Sometimes, all you want to do is stand out from the crowd by a mile, even if the decision isn’t a particularly a logical one. These are the times when you decide to go entirely with your heart, overruling your head completely, and I daresay the Jawa Perak is just the thing for such an occasion.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again — Jawas are among the very best looking motorcycles in the country, and the Perak simply wallops it out of the park in the stand-and-stare department. If you want attention every time you head out on a ride, this bike is guaranteed to get you bucket-loads of it.
The Perak is made in the ‘bobber’ style of motorcycle design. What this usually involves is radically modifying a production motorcycle by stripping it of superfluous parts and weight, removing the front fender, lowering its ride height and shortening the rear fender, among other things.
What Jawa has essentially done is to release a ‘custom’ motorcycle straight from the factory, and a smashing job it’s done of it too (it does have a small front fender, though). When the company announced its comeback a couple of years ago, it was this model that caught everyone’s eye, and it’s a good thing it has finally been launched.
The Design Elements
The first thing you’ll notice on the bike is its unique (and lovely) seat, which is a cantilevered unit that replaces the bike’s rear subframe; the seat attaches to the bike’s frame via a piece of metal. Behind the seat sits a round LED brake light, and behind that is the rear fender that has no parts above it.
To pull off this aesthetic, Jawa had to design a new frame, swingarm and collector unit for the exhausts, since the twin pipes are slim and very close to the bike’s frame. The side panels are triangular and complement the profile beautifully, and suffice to say that the Perak looks amazing from every angle. There are some fit and finish issues, however.
The speedometer is rather poorly positioned and therefore not entirely visible while riding, there are some uneven panel gaps and, most of all, the wiring for the rear indicators is exposed. Ergonomically, because of the bike’s low stance and seat position, your knees sit too high up (also because the foot pegs are set towards the back and also quite high), leading to an awkward riding position that will require frequent breaks. The seat is comfortable, albeit a little on the softer side.
What About The Ride?
Once you begin rolling, you’ll immediately realise that the stiff ride quality on other Jawas pales in comparison to the ride on offer here. Since the suspension travel has been reduced at both ends of the bike to make it lower, and the rear wheel travel isn’t much either, any kind of riding on bad roads will be hell on your back, with your own spine functioning as a kind of shock absorber. The low ground clearance is also an issue, and you’ll find yourself scraping large speed breakers.
The news isn’t all bad, though. Despite its stretched wheelbase, the Perak is quite light of foot, and the wide tyres aid its more than acceptable handling capabilities, allowing you to fling it around corners. What will happen eventually if you lean into left-handers hard, however, is that the side stand will scrape the road. The brakes do the job well enough, but they’re somewhat dull in terms of feel.
The engine is more powerful than those on other Jawas, in terms of cubic capacity, power and torque, which makes the Perak quite capable of high speed riding (if you can put up with the ride quality). Power delivery is smooth and quite flat, but at the higher end of the rev range, you’ll feel a satisfying surge as the extra power and torque come into play. All told, this is a bike that is best used over short distances and on reasonably good roads – it’s more of a flashy showboater than a long-distance cruiser.
How does one sum up the Perak, then? I must say that it’s quite gutsy (some may say foolish) of Classic Legends to launch a great looking bike that doesn’t have much practical value, in that sense (you can’t take a pillion rider along, for one thing). It does come with dual channel ABS, but in terms of other features, there’s barely anything.For its asking price of Rs 1.97 lakh, ex-showroom, there are many other motorcycles out there that are far better all-rounders and more feature-rich, not to mention comfortable. However, here’s where I’ll take you back to the head vs. heart issue – the Perak is an out-and-out heart decision, and will gladden it every time you look at and ride the bike. For some, that is reason enough.