Lubo's Jawa 500. Jawa 500 cc OHC, the engine that was not allowed.

Auto Motor Klassiek » Engines » Lubo's Jawa 500. Jawa 500 cc OHC, the engine that was not allowed.

Okay. You can say something about our 'system'. But – again viewed from here – you can just as easily say: 'The more easterly, the crazier'. And then we go far beyond the Achterhoek. We are going to what was once Czechoslovakia. There Jawas were made by craftsmen who were very good at making Jawas. But under the tutelage of the USSR's communist planned economy, the Jawa techies were only allowed to make boring & decent cheap two-wheeled transport.

The Czechoslovakians secretly invented the 500 cc OHV with a king-shaft driven camshaft. This came to the ears of the planning politicians and was banned. And that while the – at the time – Czechoslovaks were internationally top-skilled motorcycle manufacturers. But within the framework of the planned economy, civilian two-strokes had to be made. Until the piston-driven two-strokes were really past their sell-by date. But that mega production was there. Of these are driving and now a million+ in the former Soviet States and in…. India, where the Jawas were made under license. And guess what? Now Jawas are being made again. So in India…

The rumor: The copies made had to be destroyed

So they became, but only administratively. The narrowly framed political system was so rigid that with a bit of freedom of mind you could just shuffle between the regulations and the reality. After communism succumbed to its own rigidity, we soon found ourselves in places like Kladno. Fairs were held there where east and west met. They had the stuff (and the limited knowledge about 'the value'). We had money. Those were euros and we still had to get used to that. Many offerings were still priced in D Marken. That first visit to Kladno there were about four complete Jawa 500s for sale and quite a few parts to be found. Friends who had gone to Jawa's homeland had similar experiences. I think 1991 asking prices of € 5.000 for a completely restored Jawa ohc. They were not immediately sold for it.

The Jawa 500 OHC is a four-stroke, two-cylinder, air-cooled motorcycle,

Developed and produced between 1952 and 1958. The predecessor was already a Jawa 500 OHV. After the end of production of this four-stroke, Jawa has not mass-produced another four-stroke motorcycle with its own design. But that is now changing. There is now a delicious Jawa 300 cc, a heart-stopping retro look four-stroke that is made in ... India.

Lubo's Jawa 500
The new Jawa four-stroke comes out…. India
Lubo's Jawa 500

Unlike the “Perák”, this model was more aimed at sporty drivers.

The first prototype was produced around 1948. Another series from 1950-51 had a different front fork. Another oil tank and a Lucas magdynamo. The very first ones used the high PAL mag dynamo, the Bosch mag dynamo was also tested. Engines from 1952 had a battery ignition coil. The first series-produced type was the 15/00 from 1952, the so-called “Snail”, then the 15/01 and 15/02 types, with buddy seat, large drums and fenders with piping.

In the years 1955-1956 type 15/02 was produced

Lubo's Jawa 500
This project was at HD Classic in Baal. The previous owner had wanted to turn it into a crosser.

The king shaft drove the camshaft on type 00 with a spiral transmission, on types 01 and 02 it was a more durable bevel gear. Brakes were type 00 and 01 single sided drum, steel, type 02 all round, ribbed (large aluminum drums). Type 00 and 01 had a saddle, type 02 had a buddy. The Type 02 also had a higher engine power of 26 instead of 28 hp, an increased top speed from 135 to 147 km/h. The model was produced until 1958.

In total, approximately 7200 JAWA 500 OHC engines were produced, of which approximately 5000 were of the 15/02 type. We cover with the mantle of love that Jawa's masterpieces had weaknesses at the beginning of their existence. Justly.

Our Slovakian friend Lubo Hrivnak has collected a nice collection of Jawas. And his 500 is the masterpiece in that. And don't think that you will easily find these engines and/or the parts in the region where they were once made. These machines are now actively sought worldwide. And little found… The 500 in the snow WAS at Dutch Lion Motors

In this story we also mentioned the new Jawas. Is that allowed?

This site is free. We find that a bit unfortunate. But now at least we dare to ask something in return: What do you think of new motorcycles that look convincing, honest and stylishly classic? “Rrrrrrrrrrrrr!”.


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  1. So if I read correctly, did Jawa sell 7.200 type 500 motorcycles when “planned economies” heard about it and banned the engine? What nonsense.

    Jawa was part of Motokov, which was led by the Czechoslovak government (and not the USSR as it is written). So nothing went into production without a prior order. Jawa built motorcycles for the whole world, but they always chose models that were most needed. At the time, this need consisted mainly of the 100.000 two-strokes that the Soviet Union purchased annually, for which Czechoslovakia received raw materials such as oil and steel in return.

    To be condescending about Jawa and Czechosliwakia is nonsensical. At the time, Jawa was the largest engine manufacturer in the world and MZ from the GDR the second. It concerns millions of motorcycles and exports to more than 100 countries. What has the Netherlands achieved in that area, so that we can treat them as inferior?

    • Hi Olav, There are many stories from many sources. And there can always be people with better info. But if you had followed this site a little better, and if you subscribed to AutoMotorKlassiek If you had been, you would have known that we have been publishing about 'ex eastern bloc' machines for decades. And that out of appreciation. I myself have been driving Urals and Dneprs for 25 years. Two years ago I sold my Jawa to a Slovakian friend and at the moment there is a nice TS 8 at Loods 250 for a decent price. By the way, have you seen the new Jawas yet? They come from India. Also nice!

  2. With two brothers, the three of us on the Jawa 350 over the road, without helmet, motorcycle clothing, without a driver's license, but with a lot of fun. Or cross country roads.
    Later bought a CZ 125 (identical to Jawa), very reliable, and later a CZ 175, less reliable, but good handling through the Ardennes.
    Many motorcycles later you are well aware of the limitations of this type of motorcycle.. But the new Jawa looks beautiful. I dare to show myself with it, will enjoy the rides and be able to tinker with it myself.
    And the improvements.

  3. I saw a beautiful one; as long as they look like a motorcycle should look like. That's how it is. I have a soft spot for Jawa, maybe because my father had one for a long time. Jawa had good technicians, just think of Bill Ivi who once became world champion on it and Jawa's effort at the speedway. You could see those bikes in the pitt for a long time at the Biker Classics in Francorchamps.
    Went for a ride yesterday for oldtimers and with some key work you can finish it. My son bought a new Suzuki. Nice thing but all you can do is fill the tank and the tires.

  4. Totally agree. I bought a retro Benelli (2 imperiale) 400 years ago. You don't want to know how often people are asked "how old is he? Or so it has been nicely refurbished”
    Then also had an eye on the new Jawa, but it was not yet available in the Netherlands.

  5. There is nothing wrong with new motorcycles that look convincing, honest and stylishly classic. My eleven-year-older brother had a '650 Yamaha XS75, that same year. I looked him up on the internet and just like the 13,5-year-old myself, I am completely excited about it again. That was already a retro model at the time, but I have only recently realized that. If they make it now – preferably under the skin with the latest techniques – it will sell well again. I think so.

  6. If my memory doesn't misinform me, I remember a TT in the mid 50's where Jawa participated with a 500cc four-stroke, mighty sound a la Gilera, and among other things beautiful brake drums with cooling fins that left almost no room for spokes. The name of the Czech rider is not really known to me anymore (something like Frantisek Stastny?), but Drikus Veer was also able to participate on such an impressive bike for a year.

  7. Those new classic looking bikes I love, modern reliable technology and yet they look like a bike should. And not like the current bikes that look like science fiction, I would like to buy such a retro model.

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