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2021 Jawa Forty Two Review: A different riding experience

First-ride impressions of the new Jawa, which has hit the market with some tweaks in design.

March 11, 2021 / 04:45 PM IST

I confess that I’m a fan of the way the new Jawa’s look. There’s something about a retro-designed motorcycle with two exhaust pipes that is just right, I have always felt – perhaps this is a hangover from the days when I lusted after the legendary Yamaha RD350 and was also taken with the Yezdi and the original Jawa.

I’m glad that Classic Legends has decided to stick with this twin-pipe design, because it really does make the new bikes stand out. It’s a tough call as to which new Jawa looks the best (my vote goes to the ‘Jawa’ Jawa, as it were), but the Forty Two is definitely a very handsome machine. It now looks even more distinctive, with the minor design tweaks it’s been given.

Alloy Wheels Or Spokes?

The most obvious one is the use of alloy wheels rather than ones with spokes, which for me isn’t that exciting – on this bike, I think that spokes look better. Having said that, since this edition doesn’t replace the older Forty Two, you can choose the previous one if spokes are your thing. The alloys on this bike can be fit with tubeless tyres, and will be available as accessories for owners of the ‘classic’ Jawa and the older Forty Two.

The wheels are black, and are of a piece with the engine and exhaust pipes, which have also been painted black, giving the bike a quite sporty character; the wheels have pin striping, and on the tank is a racing stripe. The mirrors are on the end of the handlebars, and to dress up the bike a little, you can purchase a small metal rack for the rear and a flyscreen for the headlight.

You also get slightly redesigned switches, but the instrumentation remains the same – which is to say rather basic and a bit hard to read. Colours for this variant are restricted to just red, black and white; you’ll have to get the older version if you want any other shade.

The Other Tweaks

There are a few mechanical changes to go with the cosmetic ones (yes, this is more than just a paint-and-sticker job). For one thing, the bike is around 1kg lighter, due to a switch to dual, lighter catalytic convertors rather than one larger unit.

The firm says that the chassis has also been beefed up, along with an adjustment to the front suspension’s preload. As for the engine, it puts out an extra 0.8 horsepower, due to a change in the way the gases exiting the exhaust ports mix with one another before being expelled through the exhausts.

Well, 0.8 hp may not sound like much, but on the road, there’s a discernible extra pep in the engine, and when it hits its mid-range, you get more of a forward shove than on the older bike – the powerplant is certainly one that’s more entertaining now. The exhaust note has changed a bit too, sounding more bass-heavy.


The seat now has better comfort and support levels than the previous Forty Two, although its height is still the same. The bike has always been a bit of a low rider, which means that if you’re especially tall, you’ll struggle a bit in terms of overall ergonomics.

The ride on offer continues to be a bit stiff, and the bike is still very enjoyable to flick around corners; a redesigned side stand ensures that you can lean it a bit further before it starts scraping the road surface. In its class, the bike is arguably the sportiest in terms of overall character.

At Rs 1.84 lakh, the ‘new’ Forty Two definitely offers some improvements over its stablemates, and will be sold only with dual-channel ABS. It’s a left-of-field option in a market so heavily dominated by Royal Enfield, but it makes for a very different riding experience nonetheless.

Rana Chaudhury is a writer passionate about automobiles.
first published: Mar 11, 2021 04:45 pm