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2021 Jawa 42 Version 2.1: First Ride Review

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Vikrant Singh

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Introduction

Jawa 42 Right Front Three Quarter

This is the Jawa 42 version 2.1. If you are wondering, the Jawa 2.0 was in fact the BS6 version launched in the middle of last year.

Let me also state the obvious just in case you were under a rock for the last three years – Jawa is not the company. Classic Legends is the company, which it’s now advertising quite subtly on the motorcycle. And it sells two motorcycle models – this, the Jawa 42 and the Jawa also unofficially known as the Classic Jawa.

Jawa 42 Right Side View

The 42 is more popular because well it’s not stuck in the past like the beautiful but old school Classic Jawa. And to build on this popularity Classic Legends, the company, has introduced the Version 2.1.

So what’s new?

The Visuals

Jawa 42 Left Front Three Quarter

The paint hues for one. Now you get – for the lack of a better phrase – traditional reds and blacks and whites on the 42. But, the old pastel colour palates continue as well.

You also get an offset racing stripe on the motorcycle that runs along the fuel tank and into the rear fender. There are new bar-end mirrors. And the new 42 has now finally understood that black is the new chrome. So, it gets a blacked out theme for the engine, the exhaust to the suspension, the wheels, and everything in between.

Jawa 42 Head Light

Those wheels, meanwhile, are now multi spoke alloys instead of wire spoke ones the pastel 42s come with. And, the Version 2.1, as a result, also gets tubeless tyres. I love tubeless tyres. They bring so much convenience and peace of mind to your riding. For one, you’d rarely find yourself stranded by the road because of a puncture.

And for those with sensitive back sides, the seat has changed for the better as well. It has more cushioning now.

The Package

Jawa 42 Front View

The seating ergos though continue unchanged. So it’s still easy to swing a leg over the bike. It still has an easy-to-reach wide handlebar. And the overall seating is still quite upright, if slightly cramped (for six footers, mind) courtesy the footpeg positioning. But, with the cushier seat now, at least longer rides would be more bearable.

Continuing with all things unchanged, the new 42 still uses a dual cradle frame for a chassis that’s suspended on telescopic forks upfront and a pair of preload adjustable twin coil over units at the rear. It still uses a 280mm disc at the front and a 240mm one at the rear with dual channel ABS to handle the braking duties. And it continues with 90/90 x 18 and 120/80 x 17 inch MRF rubber front and back, respectively, but as mentioned before, these are now tubeless.

Jawa 42 Engine From Left

The powertrain continues mostly unchanged too. It’s still a liquid cooled, single cylinder 293cc engine. And it is still mated to a six-speed gearbox. There’s no change in the power and torque output figures either which continue to be nearly 27bhp and 27Nm respectively. But, the refinement levels and the engine response has improved significantly over the BS4 version. And this holds true for all Jawas on sale currently, then be it the pastels, the chromed, and even the domed.

In terms of features, there’s still nothing to write home about.

Jawa 42 Handle Bar

But, the 42 remains an easy motorcycle to move around. Or turn it around at the spot. So shorter, lesser fed riders won’t have trouble living with it either. We are not fans of the current bar-end mirrors on the Version 2.1 though; these are too close to the handle grips, which make pushing and moving the bike around quite difficult. These just get in the way.

The Ride

Jawa 42 Right Front Three Quarter

To begin with you have quite a friendly motorcycle for something that displaces 300cc. The low seat height, the low centre of gravity, and the friendly and linear power delivery help.

So be it pottering around in the city in stop and go traffic, or thumbing it alive early in the morning because you ran out of bread, or be it just riding to work, the 42 doesn’t require planning regarding time of day or road surface or the route one might take. You get on and ride. And it’s mostly hassle free. Plus, the exhaust note sounds nice when pottering around at low speeds.

Jawa 42 Rear View

And when you open the taps, there’s enough grunt to keep even the enthusiast in you interested. It gets off the line with vigour. The ride-ability through the gears is progressive, if not exactly very strong. And, it doesn’t mind getting to three digit speeds and sitting there either. It might not sound as good right at the top, but it’s acceptable.

What’s more, it feels home even around the twisty stuff. Yes, it’s not the quickest to drop into corners. And it also doesn’t enjoy quick direction changes. But, dial things back just a couple of notches and the handling on the 42 is surprisingly good. There’s decent cornering clearance for the average Joe. And the grip and feedback from the MRF tyres don’t leave you wanting either.

Jawa 42 Rear Tyre

The 42 also doesn’t wallow or buckle too much when leaned over, even over wavy or bumpy roads. And because the power delivery is so predictable and linear, one can give a fist full of throttle at corner exits and not worry about a thing.

Braking again, works for the bike – the bite isn’t too aggressive or mushy, and it returns good feel as well. So one can confidently lean on the brakes entering corners. But again, when ridden at least two notches below maximum commitment!

Jawa 42 Rear Suspension

On poor roads, over bumps, through potholes, or even over undulations, the 42 won’t leave you cursing, or holding your back or behind in pain post the ride. We won’t term the ride quality as plush – and through a seriously deep pothole, it can end up hammering your back. But for the most part, the ride remains predictable, reasonably absorbent, and it is nowhere close to back breaking.

Add to it the tubeless tyres, and one can finally explore roads, no roads, gravel paths and the like without having to worry about removing the wheels, flagging down another motorist, and finding a tyre shop in the middle of nowhere.

Conclusion

Jawa 42 Right Rear Three Quarter

Is the new Jawa 42 a much better motorcycle now? Well, visually it certainly is. And we feel going more mainstream or current with the blacked-out theme and the alloy wheels and tubeless tyres will draw in a whole new set of buyers.

And then the inherent positives of the 42 remain, of course. The accessible seat height, the friendly power delivery, and the potent but thankfully not overbearing braking ability. But, yes, it still has some distance to go when it comes to fit and finish and consistency in quality.

Jawa 42 Front View

So is it worth buying? The 42 costs a little over Rs 2 lakh or thereabouts on the road. Which doesn’t make it a no-brainer purchase by any stretch. But, at the end of the day it’s a good looking motorcycle that does all you ask of it. Commute, check. Ride up the twisties, check. A lazy road trip of many days, check.

Yes, there are other better-finished motorcycles in the market that can do the same in varying degrees of good, better, best. But, you buy a 42 because it pulls at your heart strings. And that it still works like any other everyday motorcycle is an added bonus!

Photography by Kapil Angane

Gallery

Jawa 42 Right Front Three Quarter
Jawa 42 Right Side View
Jawa 42 Front Wheel
Jawa 42 Fuel Tank
Jawa 42 Bike Seat
Jawa 42 Engine From Right
Jawa 42 Front Disc Brake
Jawa 42 Rear Disc Brake
Jawa 42 Front Disc Brake Caliper
Jawa 42 Rear Disc Brake Caliper

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