Jawa Standard: Road Test Review

07 November 2019, 05:57 PM Neil Nair

Introduction

Jawa Standard Action

Pros: Retro styling, refined engine, comfortable ergonomics

Cons: Stiff seat and rear suspension, lack of modern features

The word ‘classic’ for the lot that goes bonkers over anything on two-wheels translates to motorcycles like the Jawa, a name that brings a heavy sense of nostalgia. What we have here, a whole 23 years later, is Classic Legend’s reincarnation of that motorcycle which is aptly called the Jawa. Now, apart from the mushy feelings which its competitors also seem to give, the Jawa is built to offer easy rideability and is aimed at buyers looking to upgrade from scooters or smaller 150cc motorcycles.  

While we have ridden the Jawa before to give you an overview, it was time to put it through some more tests to find out what this vintage-looking piece of modern machinery is capable of. 

Quality

Jawa Standard Right Side

Before I tell you about the quality of the motorcycle, let’s take a step back and admire the Jawa. The motorcycle looks so much like the original that you’d even mistake it for a well-restored one. Look closer and the intricate details that Classic Legends has paid attention to come to light. 

Jawa Standard Jawa Standard

There is the headlamp adjuster just like the older model, the same placement of the horn at the front, the shape of the seat and even the same design of the engine. I even liked the hand-painted pinstripes on the tank that look even more beautiful with those minute flaws. In terms of its visuals, the Jawa is more headbang than a nod to the original.  

Jawa Standard

Jawa Standard

  • Displacement293 cc
  • Mileage - ARAI37.5 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)27 bhp
  • Kerb Weight170 kg
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 1,64,000

Jawa Standard Jawa Standard

As for quality, all of the components on the Jawa feel premium. The switchgear feels tactile and easy to operate and the plastics too, are of decent quality. While the motorcycle seems well built as a whole, better fitment in areas like the turn indicators and switchgear would have added brownie points to the Jawa’s build quality. 

Comfort

Jawa Standard Action

Swing a leg across the motorcycle and the first thing you’ll notice is how low and accessible the Jawa’s 765mm seat height is. While taller riders could find this mildly uncomfortable, it is perfect for the average height Indian. Moreover, the upright riding position would make it the perfect choice of motorcycle for the hero’s entry in a Rohit Shetty film. 

Now, I liked the front suspension on the Jawa. It is enthusiastic and takes on any kind of bumps with ease. The twin shocks at the rear, on the other hand, hardly have any travel and seem too lazy to deal with even the smallest of undulations. At high-speeds, the ride is somewhat manageable although it is under 60kmph that the going gets tough. The Jawa skips around and threatens to throw you off the seat.  

Jawa Standard Seat

Speaking of which, the other thing you’ll notice is the firmness of the seat which is as hard as the peanut brittle from the Maganlal rip-offs in Lonavala. It is completely unforgiving to the behind right from the word go and a definite sore on long rides. And if your pillion comes in a size anything above ‘L’, it would be a snug fit on the Jawa’s seat. But thankfully, it’s nothing that a little aftermarket replacement won’t improve. 

Performance

Jawa Standard Action

Now the Jawa might look like it was teleported here from the ‘70s and might even ride like a true classic motorcycle but between that double-cradle frame is a modern 293cc, single-cylinder engine with liquid-cooling. This motor has been derived from the Mahindra Mojo with tweaks to suit the character of the Jawa. For one, the engine is extremely refined and almost vibe-free until 80kmph. While the vibrations start to creep in on the footpegs and handlebar further moving on to the seat and tank as speeds increase, they aren’t troublesome or hand-numbing.  

The Jawa isn’t a motorcycle that would shoot ahead from a traffic signal; rather it is most comfortable in the mid-range, cruising at 60-80kmph. Push it further and the motorcycle surges ahead with as much enthusiasm as it did before shifting into the sixth gear. Speaking of which, the one-down-all-up gearbox is super smooth with only the heavy clutch pull being the party pooper. That, coupled with the short gearing ratios which require constant shifting make the Jawa an ache to ride at slow speeds. 

Jawa Standard Action

However, the motorcycle is agile and feels easy to flick around in traffic. It is as effortless to ride on the twisties, albeit, the stem of the side-stand scrapes the road easily, so don’t go expecting extreme lean angles. As for braking, the Jawa uses hardware sourced from ByBre. The setup offers good stopping power although a bit more feedback and feel would make the experience more wholesome. Our test bike was fitted with a dual-channel ABS which is one of the least intrusive systems out there. 

Technology

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Classic Legends has kept technology on the Jawa to a bare minimum, giving it a proper vintage-bike appeal. Apart from the ABS, the Jawa gets a small-digital unit that displays the odometer. There isn’t a trip-meter or clock to supplement the analogue speedometer and fuel-gauge which indicates in a manner that will take time getting used to. Moreover, since the instrument cluster is laid flat, it can be difficult to read without having to take your eyes off the road. 

Jawa Standard Jawa Standard

The tail lamp, headlamp as well as the turn indicators use conventional bulbs. But as we found out, the halogen headlamp is bright and the throw is enough to light up the road far ahead as well. 

Fuel Efficiency

Jawa Standard Action

For our fuel efficiency test, we ride the motorcycle in the busiest street of Mumbai with heavy stop and go traffic along with a good straight patch of open road. On the test cycle, the Jawa returned a decent efficiency of 34.2kmpl. Coupled with a 14-litre fuel tank capacity, the motorcycle is capable of running 478kms on a full-tank.

Fitness of Purpose

Jawa Standard Left Side View

If you are looking for a properly classic-looking motorcycle, the Jawa is your best bet right now. The motorcycle hits all the right nostalgic notes at first glance itself. And that is half the battle won right there, not only for the motorcycle but also for the brand.  

In terms of pricing, it demands a premium of around Rs 11,000 over its biggest rival, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 which costs Rs 1.53 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). Although the Jawa could have been priced better, for the extra monies, you get a more powerful and refined engine with lesser vibrations, better quality components, and more street cred. 

Our Take

Jawa Standard Action

The Jawa fulfills the purpose of being an easy-handling motorcycle and at 170kg, it isn’t very heavy either. It also boasts of good brakes, an extremely refined engine and decent quality components. But the Jawa does have some chinks in its armour and it comes in the form of a poorly cushioned seat and the absolute lack of modern features.

 Now, Classic Legends has done a splendid job in replicating the original Jawa to the finest detail but sadly, it doesn’t have many USPs. The styling and refined engine seem to be the only real selling points of the motorcycle. 

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Photography by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi

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