We've known that the return of Jawa was due for some time now and the company has just revealed its new models for our market, along with prices and expected timelines. First impressions are positive and the bikes look good. But what about the backstory of these machines? Where have they been conceived and engineered, and by whom? There are plenty of questions regarding this and we got some answers from Classic Legends CEO Ashish Joshi at the launch event.
For a a bit of a recap, Classic Legends Pvt Ltd is a company that holds the rights to the Jawa name (for sale in India and ASEAN nations) and the old British brand, BSA. The company is also working on bringing the Yezdi brand back and you can read more about this HERE. Classic Legends has a very close association with Mahindra, who owns 60 percent of the company, and much of Classic Legends’ operations leverage Mahindra infrastructure.
With that out of the way, let's get to the motorcycles, starting with the engine. It's common knowledge now that this 27hp/28Nm, 293cc motor began life as a Mahindra Mojo engine, which has been heavily revised. Classic Legends tells is that it only shares the basic architectural dimensions with the Mahindra motor. What we learnt at the launch was that the man behind this engine is famed Italian engineer Ampelio Macchi. While Macchi and his team handled the engineering aspect, the external design aesthetic was a combined effort between the Italian team and the in-house Classic Legends design team.
You may not have heard his name, but Macchi has an illustrious career that spans work with Cagiva, Aprilia and Husqvarna. Macchi was part of the technical teams behind 46 world titles won with Husqvarna and 5 with Aprilia. More recently, Macchi is one the driving forces behind the revival of Italian brand SWM. You’ve probably have heard about SWM, and that's because Motoroyale has recently brought the brand down to India. SWM specialises in off-road focused motorcycles and we just rode rode the Superdual T in India - you can read about this 600cc single cylinder tour enduro bike HERE.
Coming back to the Jawa motor, the result of these efforts is an engine with a bigger focus on lower and mid-range performance. Joshi also tells us that the engine has been designed to be flexible and it can be easily ridden at low speeds in higher gears. The 6-speed gearbox has also seen some refinement work and overall we're told that this is an improved drivetrain over the Mojo.
As for the new chassis, Joshi informs us that a large chunk of the chassis conceptualisation and design work was done in co-operation with teams in Milan, Italy and India. We're told that the company first began with a set idea in terms of chassis geometry, seat height and what the motorcycle should be able to do. Joshi quotes that the original Jawas were famed for being able to ride down a flight of stairs, and they want the new ones to be able to do so too.
Regarding the actual prototyping and test development work, most of that was done at the Mahindra R&D centre in Pune. Part of this R&D centre was developed in the last few years for the Mahindra 2Wheeler venture. Joshi tells us that it is quite advanced and it met all their needs in terms of engine test beds, vehicle dynos, an NVH lab, a cold test chamber and more.
As far as manufacturing goes, Classic Legends will also use a Mahindra set up here, but this time it's based out of Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh. This is the plant for the Mahindra 2Wheeler venture. Once again, Joshi tells is that this meets their needs perfectly and their capacity requirements (no comment on what this number is) can be met easily.
The plant was designed by Honda, and Mahindra then went on to upgrade the paint shop, conveyor lines and material flow systems. All of this was done before Classic Legends came into the picture. With this setup already in place, Jawa production only required some relatively minor changes in terms of fixtures and some machinery.
We expect to ride the new Jawas sometime in December and we'll bring you more about these motorcycles then.
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