Everything old is new again. The more we race towards the future with our iPhones and internets, the more we seem to long for a time when things were simpler. Cut throat razors are now selling better than they have in 50 years. 15 years ago, a hand-made leather wallet was something only Louis Vuitton and $500 could have got you. Now there are small leather makers popping up all over the place. And it seems like every man and his dog are doing a decent pair of jeans, although we remember when the only choice you had were 501s. So what would happen if you took this bespoke, small-scale approach and applied it to build an entire motorcycle? Enter Janus Motorcycles of Goshen, Indiana, and their wonderful Halcyon 50.
Janus employs five craftsmen to bend, form, and weld its frames and tanks and contracts other local businesses for leather goods, fenders, cutting, machining, engraving, chroming, and painting. The company is owned by Devin Biek and Richard Worsham, who lead product design, development, quality assurance, testing, and final fit and finish. And thanks to America’s inbuilt love of the automobile, Janus Motorcycles is also a federally licensed vehicle maker, with each bike being supplied with a VIN number, title and road-worth certification.
“We see ourselves participating in a now-forgotten ‘startup culture.’ Harley set up shop in a 10’x15’ shed, Buell in an barely-heated barn. It’s hard to think that the world can still operate like that in an age of start-up software firms. We approach manufacturing with a practical, innovative attitude, in the same way that Harley Davidson started off in 1903; adding a lot of hard work to the promise of something great. We are extremely proud to be a part of that tradition.”
The Halcyon 50 Deluxe is their top-of-the-line model, sporting all the extra special bits including leather saddlebags and seat, polished aluminum tanks, hydraulic forks, and beautiful hand pin-striping. Delivery takes few months after you stump up the deposit, and they are more than happy to let you go hard on the custom colours and indeed any other options that might take you fancy. Gloves to match you seat and bags, anyone?
The bikes are built on a rigid tubular steel cradle frame with each featherbed frame bent and TIG welded by hand, as are the aluminum fuel and oil tanks, battery box, seat, saddlebags and battery cover. To avoid clouds of blue smoke, oil leaks, and breakdowns the engines are decidedly not accurate recreations of old two-strokers. Instead Janus sources a 10hp Euro model based on the Derbi Senda with water cooling, a 6-speed box, and case-induction.
Continuing the modern theme, the bike uses hydraulic EBR forks up front for decent ride and a professionally tuned expansion chamber exhaust to make sure you get the most out of your oily petroleum. Get a little wristy with the throttle and the bike will see you all the way to 55mph, or 90km/h in fancy newspeak measurements.
If you are as taken with the whole bike and concept as we are, you’ll no doubt be wanting to get you deposit to them as fast as your little legs can carry you. And if you’re thinking what we’re thinking, why not see if they could deliver one with a set of clip-ons. Can you imagine? We’re drooling on our boots just thinking about it.