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Jawa 353 250cc 1958

Jawa is a motorcycle manufacturer in the Czech republic, formerly Czechoslovakia. The name was created after its founder, Frantisek Janeček, bought the motorcycle division of Wanderer in 1929 (for their new 500 cc motorcycle engine), by concatenating the first letters of Janeček and Wanderer. The company is still active today.[1]

Jawa is pronounced (roughly) "Yava".




First model

The first model was introduced on October 23, 1929. This was a 500 cc 4-cycle engine with 12 kW of power (18 hp) and fuel consumption of 6 liters per 100 km. Although priced highly, through the first years (and several constructional fixes) this motorcycle was successful and was considered reliable.

Second model

Due to the economic recession of the early 1930 a cheaper and simpler motorcycle was needed. Year 1932 marked the introduction of Jawa 175, with its 3.6 kW engine. This light (70 kg) machine was capable of speeds up to 80 km/h and fuel consumption of 3.5 liters per 100 km. The first year of production was an immediate success, selling over 3000 of the Jawa 175, almost three times the number of the 500 cc model over three years of production. The production of this model was finally stopped 1946. In 1938 Jawa was the first to offer test rides during exhibition show. This test motorcycle was a custom Jawa 175 equipped with dual handlebars, second pair being in the back for the instructor. Over the years total of 27,535 units of the Jawa 175 were built.

Jawa Automobiles

Jawa Minor

In 1934 Jawa introduced its first car, the Jawa 700, which was DKW-based. In 1937, the modified Jawa 600 Minor was introduced. Production continued in limited numbers throughout WWII, and some were assembled in the immediate postwar period.

World war II period

Post War development

In 1946 Jawa introduced a 250cc two stroke single with dual exhausts which became a widespread utility motorcycle around the world, especially in countries allied to the communist block. Replicas of this original are produced in Chang Jiang Motorworks in China in the 21st century. A 350cc twin cylinder two stroke motorcycle was exported around the world and sold under numerous other brand names as well, including the Eaton's brand of Eaton's Road King, and a large single cylinder motorcycle was sold in the 1960s by Sears of Canada. The CZ brand of motorcycle was merged with Jawa by the socialist economic planners after the Communist victory in 1948. CZ also made street motorcycles but was more well known for their motocross and enduro models. ISDT models for trials and enduro were produced under the Jawa and CZ nameplates.


Jawa made a variety of two-stroke mopeds, and was one of the first companies to include electronic ignition on their mopeds. Unfortunately, this "Tranizmo" unit was prone to failure. Jawa mopeds now have a fairly poor reputation, due to the difficulty of getting replacement parts, and the high failure rate of the "Tranizmo" unit.

For more information on Jawa mopeds, see babetta.

Jawa in India

Jawa motorcycles were introduced in India in the late 50's and they have a cult following to this present day. Production was also carried out directly in India by Ideal Jawa based out of Mysore. The Jawa 250cc models , yezdi 250cc models , the Twin 350 and Monarch models are driven to this day in various parts of the country. The Jawa bikes with fuel tank paddings and ignition systems on the fuel tank are now collectors items. Jawa motorcycles also used the brand Yezdi meaning "going or running" .


Jawa 600ccm 1962

Historically Jawa has been very active in racing, and by far the most active East-European manufacturers in mechanical sports. In track racing Jawa sustained a presence in the World Championship until the mid-sixties with respectable performances considering their limited budget. In Motocross the firm built an impressive palmares before its 4-stroke engines became superseded by 2-stroke engines. In speedway racing, dirt track racing and ice racing where 4-stroke engines were still at an advantage, the firm remained a dominant force, scoring a number of victories that's still unbeaten today (to be verified). Jawa Speedway racing motorcycles are now a separate company. The separate factory where these competition motorcycles were built became a separate company following the privitazations of the 1990s with the fall of Socialism.

Recent information

Following the dissolution of the union of the Czech and Slovak people into separate states and the dismantling of the socialist economies, the Jawa consumer motorcycles and the Speedway competition bikes were divided into separate companies. Jawa Speedway bikes are still successful, while the Jawa company has struggled. As of 2006 the Jawa mostly produce copies of Honda 250 cc, 125 cc and 50 cc motorcycles and large bike with a 650 cc Rotax engine. (This engine can be also found in BMW F650 series) The iconic 350 cc two-stroke twin, mechanically unchanged since the 1960s but very reliable, is virtually moribund, while the 250 cc twin-port two-stroke single is no longer available.

The large bike with 650 cc Rotax engine comes in three different variations. Jawa 650 classic is a retro bike with classic proportions. Jawa 650 Style is aimed for city streets and finally Jawa 650 Dakar is a full-scale enduro bike similar to Honda XL Transalp. Maximal output (kW/rev. x min-1) 35,4 / 6500 Maximal torque (Nm/rev x min-1)57/5000


  1. ^ "About Jawa - Foundation of JAWA company and JMT alliance". Motoscoot Co.Ltd. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 

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