The pre-war motorcycle industry of the Czech Republic successfully competed with other world manufacturers. It is distinguished by a rather smaller number of companies that have chosen motorcycles as their direction than Britain or even Germany but was the first of the Slavic countries to start such production. However, in the pre-war period, its equipment successfully competed with the leading German manufacturers. After the war, when pre-war European brands began to experience big problems, the Czech company that produced Jawa for a long time retained its leading positions in Europe, was in demand in the USA, Canada, India.
What is Czech Motorcycle Brands?
The Czech motorcycle industry is underdeveloped, but it was competitive on the international market before the war. It is now represented by a limited number of brands, the most famous of which are Jawa, Blata, CZ, ESO, and Böhmerland.
However, the emergence of new and more successful global brands offering simple and cheap products, which was especially important during the post-war devastation, did not contribute to enterprises whose products continued to be based on the improvement of the once-popular motorcycle models. Japanese manufacturers also played their destructive role in this direction, having very quickly conquered the world market. This also affected the Czech motorcycle industry, which could never adequately compete with new products, which forced the country’s production to give way to foreign companies.
The founder of the company in 1929 was František Janeček, whose factory was originally engaged in the production of weapons. His first motorcycle was a licensed unit from Wanderer, a German manufacturer. The combination of the owner’s name and the German company created the abbreviation, which became the name of the model line of Czech motorcycles – Jawa and the leading brand of the country, popular in the 20th century. But already in 1937, the company produced its model – 100cc Jawa-Robot, developed by the then young designer Josef Josef. Just two years later, just before the war, the plant produced a historical model for it, which became the prototype for all the post-war motorcycles of the company, which brought it worldwide fame. In 2017, the legendary brand received a second life. The Indian Mahindra bought the rights to its production.
The brand’s emblem has not changed for almost the entire period of its existence. Its red color, typical for all motorcycle models of this brand, is well known to amateurs and professional motorcyclists. The internal space of the emblem oval is visually divided in half. The brand name occupies the upper half – Jawa, the lower half is a stylized image of the wings and wheels in the center, from which they emerge. Everything is simple and concise, but the main thing is very memorable. Speed, movement – everything is in one common rhythm.
One of the relatively young and still operating brands for the production of motorcycles in the Czech Republic is Blata. The company, created by Pavel Blata in 1990, immediately found a demanded niche – the production of pocket rockets, or pocket bicycles, of lightweight – up to 30 kg, on which propulsion systems of 40 cm3 are hung, as well as electric mini-scooters with a capacity of 1, 4 kW. The company is located in Blansko, Czech, where it also develops its engines using modern CAD-CAM technology.
The company has chosen the traditional solution for its emblem – the name of the company and the stylized letter “B” without a connecting line, in shape reminiscent of a bike fairing. The decor is bright green. At the same time, the text of the logo, executed in the font Aachen SH Bold, is highlighted with a border in a bright luminescent red hue.
What country is Jawa motorcycle from?
There are now two Jawa motorcycle companies. The headquarters of one of them, Jawa Moto, is located in Prague, which is the capital of the Czech Republic. There is also a company of the same name in India, operating under license.
One of the oldest motorcycle brands in the Czech Republic is CZ, based on the Ceska Zbrojovka arms factory, which began operations back in 1919 in Svatopluka Cecha 1283 Uhersky Brod. In 1930, “Chezet” reoriented to the creation of vehicles, and in the same year produced several motorcycles on which the engine was placed on the front wheel. But the practicality of such a design turned out to be very low, which led to the development and launch of a new model after two years. Throughout the pre-war period, CZ produced new models of its design every two years. But the war made its adjustments. Upon completion, the brand became an integral part of Jawa.
Throughout its existence, all products of the company have been marked with a logo, which has not undergone any changes. The emblem was the abbreviation CZ enclosed in a circle. The letter “C” followed the shape of the outer circle but with an unfinished right side of the sector in which the point was placed. In its central part was the sign “z,” the Czech alphabet, whose checkmark at the top divided the outline “C.” The entire free field of the emblem inside the circle was made in a light titian shade of color, which provided a visual “highlight” to the contours of the metalized circle and elements of the abbreviation.
Famous Czech motorcycle racer Jaroslav Simandl founded his own racing bike company ESO in 1949. The reason for this decision was the dissatisfaction offered by the world’s motorcycle manufacturers for speedway, motocross, and ice racing. It was on the development of models for these sports that the company’s activities were concentrated. Having existed until 1964 as an independent brand, it, along with all its capacities, was bought out by Jawa, which continued the ESO sports line in the Czech Divišov, but under its brand.
Simandl marked his motorcycles with an emblem, which he developed with his son. On the oval, made in a dark shade of red, an element was applied that resembled a cap for a fuel tank filler in its contours. It featured a brand abbreviation in which the first and last letters were smaller than the middle one. Each of the letters was separated in the middle by a black line that followed its outline. To ensure attractiveness and comfortable visual perception, the letters and the outline of the “cover” were made in bronze. Around this symbol, repeating the contours of the oval in the background, the text was drawn in black – in the upper part “MADE IN,” in the lower part – “Czechoslovakia,” which demonstrated the owner’s belonging to his state, which at that time was Czechoslovakia.
One of the brands for the production of motorcycles in the Czech Republic (during its existence – Czechoslovakia) was Böhmerland, which lasted only 17 years. Founded by the talented Czech designer Albin Hugo Liebish in 1922, the brand was characterized by models with very long wheelbases reaching 10.5 feet. The prototype came out in 1922 with the support of Alfred Hille, head of the Tatra company. The assembly was done by hand, which added to the cost. The first five models were tested only after three years – in 1925 at Schönlind. It was then that the brand “sounded” like Böhmerland, which in translation meant “Country of Bohemia” as the territory of the Czech Republic was historically called in antiquity. However, the brand’s models did not receive widespread demand, and the enterprise closed down already in 1939.
Despite such an exalted name, the brand did not receive a consonant visual identity in beauty and uniqueness. The emblem looked simple and laconic – only the brand name in lowercase letters, which was applied to the surface of the produced 3000 motorcycles of this brand.
Do they still make Jawa motorcycles?
Yes, the Czech company Jawa and its Indian twin still exist and manufacture motorcycles. Recently, new models were presented under this brand.
What are the big four motorcycle brands?
In first place in the ranking of the largest motorcycle companies is Honda. It is followed by its closest competitor Yamaha. Then there are Suzuki and Kawasaki. These are representatives of the Japanese Big Four, which no one can get around.
Is Jawa successful?
The Jawa brand used to be successful but then fell into disrepair. The new owners are trying to revive it and turn it into a popular retro motorcycle brand with production in India.