Czech motorcycle manufacturer Jawa has launched an all-new 2017 Jawa 350 model. Called the 350 OHC 4-Stroke, the retro motorcycle retains the brand's yesteryear design and style with an updated mechanical package. The two-wheeler brand once at its prime in India, was recently purchased by Mahindra & Mahindra, sparking possibilities of the Jawa motorcycles making a comeback in the domestic market.
The 2017 Jawa 350 gets a healthy mix of nostalgia with the styling from the 1970s and modern-day convenience. The bike is powered by a 350 cc air-cooled, single-cylinder motor. The company says the unit has been sourced from Chinese manufacturer Shineray, which in turn is a derivative of an old Honda engine. The power mill makes 26 bhp at 5250 rpm and 32 Nm of peak torque at 4750 rpm, while paired to a 4-speed gearbox. The bike maker claims a top speed of 120 kmph.
The new four-stroke motor meets Euro 4 emission norms in Europe, and falls in-line with European Union's (EU) decision to ban all 2-stroke motorcycles from 1st January 2017. What's new is the addition of electronic fuel-injection (EFI) and Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) on the new Jawa 350 OHC. In fact, this is the first ever Jawa motorcycle to get ABS, which is mandated by Euro 4 norms.
The 2017 Jawa 350 OHC has a dry weight of 154 kg and the fuel tank capacity stands at a decent 17 litres. The bike uses 19-inch wheels at the front and an 18-inch unit at the rear. Braking performance comes from the 305 mm front disc and a 160 mm drum brake setup at the rear.
Jawa has an illustrious history in India and was one of the desired motorcycle makers during the 1970s and 1980s. Sold under the company Ideal Jawa (India), the company sold bikes from 1960 with the initial models imported from Czechoslovakia, as the Czech Republic was called then, and were locally assembled at the company's plant in Mysore, Karnataka. Ideal Jawa later manufactured the bikes in India at the same facility, while later introducing them under its Indian brand 'Yezdi'. With stricter emission norms in the 1990s prompting a ban on 2-stroke engines along with labour troubles, the bikes including models 175, Monarch, Deluxe Road King and CL II were pulled out of production. The Jawa plant shut shop in 1996.
Mahindra's subsidiary Classic Legend acquired Jawa last year along with rights to the BSA motorcycle brand. Since then, motorcyclists have been upbeat about the Czech brand making a comeback in India, and is seen as a possible competitor to offerings from Royal Enfield. While the two were direct rivals between '70s and '90s, RE has grown by leaps and bounds over the years being in continuous production and clearly enjoys a much larger market share today. Jawa is also expected to invoke nostalgia from former owners, that are likely to show considerable interest in a modern classic under the same brand.
Details on Jawa's comeback in India remains sketchy. It is likely that the brand could make an appearance at the 2018 Auto Expo and we just might catch a glimpse of the Jawa 350 OHC at the biennial event. If introduced, the bike is likely to be produced at Mahindra's Pithampur facility with the initial units possibly being Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits. Would you choose a Jawa 350 over the Royal Enfield Classic 350? Let us know.