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Jawa Perak – The Indian Bobber

The Jawa motorcycle brand was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1929. It has traveled a circuitous path since then. Jawa has had quite a bit of success in speedway racing with several world champions aboard one. The consumer motorcycle division split off from the racing division in the 1990s and generally foundered until a licensing agreement with Mahindra in India that spawned Classic Legends.

The Perak is a model name with plenty of Jawa history that traces back to World War II. The new Perak you see here was developed and brought to production in India. It is powered by a single-cylinder engine displacing 334cc with a claimed peak of 31 horsepower.

With a claimed weight just under 400 pounds and a six-speed transmission, the Perak is reportedly nimble but very stiffly sprung.

Is the Perak mainly about style with very little substance? If you believe this review, the answer would be yes. To go along with the overly stiff, short travel suspension, the instrument panel sitting atop the headlight cannot be fully seen while riding (it does not angle toward the rider). Fit and finish, apparently, is also lacking.

In case you are tempted by the style of the Perak, don’t worry. You will likely never find one in the United States.

42 Comments

  1. TimC says:

    I’m not totally convinced that naming your company after little bleepy-speaking robed dudes that make their living finding abandoned robots in the desert and reselling them to farmers is peak branding, but what do I know

  2. Billy Bobber says:

    I like it. Just paint it in some nice metallic red, blue, or green with the gold striping it has on it now. Oh, and it has to have a black diamond tufted seat.

  3. TP says:

    Gee, I don’t know, why would you buy something made in India? I don’t get the Royal Enfields and BSAs or this knock-off Jawa with rather unexceptional engineering.

  4. dp says:

    This is NOT a “perak” (read peH-rak) by any means. Meaning of the word “perak” in Czech is “equipped with springs/sliders” (as opposed to previous solid frame); see here https://www.bike-urious.com/1950-jawa-perak-350/

    My father owned one except the tank for chromed; it was durable and reliable motorcycle with plenty of power at legal speeds. I was with him (on pillion) on many trips. He rode it daily to work, be it in summer, winter or anything between.

    This thing made in India, with all due respect, is a nonsense. Nothing to do with “perak”. But if you like it, buy it. And enjoy.

  5. Santanu says:

    The first motorcycle I ever rode in India was a Yezdi (~Jawa) 2-stroke 250cc single. It belonged to my uncle, I was 15 and didn’t have a license! Eventually I moved to the US for higher education and gone through a series of sport-touring motorcycles. My current ride is a 2003 ST1300. Nevertheless, the sound and the feel of riding a motorized 2-wheeler for the first time left a long-lasting impression in my soul. I can still (I am >half century old) relive those moments of exhilarations and excitements. I do remember however that the motorcycle was NOT reliable and weird quirks. Kick-starting the motorcycle was extremely exciting for me as you would push and turn the shift lever clockwise which then becomes the kick starter! The 4 gears were also placed in an unconventional way – #1 was up followed by neutral and rest of the 3 gears down! You also wouldn’t shift up with your toe as for some strange mechanical reasons, it wouldn’t work properly. You would shift up using the back of your heal that worked flawlessly. These quirks and imperfections probably connected the machine more intimately with motorcyclists.
    I made an effort to watch the launching of the new-generation Yezdi (https://www.yezdi.com/) motorcycles in India yesterday. Despite they are not ready/appropriate for the US market, they will most likely sell in India. Indian motorcycle enthusiasm has been on the rise with (Indian) Enfield’s rebirth with better and new motorcycles for the Indian market. I personally believe Yezdi/Jawa’s return had a lot to do with the huge success of Enfield. Enfield may be (not 100% confident with the statistics) the #1 seller of motorcycles in the world market.
    I am curious to at least check out the new Yezdis, Jawas, and Enfield models (Continentals and few others actually look pretty cool).
    Some of you are right that the Jawa (nor the Yezdi) is ready for an US market. I predict however, that the company would probably revamp them for international customers if there is enough interest. Enfield does sell in Europe and the US. They will be successful if the fit & finish, performance (at it’s own level), and reliability issues are improved down the road. I am looking forward to that day!

    • Nick says:

      Check out the Yezdi website for marketing-speak! They deserve an Oscar, or something…

      Nick

      • Marcus says:

        If you’re reffering to Power Drift, in my opinion it’s one of the best and entertaining motorcycle review sites on YouTube. Their videos are very well done.

    • dp says:

      I looked at the Yezdi page you brought up. Actually, the models which they present (I saw 3 different types with same engine) look like a common sense bikes. Spanish speakers would call it moto-a-trabajo.

      To me, this is like returning to what motorcycle was intended to be in the first place – a tool of transport for everyday use. It does not mean to exclude fun part, but “fun” for its sake was not a priority.

  6. todd says:

    My brother had a 1950-something Jawa Perak 350. Parts were readily available if you knew someone that travels to India. One time, my friend brought back a bag of new and used carbs that he paid about $12 for. His was a twin-port single two-stroke. It was a much better looking bike than this one but you can see the lineage.

    • Marcus says:

      You are right sir. I googled the 195? Jawa Perak 350 and it is indeed a more elegant and beautiful machine. The new model can’t hold a candle to it.
      I would love to own the old model, the new model?, NO.

  7. fred says:

    I don’t like bobbers,so it’s pretty strange to me that I like the looks of this bike. Sounds like it wouldn’t be a good bike to live with, but it does look good.

  8. Jeremy says:

    Reminds me of the stuff from that UK outfit that was trying to get off the ground using Buell Blast engines – Mac Motorcycles.

  9. Bubba says:

    Love the look of it…that’s all.

  10. joe b says:

    This morning I noticed motorcycledaily was off line, nice to see its back up and running.

  11. Kitty says:

    I’ve been riding 250cc 20 horsepower scooters for decades, in America. If this bike was available and affordable in America, even though it probably never will be, I would certainly consider owning one. IMHO it is attractive.

  12. Gary says:

    Nice looking bike but even if you could buy one, can you get parts for it? Sort of doubt it. And based on my experience with CZs, there’s a good chance you’ll need parts. Also … I was locked out of the web site earlier. Was it something I said (wrote)?

    • Fast2Furious says:

      CZ’s we’re made behind the Iron Curtain in Soviet Czechoslovakia what does that have to do with this bike made in India.

      • todd says:

        Jawa and CZ were both Czech companies and merged in 1954. Jawas were manufactured by the millions in India since 1960 to 1996. If you need to find parts, you look in India. This new bike looks to have lots in common.

  13. Michael says:

    It looks great and hopefully at a good price

  14. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    What a waste of time . . . .

    • newtonmetres says:

      Exactly! Here we go again : simple and sturdy…I want one…any dealers..reminds me of my youth…just like they used to make em ( in grandpa’s day}….

  15. Tom R says:

    Factory bobbers: no hacksaw needed.

  16. Buckwheat says:

    Time for a throwdown with the new Royal Enfield Classic 350.

  17. Mike says:

    Triumph should punch them in the mouth! Bobber Ripoff!

  18. Mike says:

    Triumph should punch them in the mouth! Bobber Ripoff!

  19. michael gaffney says:

    The price in the review equals $2,667 US. I’ll take one.

  20. Mick says:

    A factory custom bobber with all the comfort and practicality of a custom custom chopper, remember those?

    Mahindra seems to be buying up names to give its styling department something to put on the gas tanks of motorcycles that it then releases without any of that cumbersome product testing.

    Odd company. They made a Jeep without bothering to buy Willeys. Jeep was not amused. So they made it look more like an old Toyota. But perhaps Toyota is now unhappy. Because it seems to be having a tough time getting to market. Funny they didn’t just round out all the corners of the Jeep in the first place and make a really cute Jeep that Jeep couldn’t complain about. That and if you are going to make an off road only Jeep. Give it four link suspension that is only a set of expensive shocks and tires away from being an awesome rock crawler. Make one ton axles with super low gears, lockers and drive shafts with long slip joints an option. Cute diesel Jeep that turns into an awesome rock crawler in a couple of hours. Yeah, that’ll never sell.

    • Scotty says:

      I remember the farmers in Western Australia loved the Mahindra jeeps. They just wanted a work horse, not a show pony, and it suited them. I thing they had a slow but torque heavy 2.5 Peugeot 4 in them, and no roll bar, as the windscreen frame was strong enough to do the job.

  21. My2cents and says:

    At first glance I thought Yamaha had entered the bobber craze.

  22. JC says:

    That’s a damn fine looking motorcycle.

    I like that it has a sensible license plate location. It seems silly, but this is ignored by so many makers, then they end up adding a hideous bracket.

    • Marcus says:

      DOT requirements in the US say the license plate must be located BEHIND the rear tire. That’s what all those stupid protruberances are about. They design a bike to look a certain way then at the last minute they remember the license plate… “Oh, I know, we’ll just extend the brake light out another foot”.
      Something like that.

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