JAWA is a motorcycle and moped manufacturer founded in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1929 by František Janeček, who bought the motorcycle division of Wanderer. The name JAWA was established by concatenating the first letters of Janeček and Wanderer. In the past, especially in the 1950s, JAWA was one of the top motorcycle manufacturers and exported its 350 into over 120 countries. Another famous model in the 1970s was the 350 Californian. It appeared in the typical black and red coloring from Californian beaches to New Zealand.After 1990, there was a significant loss of production. A successor company was formed in 1997 in Týnec nad Sázavou, continuing the name as JAWA Moto.
František Janeček started the company after working several years in the armament industry. Although he didn’t have any experience with motorcycles, he was familiar with production techniques. Janeček chose between the Austrian double piston two-stroke motor of Puch, the Berlin two-stroke of Schliha, and the new Wanderer 500 & nbsp;cc. Janeček chose the Wanderer. Because of the collapse of the German motor industry, Wanderer had already decided to stop the production. This is because they didn’t think it would be profitable to directly compete with BMW. The first model was introduced on October 23, 1929. This was a 500 cc 4-cycle engine with 12 kW of power (18 hp) and fuel consumption of 6 liters per 100 km. Although priced highly, through the first years (and several constructional fixes) this motorcycle was successful and was considered reliable.
The company founder František Janeček died. Post-war production of JAWA 250/350 motorcycles restarted, and production of the JAWA 350 Ogar motorcycle began. Motorcycles produced in the 1950s include the 250, 350/353-Pérák and 350/354-Kývačka, 500 OHC and the 50 Pionýr and Jawetta mopeds. A powerful 2-stroke motorcycle known as the JAWA 250/350 with the compact engine, rear wheel suspension and many other innovations was exported to more than 120 countries worldwide. It was one of the most successful models of JAWA.
In the early 1960s, Jawa invented as the first in the world an automatic clutch for motorcycles. The automatic centrifugal clutch was designed for Jawa 250/559 and 350/360. Because the clutch has been patented worldwide by Jawa and it was copied in the Honda 50 Cub motorcycle, Honda had to retreat, pay a fine and pay a license fees from each motorcycle sold.