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1972 Jawa 250 Racer – Highland Custom Motorcycles

Posted on October 6, 2011 by Scott in Other, Racer. 35 comments

As you probably know, India has a hell of a lot of people. Around four times the population of America. Or about 50 times the size of Australia. That’s right, there’s about 1.2 billion Indians and only a small percentage of those people have cars. As of 2002, India had an estimated 37 million motorcycles/mopeds which made it home to the largest number of motorised two-wheelers in the world. And ever since we featured a couple of bikes from India, it seems like we have received about 36 million emails from Indians submitting their motorbikes. Of those emails, here is one that stood out. The bike was built by Umang Shankar and his team at Highland Custom Motorcycles. It’s called ‘Highland’ because Umang is from a village in the Himachal hills and is proud to be a ‘highlander’. He is also a proud member of the Royal Enfield motorcycle group called ‘Road Survivors’ – one of the oldest motorcycle clubs in India. Umang is passionate about motorcycles and passionate about this little Jawa racer, so lets hear from the man himself…

“It was a discovery in itself, while I went to deliver a 1200 Nightster to a customer who had just bought a Harley for himself I saw this Jawa lying there. Two minutes later after a discussion we had a deal and the bike was mine.

The vision I had for it was clear, making a high revving, light and nimble city bike that could surprise many with its performance. The inspiration was the 1920 style Bonneville bikes with the Triumphs being run on the old British style hard tails. The bike has been restored to carry the same identity as Jawa but also wanted it to be performance oriented.

The seat was handcrafted keeping in mind the light character and the seating is not the world most comfiest but facilitates the speed of the bike as the rider sits on in a crouch position, hence the linear motion of the bike points forwards.

The pin striping has been well taken care of as well, the white enamel pinstripe is the same as you get on Softail Heritage Classic as the paint and the brush is same. Pin stripping is a dying art some how the technology and the vinyls have taken over world because it is much easier to paste than paint. And Umang being a big proponent of pin stripping wanted the bike to have some of his hand drawn work.

The extended frame has been well complimented with the resprocketing of engine, redoing the engine with High Compression Piston rings, and the High Perf Air filter. However the Jawa is already a fast little bike and didn’t needed to many things to make it quick.”

There might be over 37 million motorbikes in India but when it comes to a Jawa racer being built by the ‘Highlander’… there can be only one.

1972 Jawa 250 Specs

Displacement: 249 CC (15.19 cubic inches)
Engine type: Single cylinder, two-stroke
Power: 16.50 HP (12.0 kW)) @ 5000 RPM
Top speed: 115.0 km/h (71.5 mph)
Compression: 7.8:1
Bore x stroke: 65.0 x 75.0 mm (2.6 x 3.0 inches)
Fuel control: Port control
Cooling system:- Air
Gearbox: 4-speed
Transmission type, final drive: Chain
Front tyre dimensions: 110/80/16
Rear tyre dimensions: 110/80/16
Chassis : Old English Type Hard Tail, Single Seat with Spring Contraption

Photos: Sumit Sond

  • jc

    I love it. Wide open, simple. As somebody famous for intellect said, "Any old fool can complicate a matter." This would do just the opposite, in the direction of genius.

    • Jota

      It’s all about the section areas or the port(s). It could’ve been singleported with twice of a single twinport size. What matters is the total area and placement of the exaust port(s).
      The thing is they wanted to make a diference between the 125cc (singleported) and the 250cc (twinported)

  • sorry, it's ugly.

    the jawa is small, and cool thing, but this custom is disproportionate. too long, too big seat, too strong rear frame for the 16" wheels.
    better this one:

  • D.

    What?! Where's the carburettor?!

  • bum

    you can see the pod filter,and gas line leading to the case. i guess the carb must be hidden in there

  • Anton

    It almost looks like he took standard forks and.inverted them, odd idea. The rest looks ok though.

  • jak

    love it! so simple. can someone explain to me though, says its a single, but two pipes?

  • George

    Is one of the pipes a dummy, or is it a two-exhaust port single cylinder?

  • Bleuthunder (SVRider)

    "love it! so simple. can someone explain to me though, says its a single, but two pipes?"

    The design is called a twinport, same on my Honda GB500 single.

  • Streetbike Max

    I appreciate the hard work of the bike, but doesn't like me at all

  • Bleuthunder – I'm jealous you have a GB.

    Cool little Jawa!

  • George

    Wouldn't a twinport make it harder to scavenge unburnt fuel with an expansion pipe? and yes, I know this bike does not need said pipe.

    Also, I just realized how much that looped tail section looks like mega old school BMX bikes…which is cool.

  • Mikegeez

    I really like the way the carb is enclosed and the modern air filter peaks out the back. Makes the whole bike look very clean. Well done. I keep coming back to the first pic and looking at the engine. A very retro looking powerplant but futuristic too, like a War of the Worlds illistration of an alien craft. Most of the major design elements on the bike, the engine and headlight look like they're from the 50's but its a 70's bike. Very nice.

  • yes, the design is from 50's – the Jawa 250 Kycacka series: 353 was shown in 1954, but the later versions (series 559) were produced since 70's.

    the 250 was single with two pipes per cylinder , the 350 was with one-one exhaust port. Both were two stroke bikes, made in Czechoslovakia.

    this one is my, from 1958:

  • "were produced since 70's." – sorry, not since 70's, but till 70's 🙂

  • SR85

    Love the simplicity. would def have one in my garage.

  • Den


  • J.Learte

    Simple and beautiful. I love small bikes, plenty of character. However it looks a bit strange, and I'm not sure if this make the bike prettier or not. It's like painting a car in khaki. Perhaps it's not the perfect colour, but it deserves more than one look. This bike has the same effect to me.

  • There's something superbly 1950s about it. Can't quite put my finger on it, but parts of it look quite Radio Flyer-ish. Noice,

  • John

    It's fun and awkward, like a puppy.

  • peter king

    Its kinda beautiful in a ugly way

  • I like it, it has a 50s or maybe even an Art Deco scooter look to it.

  • Hover bike!

  • jack

    pretty cool, the wheel size and tyres dont suit the frame though. also why on earth would you hide a carby? especially on an old 2-stroke!

    but its looks okay, very original to say the least. id like to see what it looks like with an old bates seat on it, might improve the looks a bit.

  • Hi,

    nice bike 🙂 great performance. I have many cezch bike look to mine website .

    Nice day


  • Assholewelder

    18 or 19" rims would help, the looks, alot!!!

  • Umang Shankar

    hey thanks guys for the comments and criticizm…makes us minority bike lovers in india proud of what we do…..

    • Make sure you keep us up-to-date on any new bikes you might build, Umang. Can’t wait…

  • Umang Shankar

    sure andrew an another one has already been delivered to a customer…pics and story will be sent to you guys………..and seriously….thank you for the awsome coverage….really appreciate it bro……..

  • Navnit Arora

    Congrats Umang….This is just tooooo Goood….Keep up the good work!!!!

  • cranberry

    I want to know the truth around a pinstriping on the tank)

  • Jota

    where did the batery went?
    that tough has been haunting me for a couple of days…
    it CANT fit in the headlight cover can it? with all the wiring and frame and ignition?

    great bike!

    • sahota

      This model of Jawa does not need battery.

      Battery is required only for horn in this.

  • David Colombe

    That is beautiful, I love it!