• Jawa 42 Bobber: First ride review

The Jawa 42 Bobber expands on the Perak. Is it as impressive under the skin though?

The Jawa Perak has been an interesting milestone for Classic Legends. Its first bobber, the Perak drew the attention of enthusiasts looking for a cool-looking motorcycle, an alternative genre of humdrum 200-300cc motorcycles. However cool-looking the Perak may be, two issues needed addressing. While the grunge look worked in its favour, the Perak is available in just a black shade which robs it of its cool lines. The other major problem was build quality which simply wasn’t up to the mark. While addressing the latter in the form of the Perak 2.0, Jawa saw an opportunity to offer enthusiasts a more colourful alternative to the Perak - the Jawa 42 Bobber. It is more colourful than the first-generation Perak and boasts better fit and finish levels. Is it good to put your money down on though?

I feel the 42 Bobber looks more eye-catching than the Perak. While both motorcycles feature a similar silhouette, the former is a more modern take on the Bobber styling. The Perak is based on the Jawa while the 42 Bobber is based on its more modern Jawa 42 cousin. Instead of a closed headlamp cowl, the 42 Bobber features a modern standalone LED headlamp unit. It also gets a single-pod digital instrument console, unlike the enclosed analogue one on the Perak. The tail lamp pod has been repositioned on the rear mudguard which I feel looks more visually appealing. A substantial update is a new switchgear and a digital instrument console borrowed from the Yezdi roadster. While these feel upmarket, some switches do not work and the 42 Bobber misses out on Bluetooth as well. Also, the inclusion of the USB charger feels like an afterthought and sticks out from the rest of the clean design. 

The 42 Bobber also features a revised riding position over the Perak with the footpegs repositioned forward and the flat handlebar positioned higher. You can adjust the seat by 30mm fore and aft. Also, the seat pan has been reworked and features softer cushioning. While the seat height is quite accessible at 740mm, the riding position is still not comfortable, with your feet and arms outstretched and your back arched forward. The stiff ride quality does not help either. The limited rear suspension travel coupled with a harsh ride means you feel every road imperfection and pothole, irrespective of speed.

Where the 42 Bobber impresses though is its ability to cut through traffic. The front end is responsive and darts through traffic without effort. The brakes too offer good bite and the dual-channel ABS offers the least intrusion. 

The 334cc single-cylinder motor is shared with the Perak though it now gets revised fuel mapping and a slip slip-and-assist. The 42 Bobber feels quick on its feet though not as its 31PS and 33Nm would have you believe. The motor lacks a good bottom bottom-end and you do have to shift gears quite a bit at low speeds. The issue is that while the motor offers good mid-to-top-end performance, the motor feels gruff at high revs with lots of vibrations to contend with. So you end up short shifting and get a small powerband to play with. The six-speed gearbox is not as precise as its Japanese rivals but offers positive shifts and the light clutch action helps too. 

That about sums up the Jawa 42 Bobber. It comes with quite a lot of improvements over the Perak but is not quite there yet. There is still room for improvement in terms of refinement, fit and finish levels and ride quality. The Jawa 42 Bobber comes across as a cool-looking retro motorcycle that’s suited for those cafe rides within the city. A motorcycle you look at through the window as you sip your expresso. At Rs 2.09 lakh, the 42 Bobber goes up against many established and comfortable rivals but none manage to stand apart like the Jawa. The Jawa 42 Bobber is a matter of heart over head really.

Bikes First rides

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