JAWA 500 OHC motorcycles were first produced in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s and since that time they have become legendary. During the weekend of August 26-28, a Czecho-Slovak convoy of 16 riders brought their JAWA 500 motorcycles, painted in the traditional dark red colour, to Ružomberok to undertake a joyride across the Orava region. The convoy first visited the open-air museum in Zuberec and then rode through Trstená, Tvrdošín and Dolný Kubín and back to Ružomberok.
JAWA Moto company is still active today and is based in the Czech Republic. The company’s founder, František Janeček, bought the motorcycle division of Wanderer, a German manufacturer, in 1929 in order to acquire its new 500 cc motorcycle engine and the company’s trade name was created by concatenating the first two letters of Janeček and Wanderer.
“We all completed the 150-kilometre route, mainly on side roads in hilly terrain, without any big problems. Of course, we had to stop from to time to time and oil or tighten something, but nobody was left by the wayside for good,” said Vladimír First of the Car and Motorbike Club of Ružomberok, as reported by the TASR newswire.
First did not try to estimate how many of the JAWA 500 motorcycles produced between 1952 and 1959 were still roadworthy, noting that “it is hard to say because they had their flaws and were not easy to maintain”, adding that the riders’ biggest problem in August was poor charging of the battery, especially since Slovak law now requires that the headlight must be lit during the day.
“I bought my päťstvoka (JAWA 500) years ago and I would definitely not swap it for any new, super-modern machine. Every old motorbike collector longs to have such a model. I hope our meetings will contribute to more owners beginning to renovating their old models,” First told TASR.
12. Sep 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská