Jawa Perak Review
Jawa has created a niche in the sub-350cc segment with the Perak. A niche that is likely to remain untouched for the next few years atleast. And in the time that we spent with the motorcycle, it raised a lot of questions for us, the most important out of which was whether you should sacrifice functionality for looks? Read on to find out if you should get one of these home.
Back in 2018, Classic Legends re-incarnated the Jawa brand in India with the Jawa Classic- which is a proper replica to the original and the Forty Two which was a slightly modern take to the latter. Apart from these two, the manufacturer also had a trick up its sleeve in the form of this gorgeously unique-looking motorcycle called the Perak. And with it, Jawa has created a niche in the sub-350cc segment. A niche that is likely to remain untouched for the next few years at least.
In the time that we spent with the motorcycle, it raised a lot of questions for us, the most important out of which was whether you should sacrifice functionality for looks? Read on to find out if you should get one of these home.
So let’s kick-off with the design. Now, since the Perak is styled like a bobber one might think that it is based on the standardJawa Classic with parts like the pillion seat and pillion foot rest stripped off to reduce weight for better performance. But instead, Jawa has gone a step further and built the Perak on a new frame and a new swingarm. And the sub-frame and flat seat on the Classic is ditched for a tan-brown, single-seat that is fixed to the main frame.
It neatly integrates a round tail lamp while the turn indicators are fitted on the large rear fender. Adding to the Perak’s dark-themed, custom-built look is this matte black paint scheme with contrasting gold accents and pinstripes. Then there are the slash-cut exhausts on either side and the bar-end mirrors which again add credibility to the bobber styling.
As for quality, the Jawa Perak is well put together for the most part, however, it does have a few areas that could have a better fit and finish. And by the end of our tenure with the Perak which had clocked around 800km on the odo, we were also left with a couple of buzzing sounds and rattles that weren’t there at the start. Then there are these open wires for the turn indicators that are fixed using well… cheap zip-ties.
But all said and done, the Jawa Perak is built to be a gorgeous looking motorcycle and in our opinion, is worthy enough to be parked under that Van Gogh painting in your home.
Fitted with the exact same features as the Jawa Classic and Jawa Forty-Two, technology is not the Perak’s strong suite. It skips the LED lighting for the headlamp and turn indicator and you are left with a dual-channel ABS and a small digital screen fitted in the analogue instrument cluster that only displays the odo.
Now, this instrument cluster is meant to replicate the one on the original Jawa, however, it comes with a design flaw. Thanks to its flat placement, it is impossible to see the bottom half of the speedometer and the digital display is difficult to read under direct sunlight.
Amid all the stares and questions about if it has been launched yet, there were a few who asked- “Iska comfort kaisa hai?”. Well, with a seat height of a mere 750mm, the Perak is great for short riders. Although it would be a cramped experience for taller riders. Adding to that, the footpegs are slightly rear set and placed higher which feels a bit unnatural. And given the shape of the fuel tank which tapers towards the seat, there isn’t much space to grip your thighs either. Although regardless of your height, the bulging side-panels interfere even if you were to adjust the placement of your feet slightly.
On the flip-side the handlebar is easy to reach and the switchgear can be operated easily. Although, these round bar end mirrors are too small to provide a wide rear view and intrude while holding on to the grips. As for the seat, it comes with soft cushioning that is perfect for short rides but tends to get cumbersome after a few hours on the saddle. With a kerb weight of just 175kg, the Perak is a considerably light motorcycle. Although moving it around can be quite a task as it misses out on a grabrail and even if you try pushing it, you’d have the bar ends intruding. But since it is so light, what you can do is sit on the motorcycle and move it seamlessly.
That said, the Jawa Perak’s 334cc, single-cylinder engine manages to keep one entertained on the go. It is larger than the 293cc motor on the other models and with 30bhp and 32.7Nm on tap, it is 4bhp and 4.2Nm more than its siblings. And with a bump in power figures, there is an evident increase in grunt in the low and mid-range but we did find a flat spot after 120kmph when the motorcycle took its own sweet time to get to a top-speed of 140kmph. While there is a slight buzz of vibrations on the handlebar, especially at the top-end, it is not at all hand-numbing.
The Perak also has enough oomph to make quick overtakes and is also quite agile when moving through traffic. And even with a longer wheelbase and fatter tyres than its siblings, the Perak will not disappoint if you chance on some twisties. Although, thanks to the 20mm lower ground clearance you would end up scraping those exhaust pipes and would also have to be mindful while going over speedbreakers.
Now, the front end which comprises of telescopic forks is the same as the other models. And even though the suspension travel has decreased comparatively, it still behaves well over minor undulations. However, the monoshock which is hidden under the seat, has a different story to tell. With just 86mm of travel, the rear suspension sends jolts to the lower back at speeds anything over 60kmph over minor bumps and can get quite unbearable on larger potholes.
Nevertheless, the braking hardware on the Perak is picked up from the same parts bin as the other Jawas. The setup which consists of a 280mm disc at the front and a 240mm disc at the rear offers good feel at the lever but could do with more biting power. You get ABS at both ends which kicks in too soon and seems intrusive at times.
If you are into touring or have a pillion to ride with, the Jawa Perak wouldn’t be your wisest choice. And with barely any storage space, it isn’t very high on practicality either. Moreover, it also misses out on features that come with motorcycles that cost way lesser.
But if you want a motorcycle that guarantees you that extra attention on the road and tugs at your heartstrings every time you look at it, there is none like the Jawa Perak.
And with low ground clearance and accessible power delivery, the Perak is a good option for new riders. It is also meant to cater to a narrow niche of buyers that want a secondary motorcycle to ride to the nearest cafe or for a short spin around town. Priced at Rs 1.97 lakh (ex-showroom), it is roughly Rs 21,000 more expensive than the Jawa Classic. And for the premium, you get a bigger engine along with a sense of individuality and character by the bucket load.
Photos by Kaustubh Gandhi
Full Review-Hide Review