Iron Curtain Artistry: 1954 JAWA 250 Perak

Beautifully restored, this JAWA 250 Perak might be one of the nicest post-war Czechoslovakian motorcycles.

| September/October 2016

1954 JAWA 250 Perak
249cc air-cooled 2-stroke single, 65mm x 75mm bore and stroke, 6.25:1 compression ratio, 9hp @ 4,250rpm (claimed)
Top speed:
62mph (100kph) (claimed)
Single 24mm Jikov
4-speed, chain final drive
12v Powerdynamo (6v stock)
Single-downtube square-section steel cradle/51.2in (1,297mm)
Telescopic forks front, dual plunger shocks rear
5.9in (150mm) SLS drum front and rear
3 x 19in front and rear
Weight (dry):
253lb (115kg)
Seat height:
27.6in (702mm)
Fuel capacity:
3.4 gal (13ltr)
Price then/now:
$509/$5,000-$8,000 (est.)

By the early 1900s, Czechoslovakia’s reputation for excellent engineering was already well established, even though the country’s motorcycles were not well known beyond its borders.

That’s a shame, because by the 1920s and 1930s more than 60 Czech manufacturers, including CZ, ESO and Böhmerland, were building interesting machines. JAWA, probably the most familiar of the Czech marques, built the stylish 250cc Perak featured here.

From bombs to bikes

For better or worse, a lot of people have made a lot of money building and selling weapons. Between wars, when business is slow, arms manufacturers have traditionally looked for ways to keep the lights on. JAWA motorcycles, like those from BSA, Royal Enfield, Husqvarna and others, were produced in factories that originally built armaments.

Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

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