What is the rationale behind the need to move from one place to another? Sure, it all began with the necessity to search for food and shelter, but as civilisation progressed, more specific needs cropped up. One would travel to get to work, visit relatives, see new places, and so on. The advent of vehicles sure helped make easy work of all that commuting, given the convenience and comfort offered by modern means of transport. But does anyone ever just hit the road for the heck of it? To travel for the sake of travelling? To meander?
Jawa has been marketing the new 42 Bobber from its factory custom range along those same lines. Following closely in the footsteps of the Perak, the new 42 Bobber looks stunning as far as visual aesthetics go. It also features the same chassis, as well as the powertrain of the Perak, with the only visible changes being the new headlamp, instrument console, fuel tank, switchgear, and the new brake light unit. Of course, the 42 Bobber looks so good that one does not have to come up with excuses to take it out for a spin, but what really matters is the ability to keep one going.
Upon starting it up, it has the same peppy rumble as the rest of the Jawa range. The 334cc, single-cylinder engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox, and feels quite comfortable in the mid-range. On the highway, it manages to pick up speed very easily, but not without the feeling of it being slightly strained while maintaining it. It does get a slip-assist clutch, so getting stuck in stop-and-go traffic is not too much of a hassle. The liquid-cooled engine does fare pretty decently in terms of heat dissipation, and that is a good thing.
The brakes on the Jawa 42 Bobber are very comfortable to use, considering that it is a long motorcycle. It gets a very well-sorted dual-channel ABS setup that feels pretty nice, and not too pushy in terms of feedback. It does a good job of bringing the motorcycle to a sudden halt, if necessary, in a calm and smooth fashion. The motorcycle also feels pretty stable going into corners, but because of the lower and more forward-set footpegs, it tends to scrape more easily. It is surprisingly nimble though, and can manoeuvre through traffic pretty easily.
Jawa has made a few adjustments to the suspension to smoothen out the ride quality, but one would look to avoid bumpy roads as much as they can. The riding ergonomics are quite good, with a seat that can be adjusted ever so slightly, and the well-placed forward-set footpegs. The 42 Bobber does get a nice wide handlebar with neat bar-end mirrors to complete the look. The new tank with knee recesses and rubber pads gives it a much more elegant, as well as functional, feel than the Perak.
The single-pod digital instrument console is the same as the one seen on the Yezdi Roadster, along with the switchgear and a few other components. Knowing the history of the two sister brands, along with the history of shared components, it seems only justified, not to mention being a good choice, too. The instrument cluster is easy to read, although it can be slightly dim in bright conditions. The 42 Bobber comes with a handlebar-mounted USB charging port with an additional option for a Type-C outlet as well.
In terms of build quality, the components seem to be well made, but as is the case with most of the new Jawa motorcycles, lacks slightly in fit and finish. The fuel tank lid also feels very awkward as it detaches completely when opened. Unless one is very careful while shutting it, it is prone to get jammed if inserted incorrectly. Other than that, there is nothing more to find fault with on the 42 Bobber. It looks and feels classy, and manages to keep up its end of the bargain and delivers on the joy of meandering.
As I have previously mentioned, it is quite a looker, and many passersby were very interested to find out all about it. An old timer came up to us and questioned us as to whether it really was a Jawa, as the branding suggested. He reminisced about his younger days when the old Jawa and Yezdi bikes were all the rage, and how happy he was that the brand was making a good comeback. Sure, there was a different charm to the older motorcycles, but from the looks of the new 42 Bobber, it could fare pretty well with the younger crowd.
In conclusion, while it is one of the most affordable in its category — it’s cheaper even than the Jawa Perak — I would say that the 42 Bobber is not a motorcycle that is meant for everyone. While the looks appeal to a lot of people, not many would like to own one, as it is a single-seater, and is more like a rolling piece of art than a functional day-to-day machine. It is aimed at customers who are open to wandering just for the heck of it, and look really good while they’re at it. Now, I leave you to decide for yourself whether you are made to meander with the Jawa 42 Bobber or not.
MOTODATAJawa 42 Bobber
30.64 bhp@7500 rpm
32.74 kgm@5500 rpm
Type: Double cradle
F/R: 280-mm disc / 240-mm disc
F/R: 100/90 R18 / 140/70 R17
Rs 2.07-2.09 Lakh (ex-showroom)