Recently, I ran a feature called “ ” in reference to the . One of the custom bikes I published was intriguing enough for some of you to request its specs. Info that I got easily from Motographer Horst Roesler who was on location at the Polish event and who is the author of these new pictures of the “Polish Star” At simple at it looks, to understand the merit of this bike, a short background history about Poland seems necessary.
Thanks to the Solidarity movement (Solidarność) the Central European country of Poland got its first free and demographic election in 1989, and since then went from a communist-style planned economy into a market economy. Today, after suffering slumps in social and economic standards Poland is now a free and democratic country with a somewhat high standard of living for a post communist country. It’s even now one of the safest countries in the world to live in… Polish craftsmanship and relatively cheap wages have created flourishing businesses. Opening to the West has also contributed to the birth of a custom motorcycle scene, with the new well-to-do Polish creating and/or buying bikes inspired by those built the US and the rest of Europe. But most builders are still struggling with what is available in their country: post World War II era motorcycles used as donors, old motors to be rebuilt and almost always recycled parts often from unknown origin…
The story of of these unusual East countries’ motorcycles is always interesting. Even more when a series of events without apparent relation is linking this motorcycle creation in Poland with an air show in Florida! Last March, I was present in Daytona for Bike Week with regular photographer who doesn’t miss any opportunity to also spend some time at the Titusville-based “Tico Air Show” to shoot classic airplanes and acrobatic exhibitions. In the sky a screaming MIG-17, the fastest version of the better known MIG-15 Jet Fighter, flying in full afterburner mode to increase thrust. 4 Weeks later, 1/3 of the world away in Poland, this encounter with “Polish Star” whose design is inspired by the jet fighter LIM 5 the Polish version of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17….
This machine was created by and is based on a 1985 350 cc Jawa, pretty much the “crowning achievement” for an Eastern country motorcyclist living under a communist government at a time when Harley was introducing the 1380 cc/100+ hp Evolution V-Twins already seen on the roads of Free Europe. In Poland, those riding Jawa 350 cc were very proud to surpass their East German “Comrades” riding only 250 cc displacement bikes. Owning a 350 cc JAWA not only meant a possible daily ride to work, but also a little bit of freedom. Doesn’t matter how simple you find this creation. As I said in introduction, it has merit and I hope you will agree me when you read with the parts sourcing list.
From the original JAWA 350 cc, only the engine remains. The rest has been handcrafted and modified from bits and pieces. The single tube hardtail frame as well as the one-off front fork are made by . Fuel tank comes from the former GDR motorcycle IFA BK 350 of 1950 origin – a now very rare 2-stroke boxer engined classic. The wheels are derived from the polish “Syrena” car, and spoked with Junak M10. Michelin tires are those used on the Citroen’s 2 CV, thus kind of indestructible when you run only 14 hp on the rear wheel. Design inspiration came from the jet fighter LIM 5 the Polish version of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 – rolled out of the assembly line in 1956. (For visitors to Poland, the Poznan War Museum, located in the “Citadel” just outside the inner City displays a MiG 17 and MiG 15.)
Front forks imitate the jet landing geared. Janusz did not have to travel very far to find Polish aircraft markings use on the custom gas tank and exhaust. Same for the “Polish Eagles” on the gas cap and and the front forks. At The Poznan Motor Show, the very young builder was rewarded with the “Polish Star” Award. A very encouraging result to motivate a young blood whose dream is to have one day enough money to compete with the best custom builders of Europe and the US.Until then, he continues to customize whatever is available for little money… . (photos @ H. Roesler for C. Huze)
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