Let’s see how the beautiful bobber fares against the stylish cruiser in the battle of factory customs!
[UPDATE: The Jawa Perak BS6 specifications have been updated. It is slightly torquier than before and you can read all about it here.]
Factory customs are slowly gaining momentum in the Indian two-wheeler space. But what is a factory custom in the first place? Well, they are custom motorcycles with stylistic or structural changes to make them stand apart from the standard version. But unlike custom builds, a factory custom is usually built on the same production line as the standard bike and offered by the manufacturer itself. Prime examples for a factory-custom motorcycles are the Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X, a more street-friendly version of Thunderbird and the newly launched Jawa Perak priced at Rs 1.94 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
The Thunderbird 500X comes with alloy wheels and is offered in bright colours. And while it doesn’t have a direct rival yet, Jawa’s factory custom, the Perak, could soon give it a run for its money. Expected to launch in late-2019 or early-2020, the Perak has made enthusiasts go wild with the way it looks. Hence, it’s only fair to pit the Perak with the Thunderbird X to see which one fares better on paper.
The Jawa Perak isn’t just a nip-and-tuck job of the standard Jawa, injected with bobber attitude. Classic Legends has done some serious work to ensure the motorcycle is quite different from the other two. The double cradle frame appears to be the same as the other Jawas, but the swingarm has been redesigned to accommodate a monoshock unit. It looks a lot like the ‘swing cage’ seen on the Triumph Bonneville Bobber. It gives it the quintessential hardtail look, while at the same time keeping you bum comfy. Well, sort of. The side panels have been designed to sit flush with the diagonal design line that goes all the way from the fuel tank to the rear axle. We feel it could’ve been designed a bit better.
The Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X features a sculpted, single-piece seat with premium stitching, street handlebars which offer a slightly more leaned-in riding position, and sleek, split grab rails. The 500X also features modern-looking black alloy wheels. It does away with the practical, cushioned backrest in favour of better looks. The rest of the bodywork is the same as the normal variant. Except for the brightly coloured fuel tank, everything else get a contrasting black finish. You also get flashy rim tapes that match the colour of the tank.
As for features, the Perak makes do with an analogue speedometer and fuel gauge. Although there’s a small digital inset for the odometer and other tell-tale lights, there’s nothing else that’s noteworthy. The Thunderbird X, on the other hand, comes with an analogue speedometer and tachometer apart from various tell-tale lights. It also features a digital screen that houses the odometer, dual trip meters with average speeds, clock, fuel gauge, service indicator and low-battery indicator.
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X
BS6, 334cc single-cylinder DOHC liquid-cooled engine
499cc single-cylinder air-cooled, fuel-injected engine
27.5PS at 5250rpm
41.3Nm at 4000rpm
Thanks to a bigger bore, the Perak comes with a larger engine than its siblings. This setup helps it produce 3.4PS and 3Nm more than the standard model. When it comes to outright torque, the Thunderbird easily outclasses the Perak courtesy a much larger displacement. The Thunderbird is only marginally less powerful than the Perak, but the Perak is expected to have superior highway characteristics thanks to the more sophisticated, liquid-cooled DOHC engine. It is also likely to be relatively more refined than the thumper. While we don’t know the intricate details of the Perak’s engine, we believe it will be sprightly enough to comfortably cruise at triple-digit speeds all day long. That’s because the Jawa engine has been derived from the Mahindra Mojo’s powerplant. Apart from the motor, the 6-speed transmission should help it extract more speed than the Thunderbird X, which makes do with a 5-speed ‘box.
Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500X
41mm telescopic forks
Twin gas-charged shock absorbers
Disc with ABS
Disc with ABS
The Thunderbird X has one of the most highway-friendly suspension setups. And it remains to be seen how the Perak’s suspension would fare against the Royal Enfield. However, as far as braking prowess is concerned, the Perak comes with the safety net of dual-channel ABS, which the Thunderbird X lacks. However, the latter is expected to be launched with ABS soon.
For authenticity, the Perak features spoke wheels which look slightly larger up front and smaller at the rear. The front end wears Pirelli Sport Demon rubber while the rear rolls on Pirelli Angel GT tyre. These offer much better grip than the MRF rubber on the Royal Enfield while not compromising too much on tyre life. However, the RE’s MRF tyres are tubeless and can handle punctures much better than Jawa’s tubed units.
The Perak retails at Rs 1.94 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) which is Rs 5,000 more expensive than the earlier quote. The Thunderbird 500X, on the other hand, is Rs 21,000 more expensive (both, ex-showroom Delhi). Bookings for the Perak will commence from January 1 next year with deliveries starting from April 2, 2020. The custom bobber from Jawa is the most affordable bobber one can buy in India. The Thunderbird X, on the other hand, offers customers to opportunity to be a part of one of the biggest active biking communities in the country.