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Who is Janus Motorcycles?

Janus Motorcycles Phoenix 250cc

When you roll into Northern Indiana Amish Country, you can’t help but relax and wonder what life is like in its rural fields. Vast farmland envelops the hustling, bustling towns of Elkhart, Nappanee and Goshen, where hardworking Hoosiers reside. The Biblically-named Goshen is where we visited the downtown garage of Janus Motorcycles, which neighbors the city’s first coffeehouse and a uniquely-curated record shop. In the motorcycle realm, Janus is different; a good different. Here’s why…

Janus Motorcycles Ride
Devin Biek on the Phoenix 250 (right) and Richard Worsham on the Halcyon 250.

Our initial assumption about Janus Motorcycles was one thing. Our face-to-face experience with them was another. Casey and I drove up the highway from Central Indiana to drop in on the Flight of the Phoenix Launch Party, where their latest motorcycle was introduced. Based on the amount of interaction we had with Janus founders, Richard Worsham and Devin Biek, our conclusion is that they’re good, humble guys, as is their support system of friends and family. Their products are carefully crafted, too, presented with pride rather than overinflated egos. We wondered: does the shop’s environment and location make a difference? We believe so.

Devin and Richard thank their fans and supporters

Janus Motorcycles Shop Goshen Indiana
The guys behind Janus Motorcycles have a strong moped background.

In today’s U.S. motorcycle market, you make headlines for producing over-engineered, overpowered motorcycles. Some folks tend to fawn over internet-famous bike builders of bespoke one-offs. From their Goshen garage, Janus garners lots of online respect and nods from motorcycle publications, but these guys aren’t vying for millions of digital thumbs-up. They are craftsmen who keep their nose to the grindstone, drawing and wrenching in their block-walled, back-alley shop.

Janus Team Photo
Worsham and Biek are quick to acknowledge their partners and collaborators.

From the seats to the welds to the handlebar bends, they collaborate with the kind of craftsmen we admire; ones who let their work take center stage. Richard says that he, Devin and their team of designers and makers “are enjoying the process,” with a goal of creating a motorcycle for “people who appreciate beautiful machines.”

Janus Motorcycles Halcyon
This article is not an assessment of specifications or performance of either the Halcyon 250 or the Phoenix 250. We are aware of the bikes’ cost, their horsepower, their engine’s origin and the opinions they stir up. We simply wanted to find out what kind of team has the ability or guts to dive headfirst into industry waters that can be murky, or risky. And, who would have the audacity to artfully approach manufacturing in a State that outsiders would consider far too conservative.

Janus Motorcycles Richard Worsham
Janus co-founder, Richard Worsham, shows off the Halcyon 250.

We think back to the height of auto manufacturing in Indiana, when companies focused on putting quality cars together piece by piece. Cities like Albany, Kokomo, Connersville, Elkhart, Wabash and others, produced finely crafted cars like Duesenbergs, Cords, Crosleys, Haynes and Studebakers. As early as 1909, Indiana was second only to Michigan in the number of autos produced. The spirit of this movement is present at Janus, with bikes that evoke a nostalgic vibe. They hearken back to the days of limited-run vehicles with a fine fit and finish.

Janus Motorcycles Halcyon
Residents of the area are well aware of the large amount of creative and resourceful talent nearby. The Janus leatherworker is local and an expert at saddle making and horse tack. They have several Amish craftsmen and blue-collar tradesman with a desire to see the bikes end up in the hands of appreciative owners. This isn’t about a hurried assembly line that has to keep up with a massive marketing push.

Janus Motorcycles Paragon
One of the original Janus creations, the “Paragon” looks out over the workshop.
Goshen Indiana Downtown
A view of downtown Goshen in all its quaintness.

How does its location compliment the company’s persona? We’ve witnessed brashness and braggadocio that can sometimes accompany big-city or coastal confidence, so it was refreshing to walk into this low-key atmosphere. During the launch party, we had a conversation with a Goshen couple about how the city has experienced a revitalization that’s bringing people back to live and work in the town. I told the Janus crew that the couple ended the conversation with, “we hope you’re enjoying your time here, thanks for coming!” Reacting with a smile, Richard and Devin said, “That’s so Goshen!”

The hospitality of this crowd was certainly noticeable and appreciated.

Janus Motorcycles Phoenix 250cc
Past design intern, Jordan Cornille (second from left) looks upon the Phoenix.

The spotlight shone brightly on the Phoenix 250 that night. Sitting in the shop that clearly shows their moped background, the deep red Phoenix is the sporty alternative to the more dapper looks of the Halcyon 250. The Halcyon began as a 50cc machine and has evolved into a more stout motorbike (they even have a quick-release sidecar outfit in the works). Both bikes feature the same single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 5-speed powerplant and employ leading-link front suspension.

Janus Motorcycles Phoenix 250cc
A view of the signature Janus “featherbed” chassis.

Janus Motorcycles Phoenix 250cc

Janus Motorcycles Sidecar
Fancy a sidecar for your Janus Halcyon?

The bikes have a good throaty pop, which we observed when they took a spirited victory lap around the block. The Phoenix weighs in at 265 lbs and can reach speeds of over 70mph. While the Halcyon is a hardtail, the Phoenix soaks up the undulating farm roads much better with its rear swing-arm.

Devin on the Janus Motorcycles Phoenix
Janus co-founder, Devin Biek, parades the Phoenix 250 around during its launch party.

To supplement the launch of this new model, there were a few entertaining bands, great BBQ and a couple tents featuring The Indiana Whiskey Company and Goshen Brewing Company.

Janus Motorcycles Indiana Whiskey

Janus Motorcycles Launch Party Rockabilly
Dos Hermanos Band filled the air with some proper rockabilly.

We don’t know what the future holds for Janus Motorcycles, but we’re rooting for ’em and we hope they maintain their Midwestern roots. Can’t help but think that those who end up with a Janus Motorcycle in their garage are securing a special piece of this era’s motorcycle renaissance.

It’s a given that new owners will receive a work of art that has passed through the hands of several artisans.

Janus Motorcycles Halcyon 250cc
The Halcyon 250 at home in the Janus Motorcycles shop.
Janus Motorcycles and Good Spark Garage
Group shot from left to right: Corey, Devin, Richard, and Casey.

A big thanks goes out to Richard, Devin, Grant, Amy, Jordan and the whole team for their Goshen hospitality and allowing us some time to learn more about Janus, the bikes, and their backstory.

Janus Motorcycles Merch Tent

The guys also have a fashionably functional line of Janus Leather and Waxed-Canvas goods.

Janus Motorcycles Goshen Indiana

Janus Motorcycles Phoenix Launch Party

Janus Motorcycles Goshen Indiana

Janus Motorcycles Goshen Indiana

Janus Motorcycles Halcyon 50cc
One of the first-gen Halcyons with a 50cc powerplant.

Janus Motorcycles Flight of the Phoenix

Flight of the Phoenix Launch Party
Just behind the shop is this photogenic alleyway.
Goshen Indiana Courthouse
A view of the idyllic Elkhart County Courthouse in Goshen, Indiana.

Goshen Indiana Theater

Janus Halcyon 50cc

Follow Janus Motorcycles on Facebook or their website to see what they’re up to next.

If you want to follow more of our travels, tune in here to Good Spark Garage or follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

See more pics of this event in our Facebook gallery.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. Really like your mix of 1920’s and 1970’s technology. I really like the looks of the Griffin. I use it as my
    screen saver. I consider a 500cc m/c about the least size I could tour with. I tour with a BMW XR and a 79
    Honda CBX. I also run the back roads of Eastern US on a Kawa. 650 KLR and a 650 Suz. DR. I think a Janus 500cc Griffin, maybe with a Royal Enfield engine, would be a neat replacement for those 2 bikes.

    I believe a Janus 125cc could also be interesting for those situated where that size might prove reasonable. But no more. You have to be careful of your business model.. I know you are aware of failures of Motus and Henderson; while Confederate, with sales in the single digits, marches on. Good luck and here is hoping you might make a 500cc Griffin.

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