Artisanal Ambitions: 2018 Janus Gryffin

Welcome to the Janus Gryffin, the small, craft-built motorcycle from Goshen, Indiana, designed to evoke memories of simpler times.

| July/August 2018

2018 Janus Gryffin
Engine: 229cc air-cooled OHV single, 67mm x 65mm bore and stroke, 9.2:1 compression ratio, 14hp @ 7,000rpm (claimed)
Top speed: 70mph (as tested)
Carburetion: Single 30mm Keihin w/accelerator pump
Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive
Electrics: 12v, electronic ignition
Frame/Wheelbase: Dual downtube cradle frame/53in (1,342mm)
Suspension: Leading-link, dual Ikon shocks w/ adjustable preload front, dual Ikon shocks w/ adjustable preload rear
Brakes: 9.8in (250mm) single disc front, 8.7in (220mm) single disc rear
Tires: 3 x 18in front, 3.5 x 18in rear
Weight (dry): 265lb (120kg)
Seat height: 32in (813mm)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 2.4gal (9ltr)/55-75mpg (est.)
Price: $6,995

The last decade has seen an explosion in handcrafted, artisanal products, including craft breweries, craft distilleries, artisanal coffee, farm-to-table organic food — and now, motorcycles.

In the current climate, the idea of production, craft-built motorcycles seems a natural. As consumers gravitate to products that promise quality and a level of exclusivity, the market for goods that are something more than just another widget extruded from a factory pipeline continues to grow.

The indie build movement is an obvious reflection of this, a turn away from the boring, overhyped, hyper tech, cookie-cutter motorcycles cluttering the mainstream market. As individual expressions of what a motorcycle should be, it was only a matter of time before someone tried to extend that aesthetic beyond the single, owner-built special. In the small Midwestern town of Goshen, Indiana (population roughly 34,000), Janus Motorcycles is making a name for itself with a line of small, handcrafted, 250cc motorcycles.

Founded by partners Devin Biek and Richard Worsham in 2011, Janus' roots are in mopeds, which goes a long way in explaining Biek and Worsham's enthusiasm for small-bore bikes. The pair met up in 2008 when Worsham started working with Biek, who was then running Motion Left Mopeds, a small business restoring and customizing mopeds, and also supplying performance moped parts, notably high quality expansion chambers. As the business expanded and Biek took on more custom build work, the pair got the idea to build a complete machine of their own design.

In line with their moped roots and an enthusiasm for vintage race bikes, their first complete motorcycle, the Paragon, was powered by a 50cc air-cooled moped engine housed in a triangulated GP-style frame. That led to the retro-cued Halcyon, with a scaled-down Norton Featherbed-inspired frame housing a 50cc, 6-speed, water-cooled Derbi engine. After building 43 examples of that bike they decided it was time for a bit more motive power, and in 2015 they introduced the Halcyon 250, still with the same old-school looks that had made the 50cc Halcyon popular, but now powered by a counter-balanced 229cc air-cooled, overhead valve, 5-speed, Chinese-made single. That bike was joined by the café-racer styled Phoenix 250, using the same 229cc engine and leading-link front end, but equipped with a swingarm rear suspension in place of the Halcyon's hardtail.

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