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“Red-Hot and Cool!”

By Tom Neel

I’m a creative type who spent much of my working life creating original works of art. As such, I’ve let creativity bleed over into other things I’ve enjoyed, including fine scale model building, photography, and yes, cars and motorcycles. So, it’s no wonder that Janus and I are a good fit, as one of the best things about Janus ownership begins with customization through their online configurator. 


In the 1960s, building model cars was an open door to allowing me to express myself. I could paint my models any color I wanted, and customize them to my heart’s content. By the mid 1970s, I let myself loose on a Harley Davidson, creating a nine foot long chopper. It featured a 1200cc Pan Head bottom end, and Shovel Head top end, Jammer frame, extended girder front end, and loads of fabricated designs, like the in-tank-mounted speedometer, with its drive cable sneaking out the bottom of the tank itself. I worked on funny cars at the time, and so having a blower belt drive primary seemed appropriate, and it was a rare sight back then. Ironically, it was not only my first rigid frame motorcycle, (Halcyon #568 was my second), it also had an early S&S carburetor, (the Halcyon EPA certification was also done by S&S over 30 years later).



Years passed, and in 2020 I found myself configuring Halcyon 250 #568. It arrived on January 23rd, 2021. Still in pandemic mode, I became attached to this motorcycle, logging over 14,000 very enjoyable miles, during which time, like others, doing little things to make it my own. Designing a new exhaust, adding a checker tank stripe, and such.

Then a bit more than a year ago in the summer of 2022, it dawned on me that I wanted to express myself past what I felt I should do with #568. I decided I would buy another, and figured out that Halcyon 250 number 1000 may align nicely with my goals. It would also be a milestone build for Janus themselves. After speaking with Mitch, and sharing my intentions, I would secure that position in line, and start to make my creation a reality. The year has slowly passed, me drawing, charting ideas, and developing my concept into reality, all the while sharing thoughts with the good folks at Janus. 


Creating something, “off-menu”, is asking a lot from Janus, as they are a small company with a process of doing things. Yes, being small allows them some flexibility, but it also can tip the balance of them being able to produce all that they do, with as small a team as they have. So to some, what I was asking for may not seem that lofty, but understandably to me, it was, and much of this successfully came to life only by it being a milestone build and bike for them. I mean it is pretty incredible to think a small company has built one thousand of their flagship Halcyon 250s. A celebratory motorcycle was, and is in order.

Let’s face it though, in the grand world of motorcycles, it’s hard at this point to be completely original. A lot of ground has been covered. So, what I wanted was to take a different approach in design for the Halcyon 250 itself. The overall design then was to maintain all that a Halcyon is, while giving it a, dare I say, racier “Hot Rod” appearance. I wanted it to be “somewhat” void of its vintage vibe, while still promoting its unique character.

The concept began with something other than a black frame. This was a bigger ask than you might think, as black has production advantages, and even ownership ones, as in keeping your bike clean. But once this was okayed, every other part had to then be thought through carefully. First up would perhaps be the most identifiable part that makes a Halcyon a Halcyon, its beautifully sculpted aluminum fuel tank. I created several designs, and then passed a couple on to Richard for review, along with an overall concept rendering.  From this point of understanding, collaboration could take place and did. Within this time frame also came things that they had been thinking about, and even prototyping, like the polished aluminum fenders. Who knows, one day these may even be made from polished stainless steel, but I said yes to the alloy ones immediately, as they fit the theme.  Other decisions were ones of design balance, as with the use of silver on parts such as the airbag, headlight, and fender hoops. 


The result is a radiant appearance. Stunning! Frankly, I think all Halcyons are stunning compared to most motorcycles, but #1000 does light things up a bit. Vintage, mixed with a contemporary vision, yet Halcyon through and through. Red-Hot, and so cool. Hopefully worthy of the Halcyon’s milestone, 1000th build. Believing the team at Janus would pull this off was an understatement. These artisans rock! 

As for their milestone, Janus Motorcycles parades on by Halcyon 250 #1000, with new orders and happy owners each day. After a dozen years in business, Janus Motorcycles charges on to a new year. It’s a bright, red-hot future ahead!