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“The One Week Break-in”
By Tom Neel – Halcyon #568
Halcyon #568 arrived early morning on a sunny but chilly January 23rd 2021. Janus delivery and serviceman Woody Shoemaker, and I rolled the wine red time machine down the short ramp and instantly struck up a conversation like we’d known each other all our lives. This is Janus at it’s best. Friendly, personable, but professional. With two more deliveries to make in Georgia and Florida, and hundreds of miles he would need to cover, we closed with a photo, waved goodbye. Just like that, Woody was on his way.
I don’t know what possessed me to do it. North Carolina is not North Dakota, but this winter, north of Charlotte, had been nippier than last. 20’s at night, 30’s during the day. Hardly ideal riding weather. But the little Halcyon introduced itself in a come on let’s get er’ done sort of way. Just like that I had it in my mind to crack off the first 500 miles for its first service in a week.
Janus motorcycles are delivered ready to ride. Woody recommended my first ride be to the gas station as for safety reasons they transport them low on fuel. Readying myself for an arctic blast, I suited up much like your mother would bundle you when you were five years old. I could hardly move. I had no idea how far I would or could even go, but the addictive behavior of this little gem kept me in the saddle for three straight hours. When I got home the odometer that had nothing but zeros, read 117 miles. I had fueled up, fueled again at 60 miles and then again before taking it home. I was hooked.
Day two on the 24th I was back at it again and hit 221. Then rain came. Cold I can apparently take, but cold and wet, no thank you. That took out the 25th and 26th. The 27th came and my week had become more limited. Maybe I should just be reasonable. Screw that, I was having fun. When I left it was 38 degrees. When I returned home it was 48, but the odometer read 327. Funny thing these numbers. I remember the first engine I rebuilt was a 327 small block Chevy. Good number. The next day I added 100 miles bringing it to 427. Ironically, the first big block Chevy engine I rebuilt was a 427.
So I was sitting at 427 miles on Thursday at 2pm with a target of 500 by the end of day on Friday. It was now getting down to the wire and I was yet to have ridden in any temperatures above 45 degrees. I also hadn’t gotten on the Halcyon once without going at least 100 miles, but at least I had ridden all of them with a constant lid like smile on my face. I’ve had many motorcycles in my nearly 50 years of ridding, but none made me feel quite the way the Halcyon did. Put everything aside for a moment and just think of this motorcycle’s weight being 267 pounds. I also have a Ducati Scrambler that weighs 410 pounds. That’s 143 pounds MORE than the Halcyon. I’m not a big guy. I weigh 145 in my skivvies, which means that Scrambler weighs as much as me and the Halcyon put together. You feel that and it delivers a flickable ride.
The saddle also surprises me. I’ve had many well suspended, cushy seated motorcycles that were a pain in the ass in under 100 miles. Not here, and dig into a turn on a 45mph backroad at a spirited speed, you feel like you’re ridding a little rocket. There’s that old saying, that it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow. True here. You get to use all the engine you paid for and most cannot say that. I’ve been on a Suzuki GSXR in 6th gear at 16,000 rpm on the back straight of Road Atlanta. That’s riding a fast bike fast. But friends, this Halcyon has a way of feeling the same while just going 60. As they say, miles of smiles!
Back to the chase. Friday’s forecast wasn’t looking stellar. I’d just ridden 100 miles. My riding clothes were put away and I’m warming up. But like in a trance, I put everything back on, went to the garage, turned the petcock, brought the little 250 back to life and went back out. 60 miles later the sun was low in the sky and I was tired. I had done 160 miles on this winter’s day and it was back down to the high 30’s. When I pulled in my driveway the odometer read 487. Could I have hit 500? I suppose, but these 65 year old bones said we’re close enough.
Soon after the first service was completed. Dare I say, it was easy. Janus has supplied us with nice straightforward videos and simplicity. A pleasure in a world of complexity. Fresh oil, valve and chain adjustments, along with a new 45 tooth rear sprocket. It was time to get back to it. Possessed again! Now I wanted to have 1000 miles behind me in the first month. Week two not only delivered 568 miles for Halcyon #568, I hit 610. The next day was 715, then 860 on February the 8th, and 100 more miles on the 9th. At the end of my forth week of blissful ownership the odometer read 1100 miles. Whew! As I write this blog post, today is my 6th week with the Halcyon and she sits at 1356.
The last 250 miles have been particularly fun. Though gobbling up miles has been pure joy, miles spent riding with a friend can be the best. With warmer temps I’ve been able to activate my best buddy Shane who owns Halcyon #385. Shane and I have covered thousands of miles in our over thirty years of friendship. Janus Motorcycles should be enjoyed together. They are not particularly fast, but in the company of other Janus kin especially, they are timeless toys of boyhood (and girl) memories lived again. There’s a youthfulness about this motorcycle that is to be applauded. Bravo Janus!