two has been kept the same from the past. The only change is that the current Jawa is powered by a four-stroke engine. Asked if he and people miss the two-stroke version, Irani said: “The thing that worked with the Jawa is that we have kept all the original things. We have also tried to keep the sound as close as possible to the old two-stroke engine.

“The new one has all the characteristics of the old motorcycle. The old one had low centre of gravity, was very easy to ride, good in straights and very easy on twisty roads. The new bike has these characteristics as well. You can to 120 or 130 Kmph on the highway and the bike will be like it is on rails,” he stated.


Visitors appreciate an old Jawa. Janardhan BK/ DH Photo

More than anything else, the cult following has not died down at all. “The Jawa was very close to the hearts of people. The worship of the brand has really pleased me and also thrown me off my chair. We always knew that the bike will appeal to people of all ages,” he stated.

“In the online bookings, the highest segment is of people between the age of 23 and 44. That is a great sign that the younger generation absolutely loved what they saw and wanted a piece of history. People have created a culture for themselves around in their lives.”

Veteran bike and car racer and rallyist Chinnappa said: “I hope people appreciate the effort put in by the Irani family and the company. The workmanship is excellent. There have been a large number of bookings and they have put trust in this brand.”

BJYMC was founded in 2007 by Sam, Lokesh, Brian and Amrit.

Sam is absolutely thrilled. “Jawa was the pioneer who made a bike that anybody and everybody could ride. It was an all terrain bike. When we test rode the bike and I think it matched the standard of the old bike. We had only passion when we started the club and did not expect the Jawa to be relaunched. It is priced well and is likely to do well.”

Lokesh, who has booked a new Jawa, said he is looking forward to it as it is awesome.


Visitors get a feel of the new Jawa bike. Janardhan BK/ DH Photo

The new Jawa has a 293cc liquid cooled, single cylinder engine. It boasts of 27 bhp and 28 Nm of torque. The engine is built ready for the BS VI norms.

The Jawa and Jawa forty two are priced at Rs 1,67,000 and 1,58,000 respectively (ex-showroom, Bengaluru). The dual ABS variants is priced at Rs 1,75,942 and 1,66,942. Deliveries are expected to begin in March.

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For racers and enthusiasts, the Jawa legacy lives on

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