In 2009, the era of the retro motorcycles was brought back by Royal Enfield by launching their Classic range. Since then the Classic 350 has been a best-seller for Royal Enfield for a pretty long time.
On the other hand Classic Legends, a Mahindra subsidiary has recently launched the Jawa. During the 1980’s, Jawa was very popular with biking enthusiasts. But with the advent of more modern, four-stroke motorcycles, it eventually faded away. However, with the launch of three brand-new motorcycles, Jawa has made a huge comeback. Jawa is one the most retro-looking of the three variants and proving to be a strong challenger to the RE Classic 350.
Let’s now dig deep into the specs and see how Jawa compares against the Classic 350 on paper:
Designers for the Jawa have stayed true to its heritage and created a very simplistic yet elegant looking design. Oval shaped headlamp housing for the circular headlamps is integrated neatly with fork covers. Retro looking fenders not only looks well but also very practical. Old school grab bar flanks the dual-tone premium and comfortable seat which merges well with the gorgeous looking chrome teardrop-shaped tank. Retro-looking analogue speedo and fuel gauge adds to the old school feel. The modern feature of a digital odometer in the instrument console gives the Jawa an edge over the Classic 350. But it misses out on the trip meter or other such features.
‘If it works and people love it, why change?’ seems to be the mantra of Royal Enfield as the design of Classic 350 over the years has almost remained the same. Only major change is the introduction of new colours and recently a rear disc brake with dual channel ABS. Currently, the dual-channel ABS is a standard feature only in Gunmetal Grey and the Signals Edition variants. Classic 350 sports the iconic tiger headlamp, which is essentially a pair of pilot lamps flanking the circular headlamp. The twin-pod instrument console is very basic and completely analogue includes the speedometer, odometer in one pod, and an ammeter in the other.
There is not much of a difference in torque figures but the Jawa tops the Classic 350 in the power department. With a max power of 27.2PS, the Jawa is more powerful than the Classic 350 which stands at 20PS. Even with the 6-speed transmission on the Jawa, you can extract more speed than the Classic’s 5-speed unit. DOHC liquid-cooled engine on the Jawa is more rider friendly than the classics air-cooled mill. Vibrations are uncomfortably apparent on the Classic post 80kmph whereas we expect the Jawa to pleasantly cruise at triple-digit speeds.
RE Classic’s air-cooled engine is easier to maintain and on the other hand, we still have to see how the sophisticated engine of the Jawa fares in this department.
On one side, the Classic 350 has an upper hand with its select variants sporting a 240mm rear disc with dual-channel ABS as an option. But on the other side, though the Jawa gets rear drum brakes, it has single-channel ABS as standard. Also important to note that the standard variant of the Classic 350 gets a 153mm drum while missing out on the ABS.
The Classic continues to use the single downtube frame, whereas the Jawa is built on a double cradle frame to support the cooling radiator.
Both these motorcycle share almost the same wheelbase. With a seat height of just 765mm above ground, sitting on the Jawa is more comfortable even for shorter riders. The engineering team at Jawa have done an astounding job as the bike is shockingly lighter than the Classic by 22kgs. Even after having a larger capacity fuel tank than the Classic! Hopefully, this lightweight should relatively make the motorcycle easier to manoeuvre than Classic.
When you outright compare their performance numbers, Jawa seems to be fairly better than the Classic 350 but it remains to be seen how the bike performs on actual Indian road conditions. Bookings have already begun online for a refundable token amount of Rs 5,000. Deliveries are set to commence by the 105 dealerships set up across the country by early next year. On the other hand, Royal Enfield has a much stronger presence in India withmore dealers and roadside assistance. Things like Royal Enfield events, company-organised rides, and the many other such engagements make buying a Classic 350 a wholesome experience.
While Royal Enfield Classic 350 is available from Rs 1.39 lakh, Jawa commands a price of Rs 1.64 lakh (both, ex-showroom Delhi). For the premium of around Rs 25,000, you get a sophisticated liquid-cooled engine compared to the dated mill of the Royal Enfield Classic 350. Looking at the brand history, you definitely get a good product from the Jawa. Jawa not only looks promising but is able to strike a chord with many enthusiasts and may prove to be a tough contender to the established Royal Enfield Classic 350.