No Jawa revving on city roads this year
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No Jawa revving on city roads this year

July 10, 2021

Over 30 bikers to proceed towards Bandipur on Intl. Jawa Day tomorrow

By S. Kenneth Shishir 

Motorcycles that once ruled Indian roads drew every onlooker’s attention every second Sunday of July that is celebrated as the ‘International Jawa Day’ where groups of bikers vroomed around designated roads of their cities. They were no ordinary bikes, but motorcycles which every young Indian wanted to own in the early 60s.

Incidentally, the second Sunday of July falls tomorrow (July 11). However, there will be no rally as such as the Police have denied permission owing to COVID-19 pandemic. Last year too, there was no such rally, thanks to the pandemic and if a city dweller can recall, the last rally was held in 2019. 

Every year, the vintage era of Yezdis and Jawas was brought alive when a group of youths, under the banner ‘Jawa Friends Club’ rode the bikes on the city roads. This year, however, a group of 30 Jawa enthusiasts will proceed towards a long drive to Bandipur and come back after a short picnic of sorts. They will start from Bandipalya Ring Road at 8 am and touch Bandipur Tiger Reserve Gate and  return to Mysuru. 

The tough bike was manufactured in India by Ideal Jawa (India) Limited aka Jawa. Commercial production of the motorcycles in India began in the 1960s with technical collaboration with Jawa Limited of former Czechoslovakia. 

 The first Jawa rolled out of Czechoslovakia in 1929 and it made its Indian debut through the efforts of F.K. Irani at Ideal Jawa which started importing them to Mysuru around the mid-1940s. Ideal Jawa (India) Ltd. manufactured the most sought-after two-wheelers in the 60s and 70s at its factory in Yadavagiri. The land that stood abandoned after the factory stopped production in 1981 was auctioned in 2001.

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Standing tall for its tagline ‘The forever bike that offers forever value,’ the Yezdi was and is still popular amongst bike enthusiasts. Though not many of these bikes are seen on the roads these days, there are people who have preserved them with utmost care and ride them for sheer pleasure.

 There are many bikers from Mysuru, Bengaluru and Kodagu who own good old Jawa and Yezdi bikes — Jawa Colt, Jawa Jet, CL 2 and Jawa 350, Yezdi 250, Yezdi Roadking, Yezdi Classic and Yezdi Monarch among others. The mileage of these bikes is less, but the comfort in riding the bike makes all other factors redundant, say riders. Spares are difficult to come by and most of what is available turns out to be fake.  

 Khizer of Jawa Friends Club said that there will be no rally within the city but they, in a group of over 30, would proceed towards Bandipur. “Every annual rally, apart from being a display show of the mean machines, was also a platform for Jawa bike enthusiasts to interact with some of the oldest riders and employees of the then Ideal Jawa factory. This year, however, that’s not possible,” he said.

‘My bike is like my family member’

Prahalad Cheluve Urs, who owns a 1995 Roadking, said that his bike was like his family member who requires attention and regular care. Just like regular health check-ups for human beings, these bikes too need regular maintenance, he said.

 “I took part in International Jawa Day rallies for four years from 2014 and have even sponsored a few events. Due to hectic work schedule, I have stopped participating. But I take my Roadking for city rides and even to work,” he added.

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‘I tune bikes of many outstation riders’

Wajid, one of the Jawa mechanics in the city, said that the craze for this bike is still alive and kicking. “I began repairing Jawa and Yezdi bikes in 1978 and I have regular customers, who come from Chamarajanagar, K.R. Nagar, Kodagu, Chikkamagalur and other places to get their bikes repaired or toned up. Due to the current pandemic situation, my garage was closed but I used to repair bikes at the customers’ homes itself as many Yezdi bike owners do not want to keep their prized possessions idle,” he said.

Wajid said that there is no dearth for spares as they are being manufactured and available at many spare parts shops.

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