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Mechanical minds that kept the JAWA dream alive for decades

Mechanical minds that kept the JAWA dream alive for decades

Snapshot: With the affection the brand managed to garner during its glory times, Jawa Motorcycles was already destined to return.

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JAWA Motorcycles, the name will be reminiscent of the old school motorcycle days for the older generation. The motorcycle brand that once ruled the segments and showed the world the true definition of freedom on two wheels, is already on its main scale revival course. Back in time, the company might have taken down operations in India, but it was never truly lost. With the affection the brand managed to garner during its glory times, JAWA Motorcycles was already destined to return.

Back in 1961, Rustom and Farrokh Irani, established JAWA’s Mysore based production plant. And hence started the journey of JAWA brand in India. Almost ten years down the line, JAWA manufactured the 250 Type 353/04 under licence, and quickly earned a reputation for being one of the most reliable, rugged and easy to ride motorcycles. JAWA 250 went on to become one of the most famous motorcycles of the time and was the first choice for youth inspired by the European racing scene. Fariborz Irani, CK Chinappa, and Somendar Singh were among the few names who brought glory to the brand, racing in all kind of championships on different terrains.

Years down the line, when brand’s operations were called off, JAWA bikes were still very widely used across the country for decades. And even today various JAWA bike clubs can be found riding the old school charm with pride and honour. And clearly, not just the riders, but also few mechanical minds who stay unseen from mainstream paparazzi are the ones responsible for subtly breathing life into the brand. These are the few ones who dedicated their lives to these motorcycles, kept this dream alive for the world to see.

One such mechanical mind, Bhau Satalkar, has been working on JAWA bikes for decades now. He was only 16 when he migrated to Pune and started working as a motorcycle mechanic. It was 1968, he was young, passionate and free to explore this nascent career, and with the fire under his belly, he dedicated his hours to master this art, under the supervision of renowned motorcycle mechanic Uday Dhaigude. Soon after, he started working exclusively on JAWA bikes under his garage named, Vishwakarma Garage. Till date, Bhau Satalkar has breathed life into hundreds of JAWA bikes and has made a very special place in the heart of Pune based JAWA biking community, and is also referred as Doctor Bahu by the community leaders.

Bhau says “I apprenticed myself a few years after coming to Pune, as the understudy of the then renowned motorcycle mechanic Uday Dhaigude. I quickly learned everything my master knew in two short years. Two years later, I set up my own garage at Navi Peth, Pune. The dire need to provide for my family, compelled me to service all kinds of motorcycles, including Vespas, Lambys, Rajdoots and Bajaj motorcycles. When JAWAs flooded the Pune roads (hitherto dominated by local brand Bajaj) in the 70s, the Indian bike revolution really began. That was when I began repairing only JAWAs. My golden moment was in 2003, when I visited the factory to buy spares, and met Noshir Irani.”

The story about the mechanical minds behind JAWA can never come to end without mentioning about Ganpatrao Mane, the grand-daddy of JAWA motorcycles in Pune. Who along with his son Arun Ganpat Mane and grandson Abhijeet run a family owned business comprising of a garage which is often referred as a ‘bounty hunter’s paradise for JAWA parts.’

Arun Mane says, “In my days, we worked under people and learned without questioning them as to why mechanical things are designed in a particular way. Repairing them happened without anyone's guidance. Today’s bike owners have knowledge and understanding about the JAWA brand. They are keen to know everything about classic bikes. I have GenNext come to me with infinite questions and demands. They don’t mind spending a few extra bucks to get the best. My only advice to them is carry the brand passion of our generation forward, and ensure it never dies."

The brand is about to step back in the new age with its newer motorcycles, focusing on the Indian market. It would be really interesting to see what JAWA has in stores for us, and will it revolutionize the motorcycle world like it once did?  Guess we will know very soon!

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