Writer / Robert Noah Torres
Photographer / Kari Lipscomb
Janus Motorcycles manufactures a line of unique bikes with small displacement and an unlimited potential in customizable style. Small displacement means having a light weight bike with a smaller engine than is typically used. Some may call these bikes small, but for Janus and its team small displacement helps define their corner of the market — a corner that has progressed naturally from a couple of friends with a focus on vintage repair to the established and thriving business it is today. They are a business that is held up by its amazing team and grows through the fluid leadership of its founders.
Richard Worsham is the co-founder and lead designer of Janus Motorcycles. Underneath that title, Worsham does everything from service and repair to making business decisions and planning for the future of the company. An example of this can be found in the way that Janus is starting to fabricate its own motorcycle parts, a project which Worsham spearheaded and that he hopes will lead to all in house fabrication in the future.
“I do a little bit of everything and am always happy to show up in the morning,” Worsham says.
Janus currently has three models — the Phoenix, Halcyon, and Gryffin. These bikes have 250cc engines. The latest model, the Halcyon 450 came out in the spring of last year.
“People kind of laugh when we say 250,” says Worsham, who sees Janus as in its own industry. “We talk about it being our big bike but that for most people is a small bike. That’s really what we do — a light weight, lower displacement, not high horsepower bike.”
Janus does not aim to compete with Kawasaki, Honda, or some other major manufacturer. Instead they are happy in their lane.
Their brand is built around classic styling, traditional craftsmanship and small displacement. This is evident in the way Janus started and how it has grown. A key component of Janus is that they “make it out of metal and not plastic, make it last,” says Worsham, whose progression toward Janus started in 2007 when he came to Indiana to attend the University of Notre Dame. While pursuing a degree in classical architecture Worsham got around on an old vintage Garelli Moped. Needing to do work on his moped, Worsham found a local repair shop that specialized in vintage mopeds. When the man who ran the shop, Devin, and Worsham met they hit it off and would work summers together doing repair and customization work.
Through that work Devin and Worsham, the co-founders of Janus, built up a relationship with a lot of local, predominantly Amish, vendors. They started working on 50cc vehicles and eventually moved to a larger platform with 250cc engines. From there they kept growing into what they are today. Janus Motorcycles started in Goshen in a rented space in the back corner of a building. Today Janus owns that whole building and continues to grow out of what is affectionately called HQ.
Worsham has always been obsessed with vehicles. Fascinated from a young age, he would draw and design motorcycles. He has even had the dream of being a manufacturer since childhood. That dream came to fruition at Notre Dame through studies of classic architecture which came hand and hand with the early automotive history of the 20s and 30s. In that era there was a “level of design that matched the beauty of the cars and the beauty of the cars was as important as their function,” says Worsham, who brings that philosophy to Janus where function is as important as design, craftsmanship and the materials used. They offer a range of customizable mid range bikes which are “sure to get all the attention, even when sitting next to an $80,000 bike.”
The success and continued growth of Janus relies on its incredible team which takes pride in its work and takes care of its workers.
“What we do would not be possible without the phenomenal group of people we have here,” says Worsham, who is more than willing to help his team stay happy and comfortable. Janus Motorcycles offers a pleasant work environment, flexible schedules, a willingness to work with its workers and none of the typical factory craziness.
To fully experience Janus and their approach to the motorcycle business give them a call and set up a tour. Janus Motorcycles is located at 211 S. 5th St. in Goshen. They can be reached by phone at (574) 538-1350. Visit their website janusmotorcycles.com to shop and customize bikes as well as explore options to tour the shop and take a test drive.