Jawa 350 638 Review from United Kingdom

1989 Jawa 350 638

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2009
Acceleration marks 7 / 10
Roll-on Performance marks 5 / 10
Handling marks 5 / 10
Braking marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.7 / 10
Distance when acquired8500 miles
Most recent distance11500 miles
Previous motorcycleMZ ETZ 250

Summary:

Don't knock what you haven't tried!

Faults:

In 3000 miles, nothing! It's been brilliant.

General Comments:

Originally part of an outfit which cost me £700 in March 2009. Due to lack of use, I sold the 'car for £350 a couple of months later. The bike itself was £350, which is pretty near the upper limit of what you'll ever pay for a Jawa.

I previously owned an MZ ETZ 250, which only did about 40mpg, worse than my VFR 750! However, I was hooked on the whole simple stroker thing, and ended up with the Jawa, which returns low fifties mpg and though not fast -around 70- is a really satisfying ride due to its pulling power in all gears from 1500 rpm, very comfy with good seat and plenty of arm- and leg-room. My pillions prefer it my VFR 750 with its low rear pegs, and you don't slide forward under braking. Praise indeed.

Let's deal with the alleged weaknesses of the Jawa, the bike the press loved to hate. Premix-so what? Points ign.- have looked at them but no adjustment req'd in 3000 miles. Poor build quality - the bike's 20 yr old and totally reliable. Styling - OK, I let that one go. But it certainly turns heads, when's the last time a silver Ford Focus managed that?

Worst feature: without doubt, the horrid gear change, GRIND with neutral between all the gears (not false neutral, they're meant to be there). Thank God there are only four.

Best feature: Tank detail "TWIN SPORT" - who says that only the Brits have a great sense of irony!

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th September, 2009

16th Jan 2010, 18:56

I agree in many things.

For me, Jawa is like the AK-47 of motorcycles.

7th Apr 2011, 12:42

I had a JAWA 638 Twin sport too, for 14 years in fact. It was the European restricted performance version, with petroil mix in the tank. I rode it in all weathers experienced in Cape Town ie: windy, rainy, whatever etc.

Whilst top speed was nowhere near something like a Yamaha Rd350, it was quite fast enough for me, it was a great all rounder that could take anything that I needed it to do, like carry passengers up and down the Cape Town hills, & transport goods for my shop.

I sold it to a retired aircraft technician, with the original front tyre still in use, and only the second chains in use, after around 80000km, which is actually not much: there was one Mr Yarets of somewhere in Russia, a deaf mute who travelled lots on his JAWA 638, around 200000km before poor Mr Yarets, trying to repair his machine at the roadside somewhere with all his stuff for touring, was struck by a truck.

The service back up in South Africa was not good though, there are still a few around Cape Town, mainly in the hands of Classic Bike Club members, who might source parts from the UK. Cheers Guys! Gonna ride home now on my Bajaj Pulsar 180Dtsi...

Average review marks: 6.7 / 10, based on 1 review