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 Jawa - 500 ex Wanderer
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Capacity : 500
Model : ex Wanderer
Production : 1929 - 1933
Category : (R) Street Bike


500 "Wanderer" ·1929

A dubious choice

In the 1920's, the arms trade was in a downturn and the Prague company of Frantisek Janecek was suffering from the crisis. Diversification was imperative, and Janecek turned to motorcycle manufacture. In 1929, after assessing various models like the Puch and the Schliha, he decided on the 500 Wanderer, launched two years earlier.

A Flawed Concept

By acquiring the manufacturing license and production tooling for this model, Janecek got Wanderer out of an embarrassing situation, because Wanderer tended to follow his heart rather than his head. The fine looking Jawa was an expensive, modern and technically advanced flagship model, but its concept was flawed. Intended as a competitor for BMW, it sold so badly that Wanderer abandoned motorcycle production.

Back on Track

The frame was prone to break at the steering head. Lubrication, transmission and distribution were capable of improvement; and it was overweight. It didn't take long for Janecek to realize his mistake. Happily, his company was sound, and set to work turning this ill-conceived motorcycle into a reliable machine. Eventually, 1,016 examples of this first Jawa were built, before being replaced with more accessible models in 1932. These

second-generation Jawas, powered by English Villiers engines, were soundly designed by George William Patchett, who had arrived to save the day in 1930. They set the marque off on the right foot, obliterating the trace of that first false step.


Engine: 498cc (84x90mm) single-cylinder four-stroke; d1y-sump lubrication

Power Rating: 18 hp

Valves: overhead

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 3-speed; final drive by shaft

Suspension: leaf-sprung trailing link (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 27x4.00 inch (front & rear)

Weight: 430 lb

Maximum Speed: 59 mph


A technically flawed German design, the first Jawa 500 was cheetjully elbowed aside by more viable models created by a British engineer.


Le fichier Moto Passion réalisé par François-Marie Dumas réunit près de deux mille photos accompagnées d'un historique très complet des machines présentées.
Il sera progressivement mis à jour ici et toute information complémentaire est la bienvenue sur info@moto-collection.org.

Cette documentation unique, qui constitue sans doute l'encyclopédie la plus exhaustive jamais écrite sur l'histoire de la moto, a été réalisée avec l'assistance de nombreux spécialistes dont principalement Didier Ganneau, Christophe Gaime, Mick Woollett, Jean Goyard, Bernard Salvat, Christian Rey, Yves Campion, Helmut Krackowizer, Michael Dregni, Michel Montange, etc. que je remercie ici.

Disponible sur demande :
- Les fiches originales sur papier
- Les photos et archives signées de mon nom en haute définition ou les documents originaux.
Me contacter sur info@moto-collection.org pour les conditions et droits d'utilisation.