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How it all began

František Janeček 

Founder | Client Director

František Janeček was born on 23rd January, 1878 in Klaster, a small village in Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic). He studied mechanics in Prague, receiving his degree from the Berlin College of Engineering.

While serving on the Italian front during World War I, he developed a flurry of designs, patenting over 60 inventions – including an improved hand grenade which became standard issue for the Czech Army.

Instead of starting from scratch, he purchased the motorcycle business Wanderer from German manufacturer Winklhofer & Jaenicke, along with the design and tooling for the new Wanderer 500 motorcycle.

Kieran Merritt

Design Director

To serve the masses, Janeček knew he needed a lightweight and economical motorcycle. He recruited G.W. Patchett – a renowned British engineer with prior racing experience – to lead this initiative. From 1930 until the outbreak of World War II, Patchett served as the chief designer for Jawa. Patchett’s first step towards a universal motorcycle was using the 175cc Villiers two-stroke engine.

By 1933, the new model had taken off – the Jawa 175 became the most popular motorcycle in Czechoslovakia. Subsequently, Jawa discontinued production of the 500cc OHV.

Under Patchett, the Jawa R&D team began designing engines in-house. Additional models were introduced, mostly based on 250cc and 350cc two-stroke engines. The factory also made sophisticated four-stroke racing machines with overhead cams in very limited numbers during this period.

These machines helped establish Jawa’s reputation for brilliant engineering and exceptional handling. This newfound confidence led Jawa to enter factory race teams at the Isle of Man TT races in 1932, 1933, and 1935.

Janeček developed the Jawa 350 SV four-stroke in partnership with Patchett. The same year, Jawa motorcycles participated in consecutive Isle of Man events.

With plunger suspension in the rear, telescopic forks up front, a square-section steel tube frame, and a now legendary  multi-disc wet clutch integrated into the gearbox, it allowed clutchless gear shifts .

Designed by J. Josíf and J. Krivka, the Perak was built around a new 249cc two-stroke single unit engine/gearbox construction.

1948 Czechoslovakia under communist control

Jawa was nationalised. Although exports to the U.S. diminished behind the Iron Curtain, exports to third-world countries boomed.

The two-stroke models were joined by advanced four-stroke 500cc OHV twins.

The Jawa line-up grew even more formidable with the advanced four-stroke 500cc OHV twins joining the existing two-stroke models.

Charlie Phelps

Chief Officer

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