JANUS MOTORCYCLES: Old Ideas For a New World
If ever I were to lust for an object, it would be this. Meet the JANUS Halcyon 50, a hand-made small displacement bike manufactured fully in the United States; the epitome of handsome design and function with its leather seat and low polished aluminum fuel tank. Long a fan of the 20's era British Ariel, this American Made bike just might have the vintage alternative beat! Inspired by classic design and iconic eras of motorcycle history, JANUS creates nearly everything on the Halcyon 50 within 20 miles of their shop allowing a focus on handling and high quality detailing. Their "simplicity of operation and maintenance, makes it possible to form closer relationship between rider and machine," and quite frankly that is one relationship I am interested in.Almost as soon as I laid eyes on the Halcyon 50, I was contacting founder and designer, Richard Worsham, declaring my earnest admiration and a hefty list of prying questions.
How was JANUS born?
"Devin Biek and I started Janus Motorcycles at the end of 2011. Our friendship and our passion for motorcycles and manufacturing grew out of a love for vintage pedal-type mopeds. Through Devin's company, Motion Left, we began by simply repairing and refurbishing bikes, but eventually began customizing and building performance parts of our own. At Motion Left, we gradually built up a network of local craftsmen who could perform the necessary processes or services that were required for that small-scale operation."
"At first there was no demand that we build our motorcycles in America. I suppose we never even considered doing anything else. It was just easier to go down the road and have it made from scratch then to wait for it to be ordered and shipped. For the most part, we were designing and building new products that were unavailable anywhere else and we were too small of an operation to send our production overseas. Most importantly, we were fortunate enough to live in Northern Indiana, a place where small-scale manufacturing is taken to the level of an art form.If we have a problem, we can just drive over and speak with the craftsman who is actually making the part and resolve the issue. The same is not true if you are getting your part from overseas. Whether or not we live in an age of globalization and instant communication, nothing replaces speaking with someone face-to-face and that is how we like to work. I don't think you could build one of our Halcyons any other way."
You obviously pay great attention to detail in every aspect of the Halcyon 50.
"The Halcyon 50 has been a lot of fun to work with and watch as it progresses. It's come a long way since our first prototype. I suppose the Halcyon is the result of all our little pet peeves with bikes we have worked on or ridden over the years. A motorcycle really comes to life for us when you can see the elegant little solutions at work all over the bike. We have done a lot on the Halcyon that is more expensive or labour intensive then is typical of even much larger bikes, but our goal throughout has been to find solutions that gracefully pair form and function with an minimum of excess and a maximum of panache."
Janus employs five skilled craftsmen to bend, form, and weld its frames and tanks, and contracts with local specialists for leather goods, fenders, cutting, machining, engraving, chroming, and painting. Devin and Richard lead product design and development, quality assurance, testing, and final fit and finish. Janus Motorcycles is a federally licensed vehicle manufacturer. Each bike is supplied with a VIN number and is titled and road-legal.