Old style, new tech: Jay Leno rides Janus’ Halcyon motorcycle

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Vintage motorcycles are fun to ride, except when a small part with 50-plus years of wear and tear inevitably fails and you are left walking. Like so many terrible infomercials, riders are left telling themselves that there has to be a better way.

Janus Motorcycles is out to alleviate some of that despair by producing retro-styled new motorcycles. The company’s been around since 2011, getting real-world-tested by riders willing to pony up the $6995 starting price. Could a simple retro bike like this impress a man who has seen them all and ridden most?

Jay Leno hosts all kinds of companies and owners on his weekly YouTube show. This week, Janus brought three of its production models to show off, before inviting Jay to take a ride on one of them called the Halcyon.

Prior to tossing Jay the keys, the group discusses the company as a whole. Janus, much to Jay’s approval, is primarily based stateside—Goshen, Indiana, to be specific. While the motorcycles are assembled stateside, a few of the major components are sourced internationally. The China-built 14-horsepower engine is the glowing example. The 229-cc single-cylinder—small by American standards—offers two advantages: it keeps maintenance costs to an absolute minimum while decreasing both weight and cost.

Jay has good things to say about the Halcyon. He comments that the five-speed transmission is a nice upgrade over the four-speed unit most vintage machines would have. The Halcyon dials up the vintage feel by having a hardtail frame, meaning there’s no suspension between the rear axle and the seat mount.

His only qualm is the Halcyon’s limited usability when compared to other motorcycles in its price range. With the relatively low amount of power on tap, the bike is fun to ride—but it isn’t something you’d want to take on a freeway where traffic pushes 75 mph. Not every rider does that, though, and if rambling around town is all you plan for a motorcycle, the Janus bikes do that in style.

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