In two weeks’ time, after decades, a genuine competitor to the Royal Enfield 350 will be resuscitated. By the looks of it, the Jawa 300 ticks all the right boxes when it comes to matching the feels of riding a war-era styled, characterful, emotive motorcycle. It seems to have all the right ingredients in its arsenal, to join the thumper in a field, where the latter has had an unchallenged, free run until now. Here are five things, which we feel make the Jawa 300 just the motorcycle which presents a genuine alternative to the current-day Royal Enfield 350s.
It all started when after serving in the First World War, a Czech gentleman, František Janeček purchased the motorcycle business called ‘Wanderer’, from German manufacturer Winklhofer & Jaenicke, along with design and tooling for the new Wanderer 500 motorcycle. Those were simple times, so the first two letters from “Janeček” and “Wanderer” were combined, and the first Jawa 500 OHV was born.
In India, Rustom and Farrokh Irani started the firm ‘Ideal Jawa’ and began importing Jawa motorcycles into the country. Once demand grew, Jawa established a factory in Mysore in 1961 with the support of king Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar at that time. Between 1961 and 1971, Ideal Jawa manufactured the 250 Type 353/04 under licence and the bikes quickly earned repute for being unbreakable, simple and rugged. By 1971, the Ideal Jawa company manufactured and sold the new motorcycles under the name “Yezdi” with technical assistance from Jawa.
Even now, after it had been announced that brand ‘Jawa’ is making a comeback, there has been a great amount of excitement and euphoria within the motorcycling community. And it’s not for nothing, because in some way or the other, just like Royal Enfields, there is a Jawa story out there, our fathers or someone elderly around us have fond memories of. A lot of those motorcycles are still in great working condition and some die-hard enthusiasts even use them as everyday rides!
The new Jawa 300 will be a cleanly designed, retro-styled motorcycle. Now, there is a sizable chunk of buyers out there who find this fuss-free take on motorcycling super cool. Don’t believe us? Look at the popularity and the number of Royal Enfield Classics out there! It is perhaps the idea of standing out in the crowd, nostalgia, or maybe just pure emotion which attracts buyers towards this genre of motorcycling. But it works, and apart from that strong legacy and brand recall, the Jawa 300 will also have that classic styling working in its favor.
Not that the Jawa’s sole intent will be to sweep potential RE owners away towards its camp. It has a fan base of its own. But one of the primary reasons RE has such a huge fan base is that “Thump”. Now, if there is an alternative, it must sound unique too. Classic Legends, the guys behind the resuscitation of brand Jawa in India, were aware that apart from the aesthetics, the sound of the old Jawa had to be recreated too. However, their brand new engine had to do the tough job of replicating the tone of a classic 2-stroke on a modern day 4-stroke. So they worked with a team of sound engineers in Italy, through countless cycles of harmonic pipe combinations and multiple other permutations to discover a sound that was worthy of the new Jawa. Not just that, those twin pipes on the new Jawa are enough to attract buyers who are rather naive about the brand and motorcycling in general, but are mostly impressed by visuals and audio quality alone.
The new Jawa 300 will be powered by a 293cc motor which is a single cylinder, liquid cooled, DOHC unit. It will churn out 27 bhp, 28 Nm of torque and has been tuned to deliver generous amount of power in the mid-range. Drawing a flat torque curve, they’ve ensured that power is readily available on tap. Now, the 350 cc RE motor lags behind in terms of power at 19.8 bhp, but equals it out in terms of torque at 28 Nm. How that advantage plays out on the road for the Jawa will be an interesting observation. But for those who care, the Jawa 300 is just as much a Hero on the spec sheet as the 350 cc RE.
Modern Simplicity + Metal & Chrome
The Jawa 300 scores above the RE 350 by featuring liquid cooling, which will allow it to run stress-free and cooler, for longer. It matches up in terms of equipment by featuring a front disc brake, gas charged rear springs, and rubber size which is as good as its competitor. What else will be on offer? Metal and Chrome! And that is a big draw for those who feel everything else is plastic. Jokes aside, the times are great if your’e one of those who enjoy relaxed, casual motorcycling, with RE too taking it further with their brand new twins. We’ll bring you more updates as and when they and this new Jawa arrives. Until then, stay tuned!