Retro is a trend. The big brands now all have something that is a tribute to the past. In the most elaborate PR approach, happy sense refers to a history that never existed. That is something for marketing reasons. From the budget corner are a bunch of brands that - whether or not under European supervision - are made in China. These motorcycles / motorbikes are usually based on eighties models from Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha.
Finally beautiful motorcycles again
Aside from the retro look being a throwback to the days when motorcycles didn't look like something out of a manga strip crossed with a mid-sized Transformer, there's another plus: Many of us have had some wear and tear on the kickstart knee after years of use. And many, if not most, retro bikes simply have an E-starter. Very handy.
And so we come to Jawa
Jawa was once a global leading brand. Jawas were modern, reliable, innovative and very successful in all kinds of motorsport. The brand actually went down because of the managed economy approach that was tied to the political system of that time. And as long as the Soviet Union bought a million Jawas of the type 634, that was not bad. And in India many Jawas were built under license. Jawa then had a long deathbed with countless near-death experiences and miraculous resurrections. There were Jawas with 500 cc four-stroke Bombardier blocks. Used, old or classic Jawas? Nobody was interested in that after the fall of communism.
Its own history was sold out
All residents of former socialist salvation states wanted to integrate into Westernhood as quickly as possible. All old things therefore had to go. Smart traders took them west. But in terms of trade prices they remained very pleasantly priced. Until the Czechs and Slovaks, like the former East Germans with their MZs, realized that they had put their riding heritage on sale.
When something was earned there, they started to buy back their history
Now a nice Jawa 350 is worth six grand there. The former Peraks and Ogars go for prizes up to flat seven grand. For a Jawa Californian we saw an asking price of 20.000 euros. Just for the record: In 1971 the twin cost 1.950 guilders. Whether that is realistic? Whether that is fun? Well, if you want one and you have the money for it?
But Jawa has a great history. And the brand still exists. They picked up the idea of doing something with that history in the most stylish way we have seen in retro land. And you can simply buy such a new Jawa here in the Netherlands. Because Jelle Venema (not related to Albert Venema of advertiser Venema Antiques and Classic Cars) from Burum is the importer of it. Jelle has no advertising budgets yet, but she does have a love for the brand. He reports proudly and modestly that he was already allowed to sell a handful of new Jawas.
He now has the advertising rates of AMK
And he will not be alarmed by that. The new 300 cc looks like an authentic classic Jawa. It has a solid, chic look. Viewed through the eyelashes, it resembles the 500 cc OHC models of which few have been made. (That's a story in itself.) Prices of over 20.000 euros are now being paid for those machines, but that aside. The demo that Jelle received was sold immediately after the first test drive. The second demo bike is currently being made ready for use and Jawa also offers a 500 cc engine. But in terms of looks, the 300 has stolen our hearts. And the price? It is still almost at an old-fashioned Jawa level.
The good feeling for 2021? The Corona disappears, spring is coming and Jelle is going to sell so many Jawas that he will advertise in AMK.