Janus Motorcycles make time stand still, planting the rider firmly in the present. Lightweight. Classic. Easy to maneuver and fun to ride.
Founded in 2011 by friends Richard Worsham and Devin Biek in Goshen, Indiana, Janus aims to create a motorcycle that is simply a joy to ride. Plain and simple. “You don’t have to go out and buy a pair of leather pants” to ride a Janus, says Worsham. “You can just experience what it is to be on a motorcycle and have fun.” In other words, Janus bikes are for people who had never wanted to be a serious motorcyclist—and maybe still don’t, but do want to ride a motorcycle and have fun.
Paint options, finish, add-ons, and personal touches—each bike is custom made to order and assembled by hand in Goshen, near the Michigan border. The town centers around automotive and recreational vehicle production—if you own an RV, there’s a good chance it came from Elkhart County, Indiana, where Goshen is located.
The locally made philosophy runs deep with the Janus team. They use a nearby Amish vendor for all their metal fabrication and tap into the strong manufacturing network Elkhart County is known for. The build process takes 4-6 weeks—in 2020 they turned out 250 custom bikes—and Janus sends photos during the build to keep the anticipation high. Riders can either pick up their bike in Goshen, or have it shipped.
Prior to launching Janus, Worsham and Biek had worked together repairing and restoring pedal-type mopeds, which eventually inspired the decision to start their own line of small engine bikes. While mopeds might conjure up images of simple juvenile freedom, European cliches, or daredevil delivery guys, and feel far removed from mainstream motorcycle culture, the simple pedal-bike design is actually what birthed the modern motorcycles. Single cylinder bicycle engines at the turn of the 20th century made way for twin engines and the earliest versions of motorcycles, such as the Douglas bikes. With this history in mind, and Worsham’s love of vintage models, Janus comes full circle with an aesthetic both informed by and built for the past, present, and future.
In Worsham’s words, Janus makes motorcycles that take riders to a simpler time–that are linked to alluring designs from motorcycling history. “Beautiful to behold, a joy to ride, and easy to understand.” These bikes connect rider to machine and landscape.
Named for the Roman god of beginnings and passages—essentially, the god of the road—Janus makes a modest range of motorcycles with each being named for a mythical bird.
Their first model was the Halcyon 50, with a water-cooled 50cc two-stroke engine. After making 40 bikes, the two decided to up their game and create a 250cc four-stroke engine. By 2015, they had redesigned the Halcyon frame, wheels, and hydraulic disc brakes to give it a 1930s early motorcycle look. A sportier model, the Phoenix 250, with full suspension and a cafe racer seat came next.
In 2017 Janus introduced the Gryffin 250, a scrambler-style motorcycle with off-road capability that speaks to us above the rest. With a 14-horsepower engine it can reach a top speed of 70 mph. Weighing just 263 lbs—about 200 lbs less than a Triumph Scrambler—with a 33 inch seat height and 80 inch length, the Gryffin might be the perfect adventure bike for just about anyone looking to go just about anywhere—so long as it’s within ~150 miles (the tank holds 2 gallons).
Always looking for the next adventure, the Janus team recently expanded their fleet with the release of a new 450cc versionof the Halcyon model. Next up, a Gryffin 450.
More than anything, these machines are pure fun. Like the first time you jumped on a moped as a kid, but with a decent amount more power, and tons more style.
Janus motorcycles are available in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico, and sell for between $7,495 and $8,895.