Some motorcycles exist for the sole purpose of looking good and standing out. The Jawa Perak is a prime example because it looks like a concept vehicle that came straight off the pavilion at a motor show.
The Perak, essentially, is a bobber take on the standard Jawa with a unique and eye-catching cantilevered seat in place of the rear subframe. That seat is bolted to the main frame via a tough looking sheet of metal, and its tan shade contrasts beautifully with the matte black theme and gold pinstriping on the bike. There is a neat round LED brake set into the back of the seat, and behind that is a large fender with nothing but air above it. With its slim, slash-cut exhaust pipes on either side and wide triangular side panels, the Perak looks almost alien on our roads.
While it is stunning from afar, a closer look reveals that the finish levels are also a little higher than the current models from Jawa. However, some existing issues do continue and the speedometer still traps moisture on cold mornings; its poorly judged placement means the rider can’t read the bottom half of the dial. Also, the exposed cables for the rear indicators are an eye sore..
Such a sensational design does bring its share of negatives. The riding position is painful because the seat is low at 750mm, but the foot pegs are quite rear-set and too high up. The soft seat means your rear end will soon join your knees and hips in begging for a break.
With limited suspension travel from its neatly hidden rear shock, the Perak’s ride quality can also be quite punishing over bumpy roads. Another drawback is that ground clearance has dropped to 145mm and the bike will scrape over sharp speed breakers if you are not careful.
On the plus side, the 175kg Perak feels light and agile even though its wheelbase has been stretched by a massive 116mm. With wider tyres at both ends, the handling is quite nice too. But the lean angle available in left handers is compromised by the side stand which scrapes rather easily.
If you are willing to bear with the uncomfortable ride quality, the Perak’s bigger engine is game to carry higher speeds. This liquid-cooled 334cc motor is 41ccs bigger than the engine in the normal Jawas, and it produces about four more horsepower and five newton meters of additional torque. The motor has a familiarly flat power delivery, but there is a noticeably stronger surge as the revs climb although there are some vibrations to be felt at higher revs. The added oomph from this engine would be welcome in the normal Jawas.
It is brave for the company to have taken such an uncompromised approach to style, even though the result compromises practicality. This is a strict single-seater, and those large panels on the side have no significant storage space apart from holding a small tool roll and some papers. It is not like the Perak is loaded with features either. Dual channel ABS is standard but beyond that, things are quite spartan.
At ₹1.97 lakh ex-showroom, the Jawa Perak is not something for the motorcyclist who dreams of a gentle cruise, a long tour or just a thrilling ride. There are plenty of similarly priced, but better suited alternatives available. One more thing to consider is that there is no knowing how the Perak’s quality and reliability will fare in the long run, because there simply aren’t that many on the road yet.
But for those who want nothing more than to stand out from the crowd and are considering spending big money on customising their motorcycles to do so, the Perak comes across as an interesting alternative.