Jawa will eat big into Royal Enfield sales – Explains RE Thunderbird owner

The article is written by Vignesh Ananthraj.

While social media is abuzz with the new Jawa motorcycles by Classic Legends, many critics are already predicting a clash of titans between Royal Enfield and the resurrected Jawa. More specifically, the Jawa Forty Two and the Royal Enfield Classic 350.

Because of the aggressive pricing of the new Jawa and Forty-Two models, Mahindra has made its stance quite clear, they want to eat into the bread and butter of Royal Enfield’s highest selling motorcycle, the Classic 350, which sells about 45k units a month.

Panel: A look at the sales figures of Royal Enfield for July 2018 clearly shows that it relies heavily on the 350 cc Twinspark engine to drive a chunk of their sales.
Classic 350 – 44,054 units
Bullet 350 – 10,422 units
Thunderbird 350 – 6,154 units
Bullet ES (Electra) – 2,594 units
Classic 500 – 2,152 units
Himalayan – 811 units
Thunderbird 500 – 491 units
Bullet 500 – 323 units

The startling fact? The Royal Enfields’ equipped with the 350cc engine sold a whopping 63,224 units out of the total sales number of 67,001 units in July. So, it would be safe to assume that the 350 engine accounts for an average of 85%-95% of the sales of Royal Enfield in India alone.

Having made that assessment, a quick comparison of Jawa Forty-Two and RE Classic 350, gives us insights into why the Jawa range of motorcycles might pose a very serious threat to Royal Enfield sales in the near future.

1 – The Jawa Forty-Two makes 26.6 % more power: While classic 350 makes 19.8 BHP of power, the Jawa engine churns out 27 BHP, a clear 26.6% more horsepower than the 350cc Enfield engine. The power output is definitely going to make a few RE future owners rethink their choice. Infact, the Jawa Forty-Two makes similar power as the RE Classic 500 engine, which churns out 27.2 BHP. The torque however, remains at 28Nm for both the engines, but that might not work in the favour of RE, owing to point No.2!

2 – The Jawa Forty-Two is 22Kgs lighter: The Jawa weighs in a whole 22 kilos lighter at Kerb than the Classic 350, this will most probably translate to better handling and cornering, as compared to the Enfield Classic. The weight also give Forty- Two an upper edge in terms of torque, as the engine of the Jawa needs to pull 22 kilos lesser weight, as compared to the Classic 350.

3 – Jawa Forty-Two seems to have a more modern engine: The Jawa engine is BS6 compliant, with Anand Mahindra stating “From the tuning of the fuel injection to the gearbox that completes the powertrain, we believe one will get from this engine, what one seeks in a classic.” The fuel Injection might play a big role with respect to cold starts and fuel efficiency, considering that the Enfield offers a carburettor for all of its 350cc models.

Another fact not working in favour of Royal Enfield is that they haven’t made any significant changes to the 350cc Unit Construction Engine since 2009, although there have been frequent complaints of low performance and oil leaks from their trusted fan base.

4 – The Classic is a very common bike on the roads: At least in Major metros and tier-II cities, where RE sees the most sales of its motorcycles, it is a common phenomenon to notice many Classic 350s on the roads. While this might not necessarily be a game changer, most new riders might consider Jawa motorcycles (specially the Forty-Two) as they are relatively new and offer a different kind of styling as compared to the classic 350.

5 – Might have better handling and cornering: Owing to the low weight and a nimble chassis similar to the original Jawa, the Forty-Two might handle better than the Classic 350. While these two motorcycles aren’t exactly made for the race track, better handling might come in handy in tight traffic and off-road situations. Additionally, ABS as a standard works in favour of Forty-Two and Jawa, while only the Classic signals variant of Royal Enfield comes with ABS, that too at an on-road price of 1.92 lakhs in Mumbai.

6 – A better sounding engine?: While many can argue that the love for the grunt of a motorcycle is subjective, and that nothing can match the thump of an enfield, the truth is that the Enfield 350cc UCE engines never had a thump to begin with.

A new video on the exhaust note and engine sounds of the Jawa did reveal a sweet-sounding machine, what do you think sounds better? You can watch the video below.

7 – Top Speed: While Anand Mahindra did state that the Jawa engine is built from scratch, and is not based on the Mojo’s powerhouse, we cannot help but notice the resemblance. Both churn out close to 27bhp power, and have close to 295 cubic capacity engines. The Forty-Two is also only 5 kgs heavier than the Mojo. While Mojo can reach a top speed of 155kmph, it would not be a long shot to speculate that the Jawa 42 can easily push at least 140 kmph. On the other hand, the Classic 350 has a top speed of 125kmph, with some users reporting a top whack130 kmph.

8 – Jawa Forty-Two might be a better tourer: Owing to all of the above mentioned points, it might be safe to call the 42 a better tourer than the classic 350, considering that the fuel tank of the forty two is slightly bigger than the Classic.

One big aspect to note is that the Royal Enfield Classic engines are notorious for vibrations, especially after hitting 80 kmph. Hence, if the engineers at Classic Legends have managed to keep the vibrations low for the Jawa retro motorcycles, it can be a clear winner.

With many factors working for Jawa, Royal Enfield still remains a popular choice for the masses. However, the only thing that Enfield might need to do is tweak its existing line-up of 350cc motorcycles to 21st century performance and handling standards, such a scenario would definitely ensure a competition of epic proportions between these two legends. But as of now, the Jawa seems to be the clear winner, on paper!