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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 8 May 2012
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Jawa - Your Opinion?

Hi girls and guys,

I came across the Jawa brand made in CZ. Somehow these bikes are quite appealing ... brandnew, affordable no-nonsense bikes.

What do you guys think of them?

Jawa 250 Travel (4-stroke), leightweight two cylinder bike.
sole importer of new jawa motorbikes

Jawa 350 Classic, lightweight, two cylinder two-banger.
new jawa 350 motorcycle models in the uk

I have always had a soft spot for underdogs, so I find the 350 very appealing. The 250 looks a lot like the Honda CB Two-Fifty.
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Old 8 May 2012
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Very interesting, I am surprised the 2 strokes meet the dreaded euro emissions laws.
What is the spares availability 'on the road' is what I would like to know.
That 4 stroke 250 looks nice.
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  #3  
Old 8 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by palace15 View Post
Very interesting, I am surprised the 2 strokes meet the dreaded euro emissions laws.
Is there some sort of low volume exemption regulation or something because I thought the (less stringent) 80's emissions regs is what did for the Japanese 2Ts so the current ones must be even more difficult to get through.

Either way, they're on sale and presumably fully compliant with all the necessary regs. I must admit though that if you'd asked me back in the 2T heyday of the late 70's what would be the last two stroke standing I'd never have guessed Jawa. Back then the 350 twin wasn't just bad it was awful; slow, smokey, vibratory 1950's ride to work technology similar to Villiers singles and BSA Bantams rather than the multi port GP on the road stuff Yamaha, Suzuki etc were producing.

I've no idea whether the current one is the upwardly mobile aspirational grandson of the 70's rattler or a ground up reworking with just the layout and capacity in common but either way old memories (and prejudices) die hard. I'm a huge 2T fan and really regret their passing but the fear that it's just lipstick on a pig would put me off. If it really is a EuroJap - a kind of Jawa version of an early RD350 - then I take it all back and I'll be smashing open the piggybank shortly but reading the specs doesn't convince me.

Last edited by backofbeyond; 8 May 2012 at 18:00. Reason: fingers forgot how to press keys
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  #4  
Old 8 May 2012
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I remember the old JAWA's from the 1970's and 1980's.

They tended to get lumped together with other Soviet block (Warsaw Pact) bikes such as MZ and Urals etc..

If my memory serves me correctly JAWA made some very handy offroad 2 stroke machines including speedway bikes and grasstrack.

There top seller was a twin cylinder 350cc 2 stroke machine I think.... a bit smokey with reliability issues.

The road bikes were nowhere near as good as the MZ's but nevertheless they did sell here in the UK in quite high numbers. The JAWA was the UK's cheapest middle weight twin.

The MZ were all ugly as sin BUT the engines were extremely reliable in all weather conditions (125cc, 250cc).

I consider MZ's to be classics now and their enclosed chain system was groundbreaking (but ugly). It never ceases to amaze me why Jap makers never took the enclosed chain idea up and improved it's MZ appearance?

My first ever bike was a MZ S50/B1 Simson 49cc moped in red. I got it brand new from Maidstone. It was a superb little machine and lasted very well.

I don't know much about JAWA now. Is this the same company as the 1970's or not? As you know many companies these days merely buy the rights to a name (Triumph, MG etc..).

Are they connected to the CZ arms maker? I own 2 x .22LR rimfire rifles made by CZ (formerly BRNO). Excellent rifles for bunny bashing.

So it's a from me for JAWA.
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  #5  
Old 8 May 2012
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I had a Jawa 350 twin ratbike back in the early 1990's. Real old shool technology-dynamo electrics anyone..?-virtually non-existent brakes and slow and heavy. BUT...it was a real hoot to ride..! It had a diy hardtail and ape hanger 'bars with a matt black and insulating tape finish. A photo of it made it into AWoL magazine. Electrics aside-it burst into flames as I was riding through Edinburgh..!-it was impossible to break, once doing the 16 mile round trip to work and back for a week before I discovered the cable to the oil pump had come off... Great fun, loved it.

Like CZ's, Jawa's were made in the old Eastern bloc Czechoslovakia and were also sold in India under the Yezdi brand. These may differ slightly but are essentially the same bike AFAIK.
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  #6  
Old 8 May 2012
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This guy seems to like the bike:
Jawa 350 Classic Solo - Classic Motorcycle Profile - RealClassic.co.uk

A German dealer close to the Czech border seems to be selling the 250 for 2600 €. I asked him for a quote on the 350.
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  #7  
Old 9 Jul 2012
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I had a Jawa 350 twin (model 634) in the early 70s. Owned from new, serviced on the button, well looked-after. It was the worst bike I have ever owned. Agricultural without being robust, badly-designed, awful materials, heavy on fuel, and very, very, very unreliable.

I wouldn't have another one as a gift. Maybe I was unlucky, and maybe they are better these days. But mine was pure heartbreak.

One good thing: it completely removed my fear of taking things apart, and by the time I sold it I could do pistons, seals and rings one-handed in the dark in ten minutes
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  #8  
Old 4 Aug 2012
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I had an older Jawa 350, poorly engineered and very unreliable. MZ on the other hand are quality, but get Japanese and just enjoy the ride.

Japanese stuff is quality built and reliable, IMHO why use anything else.

By a popular bike so you can easily get parts, however if Japanese this will not matter....
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  #9  
Old 5 Aug 2012
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These look like the old Jawa that was last sold in the UK in the early '90's. If this is what they are you are in effect buying a classic. Simple, low performance, heavy on fuel etc. They are a hoot to ride and a great introduction to classic machinery but as a travel bike about as easy to live with as an Enfield but without the low fuel use, single shot fuelling and easy access to parts.

As we may be getting confused, the "pecking" order of East European bikes quality wise was MZ, Jawa, Ural, other. MZ (also MuZ or Kanuni as the brand went from state ownership to sale to private owners to bust) used basically German materials, a lot bought in the west but with some limitations created by the Iron Curtain. My 1993 Saxon Tour is made of better materials than the 1995 BMW/Rotax that supplemented but never replaced it. Jawa (also known as CZ not to be confused with MZ) were more disconnected (Czechoslovakia not DDR) so while they had the design talent they had to stick with Russian materials for longer and for more bits. Urals (in which I'll lump Neval, Jupiter, Dneipr etc.) combined a 1930's design with tweaks, wartime Russian metallurgy and a workforce who didn't want to be there. The results can be rescued with care. Planeta, IMZ, Chang Jien, CMZ and a host of others were so bad that even the Soviets wouldn't try and sell them to anyone who might laugh at them.

The quality of these bikes varies with the internal situations when they were made, my 1993 MZ worked for seven years full time use without a single fault, my 1999 Ural was never right. They all have varying degrees of classic type maintenance requirements.

Andy
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  #10  
Old 17 Sep 2012
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Jawa unreliable?

I realize this threads a bit old, but it does come up in uk jawa searches. I joined this forum just so I could reply to this thread.
Jawa are available in the uk in small numbers from F2 motorcycles. I cant really talk about the old jawa 350's but I own a brand new 2012 jawa 350 classic purchased in july 2012. Ive covered 6000 miles since then, about 3 months. It takes me to work everyday in all weathers, does 65 mpg, can cruise at 65 to 70 miles an hour (woohoo!) and sits out in the open at night. I havent had any problems with the bike at all. There is not a speck of corrosion on any fixings or fluff on any alloy castings. Maintenance is very simple and cheap, air filter every 6000 miles, about 2ml of two stroke per mile. Tyres are cheap too.
They are crude and agricultural, sometimes the gearshift takes the strength of ten men, but they get better every mile, and take an age to run in.
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  #11  
Old 18 Sep 2012
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Again a modern bike that is just too tall. why do they make them with such high seats?
There really isn't any need and this one looks like it was padded up to raise the seat
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Old 18 Sep 2012
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65 mpg? Things must have moved on. I used to get low-to-mid thirties. Kawasaki triple fuel consumption for Honda 90 performance.

Incidentally, Jawa and CZ were separate companies until they merged in 1948. CZ stopped m/c production in 1997 and continues producing car components and tooling. There are a number of companies bearing the CZ name (the letters stand for 'Czech Armory', as the original company made weapons) and the current gun maker is one of these, I think.

When I had the 350 in 1974, a friend had the CZ 125 in two-tone green. I thought it was a better-looking bike, and certainly he had far less trouble with it than I did with mine. I might consider one of those as a 'project'

(Edit: I've been having a look at David Angel's site and it seems he is no longer selling the 650 single using the same Rotax motor as the F650GS. Have Jawa stopped making these?)
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  #13  
Old 20 Dec 2012
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Hi all
as per my post yesterday and today - i am considering new Jawa 350 for a commuter then adventure trip to eastern europe
i would love to hear your latest review Metalcatfish
i would love to hear from anyone with a recent made Jawa 350 and what issues if any they are having and how sorted
its a big step cos it will mean getting rid of my beloved XT600 and superdream 400s to make room
how do the Jawas handle gravel/unsealed roads anyone know - i want a go anywhere (in no rush) easy to fix ride as a trusted travel partner
Tony
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  #14  
Old 24 Dec 2012
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See my post #7 above. Yes, I have had a bad experience, but you must surely be mad to be thinking of selling an XT600 to buy a Jawa for an adventure bike. The Jawa will be slightly easier to fix, but you will be fixing it a lot more. Both will be happy cruising around 60, the XT will probably be better on fuel, and will be far better off the sealed surfaces. In its favour, the Jawa may be more comfortable over distances, but the XT won't have the worry of carrying/sourcing 2T oil everywhere you go.

It would be like selling a Land Rover and buying a Wartburg.

Your choice, but I think you are crackers for even contemplating it.

(Agreed, my experience is not recent, but I would need to see hard evidence of new designs and materials before I changed my mind over the newer ones. And looking at the new Jawas, they look awfully familiar ...)
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  #15  
Old 15 Jan 2013
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Jawa

I have seen the indian version of this machine on numerous trips to India ,they are worked very hard with little or no maintenance , they most common used to deliver milk with two full size milk churns strapped to the sides if they work there they will work anywhere.
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