M.V. Jaidev succumbed to the charm of Jawa motorcycles while in high-school at St. Mary's in Perambur. Opposite the school was Foxen Street, with a huge Anglo-Indian community and Jawas lining the street. Over the years, as the number of Jawas on Foxen Street kept declining, Jaidev's desire to own one kept mounting. When he graduated to college, his father decided it was time to get a Jawa.
In 2004, after a year-long search, the father-son duo found a 1964 Jawa 250 Type 353 Kyvacka, which had been made under licence at the Ideal Jawa factory. Jaidev was not put off by the yellow paint spattered across the rims, the monkey handlebar and the sticker of a modern bike pasted on the fuel tank. As it did not buck and sputter and stop, both father and son were content with the single-cylinder, dual-exhaust bike.
“At that time, I badly wanted to own a Jawa. The spurious replacements and modifications did not matter,” says 25-year-old Jaidev. Once he began to read up on Jawa motorcycles, his indifference vanished and he started looking for genuine Jawa parts that would do the bike justice.
Restoring the bike and bringing it to its present condition was a long haul. While chrome-plating the exhaust pipes, the rusted metal gave way, and he had to source two new pipes. When scouring Pudupet for a Jawa ‘guitar' seat proved futile, Jaidev set about to fabricate it. “To my irritation, the second-hand spares market was glutted with Jawa guitar seats after the fabrication was completed!” He also fitted the butterfly leg-guard, characteristic of Jawas.
Jaidev is glad that the bike now has an 80 per cent conformity with Jawa specifications, though the speedometer belongs to the Yezdi. More flagrant deviations include the Mikuni carburettor that has elbowed out the Jikov.
“The fuel-efficient Mikuni enables me to use the Jawa as my regular bike,” says Jaidev.
During his daily ride from Perambur to Kodambakkam, where he works at a mutual fund company, Jaidev attracts curious and admiring looks.