After a year-long delay, we get astride the most affordable bobber in India — the Jawa Perak
Jawa launched Perak in India late last year to celebrate its first anniversary after Classic Legends resurrected the iconic brand. It has been over a year and for some reason, Jawa couldn’t manage to give us the Perak for review. So we reached out to one of our enthusiastic followers, for his own Perak and he was kind enough to tag along for a shoot.
Unlike the Jawa and the Forty Two that share many things in common, the Perak is significantly different both on the design and mechanical fronts. It also has the advantage of being the only affordable bobber in the country, starting at Rs 1.94 lakh, ex-showroom. So what’s all the fuss about?
Design and styling
Just like the original Perak from the 1940s, the new motorcycle retains the old charm and adds to the mix plenty of modern and fashionable touches. There’s a round headlamp cluster with halogen lights, no LEDs here but that’s not a dealbreaker. There’s a nicely sculpted tank with Jawa branding in golden colour, an analog speedometer that turns anticlockwise, a standard matt black paint scheme, bar-end mirrors and most importantly, it gets this single seat design with an integrated tail lamp. The seat packs ample cushion and is comfortable, but the ergonomics on the Perak aren’t perfect. On a similar note, the anticlockwise speedometer (just like its siblings) gets time getting used to and you can’t read speeds between 60 and 100kmph as the cluster is horizontal. The bar-end mirrors make your neck crane too much and take your eyes off the road, but they score high on the coolness factor. It’s clearly a case of form over function. You win some and you lose some. The Perak is definitely a head-turner and definitely warrants a second glance.
Moving on to the chassis, the Perak sits on a regular double cradle tubular frame, but gets a unique subframe at the rear that is a requirement for its hardtail origins. There’s an extended swingarm that increases the wheelbase by 116mm compared to the Jawa and unlike the twin hydraulic shocks on its siblings, the Perak gets a monoshock that’s cleverly tucked under the seat.Coming to the powerplant; it has been bored out to displace 334cc and this liquid cooled BS6 unit produces 30bhp and 32.7Nm of torque which is a healthy 4bhp and 5Nm more than what its siblings make.
Get astride the Perak and you realise how far the seat is from the wheels, thanks to the massive wheelbase (1485mm). You’re seated right between the wheels and the uniquely designed toolbox is positioned very close to the footpegs, meaning you can’t comfortably place your toe with your heel constantly banging onto the toolbox cover. It’s a canted forward position which is typical for a bobber.
Jawa Perak performance
Crank the engine up, and the note from the twin exhausts feels noticeably sportier. Twist your wrist and the engine manages to hustle the 175kg Perak rather effortlessly. There’s a strong mid-range punch and the Perak certainly feels quicker than its siblings, getting to triple digit speeds at a fair clip. The lack of bottom-end grunt means you have to keep working the 6-speed gearbox to stay in the peak torque band, and that can be cumbersome in the city. The gearbox packs closely spaced ratios and shifts, for the most part, are smooth and slick. Vibrations are mostly well contained, but some do filter through the tank and the footpegs when you’re revving the engine hard.
The ride quality leans towards the firmer side and at slow speeds in the city you have to slow down to keep your spine in check. Jawa hasn’t mentioned the ground clearance nor have they told us about the suspension travel; both of which equate to a fair amount of challenges. However, build up speeds and the longer footprint lends the Perak sublime straight-line stability. On the highway, you can munch miles comfortably before getting sick of the awkwardly placed toolbox that keeps intruding the gears shifts. Despite a raked front and a long wheelbase, the Perak doesn’t shy away from corners and feels eager to turn into a curve. But again, due to the low ground clearance, you can’t overcook it in the twisties or you’ll end up scraping the exhaust. Okay, the ride and handling setup won’t leave you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but it won’t sap your confidence either.
Should you buy one?
For city usage, the Jawa Perak isn’t the most practical choice and it has its flaws when it comes to ergonomics. However, it’s the best looking motorcycle this side of a Triumph Bonneville Bobber and the Indian Scout Bobber, both of which cost well over Rs 10 lakh, meaning the Perak is the most affordable bobber you can buy in India as of now, without actually feeling like a compromise. On the road, it’s an easy way to turn people’s heads and some Royal Enfield riders even caught up to me asking how they could convert their motorcycles to look so cool, meaning Jawa is sparing you from the troubles of hunting for aftermarket parts to transform your motorcycle into something more desirable. The performance is strong, ride and handling set-up is polished and the retro charm makes it all the more desirable. If you are willing to compromise on the practicality front, then the Perak is definitely worth a dekko for it does leave a lasting impression.