November 13, 2019
It has been a great fall here at Mosko. We’re settling into an annual cycle, with spring/fall packed with riding and gear testing, the summers a blur of shows, meetups, sales, and service, and winters focused on product design and infrastructure. Soon the rain & snow will come, the trails will close, the shows will move indoors, and we’ll hunker down till spring. In the meantime we’re taking full advantage of the extended riding season we’re experiencing here in the Pacific Northwest.
We have three new team members at Mosko HQ.
Jennifer Harrington recently joined the Mosko team in customer service. She previously spent 4 years at the Black Tux, an online formal wear rental company, in a variety of project management and service roles. She has a BS in Fashion Merchandising & Design from George Fox University. Jenn rides a Royal Enfield Himalayan. She was in an offroad training session last week, and she unfortunately slipped on some icy mud, resulting in a fractured ankle.
Jenn: welcome to the team, so sorry that happened, and we look forward to skiing with you at Mt Hood before the New Year.
Julia Austin joined our team several months ago as a part-time contractor – a position which quickly grew to nearly full time – helping Scott and Andrew with product development, fitment, and specs. Previously Julia was at DaKine in Hood River, where she worked on design, fitment, and speccing for the snow, mountain bike, surf, and lifestyle categories. Julia has a BFA in apparel design from the Art Institute of Portland. She recently got her motorcycle license, and she’s in the market for a bike. Welcome to the team Julia!
Blake Draguesku joined the Mosko team a few weeks ago to manage our media content, advrider.com thread, social media presence, and many other marketing-related things. Previously Blake worked as a marketing/communications contractor in the motorcycle industry, and he also did a variety of freelance writing and photography. Blake has a BMW R1200GS Adventure for touring, a Husky 701 setup with a full rally kit, and a Husky 450 for trails & track. Check out this recent article he wrote for Road & Track (that’s Blake on the Ducati).
With all the new faces, we’ve also increased our office space. In addition to new offices for service/sales, we added a conference room and a soon-to-be retail product showroom.
At the moment, the showroom kind of looks like an adult shop.
Pico Tank Bag v2.0 & MOLLE Cell Phone Case
If you’ve tried to purchase a Pico recently, you may have noticed it’s sold out. After collecting feedback and using it ourselves for nearly a year, we want to make a couple changes before reordering.
First: we’re changing the zipper. The sealed YKK zipper we used in v1.0 is pretty standard on tank bags, but they’re quick to jam in dusty conditions. A little chapstick or silicone spray fixes that, but it’s still annoying. In v2.0 we’re using a waterproof apparel zipper like the one we used on the Basilisk. It’s more expensive and they’re not commonly used on bags, but it should solve the jamming issue.
The second change is to remove the cell phone pocket and replace it with MOLLE webbing. You can mount our (also new) MOLLE-compatible cell phone case on the pico, which works better than the built-in pocket. With the existing design, it’s hard to get your phone out of the cell pocket quickly, for example if you want to take a pic. Also, the clear vinyl panel becomes a greenhouse on a sunny day, overheating the phone. In Colorado a few weeks ago, Ames created this homemade sun cover to keep his phone from overheating.
Here’s what the current prototype of the v2 looks like with the MOLLE panel on top.
Here’s what it looks like with our new MOLLE cell phone case. The cell case is vented not waterproof, since most phones are already waterproof, and it has a sun cover that rolls up and tucks behind the case when it’s not in use, to protect your phone from overheating.
The cell phone case attaches to a velcro MOLLE panel, so it fits on top of any of our tank bags. I’ve been using this plus my iphone as my primary navigational tool all year, including in Ethiopia and several US trips, and it works awesome. It eliminates the pesky handlebar vibration issues that kill phone cameras, it stores your phone in a protected spot where it’s less likely to be damaged when the bike flips, and it eliminates the problem of having to pull your phone out of your pocket at every intersection.
The Woodsman Enduro Pant
Oh how I love this pant, let me count the ways.
The Woodsman project started with Scotty’s idea to make an enduro pant from modern, stretchy, soft-shell materials. We tested in-boot and over-boot designs, waterproof and not, vented and not, using an array of different materials. We tested them on trails and on multi-day camping trips. We even wore them around the office.
In the end we decided the Woodsman should be an in-boot pant with lots of vents, with a waterproof-windproof-breathable layer in the knees, thighs, and butt (black in the pics above), and a stretchy DWR-treated work-pant material everywhere else (brown in the pics above). They’re tough, breathable, and very comfortable. This is a pant you can wear off the bike as well, around camp (like Scott in the pics below) or on your way to the trailhead.
Since we got the latest protos, this has been my go-to pant for trail riding. I’m not in a big hurry to take it off when the riding is over, which I love.
The waterproof materials in the knee, thigh, and butt protect against moisture from dew, fog, water crossings, wet seats, and light rain. They’re also windproof, so they reduce the chill on the front-facing (aka wind-facing) parts of your leg.
For the Woodsman – and for all our 2020 apparel – we’re in the process of selecting colors. We want to add more color overall (reds, blues, greens), which is atypical in motorcycle gear, and we’re digging the earth tones (also atypical). We want our color choices to align with backcountry travel more than speed and racing, and to reflect our perspective that ADV is as much a nature sport as it is also a motorsport.
Thanks again for all the feedback on backpacks. It has been received and digested, and work has started. Andrew is experimenting with patterns and concepts for at least two different packs. More to come on that.
We won’t actually use this buckle, it’s just a placeholder.
Here’s Ash testing a magnetic quick release buckle.
Overland Expo East
After the KTM Rally in Colorado, J.C. hauled the Mosko Roadshow trailer all the way across the country to Arrington, Virginia for Overland Expo East. This year, OXE was held at Infinity Downs racetrack, where we had plenty of space (40′) to setup the full booth with all the backdrops, bikes, and mannequins.
We got some new accessories from our friends at Black Dog Cycle Works to mount on our 5 new show bikes. On the KTM 790, we removed the large/clunky grab handle assembly and replaced it with a much more functional BDCW rear luggage plate. This makes for a perfect fit on the 790 with our Reckless 80.
We also replaced the stock footpegs on the 790 (left) with the larger and grippier Black Dog version (right). We also have a new Black Dog skidplate for the 790, but we didn’t have it there in Arrington for the show.
Carl Parker from ADVMoto Magazine let Ash & I take his Royal Enfield Himalayan out for a spin. What’s not to love about a 400cc $4,500 adventure bike?
Carl just embarked on a new project for an ADV comic book. They’re raising money to get it launched. Check out the video on their Kickstarter page here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/advmoto/far-rider-moto-adventures-comic-new-beginnings. If you like what you see, please contribute (we did)!
At OXE, we fitted a couple scramblers with Reckless 80s and Nomad tank bags. We’re seeing more and more scramblers opting for soft luggage. The two fitment challenges we see on these bikes are 1) finding rear mounting points for the straps and 2) interference with the low exhaust. Both issues are manageable, but it’s not automatic, and it’s different on every bike.
Overland East is a lot smaller than Overland West. They had a series of bad weather years – including last year – which have taken a toll on attendance, especially on the moto side. This year there were only 4 motorcycle vendors in addition to us – Outback Motortek, Green Chile, Wolfman, and a local Triumph dealer.
Despite the small size and reduced traffic, OXE was still a good event order-wise. Plus we got to connect with a bunch of east coast riders. We also met the new owners of Overland Expo, and they are keen to expand the event. We’d love to see that happen too, so we’ll tentatively hang in there for another year and see what shapes up.
BTW here’s what the inside of our show trailer looks like when it’s packed. There’s barely an inch of extra floor space when we close the door. We definitely don’t want to get a larger trailer, so we may need to add some vertical shelving over the bikes.
Upshift Online & Boise Meetup
After Overland East, J.C got back on the road with the show trailer and headed west toward Boise. Ash & I flew home, then flew to Boise a few days later with Sarah.
Our first stop in Boise was the office of our friends Brandon, Simon, & Chris at Upshift Online. Upshift is a small Idaho-based crew of moto enthusiasts, photographers, world travelers, and media professionals who decided to bypass the traditional ‘print’ side of media, and create their own online publication instead. It’s the publishing equivalent of going ‘direct to rider.’ Upshift’s contributors and photographers are top notch, plus it’s distributed electronically, so the magazine is completely free for the reader.
It’s so cool what these guys are doing. If you haven’t already subscribed, check them out at: https://www.upshiftonline.com/.
From the Upshift offices we headed over to Western Collective, a local brewery, for our Mosko Meetup that afternoon. They have a small merchandise store attached to the brewery, which they let us take over for the night.
Starting around 5:30-6:00 pm the room was packed solid, with people spilling over into the brewery space as well. Huge thanks to everyone who came!!
We’re so happy with how the meetups are developing. Sarah Miller has been spearheading this. I’ve lost count of how many meetups we’ve done now, but it’s a lot. We’ve learned that the key ingredients for a successful meetup are: a major population center (Boise, Portland, Denver, San Francisco), a local partner (Upshift, ADVRider.com, West38 Moto, Doubletake Mirror), a cool venue (Western Collective, Meta Magazine, Two Stroke Coffee, Spoken Moto), a hosted bar (on us), and a brief (<1 hour) visual presentation on an ADV-related topic. That’s the model for meetups going forward.
If you know of a venue we should consider, or if you know of a particularly interesting presenter, please let us know.
The next Meetup is Monday November 18th at the Moto Guild in San Francisco. We’re partnering with ADVrider.com on this one, and Chris (aka ‘Baldy’) the founder/owner of ADVrider.com will be presenting. Very excited about that. Join us there!
Roadshow Trailer Wrap
The big white roadshow truck/trailer is finally getting wrapped. Dan Cox Design created the art, and PDX Wraps in Portland is doing the wrap. We haven’t actually seen the finished trailer, but PDX Wraps posted these pics on Facebook.
Getting a vehicle wrapped feels like a small business right of passage, like launching a website or printing business cards. Can’t wait to see it in person.
Sarah, Ames, Ash, Andrew, Lee, and I headed to Colorado in October to visit with our buddy Alex Moore at MotoDiscovery Tours & Rentals in Grand Junction Colorado. Alex rode with us for a couple days, and pointed us in the right direction for the rest of our trip. We crossed a bunch of the famous Colorado passes, and were lucky to have great weather and spectacular fall colors throughout.
We kicked off the trip with a delicious home cooked meal at the Moto Discovery headquarters (aka Alex’s house). After dinner John Ferguson showed us his tricked out police bike and let us write a few speeding tickets (not really).
Alex: thanks for being such an awesome host, and for sending us off on an epic ride. It was so fun to visit with you. Great times were had by all. We can’t wait to do it again!
Oregon Desert Trip
Since Scott & Blake missed the Colorado trip, we decided a follow up trip in the Oregon desert was warranted. Our buddy Juan from Portland joined on his new (to him) Africa Twin for his first ever ADV ride. Big thanks to our friends at Outback Motortek for overnight shipping Juan the racks, skid plate, and crash bars he needed. He stayed up all night (literally) installing the new parts and packing his newly acquired camping gear into his newly mounted panniers on his new to him bike. We were in the audience, it was fun to watch.
On the morning of our departure from Christmas Valley, it was 14 degrees outside. Those of us with Hippo Hands had happy hands. I’ve never used these before, but they really work. A few days before leaving on this trip we met the owners and they sent us a couple pairs to try. It makes a big difference on a cold day. These will be a permanent addition to my cold/wet weather riding kit.
Juan took a hit to the face that went something like this: rock hits wheel which pushes fork which pushes windscreen into helmet chin guard which penetrates upper lip and peels the skin back in a perfect upside down ‘V’ shape.
He needed medical help and stitches, which we found at the Lapine Community Health Clinic in Christmas Valley. After that, rather than call it quits like a sane person might have, Juan continued the trip on his own, visiting the Alvord Desert and three different hot springs, before regrouping with us at Summer Lake on the final night.
Seriously impressive work Juan: from the last minute packing and parts, to ripping across the dunes on a fully-loaded ADV bike, to bouncing back from an injury and finishing the trip on your own. Join us for any trip, anytime my friend.
Juan was testing a prototype of a new carbon fiber laptop case he recently designed. So ironically, the crash actually served that purpose pretty well. The first thing he did when we got to the hospital was pull out his laptop and inspect it for damage, confirming that the case did its job. Now he has a great story and a new scar to launch his company. Check it out here: https://valeocases.com/
We ran into our friends and high desert legends Dave Wachs, Carol Carson (aka ‘Skimum’), and Geoff Moe in the desert near Beatty’s Butte. It’s such a pleasure spending time with this crew, especially in the desert, under the stars, around a fire.
Fall is for Trails
We’ve also been enjoying an unusually long fall trail riding season here in the gorge. It keeps going and going. We’ve been out on the trails on weekends and after work. Sometimes during the work day too if we can swing it.
Gear Testing & Repairs
With all the riding this Fall, we’ve been cataloging new product ideas plus lots of small improvements and revisions. Here are a couple issues we’ve identified with existing products.
First, my Nomad tank bag, which I’ve used on nearly every overnight trip in the last two years, recently had the stitching pull out on the front connection straps. This was an easy fix with a sewing machine (thanks Julia). The bag lives on, but now we’re looking at ways to reinforce this stitching.
For most of 2019, I’ve been using a prototype of the Reckless 80 v3.0 on my 2017 KTM 690. The 690 always presents a challenge with exhaust heat, but the v3.0 makes it worse, because the bag runs parallel to the the exhaust blocking airflow. We had similar issues on the 450L, although not quite as extreme.
The Reckless v3.0 won’t ship for at least a few more months, so we have time to find a solution. One option is to make a larger heat shield that holds the bag further from the exhaust. Another is to change the leg angle to create more air flow. The most reliable option would be to replace the stock exhaust with an aftermarket silencer, however that costs around $600. We’ll experiment with all of these and report back.
We had a seam failure on a brand new R80 v2 mounted on Blake’s R1200GSA. We think this particular failure was due to a manufacturing issue, however we’ve also seen it happen on other wide-saddled bikes as well, so it’s definitely something we need to address. On v3.0 we’re going to replace this stitching with adjustable webbing and rivets, so it will be substantially stronger.
We’ve had zero issues with the Basilisk jacket -which is amazing considering that everyone on the team is using one – but we encountered two small issues with the pant. One had a hook rivet fail on the waist opening, which is easily fixed and which didn’t interfere with the trip. We”re going to replace these hooks with metal snaps in a future season. Unlike hooks, snaps will release under pressure without damaging the garment.
Second, on a different trip, one of the molded teeth on a Vislon vent zipper broke, making the zipper inoperable. The vent was then unable to stay closed. We field-repaired it by hand-sewing the zipper shut with a drugstore sewing kit. Now it’s at Rugged Thread for repairs.
If this ever happens to you (i.e. a zipper failure mid-trip) please sew it shut, enjoy the rest of the trip, and contact us when you get home. We’ll take care of it.
We’ve been brainstorming ways to provide enhanced repair services, especially on apparel. Not just for warranty, but also for general repairs, like after a crash for example. Everyone has had the experience of buying nice gear and then crashing on it right away. It’s a very shitty feeling. Like when you buy a nice pair of sunglasses then accidentally step on them. It’s not a warranty issue, but it still sucks. It’s also a big disincentive to buying nice things.
With the sunglasses example, if the company knows that say 10% of customers are going to accidentally break/scratch their glasses in the first month or two – but of course they don’t know exactly which customers are going to do it, only that the total will be around 10% – could they somehow insure the customer against that? Would the increased sales that come from offering the insurance then cover the cost?
In the first year or two, probably only a small percentage of riders will actually burn or trash their gear, but I bet every single rider thinks about it before buying. What if we could insure against that risk with (for example) free repairs for the first two years, regardless of what caused the damage. That would be in addition to our existing crash replacement policy. So if we can’t fix it, or if you don’t like the repair options we offer (i.e. if we can’t match the exact zipper color or material or whatever), then you can still opt to get a crash replacement at 50% off.
One major benefit of a free repair policy is that we would see all the damaged items, and we would learn from that information to keep making them stronger and easier to field repair. We would have to ensure that the economics work of course, since our margins are already pretty tight, especially on apparel, but it’s something we’re considering.
What do you think? Would that be noteworthy?
In Other News
Also Brandon wrote this excellent piece on knockoffs and copycats: Knock It Off
Kade was Chewbacca for Halloween. Andrew found this little outfit and modified it for a perfect fit.
We had lunch with Drew and Bryan from Hippo Hands in Bend.
We’re working on new liners for the BC 35/25 panniers. We’re digging the way the blue looks inside the bag.
We’ve been working with Rory Sullivan at Radius Offroad to offer training sessions to the entire Mosko team. Ash and I did two sessions this Fall, and it was amazing how much we improved in a short period of time. Rory is local here in the Gorge. He works with everyone from beginners to professional racers. If you’re in the area and looking for training, hit him up. Highly recommended.
The Rak jacket is looking good. We’re waiting for a new prototype that we can test before the season ends.
Same with the pant. The current version is too tight for testing, so we haven’t been able to ride with it yet.
Artur Baran sent us this really cool old-school Mosko logo, along with the following message:
german producer of nafta lamp used this name
I think it can be even before WW2
Seller said that it’s from 50ties
Very cool. We love it. Thanks Artur!!!
After returning from Colorado ( week-long trip), as we unpacked our bags, Ash and I wrote down everything that we took with us. Ash was riding a 2019 Honda 450L with a Reckless 40 and a Pico Tank Bag. I was riding a 2017 KTM 690 Enduro R with a Reckless 80 and Nomad Tank bag. We shared a stove, cook pot, water filter, first aid kit, tools, tubes, air pump, and tent. We each brought our own food.
Here are our packing lists:
Ashley (Mosko Reckless 40 with a Stinger 22 Tailbag and Pico Tank Bag on a Honda 450L)
Mosko Basilisk Jacket
Mosko Basilisk Pant
Mosko Imbricate Base Layer
Mosko Signal Jersey
Dainese Armor Harness (chest, back, shoulders, elbows)
Forcefield Limb Tubes (knees)
Klim Gloves (desert glove + waterproof glove)
Mosko Reckless 40 w/ Stinger 22L as tail bag
2 Sm Mosko MOLLE Pouches
Mosko Pico w/ cell phone case
X2 1L MSR Bottles
Stove + 1 Person Cooking Kit
Hydroflask Mug (fits in 2L MOLLE)
Dry Sak (trash)
Dry Sak (dirty laundry)
Goal Zero Crush Light
Goal Zero Venture 70
Dakine Soft Lunch Box
Marmot Phase Sleeping Bag
X3 Athletic Shorts
Mission Workshop Merino Wool Hoodie
Arcteryx Jacket (NO HOOD!!!)
Camp down slipper OR New Balance (depending on temps)
X2 Sports Bra
Lululemon short sleeve base layer
Deluge? (Pant and Jacket!)
Arcteryx Delaney Legging
First Aid Kit (in 2L MOLLE)
Custom Molded Earplugs
Grass Fed Jerky
White Rice/Farro Packets
Gnocchi 3 min. cook time
Variety of non GMO, gluten free bars (RX, Kates Real Food)
Vegetarian/grassfed Chicken/Beef packets (flat packs!)
Gluten Free Tortillas
Fat Fuel Coffee Packets
Deuce poop trowel
Pete (Mosko Reckless 80 and a Nomad Tank Bag on a KTM 690 Enduro R)
Mosko Basilisk Pant
Mosko Basilisk Jacket
Mosko Signal Jersey
Forcefield ADV Harness Chest/Back/Elbow
Leatt 3DF 6.0 Elbow pads
Forcefield Pro Tube Knee pads
Mosko Imbricate base layer
Revit Dominator GTX Waterproof Gloves
Klim Mojave Moto Gloves
Klim Krios Helmet
Sidi ADV Gore Boots
Mosko Reckless 80
2 Sm Mosko Molle Pouches
1 Lg Mosko Molle Pouch
Mosko Nomad Tank Bag
Mosko Fatty Tool Roll
Side pannier 1 –
Marmot Tungsten UL 3p Tent in compression sack
Thermarest Neoair sleeping pad
Marmot Phase 20d sleeping bag in compression sack
Dakine food bag
Insulated poncho/blanket in compression sack, MSR ‘Honcho Poncho’ (cold weather trips only)
Side pannier 2 –
Camp stove (Ash’s bike)
Cook pot (Ash’s bike)
Stove fuel (Ash’s bike)
A-Lite Camp chair
Stinger 22 Tailbag –
1 Thin heated/insulated jacket
Dop kit (incl cortisone, Advil, antacids, chapstick, zyzal, mini deet, sun lotion)
Patagonia long underwear
New Balance Minimus packable shoes
2 sm molle pouches –
20 oz Thermos (coffee)
20 oz Water bottle (gatorade)
Rear Harness –
2L MSR Dromedary (water)
Lg MOLLE –
Mosko Deuce Poop trowel
MSR AutoFlow water filter
Nomad Tank Bag –
1.5l hydration reservoir
Goal zero venture 70 battery pack
MOLLE cell phone case
Gerber center drive & bits
Garmin inreach 66i
Spare batteries for headlamp aaa
Kindle/inreach charge cable
1 usb wall plug
iPhone dongle (x2)
Battery tender to USB adapter
Spare cig lighter
Custom molded in-ear headphones
Fatty Tool Roll –
Air pump (hand)
Spare front tube light duty
Spare rear tube light duty
Tube patches, scrubber, glue
Metric open ended wrenches 8-13
Ktm t-handle and sockets and torx
Metric hex keys
Ktm tire nut wrench
Two trail tire irons
Open ended adjustable wrench
Mini vice grips
Valve stem removal and tapping tool
JB quick (in toothpaste holder)
Mini chain lube
Extra clutch plates
Spare fuel pump
Spare valve rockers
iPhone (primary nav)
Paper maps (backup)
Inreach with maps (backup backup)
Food List –
Instant oatmeal flavored packs
Peanut butter/honey packs
Individual Cheese sticks
Peanut & Mm mix
Uncle bens 90 second rice bags
Buffalo flavor chicken creations packs
Dinty more beef stew
Corned beef hash
Dark chocolate bar
Starbucks via coffee packs
True lemon/lime/orange packs
2x voile straps for tool roll
2x voile straps for jacket
Spare drysak for garbage
Ok that’s it for now. Except that I’m seriously considering getting a KTM 1290 Super Adventure as my personal ‘Big ADV’ bike. In 2020 we want to do more big bike trips. Thoughts on that?