Jawa Perak review – The bobber you’ve always wanted

Jawa has made waves in the Indian market ever since Mahindra revived the brand for our market. The Jawa and Jawa Forty-Two are so popular, that booking periods are longer than you can imagine. But the one Jawa we’ve all been waiting for is the Perak: the most gorgeous looking, affordable single-seater motorcycle we’ve ever seen. It is bound to draw a lot of buyers mainly for its retro-concept looks. We think the production bike looks far better than the concept showcased two years back. We swing a leg over and go for a ride on one to tell you what’s so special about it.

Retro and stealthy

What the Perak basically is, is a bobber version of the standard Jawa – and what further enhances its sex appeal is the cantilevered seat, positioned in the place of the rear sub-frame. The single seat is attached to the main frame through a solid chunk of metal and the tan shade contrasts so well with the matte paint finish on the bike. It also gets gold pin-striping on the tank, fenders and the triangular side panels. At the back of the seat, you will notice a small, circular LED brake lamp neatly integrated. In order to make this design possible, Jawa had to give it a new frame and swingarm. What have been lifted off the concept bike are the slender, slash-cut exhaust pipes on both sides. Jawa made this possible by tucking the emissions-relevant collector box beneath the bike. The finish is, by far, the best we’ve seen on a Jawa yet. However, moisture continues to gather inside the speedometer on freezing mornings. There are also some gaps visible in the exhaust heat shield. We also don’t like how those rear indicator cables are jutting out, which makes it look a bit untidy, despite being held together by zip ties.

Get on and ride

The riding position is a bit uncanny, given the seat-to-foot peg ratio, making the rider feel a bit cramped, unlike on the other two Jawa bikes models which come with lower seats. The Jawa Perak, on the other hand, has a 750mm seat, which is taller. We found that the foot pegs are a little too rear-set, placed further up, meaning it’s going to be a strain on your limbs – and while the seat is soft, it can get a bit uncomfortable on long rides. At 175kgs, the Perak is light and nimble, despite the stretched wheelbase. The handling is good, thanks in part to the wide tyres but the moment you corner hard, you’ll find the side stand scraping. Also, the bike is best ridden by someone not too heavy because the right-side exhaust tends to graze itself too, and we still think that drawing a limit to the lean angle is a good idea since the rear feels too mellow. The brakes are carried over from the other two Jawas. Ride quality, unfortunately, leaves us disappointed, for there is a reduction in suspension travel, which is what helps give the bike its low-slung silhouette. Uneven roads can mean your back is in trouble and the ground clearance, having taken a dive to 145mm, will have the belly graze all huge speed-breakers.

The handling

We’d highly recommend the Jawa Perak for those who like riding on highways, because given our pot-holed cities, ride quality is bound to get on your nerves. The bike is powered by a 334cc engine, which is slightly larger in capacity compared to the other two models. The Perak produces 30bhp and 32.74Nm of torque, paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. The character of the engine is quite familiar and there’s that typical, hushed thrum you get from the exhausts. Power delivery is flat, but once the revs begin to rise, there’s an immediate surge in power. The Jawa Perak can sprint from 0-100kph in 11 seconds, making it reasonably quick. The added grunt this motor produces makes us want the Perak more than the other two models. Slight vibrations do filter through, but only at higher speeds of 140kph or so.

Buy one, dude

For a two-wheeler company like Jawa Bikes to have taken this step in India, where most bike makers fear to tread, is something else. The style, its character, the single-seat for a solo rider and the matte black finish – are all a lovely blend for someone who prefers panache over practicality. Also, read the latest bike comparisons, only at autoX.

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