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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Janus Halcyon 50 – An American Original

From Mo-Ped performance tuning to handmade small-displacement motorcycles, Devin Biek and Richard Worsham are traveling a unique path. The small company they have formed, Janus Motorcycles, is located in Indiana and employs primarily local vendors and artisans. The owners found that Mo-Ped enthusiasts demonstrated an interest in the type of small displacement, simple motorcycle design they have developed. Their first model is the Halcyon 50, which employs a two-stroke engine and unique styling that draws inspiration from the past. Below are brief excerpts from the Janus Motorcycle website, followed by the Halcyon 50 specs. You can read an interesting interview with one of the Janus Motorcycles’ founders here.

The goal of Janus Motorcycles has been to produce a line of simple, stylish, easy-to-ride and light-weight motorcycles that will appeal to a new generation of male and female riders.

Our bikes aren’t replicas; we haven’t designed them to exactly emulate a period from history. They are contemporary, practical machines that celebrate some of our favorite aspects of motorcycle design over the last century.

We are building motorcycles for all ages of men and women who may not see themselves as a “biker,” or doing 150mph, but who love the freedom, joy, and mobility that a motorcycle allows, especially if they can work on it themselves. We hope that what we are trying to accomplish is a step toward building a younger, broader generation of American riders, and ideally, a new American motorcycle company producing bikes ranging from 125 to 250cc’s.


Type: Water-cooled, case-inducted, 2-stroke single

Displacement: 49.9cc

Bore/Stroke: 39.86 X 40mm

Carburation: 17mm Dellorto carburetor

Lubrication: Mechanical oil pump

Starting System: Kick and electric

Exhaust: Tuned expansion chamber with stinger

Final Drive: Chain

Clutch Wet, multi-plate

Gearbox: 6-speed

Fuel Capacity: 3 gallons

Oil capacity: 1 quart


Frame: Tubular steel cradle

Wheels: Cast aluminum hubs with steel 36 spoke rims

Tires: Front 3.00X18, Back 3.50X18

Suspension: EBR hydraulic forks, hard-tail with sprung seat

Brakes: Front and rear drum

Instrumentation: Analog speedometer, turn indicator and neutral lights


Maximum Power: 9.8 hp

Maximum Speed: 55mph

Fuel Efficiency: Estimated 60+mpg


  1. martin says:

    hum, i’d be interested in one… But do you guys ship , say in quebec ,canada ? Are they even allowed out here?

  2. Z1 says:

    They should put some fake finning on the engine. It looks ridiculous, like an air compressor. If they are going for an old-timey look, they need cooling fins on the engine…even if they are fake.

    • paul says:

      Agreed. I think an aircooled engine would be a better choice for its simplicity and aesthetics.

  3. Clarke says:

    Wow, some pretty negative comments from some folks. I dunno, I think its a great idea. I could see enjoying one of these on my city commute, or for riding the local back roads on the weekend. Not every ride needs to zoom down the Interstate at 75 MPH.

  4. Z1 says:

    The price on this thing is a complete deal-killer…the company should save their money and stop right here. The poor grammar and misspelled words on their website also do not engender confidence in putting down your deposit for one of these.
    Nostalgia is fine (I often am guilty of dwelling too much in it) but this proves again that you really can’t go home again.

  5. RAD says:

    I like her .
    But a little pricey.
    I would be in on this at $2900.00

    • Rad, CCW offers a number of bikes around this price point.

      • Andrew says:

        Indeed they do. But going by the comments from the owners I’ve seen around the net, quality and reliability of their bikes leave much to be desired. I would gladly pay more for a quality product that is *not* made in China!

  6. Andrew Mai says:

    So what does it weigh?

  7. paul says:

    Certainly different, but the side view is a disaster in my opinion. Looks like a first attempt from a high school automotive class project. Large negative spaces wirh wire and cables dangling everywhere. Looks more like a static display rather than something that is actually supposed to move down a road. The frame looks generic, like they are planning on fitting a dozen different powerplants in there. Gas tank is nice, but why not sling it below the top tube?

    Still, I do like the idea.

  8. Herbert says:

    Had to do a double-take; I thought I’d landed on Pipeburn, not Motorcycle Daily.

  9. GP says:

    Can I buy just the rolling frame for a reasonable price? It looks like a CR/RM/KX/YZ/KTM 80-105-125-250 would drop right in… A KDX200 motor would even give me a lighting coil….

  10. Kent says:

    I wonder why it is estimated at 60+ mpg.
    My 650 VStrom (450 pounds and a much larger engine) gets 50. It seems that it should be a 100 mpg bike, not 60.


    • Jake says:

      It’s a 2-stroke — 2-strokes are pretty wasteful in the gas department.

      • todd says:

        My 1970 Yamaha 90cc 2-stroke twin (yes, twin) states 150mpg in the manual. I only have gotten 125 but I tend the flog the living daylights out of it.


        • Micheal Newcastle says:

          My old 883 Sportster would get 60 mpg on the highway and my DR350S would average 60 mpg at every fill-up. This little moped should average at least 120 mpg.

    • Robert Daniels says:

      Yep, even my Hayabusa if you ride it at a steady 100kmh will get 50mpg.

    • David Duarte says:

      you guys took the words right off of my keyboard

    • George Krpan says:

      Aprilia makes a 50cc, fuel injected, two stroke that they use in the SR50 scooter. That would improve the gas mileage. I have seen them at California dealerships so they must be environmental friendly.

  11. Wendy says:

    Oh, my, another moment when I wish I was a member of the 1%. This would be so sweet to ride to the heated seawater pool next to my heated fresh water pool.

    Lovely evocative design. Good luck guys.

  12. TomS says:

    I love the aesthetic. It reminds me of the time (before my time!) when motorcyles were more bicycle than not. The open space between the gas tank and engine is lovely – nothing needed, nothing there.

  13. Norm G. says:

    re: “EBR hydraulic forks”

    yes, erick buell racing… FISTPUMP…!!!

  14. clasqm says:

    Did somebody say “2-stroke”? Was the EPA abolished while I was sleeping?

    R. Van Winkle

    • Mark J says:

      50cc and under bikes/scooters have some kind of exemption from most EPA and DOT requirements. This will put a crimp on expanding to larger displacements.

  15. ES says:

    A Brough Inferior! nice

  16. MGNorge says:

    Just looking at the specs I am confused/fascinated. Here we have a 50cc road bike with about 10hp, about twice what many 50cc bikes produce and also said to only attain 55 mph. Almost sounds limited somehow in top speed?

    • slojon says:

      I have a Morothispania RX50-2stroke with 6 speed. After regearing will do 55. NOTE: I have not rejetted & runs a bit lean(choke partially on). Great fun. How fast is the Guzzi?

      • slojon says:


      • MGNorge says:

        My Moto Guzzi norge? I guess I’ve read where it will hit about 125 mph. Why?

        • slojon says:

          Norge makes 80+hp. My Breva 750 around 40hp & goes 105-8mph. guess the question is- what IS the limit? Almost time to ride…

      • todd says:

        yeah, my old Trail 90 would do just a hair over 55 and it was 7hp (when new). And yes, I am nerd enough to verify that with GPS…


        • MGNorge says:

          That was my point. I too had a CT-200 (Trail 90) and it had the OHV engine producing about 6hp. It would take a long, long road but I could see about 55mph which may have been slightly optimistic. Here we have a 10hp engine and it is said to go no faster. Seems like a true 10hp would be good for a bit better.

    • The engine is mildly limited. We have a very conservative chamber on it and stock gearing is for urban riding. Larger carbs and tuned exhausts are optional.

  17. Gary says:

    Sorry for the double post, I meant to post this as a reply…

    Janus’ website says that the engine are manufactured in Spain by an established motorcycle manufacturer. Since the engine is an established brand there are aftermarket parts that allow for 70cc and 100cc cylinders, up to 20hp.

    • Denny says:

      Excellent idea to help Americans and Spanish (who so much need it) to re-establish their industries and confidence in general.

  18. Gary says:

    Janus’ website says that the engine are manufactured in Spain by an established motorcycle manufacturer. Since the engine is an established brand there are aftermarket parts that allow for 70cc and 100cc cylinders, up to 20hp.

  19. Fred says:

    The engine comes from Italy. See this article (and comments) for more information:

  20. Brent says:

    It’s nice that they left plenty of room in the frame for my old CR480 MX motor. 🙂

  21. Andrew, Your right, we don’t currently have anywhere near enough resources to design and produce our own engine. While we do have plans to move to a US-made motor, our current models use a Spanish powerplant manufactured by Derbi, a company with a long history developing competitive small displacement 2T’s. Our engine has over 15 years of success on the market and is a reliable, highly upgradable motor. We realize small displacement bikes aren’t everyone’s preference, but we’re building these for people who do enjoy the fun of a light-weight, stylish, and practical bike.

    The remaining 15 or so percent of the bike not made in the States (we haven’t actually calculated it) is mostly in the engine (Spanish), the forks (Italian) and many of the electronics, tires, etc., which come from all around the word. We’re moving toward 100% American-made, but it takes a while.

    If you haven’t ever ridden a well-designed hard-tail, don’t exclude it completely. At the speeds this bike is designed for everything but railroad tracks is almost unnoticeable compared to a soft-tail. The saddle is well-sprung and comfortable and remains so even on up to 75+ mile rides. Of course, handling can’t quite compare with a fully suspended bike, but the intention for this model is more of a strait-line practical machine, as opposed to our next model which will come with full suspension and a more aggressive stance.

    Dave, we come from a background in smaller 60’s and 70’s and feel adore the joys of riding a lightweight bike at the limit–something that’s impossible on most modern bikes simply because they are so powerful. We recently took out a new BMW adventure bike and were bored to death only to realize we were doing 90mph…

    Thanks for the comments and interest.

    • Andrew says:

      Hi Richard, thanks for your reply. I am delighted you’re using a Spanish engine rather than Chinese one, it might be more reliable and Spanish economy needs all the help it can get! I wonder if you could answer one other question: how much do these bikes weight?
      As for the merits of hardtails, I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree 🙂

  22. Dave Kent says:

    Hopefully, this mindset will be welcome and supported by the current motorcycling society. In 45 years of riding, I’ve run the gamut from small, simple bikes to ridiculously overpowered, mechanically and electronically over sophisticated “enthusiast’s bikes”. Looking back, the most rewarding and memorable times were on the bikes least likely to be on the cover of the latest magazine. Pretty much every rider my age has fond memories of his first bike. An integral part of those memories was the fact that those first bikes were invariably underdogs. What made those memories special is the heavy dose of human effort that each of us dedicated to that bike/rider relationship in order to make up for inadequacies and idiosyncrasies in those bikes. It would do this generation well to get to experience the same. Much better than a boring life full of machines that are always better than you.

    • Andrew says:

      Oh, I get the appeal of small bikes more than most riders, as for nearly 10 years now I’ve had a small scooter of one sort or another supplementing my main ride. But there really is such thing as being too small – you have to be able to keep with traffic otherwise the machine is too limited and too dangerous. I think even for small runabouts like this 125cc is an absolute minimum, 150cc better still.
      Also, I must admit I like having suspension. Nostalgia is all good but some elements of the past should be left in the past and as far as I’m concerned, rigid frame is one of them.

  23. Keith Hoffman says:

    I believe the the engine comes from Spain.

  24. Andrew says:

    As a bike I think being 50cc it falls into “adorable but completely useless” category, but I am interested in their philosophy and wish them luck. Hopefully they will stick around and develop a larger model.

    However, in the interview they say the bike is ‘about 85%’ made locally, but they somehow manage to avoid providing the information I was looking for: where does the engine come from? Because I very much doubt they had the resources to engineer their own engine so I suspect the answer is, “China”.

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