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1972 CZ Jawa 175 - Part 2
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Several decades ago, Jeff Nordstromís first riding experiences as a child were enjoyed aboard his dadís CZ 175. Time passed, and Jeff wanted a motorcycle all of his own...

It was my senior year in high school. While rummaging through the depths of the garage, I spied a familiar shape: my dadís CZ 175. I dug it out and the love was revived. It did not look quite the same as I remembered it. It was a massive machine to a portly but handsome four year old, but it seemed a little puny to a portly but handsome 17 year old. Nonetheless, I knew what I must do.

I approached my father with a proposition. If he would give me the CZ for my high school graduation, it would no longer be buried in the depths of his garage. I realize this was a rather one-sided proposition, but I was in high school, and did not have a job, there was not a lot I could offer. He accepted, and took it down and had the carburettor rebuilt.

Remembered bikes are always balck and white. Fact.

Licensing was somewhat inconvenient. Considering that my family and the guy who ran the bike shop were the only people in town who had ever heard of a CZ Jawa, it was difficult to explain to the lady at the DMV what exactly it was that we were trying to get licensed. Despite great efforts on our part, and due mainly to a lack of interest on the part of the licenser, my 1972 CZ Jawa 175 would thereafter be recognised by the State of Washington as a Suzuki JW.

I had a motorcycle for the summer and transportation for college. I was thrilled. It was at this time I learned to appreciate some of the more unique features of the CZ. For starters, it had a left side kick starter, made the more unusual by the fact that it was invisible to the naked eye. To find it you had straddle the beast, push the shifter in with the instep of your left foot, and when it had retracted about an inch, with horizontal pressure still applied, lift the shifter up and back.

This process, although it might seem complicated at first, was easy to master, but hard on shoes. Now the shifter lever was the kick-starter, and you were in the position to kick it over with your left foot.

The magic gear lever that doubled as a kickstarter.

The left foot kick was one that I never mastered, so I would re-set the centrestand, dismount, and facing the left broad side of the CZ, kick it over with my right foot. This modified kicking posture necessitated a modified kick starter positioning procedure that utilise the outside of the right foot, rather than the instep of the left, and did not involve mounting and dismounting.

The original procedure would have been fine, except for the fact that if it did not kick over the first try (which it never did) and if your foot accidentally slipped off of the starter lever (which it always did), the lever would fly forward and return to the shifter position.

Jawa stuff on

The modified kick starter positioning procedure was also hard on your shoe, but this time it was the right shoe. A combination of both procedures would result in both shoes wearing out at about the same time. This was a bad scenario either way, because I was now in college and could not afford new shoes. As an alternative, I almost exclusively relied on a push start. This was not so hard on the shoes, and good for the lungs.

The CZ saw a wide span of action through my college years. As a freshman it was used primarily for putting around town with no specific destination. I parked it in a designated motorcycle parking area near my dorm room whenever not in use. The CZ was a thing of beauty parked amongst scooters, mopeds, and the occasional Japanese sport bike. By weight alone, she was superior to all others combined.

Artist's impression of Jeff and his bike outside his college. Impressed female sutdent also shown.

However, her one drawback that I had learned of many years before (see the earlier installment) made her an object of derision for the other cyclists on campus. You see, this parking area was not perfectly level, and I went to college in Ellensburg Washington, a community known for unrelenting winds. This, on a couple of occasions, resulted in my finding the CZ on its side with a broken clutch handle. The disdain of at least one other motorcyclist on campus would have, I assume, been derived of the paint and plastic shards of Japanese sport bike that I found under the CZ, and her broken clutch lever.

Much to my misfortune (now this is speculation, as I was not witness to the event), the owner of the damaged Japanese sport bike, Iím sure with the assistance of some friends (because owners of Japanese sport bikes are puny little weaklings, and the CZ was a powerful heavy load), took retaliation out on the CZ by pushing it into an empty drainage canal located near the parking area, twice.

As the CZ was a well-built mount, the forays into the drainage canal had no immediate effect on her performance. I was even able to ride with no clutch lever because of another little feature of her design. First of all, the shift pattern was opposite of most motorcycles, in that first was up, and second through fourth were down, and neutrals findable between each gear. The clutch was also actuated by the movement of the shift lever. I assume the Czechs integrated this into their design, because they also do not have level parking areas, and therefore they all have broken clutch levers as well. These features allowed me to ride as normal, the only difference being that I had to slightly elevate the shifter with my left foot while stopped. This feature would also prove beneficial even after I replaced the clutch leverÖ


Next episode: tank sealing, and why it doesnít pay to be over-zealous with the sealantÖ


Seized by enthusiasm? If you want to know more about CZ-JAWAs of this era then go straight to:

When an advert photo is this dark, you *know* the bike must be ugly...


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