2015 Jawa 350 640 Style from United Kingdom
It's completely different!
Nothing. It's like new.
The first thing to state is that this is NOT a reintroduced bike. The Jawa 350 that was generally sneered at in the UK in the 1980s (BUT about £700 OTR) has in fact REMAINED in production to this day and in the same factory just outside Prague in an era where everyone else gas shifted production to Asia. All this is ironic as the bike press was pretty scathing about how bad these bikes were, but absolutely loved MZs. Well, look who went bust and look who survived!
There's a one man business in Wisbech who imports these bikes, along with Russian bikes, and I'm baffled how they're able to be sold what with them being such bad polluters.
My bike was almost indistinguishable from new and cost £3000 from a dealer in Stoke who kindly delivered into FOC to Cardiff.
You're maybe wondering how this bike, a 2015 model, differs from the old premix molluscs of the communist era. Well, it's an almost exact copy of the 1991 version which (finally) got a disc brake and auto lube. Other changes include a bigger disc, electronic ignition and a digital speedo/rev counter in place of mechanical clocks which I personally am not keen on. Plus another thing that the two stroke MZs never gained - an electric start (the famous kick start/gear lever remains). The indicators and headlamp are generic Chinese (I would prefer real Jawa items), but it retains the crude, chunky 70s switchgear.
But the main difference, apart from not being artificially cheap anymore (they cost £4000) is quite simply it feels like it's been built in a Japanese factory. The 80s versions were victims of appalling build quality and pretty lazy pre-sale preparation by dealers and were extremely unreliable. Customers enjoyed the quirkiness and rustic charm and accepted the constant repairs as part of the deal. Well, happily nowadays you can ride Jawas in total confidence and I have experienced no issues whatsoever in the 1500 miles covered by myself so far. The all-round improvement is apparent in the greatly extended service intervals. The plugs now stay in for 6,000 miles!!
This bike, as long as you can live with it having the performance of a 125, is an absolute delight to ride. It's full-sized for a start. What blows you away is how good the suspension is. You can go over speed humps at 30 mph and ride round a bumpy field if you like. The seat is really comfy too. Handling is very light and the bike is stable despite its skinny old-school tyres.
The engine identical to the one fitted to the 638 model of 1984. It pulls from nowhere in the bottom three ratios and 4th operates in the 3,000-4,000 rpm range which equates to 45-60mph. And yes, it still has the agricultural non-synchromesh gear change. Top speed on the flat? Well, it feels thrashy above sixty so anything above that isn't usable especially as it's when squeezing the last ten percent of power out of any engine that your MPG really suffers. On that subject, expect the low sixties MPG on average. A bike that won't go above sixty sounds rubbish, doesn't it? Well, it's not as bad as it sounds because everything happens below four thousand rpm, so it's a relaxed, torquey ride. You never feel like you're wringing its neck like you do on a 125. It's just a pity that that not still making one of the old Japanese strokers too. My favourite was the Suzuki GT500. Now that really WOULD be something!
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th August, 2020