Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Across America on a Janus Motorcycle

A virtual interview with Richard Worsham, co-founder of Janus Motorcycles, conducted by Tim Masterson, project manager for the G.A. Wyman Memorial Project.

Tim:  We are pleased to have Janus Motorcycles join the 2018 - Wyman Memorial Challenge, 'Rendezvous'.   

Janus Motorcycles, Goshen, IN
Richard Worsham, co-founder of company will be riding the Janus Halcyon 250 from San Francisco to New York City.  The Halcyon, a single cylinder, 229cc, 14 horsepower, 5-speed motorcycle is built at the Janus facilities in Goshen, Indiana.   Janus Motorcycles is the hosting authority for the Wyman waypoint in Goshen.

Richard has been busy planning his ride and running the company!  Please welcome to this brave rider to the long-distance motorcycling community.  

Tim:  Richard, what were you thinking when you signed up on Ride Master for the 2018 'Rendezvous'?

Richard:  I am an avid daily rider, but the mileage we will be putting down each day equals my longest ever day in the saddle. There is definitely some well-found nervousness on my part with the mileage, but I believe that has more to do with my own condition than that of the bike! That said, I and the rest of the Janus team are delighted to participate in an event celebrating George Wyman, an undoubted connoisseur of small-displacement motorcycles and a pioneer of long distance riding. We are very excited to continue his story.

Tim:  Being the co-founder of Janus, you are obviously passionate about riding.  How did you start out in the sport?

Richard:  My introduction to two-wheels started with a fascination with vintage pedal-type mopeds. I appreciated the aesthetics and design of these scaled-down motorcycles, the do-it-yourself mentality, and the humor of the small, unreliable, two strokes. Most importantly, I loved the feeling of openness and lightness of these small bikes. 

Tim:  How did Janus Motorcycles come to be one of just a handful of American motorcycle manufacturers?

Richard:  While in school, I started visiting and working over the summer in my friend's vintage moped repair shop. After several years exploring what we could do with mopeds, we had the idea to create our own bike, the way we wanted it, from scratch. That first one-off moped turned into the idea for a production motorcycle and we founded Janus Motorcycles.

Our design brief was simple: create a lightweight, small-displacement motorcycle that didn't look like all the other plastic covered bikes on the road. We wanted something that looked both to the past and the future, with classic styling, handmade quality, and at the same time modern technology and components. Six years later, with three models under our belt and a growing customer base, we continue to find satisfaction in our lightweight, small displacement motorcycles. We have seven full-time employees and currently produce around 4 road-legal, EPA compliant motorcycles a week. 

Tim:  That's interesting.  Do you see a connection between Wyman's journey and Janus Motorcycles? 

Richard:  It was 115 years ago when George rode his 200cc California motorcycle through our hometown of Goshen, Indiana, within a block of where Janus Motorcycles are currently built. Though his bike was different in design and performance from our production models, it was essentially the same thing that we create today: a small engine strapped between two wheels.

Tim:  To me, the Halcyon seems to be the Janus most suited to a long distance ride.  Are you doing any special modifications to get ready for the trip? 

Richard's Halcyon, JM-068
Richard:  Yes, the Halcyon is certainly the best Janus
model for long distance riding. The Janus team and I have been going over the Halcyon I will be riding and making sure it will perform as designed. This will be my first long distance ride and the first attempt at crossing the country on a Janus. We are keeping the bike as close to stock as possible in order to be able to use these miles to prove our production models. Our model line is designed for urban commuting, short excursions, and weekend trips, not necessarily long highway miles! 

In order to equip the Halcyon for this cross country trip we are making some minor changes that relate to the sustained cruising speeds that will be required on a long distance trip such as this, increased fuel range, and rider comfort. To help with the sustained highway speeds, we are re-gearing the bike for lower rpms and higher speed in 5th gear which should also help with fuel range. The fuel range of the Halcyon is a little over 120 miles which for most portions of the route will be more than enough. After learning that Wyman carried an auxiliary fuel tank from San Francisco to Omaha, we decided to fabricate a custom mount for a Rotopax fuel canister that will sit above the rear fender just like on Wyman’s California bike. We have also fitted the bike with a set of aluminum panniers on a custom rear rack that will carry my daily gear and equipment for the ride.

Tim:  How about riding gear and other equipment?  Will you be using a GPS?

Richard:  I will be using my regular riding gear and a full face dual-sport helmet. I have purchased a separate rain suit to use over my riding gear. My helmet will be outfitted with a Sena bluetooth headset paired to my iPhone. I have mounted the iPhone in a waterproof Ram case on the handlebars and will be using it for navigation to the Wyman waypoints. The GPX file you provided for the Grand Tour loaded perfectly. 

I have also signed up for a SpotWalla account so all our Janus customers, friends, and neighbors can follow along in real time as I ride across country. I followed your advice and reached out to Mario Winkelman of LDComfort. What a great character! He's setting me up with a full set of his gear including shirt, tights, helmet liner, and off the bike gear. Thanks very much for the recommendation and introduction. I am really feeling like I have the best leg up to make this ride a success. I had no idea the LD community was so well developed and the more I get into this 'Long-Distance' riding, the more I like it!

Tim:  Well, I feel confident that the entire long-distance riding and motorcycle touring communities will be following your epic journey 'Across America on a Janus Motorcycle,' with great interest.  

Tim:  Richard, I want to thank you for joining the 2018 - Wyman Memorial Challenge, 'Rendezvous' event.  We are excited Janus has selected the 'Rendezvous' to showcase the Halcyon 250.  

Richard:  I'm getting every excited for the trip!  And, looking forward to getting to know the other riders, as we 'Rendezvous' along the way.  

You are invited to follow along with all the Wyman 'Rendezvous' riders on our webpage:  

'Across America on Motorcycles' - 2018 Wyman Memorial Grand Tour
May 26 - June 2

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