A couple of weeks ago the new Janus Halcyon 450 was leaked to a mixed response from riders. Now we know a bit more about Janus Motorcycles’ largest bike yet, and honestly I’m pretty excited.
Janus is best known for building motorcycles the old way, put together almost entirely by hand by artisans in its Goshen, Indiana, shop. The company says that it doesn’t build rockets, but time machines.
Many riders felt that the 250cc engines of the Janus line let down the rest of the motorcycles. Janus Motorcycles spent the past 18 months developing an antidote to that complaint and released it today: the Halcyon 450.
The Halcyon 450 is the latest motorcycle to go after the kinds of riders who want to ride something that feels like the bikes of many decades ago. Motorcycle manufacturers big and small are trying to cash in on that nostalgia.
The new bike comes with various improvements over the previous design. Gone is the 250cc engine; in its place is a 445cc engine by SWM in Italy. It’s a single-cylinder, though with modern touches like a four-valve head and electronic fuel injection. While the old bike was capable of reaching highway speed, the new one will be comfortable maintaining it.
The specs we mentioned before remain the same. Power output is 30 horsepower, and the bike weighs 360 pounds. Janus says that its team rode the new Halcyon over 90 mph, so the power bump definitely gets you some speed. That engine has a dry-sump oiling system with the oil stored just ahead of the rear wheel.
Brakes are also unchanged from the previous report. A 280mm front disc with a Brembo two-piston caliper is used up front, and there’s a single-piston caliper in back.
Janus built the Halcyon 450 with comfort in mind, so along with a custom Sargent seat there’s also a cantilever rear suspension with coil-over shocks by Icon, which also handled the dampers in the leading-link front suspension.
Janus Motorcycles co-founder Richard Worsham says that the cantilever suspension was inspired by Vincent motorcycles of the past. Further updates include a larger speedometer, the addition of a tachometer and improved switchgear.
The 2021 Halcyon 450 starts at $13,500. Janus offers a large number of customization options, from paint and pinstriping down to bags. It’s more or less double the price of the old 250 for what some may see as essentially double the motorcycle.
Boutique brands like Janus have a weird place in the market. They’re more expensive than the rides you get from big makers, which in theory makes them a bad choice. Why buy a Janus when marques like Kawasaki or Honda will offer a close-enough experience for a fraction of the price?
That’s a question I’ll try to answer when I test the Halcyon 450 later this year. I love vintage-styled motorcycles, and I’ve been watching Janus for a while. I’m eager to see how these actually perform!