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1972 CZ Jawa 175 - Part 3
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Jeff Nordstrom’s transport while he was at college was a remarkably robust 175cc CZ. Think back to the days when you had no other transport for carrying the weekly grocery shopping...

After mostly trouble free riding over my first two years of college, the CZ starting having a few problems. It seems that the inside of the petrol tank was beginning to rust and flake off; a problem that I first combated with frequent changing of in-line fuel filters. This got old after a while, so I decided to fix the problem. I removed the tank, threw some marbles in it, and shook them around for a while, to knock off the loose rust. Then I cleaned it out real good and found a motor cycle gas tank lining paint type product. I mostly followed the instructions for proper application, and in almost no time at all, I had a rust free gas tank. Problem solved.

Having spindly forks doesn't matter if they don't reach the ground...

New problem. In prematurely discarding the instructions for the new gas tank lining material, I figured, ‘what better to cover the filling hole, than the filling cap?’ The filling cap did serve my purposes in that it kept the petrol tank lining material in the petrol tank. Unfortunately, I did not realise that this was originally a ‘vented’ cap. It was a vented cap no more.

This minor inconvenience was only noticeable when riding for longer than five minutes. All of my many journeys that were shorter than five minutes were truly worry free, but on or about the five minute mark the throttle was no longer responsive, and the mighty CZ would sputter and die. It did not take too long to realise (after I removed the gas cap and a hawk flying overhead was nearly sucked in by the vacuum) that the tank was sealed too tight and the vacuum inside the tank would not allow any fuel to get out.

Now that I understood the problem, I could ride care-free again. I would simply remove the petrol cap every time she began to stutter, give her a nice deep breath, and continue on. Inconvenient, but not a big deal.

Compare this to the photo above. Things always look so much nicer when drawn rather than photographed. Funny that...

The CZ did see some extreme use at school. I was an offensive lineman for the small college I went to, and I would occasionally take the CZ to practice. Inevitably I would end up leaving practice with some extra passengers. ‘Some?’ you ask. Yes some. I, a portly (240lb or about 17 stone) but handsome 21 year old, would revert to my childhood riding position, straddling the gas tank, Brian, a 300lb bear of a man would assume dad’s old perch, and Matt, at 255lb, would clinch his butt-cheeks for dear life to the remaining four inches of seat, his toes wrapped around the ‘grown-up’ passenger pegs.

Thus burdened, my 1972 CZ Jawa 175 would not so much as give a groan of protest. First gear, which was only capable of about 5mph, no matter what the load, would bring us to motion without hesitation. I am confident that she would have given us the top speed of 40mph if I asked. However, I doubt we ever exceeded 15mph. It was difficult to balance with 555lb of passengers hanging off to the left to wave at passers-by. The fact that the mudguards were quickly eroding my knobbies into slicks was not a confidence booster either. But the CZ pulled us through.

Not the right Jawa, not the right rider. Good photo though....

She was also serviceable for the necessary errands around town. On one occasion, my roommate, Doug, and I climbed aboard and headed to the grocery store. He used the ‘child’ passenger pegs because he did not like his pants to get greasy from the chain guard. This put his knees up above his ears, but he was willing to sacrifice pride and comfort for clean pants.

So we shopped. After finding some incredible deals at the discount grocery store (Golden Griddle, our favorite syrup for only $0.99) we headed back to the parking lot with our grocery cart full of paper bags.

We did not realize our dilemma until I went to open the non-existent trunk, to load the groceries. You see, as great as the CZ was in every respect, it did not have a trunk. That is arguably one of the reasons it was so great, however it would have been a good feature at that point. But there we were, with ten paper bags loaded full with bread, eggs, milk, syrup, and all the rest. I was confident that we could do it. After all, the CZ had some special features that most bikes to not.

After the prerequisite running start, I had Doug load me up with grocery bags in an inverted ‘T’ formation from the handlebars, down the tank to my belly, and across my legs. I then bent my head forward and he rested a bag on the back of my neck. Next, he climbed aboard with the remaining bags two in each arm. These bags he rested on his knees and pressed against my flanks. I then lifted my head, nestling the previously perched bag between my neck and Doug’s face.

In this position we were able to make our way home. This was only possible with the features that allowed me to operate the clutch with my foot, freeing my left hand to balance the bags in front of me. What a machine. We successfully completed the journey home, and after waiting in the parking lot in front of our apartment for a friendly passer-by to take a couple of bags out of Doug’s hands, and off of his face so we could dismount, we had a re-stocked kitchen. We did not break a single egg (we broke three), and we enjoyed a dinner of French toast with misshapen bread (some pieces had a distinct nose print), and we raised our cool glasses of milk to toast the CZ.

There is nothing I can add to this photo....

Toward the end of my college days, the CZ was getting less and less of my attention. The woman who would become my wife was getting more and more. It’s not that she did not like the CZ. It was my problem. I did not feel that I could sufficiently impress her, whilst performing some of the necessary procedures that were required for a successful ride.

I put her on the back for a couple of short rides. I think she had fun, but she was unimpressed with the grease on her pants, and the fact that she had to stand by the side of the road whilst I pushed my machine to get it started after failing to remove the petrol cap before the vacuum closed off the fuel supply and it died.

The model range was muich improved for 1977...
Jawa stuff on

The relationship with my 1972 CZ Jawa 175, long as it was, seemed short lived. After college, I kept the CZ back at my parents’ house while I was working out of town. When I returned one weekend, I found that my dad had sold it to the only other guy in town who had ever heard of a CZ. What’s worse, he sold it for $350. My dad is a practical man, and a numbers guy. I guess I should be pleased that he got that much for it. With straight depreciation, the value of that motorcycle over the 22 years that it was a part of our family would have been well negative. I’m sure he’s glad he didn’t have to pay someone to take it before it lost any more value.

I guess I can’t complain. My only condition in getting the CZ to begin with was that I would keep it out of his garage, which I did not. I suppose it is possible that I did not enjoy my 1972 CZ Jawa 175 as much as I think I did. As they say, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. If that is the case, I am thankful not to have it any more. I will just remember the good times. And if it is head trauma that has made me forget the bad times, then I’m thankful for that, too.

We had a good run.


CZ The Day

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

Golden aga Jawa?


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