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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 19 Dec 2012
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Jawa 350

Hi i am considering a new Jawa 350 to run in use as a commuter then do a trip with a challenge ride to eastern europe on it next year
never owned a Jawa and wondered if anyone has owned one recently to give me some idea of practical usability, reliability payload etc
looking forward to replies
cheers
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  #2  
Old 19 Dec 2012
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Hi Tony and welcome,
I don't have any direct experience of Jawas although a few friends had them back in the 80's, they needed a bit of keeping on top of then but I would imagine like anything else from the Czech republic the quality and technology has improved since then. They are popular in Egypt where they seem to be the only things that will run on the dreadful 80 octane petrol some places sell so that has to be a good point. Dare to be different and give one a go.
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  #3  
Old 20 Dec 2012
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There was a discussion on the merits or otherwise of Jawa 350's here about six months ago. With a bit of luck this link should get you to it - http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-opinion-64154

In essence it says any bike is better than no bike but .... !

Having said that I suppose if you want it for some sort of Top Gear style challenge there are worse Soviet era smokers you could have decided to use.
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  #4  
Old 20 Dec 2012
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Jawa 350

thanks both
any info is good - especially seeing as the Euro has forced cost to £3400 but on the plus side they seem simple enough and as said seem to run on poor fuel better than higher stressed machines
i see Jawa do a "military" version which "looks the part"
talking of parts i would imagine they should be relatively easy to source - anyone with info on what goes wrong typically would be great
quote of "cruising speed of 50mph" sounds good but "heavy on fuel" sounds bad - experience (West Africa two up camped every day for 2 months on 600 transalp (ps this bike "Victoria" got nicked the DAY we got back to blighty!!!) and north/central america solo on a KLR 650 riden from north Vancouver to Guatemala and back - tells me to travel light and take only essentials so a simple stroker 350 may be it
keep posts coming - i need to make decision fairly soon to start planning (alternative is XT 600 or superdream 400 or Vstrom 650 (my current bikes) but it would be nice to take a Jawa bought in uk back home for a visit!
thanks all
tony
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  #5  
Old 20 Dec 2012
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Hi Tony

I don't want to hog the conversation here, particularly as its been quite a while now since I had my lifetime experience of Jawa 350s, but if you're seriously considering spending that sort of money on one I'd strongly suggest you arrange some sort of extended test ride first. If you like it and think it's value for money then fine but sign the contract with your eyes open. Compared to the other bikes you have available I'd think it represents the road less traveled.
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  #6  
Old 22 Jan 2013
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I'd agree totally with the test ride. They aren't bad bikes to ride, handling is reasonable within limits and will cruise at 60/70 no problems. My memory is of the abysmal materials/build quality and a level of reliability that was unacceptable even for a budget hack. On the plus side, you could service it with a nail file and a lump hammer, and it was very easy to work on. You say you have an XT600? Stick with that - proven touring ability, tough as a rock, reliable.

I ought to say that my bike was bought new in 1974 and properly looked after. Things may have improved for Jawa since then, but if all I had was one of those to go touring on, I'd take a bicycle.
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  #7  
Old 23 Jan 2013
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Cool Jawa 350

I live in the Czech Republic and all I can say is that no one buys them here, I cannot even think of a single local Jawa showroom.

Have a look at this road report .Jawa 350 first ride - | Motorcycle News | New Motorbikes | Buyers Guides | MCN

I agree with others and use your money to buy something more reliable and main stream where parts are readily available everywhere as there are no Jawa dealers since they went bust in the 1990¨s. Plenty of very old bikes for sale from about 100 quid, I did see a new Jawa at the local CZ bike show last year that had a Yamaha engine in it as type of enduro but not seen one since.

If you really are set on having one then remember that they are 2 stroke and will end up smoking like a navvy and cannot carry much so a waste of time as a tourer.
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  #8  
Old 24 Jan 2013
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I had one and I found it unreliable and not very well designed. There are some "smart features" like combined gearshift pedal and kickstart lever, that dont work well enough if you ask me.

It had a tendency to blow head gaskets (though easily fixed) and in cold weather it ran very poorly.

Parts are available, but not easily.

The good side is that the enclosed chain offers nice lifetime and that the engine is powerfull enough for two-up sideroad driving or one-up freeway driving.

I would not recommend it, from my limited experiences. An MZ is more reliable, if you want two-stroke, but I would choose a Honda CG125 or something like that for traveling simple. I own a chinese knock-off of a CG125 and it work splendidly. Much more reliable than a two-stroke and I bought it used for pennies...
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  #9  
Old 7 Aug 2013
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Hi,...
Well I could not give more details till I had done a few more miles.
The new jawa 350 classics are primarily made for developing regions like Cuba, south america, North Africa and some parts of the middle east. So Jawa still make quite a lot of them. The basic design hasn't changed much, apart from disk brakes, electric start injected 2T. The Build quality is best described as agricultural, the finish is ok but nowhere near jap or other european makes.
The main problems I've had now after 14K miles and one year of ownership are, the digital speedo sometimes plays up in extreme cold, it sometimes wont come on in very cold weather. But I leave mine outside. The inline fuse holder was rubbish so replaced it with a blade type.
That's it really, I've gone through 3 sets of tyres, one air filter, oh and one front brake light switch that failed after 12k miles.
Average fuel consumption is down to 60 mpg, I never get less than that. My daily run is 40 miles on the motorway and about 5 on rural roads.
Downsides to the jawa, it's no road rocket. You can cruise in favourable conditions at 70 mph but feels better at 65. Top speed about 75 mph. With a strong head wind 60 -65 is about it.
Thet say its torquey but thats all relative really, it wont feel torquey to someone used to 4 stroke twin.
I think you have to appreciate the no thrills basic quality of this type of machine to really get something like the jawa. But, nowdays what other bike is available like this?

I have not had any engine problems, certainly no blown gaskets. No leaks, You can load it up and it makes no difference to performance it was designed to take a side car after all.
I believe they are not available in the Czech republic as they can not be sold there due to EU Regs, The only European countries that have a means to bypass those particular rules are Ireland And the UK.
The New jawa runs oil at 50:1, they don't smoke.

Available at F2 Wisbech Cambs and BMS Sutton.
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  #10  
Old 5 Feb 2014
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Hi Tony,
I have been running a Jawa classic just about every day for the last two years , just entering the third.
23 BHP , not a lot but depends on your requirements. I don't actually need a GS to travel 16 miles to work on B roads or dual carriageways.

The problems I've had are limited to;
1; replacement ignition switch early on which was replaced under warranty immediately and with no quibble. Has been fine ever since.
2; the weird electronic rev counter not always working , although it does now through entirely it's own devices. Not a serious fault.
The other more annoying thing I've had is the starter switch failing. It is starting to fail for the second time but I note that Halfords do something similar for less than three quid!

I could go on about the good points. It will buzz along happily at 65 if you want it to on a dual carriageway. Good , of course on the back roads.
When I did my obsessive research before I purchased the word I kept coming across was reliable. I can't really argue with that. I have never been let down as even with the ignition switch and starter button problem I was able to start it on the kick start.

I find it a surprisingly comfortable bike and have kitted it out for the winter this year with screen , hand guards and leg shields for a mere £250.00.

Take a look at ADV rider. There is a young couple who have travelled extensively in Europe over several months fully loaded and two up on a Jawa 350 , fantastic!

All the best.
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  #11  
Old 5 Feb 2014
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I should have mentioned that the Jawa is a quirky machine. gear lever doubles as a kickstart when depressed and rotated backwards and works a treat.
Gearbox is pretty sticky but run it on synthetic oil after the first service. David at F2 will give you the low down.
Four gears and two (deliberate) neutrals. With this you can knock it into neutral and coast down hill to prevent oil starvation.
I have developed my own riding style as the semi automatic gearbox means you can use the clutch , or not , if you like.
Once you have decided how you would like to ride it and got used to it , it should give you some pleasure and fun.
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  #12  
Old 5 Feb 2014
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****er, another bike added to my possible WeeStrom replacements list!

Any issues with plug fouling? Sympathetic 2-smoke oil seemed to cure the MZ of it but back in the day it used to happen.

Andy
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  #13  
Old 5 Feb 2014
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None at all Andy. Sometimes smokes slightly but only when cold and it clears once warmed up a bit. Not like an MZ. I loved the MZ,s. MZ are quicker but not so good on hills. Also IMHO the Jawa is a less stressed engine and not so likely to nip up.
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  #14  
Old 30 Apr 2014
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Jawa 350 starter switch

Tony,

the starter switch does seem to be a weak spot.

I have just fitted my second one at nearly 11,000 miles. The good news is you can get a replacement from Maplins for less than £3.00.
They have three instead of two terminals. Just use the centre and either of the the ones either side.Easy enough to fit.
Good luck, the more I have it the more I get a kick out of it.
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