Hundreds of bikers have taking part in a protest against new EU regulations on motorbike safety, which will push up costs for motorcyclists. As part of the proposals, the Road Safety Authority is to make hi-visibility clothing compulsory for all motorcyclists from 2014.

New regulations on safety and vehicle maintenance are also included.

Video from Dublin

Video from Limerick

Some of our members have emailed us comments.

Hi, I live in New Jersey (USA), so the new Irish rules and costs do not apply to me. However, I know that all of us want motorcycling to be a safe, efficient and economical mode of transportation. Also, of course, we do not want to be a burden to car drivers, especially those who drive huge SUVs and go at speeds exceeding 120 kph, as motorcyclists are harder to see when a car is travelling at high speeds. Especially when the driver is talking on a mobile telephone and/or sending text messages. We also do not want to inconvenience the bureaucrats who, in addition to not riding motorcycles, think up ways to make our lives safer and less complicated. Therefore, we all should follow any and all government directives to the letter, and even improve on the suggestions that they have made.

For those very good reasons, I have a few suggestions that Irish motorcyclists may wish to consider, in order to make your motorcycling experience safer and more pleasurable.

  • 1) In addition to wearing high-visibility clothing (whatever this means), I recommend that we all wear bandoleers of flashing red and yellow lights that will cover both the front and back of our jackets. This will help to make us more visible to those drivers who are talking on mobile telephones and/or texting, as car drivers are wont to do. I would also recommend that large reflective flags be attached to our motorcycles. These should be at least 3 feet high, and of sufficient size to be seen from a distance of at least 0.5 km. The color of these flags may be either high-visibility orange or high-visibility green, but the Irish National Flag would be acceptable also, provided that the orange and green of the flag are both high-visibility colors. The white part of the flag should be made of reflective material so that we will be easier to see at night.

  • 2) ABS should not only be fitted to all motorcycles, the new ABS systems will operate automatically if the motorcycle exceeds a speed of 80 kph. This will limit the speed of a motorcycle to 80 kph, which will make us much safer if and when we have to travel on major motorways. This will also save us the cost and inconvenience of fitting aftermarket parts, as performance will certainly not improve, since no motorcycle will be able to go faster than 80 kph.

  • 3) In addition to the On-Board Diagnostics (for which you will pay dearly, my friends), there will also be GPS devices fitted to each and every motorcycle, the cost of which will, of course, be borne by the motorcyclist. These devices will be engineered such that your current geographical location and your speed will be sent wirelessly to any and all local and national police units. In this way we will be encouraged to ride more safely, as a flashing red light with your personal information and licence number will go off at the police station if you are exceeding the speed limit by 2 kph.

I am sure that almost all Irish Motorcyclists will see the wisdom of complying with my suggestions. However, if you do not wish to do so, you have two clear choices, which are: 1) Stop riding a motorcycle, or 2) Move to the US, where there are, effectively, no rules at all. Especially in Montana and New Hampshire. In fact, now that I think about it, I am starting to wonder if the Irish Government, in its Economic and Social Wisdom, would prefer that you all either: 1) Stop riding motorcycles, or 2) Move to the US.

However, as I said, I don't live in Ireland, so you will all have to make your own decisions about what to do. Personally, may I recommend that you consider torches and pitchforks when you have loud disruptive demonstrations in front of your government buildings?

Please let me know what happens. I want to know what I will be up against the next time I ride a motorcycle in The People's Democratic Republic of Ireland. Fortunately, there are no such repressive laws against motorcycles in countries like China, Viet Nam, Burma, Zimbabwe and Cuba, which are all Despotic Totalitarian Dictatorships, so let's not knock dictatorships too much. At least you can ride your bike in (relative?) peace.

David Wallace, Flemington, New Jersey

I guess there's always the thought that if you wear a yellow jacket over black leather, an open-face white hat and ride a black bike, you look a bit like a cop. Maybe that's what the great deep-thinking ones have in mind ...

Beleive it or not, on more than one occasion back in England, wearing my elderly motorcyclist's spoof copper's gear, I have parked, got off and started directing traffic. It's a hoot! Try it sometime - like the Goon Show used to say - 'Power, folks; get some TODAY!' (There is no dissident like an old dissident.)

Bill Hallett

I don’t think that a demonstration will help. The average Joe Public would be quite happy to have all motorcyclists put off the road. A demonstration will irritate a lot of people especially if it causes any traffic congestion. To my mind, every concerned person needs to write to their MEP, explaining their concerns and stating that they voted for them the last election and would hope to do so again, but that it depends on where they stand and vote on this issue.

Sean O'Boyle

I believe we are all reasonable. We are all interested in safety. But to heap more expense onto the motorcyclist at 21% vat is wrong. Forcing a motorcyclist to only purchase origional parts at exagerated prices is penial.

Ride Safe Mick Doran

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JAWA 650 Style – Riders Report

Dia duit! Conas ata tu? (Hello! How are you?)

I have been promising Mick this report for a while now. To cut a long story short, I slipped on the stairs and broke my ankle. So having been discharged from Galway University Hospital, and waved goodbye to those lovely nurses with their black hair and eyes of blue, (pause here for a chorus of Steve Earle’s ‘Galway Girl’) ...I have no excuses but to finish this missive, resplendent in a modern lightweight plaster cast in a fetching shade of Jawa blue! This hides my repaired ankle, which the X- ray shows reconstructed with a plate and six screws, so I guess I am a real motorcyclist now, with the extra delays at the airport metal detector!

Anyway, back to the Jawa 650 Style.

The machine is one of a run of about 100 (?) made in 2005/06, and the first and only other one that I have seen is owned by our good friend and Jawa dealer Pavel, near Blanchardstown, Dublin.

Like many others at the Jawa, Dublin, open day in 2009, I had a brief test ride on Pavel’s demonstrator machine. The bike which is of course powered by the single cylinder 650 DOHC Rotax Bombardier engine, seemed a little asthmatic in the low to mid range, but I for one liked the retro looks and the excellent brakes. I reasoned that the silencer with its ‘Cat’ and the carb on the engine contributed to the missing low down performance, and was probably a direct consequence of trying to meet the strict Euro emission standards. Having read Phil Irving’s book ‘Tuning for Speed’ in the late sixties, I wasn’t averse to ‘raising needles, changing cutaways, changing main jets etc’, and, what ‘new can’ might replace ‘that silencer’? (Some may remember the original pea shooter silencers on early Commandos? It didn’t take Norton long to ‘work that one out’, did it?)

Anyhow, the engine has been used successfully by another well known motorcycling brand since the mid nineties and has propelled different machinery around the IOM TT circuit at indecent speeds in the now sadly defunct single cylinder class.


After doing some phoning around myself without success, I asked Jana and Pavel if they could find a new 650 style for me. Apparently there was a black one at the factory, but they were intending to test a sidecar on it, but then, there was a blue one unsold in a dealer in Belgium, and the price would be right!

Pavel kindly had it delivered via the UK so that it would get a ‘Single Vehicle Approval’ certificate, and thus make it eligible for UK registration. Work got in the way, and I didn’t get around to registering the bike until May 2010.

The first 500 kms were uneventful with the bike being run in at 3000rpm or 80 kph in fifth (top) gear. The engine always seemed a bit tight, and on the way to Pavel’s for the 500 km service it did feel like it was running out of fuel near the M50. I even stopped and checked, but there was plenty remaining, and to prove a point, the bike was returning about 28 km for each litre of fuel. (77 mpg)

Following the first service I continued to cruise at 80 kph in top gear until 3200 kms were on the clock. This spell included an enforced period commuting in the worst of the snow in Dublin this last winter, when the propshaft on the old diesel Range Rover failed on the way to the ferry at Holyhead! One Friday night heading back to Galway from Dublin, I even had to ride legs outstretched and at walking pace in 10 cm of snow on the hard shoulder of the M6 between Tyrrellspass and Kilbeggan, but such is life!

Whilst the rider was unscathed, some of the fasteners on the bike will need replacing. During this period of running in, I noticed that the bike was not steering at low speeds like it should. This became a topic of much conversation with Pat Brennan over many glasses of Hoegarten and Pauliner beer in Dun Laoghaire and Headless Dog in deepest Bray. Having double checked the tyre pressures and pondered about the use of the 16 inch wheels, I checked the steering head bearings which seemed tight, and decided to slacken the lock nut by a sixth of a turn. This improved things immensely.

Following this year’s trip to Clogheen, and a few runs around Connemara, (the photo was taken on the road between Maum and Mam Cross) it was time for a quick visit to the IOM TT to see a friend. I called in on Pavel and then set off from Dublin to Douglas on the ‘Steam Packet Cat’. It was on the IOM that I started to open the bike up a bit and let that big 100mm piston have its’ head!

According to the instruction manual, the peak power is about 45 bhp (in old money) at 6500 rpm. Maximum continuous revs allowed are 7000rpm with short bursts to 8000rpm permitted where I guess (and pray) that the rev limiter kicks in!

According to the gearing (and assuming the clocks are accurate) a good all round cruising speed of 110 kph at 4000 rpm (half max revs) is perfectly comfortable, with 6000 revs giving 165 kph which the bike feels it should be easily capable of, and probably the extra 13 kph at peak power.

I have only seen 140 kph on the speedo once so far, and have gunned the bike up to 6000 revs in second gear a couple of times, and I can honestly say that it certainly shifts! These performance statistics are not a million miles away from those of my Norton Atlas 745 cc of the late sixties, although the Nortons torque and acceleration would have been better than the Jawa lower down in the rev range. Modern big singles with their light flywheels, develop their torque higher up in the rev range unlike the Vincent Comets and G80 Matchlesses did before. In fact they seem to ride more like twins.

And, what of the rest of the bike I hear you say?

The electrics are good with excellent lights. The brakes are excellent too, with the rear having the best ‘feel’ of any bike I have ridden. The seat is comfortable and the rear carrier very handy. The bike has the optional centre stand fitted which is invaluable when lubing the chain, which surprisingly hasn’t needed adjustment!

Worst fuel consumption has been 22 kms per litre. Nothing has failed except one warning light (replaced at Halfords) Oil consumption has been zero, but I do change the oil every 3000 kms, and it uses the same cartridge filter as the Aprilia Mille.

The Jawa 650 Style does get a lot of attention being one of just two in the UK and Ireland, unless of course you know better! Also it demonstrates that the Jawa brand is well known, and evokes a lot of fond memories.

And no, it’s not for sale, but that low down torque on the new fuel injected Jawa 660 I rode at Clogheen. Ummmmmmmmmm!

Slan John Kitney (aka Johnny2tents)

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The Jawa 250 Sport or Vulcan being developed by JAWA Ireland.

Mick Doran

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JAWA to the Rafters

Someone once said, "Your garage is a like a graveyard!" I replied, "You are so WRONG. It is a resurrection centre!"

JAWAholic a disease or a blessing. Mario takes us on a tour of his shed. As with all works of art Mario informs me the video is not up to date, it is ever changing. But is does represent a showcase of the JAWAholic. The extent of the addiction can be measured by the amount of space it takes up. Added to the time involved in the pursuit. It is a fortunate man that has a den he can retreat to. A place where small and large projects can take place or be put on hold. A place where an expert will not be called in to repair your work. As my wife puts it, "Just far enough away from the house."

As for the cure. Well why would you want to.

Thanks Mario.

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Beer Drinking Bikers

HELVICK GOLD, ‘Not a Lager’

The ‘Bould Mick’ called to my gaff on the Sunday evening with the intention of getting me to do a few lines on a brew he wanted tasting. Yes folks he is out and about doing it all in the name of the Jawa Mag.

Dungarvin Brewing co

The brew in question goes by the rather ominous handle of Helvick Gold, Blond Ale.

From the good guys in the Dungarvan Brewing Co. down Waterford way. A happy bunch by all accounts.

We popped the cap and split the bottle, first impressions were of some home brew parties from long ago, the ale gave off strong yeast and hop aromas and looked very lively in the glass. There was much turbidity and globules of yeast floating around in the golden liquid. Not being the type of guys to be put off by little floating gaseous blobs, we went about our business of tasting the stuff. The yeast over powered the real taste of the ale, there were faint glimmers of fruit and sweetness hidden beneath the initial taste. As the floaters settled and things became clearer these flavours came through, however it was too late as we were finished and the glasses drained. It was decided to leave the remaining brew to settle and gain room temperature to give this Helvick a chance. We deemed it worthy of a second glance.

So, having done some research, read the manual dudes, I found that the ale should be served at between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius, cooler if desired in the warm summer months (remember them), and poured in one go, leaving a drop in the bottle for your god. This also has the cool side effect of containing the vitamin rich yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle. What a difference a day in brew tasting can make. Following the above instructions you end up with a very tasty golden ale with plenty of body and length. Try this warmish one, the fruit and honey flavours come true stronger as dose the 4.9% AVB, leaving a citric kind of dry after taste. Nice one. Good with roast chicken.

beer drinking biker

Hint! Don’t take it home from the off-licence and put it in the fridge, then take it on a ten mile bike ride across town in your top box, and serve. This beer likes to be home and comfy for a while.

Gerry Quigley

Consider my wrist slapped Gerry. Thanks

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While creating husbands, God promised women that good and ideal husbands would be found in all corners of the world……...

Then He made the earth round.

Swedish 2011 National Rally

Thanks to Mario who brought this video of the Swedish 2011 Rally to our attention. What a fantastic turnout. A great collection of bikes. These boys enjoy a bit of a sing song also.


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Domácí traktor

It is fantastic the many uses that an old JAWA can be adapted for. An amazing amount of pleasure can be found fund in creating another use for the hardy, simple little engines. This type of project adds to the JAWA legend, a little bit of history is made every time one of those odd conversation ends up with wheels turning.

Way to go Domácí!

Mick Doran

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