I’m pretty sure when Classic Legends showcased the new generation Jawa and Jawa Forty Two last year they expected a crazy response but not the kind of crazy it has turned out to be. Unofficially I hear there’s over 40,000 bookings and the response has been so overwhelming, Jawa stopped online bookings months back! Classic Legends is now hard at work trying to deliver as many bikes as possible swiftly. That’s one reason why you haven’t seen a full-fledged road test of either new Jawa in OVERDRIVE yet. But we’ve finally managed to lay our hands on a Forty Two to bring you this road test!
The all-new Jawa and Jawa Forty Two have received a terrific response courtesy their retro styling and the nostalgic value they hold
Design and engineering
While the Jawa strikes the right chord with old timers given how closely it resembles the original, the Forty Two is a ‘modern retro’, if there exists a term like that. It looks properly classic with its round headlamp, offset single pod instrument cluster as also the flat handlebar and the way the fuel tank slopes backwards, followed by a flat seat. Wire spoked wheels and chrome finished twin exhausts add to the classic theme in heaps, as does the rear end with the tiny stop light and round turn indicators. Attention to detail is good and the Jawa name and logo find place on the handlebar grips, cylinder head, engine casing and a few more places.
The Jawa Forty Two looks particularly arresting from the rear thanks to its chromed twin exhausts, styling elements like the side cowls, the design of the seat and the tail piece itself, which houses the tiny stop lamp and round turn indicators. In fact, you could pretty much mistake this motorcycle for one that’s at least a couple of decades old given its design!
The instrument cluster looks properly retro with its black background and white readouts and needles, but the speedometer and fuel gauge layouts are inverted and take some getting used to. There’s a tiny digital display for the odometer but surprisingly the Forty Two does not get a tripmeter. Build quality and fit-finish are good overall though some of the finishes, especially on the plastics could have been better. But there’s no denying the Forty Two looks very appealing and has the charm you expect of a classic like it. And given its styling and the stunning looking shade of blue, the Forty Two proved to be an absolute head turner on the road, with almost everyone giving it a second glance.
Offset single-pod instrument cluster on the Jawa Forty Two looks nice. The layout and background for the speedometer and fuel gauge look properly retro as the needles and readouts are white while the background is black, however, both meters are inverted and take some getting used to. Tiny digital display only integrates an odometer but misses out on a tripmeter
Engine and performance
The 293cc single cylinder engine powering the Forty Two shares it’s basic architecture with the Mahindra Mojo’s engine. The liquid-cooled motor offers 27.2PS and 28Nm and is mated to a six-speed gearbox. It feels smooth and has a distinctive exhaust note, partly thanks to the twin exhausts and in part thanks to Jawa trying to emulate the original Jawa sound. Performance is linear and a little laidback, as you would expect given the bike’s positioning. I felt power delivery could have been punchier, though with that said the Forty Two managed the 0-60kmph run in 4.1 seconds in our acceleration test. It crossed the 100kmph mark in 14.1 seconds which is decent for a 170kg, retro motorcycle. Progress through traffic is reasonably quick, though on a few occasions I felt some more grunt would have been nicer. Gear ratios are adequate and work well in city and on the highway too. The bike feels comfortable and relatively stress-free sustaining 90 to 100kmph on the highway. It starts feeling stressed at about 110kmph on the speedometer and takes a while to get to 120kmph, should you want to get there. Fueling is crisp which results in precise throttle responses, especially at slow speeds in traffic. For those concerned, the Forty Two returned 27.34kmpl and 31.47kmpl on the highway in our efficiency tests.
The Jawa Forty Two engine offers adequate performance and the bike does not feel slow but could have offered a more engaging feel
Ride and handling
The Forty Two is suspended on telescopic forks and gas charged dual shock absorbers and the ride quality they offer is pliant as the bike soaks up broken roads with aplomb. The riding position makes standing up on the pegs easy, which also helps you avoid having to slow down to a crawl on bad roads. The seating is comfortable too – you only lean forward to reach the flat handlebar ever so slightly. The handlebar offers good leverage and helps in making quick directional changes, so the Forty Two feels light and nimble through traffic. It also feels planted around bends but is not exactly a corner carving tool. The suspension offers a confident feel, but the tyres are not as confidence inspiring, especially on wet roads. A set of grippier tyres should take care of that though. Overall, the Forty Two is well-balanced on the dynamics front but as is the case with the powertrain, the setup is a little laidback and the bike does not feel very sprightly which can get boring sometimes.
The Jawa Forty Two feels confident on the handling front, be it around corners, riding through traffic or at high speeds on open roads. That said, the bike feels laidback in nature overall and could have offered a slightly more athletic feel
The Forty Two has been created to bring back the nostalgia of the old Jawas which enjoyed a cult status. The very mention of the brand has a smile cross the lips of old timers who rode the original Jawas in their hey days. In fact, Jawas were ‘the’ bikes to own back then and were used for racing, rallying and touring given the performance they boasted. Classic Legends has tried recreating that magic with the all-new Jawa and Forty Two. And given my time in the Forty Two’s saddle I can confirm that it does have that retro, old world charm. It is a very good looking motorcycle in my books and in fact the overall packaging is to that effect as well – evoke emotions with the design and feel, rather than excite with engine performance or handling. So if you are looking to buy a Jawa it makes sense to get one for that nostalgic feel, but not as much if looking for a motorcycle that looks retro and is also exciting to ride, because this one likes you to take it easy once you swing a leg over rather than rev the nuts off it. Priced at Rs 1.83 lakh on-road Mumbai the Forty Two’s price is in the same league as its direct rival, the Royal Enfield Classic 350 and I feel should be interesting to find out which of the two is a better time machine!
Overall, the Jawa Forty Two is high on nostalgic quotient thanks to its design and the kind of legacy the brand enjoys and makes sense to in for one if looking for that nostalgia, though the super-long waiting periods are certainly a stumbling block
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