UNRally UNBlog v2.0

June 28, 2018

A few weeks ago, a group of us met on the Alvord Desert in Southeastern Oregon to camp, ride, and chill for a weekend.

There were no fairgrounds, no group rides, no tire-changing seminars, no presentations, no vendor flags, no dualcorkers, no ride check-ins, no quiet hours, no awards, and absolutely no f-ing raffles. It was the opposite of a rally: an UNRally.

We have six UNRally principles:

  • Principles, Not Rules – We hate rules, and don’t want any.
  • Active Participation – We, the participants, are the entertainment.
  • Self Reliance – We come prepared and we take care of ourselves.
  • Leave No Trace – We pack it in and pack it out.
  • Everyone’s Invited – However, participation is capped by the BLM.
  • No Commerce – We’re not working, selling anything, or promoting anything.

Last year we had 60 people, this year there were 95. I counted 35 cars, vans, and campers Saturday morning. The rest were on bikes. It’s awesome how 95 people feels like nothing in a space as wide open and expansive as the Alvord.

When the wind picked up and scattered showers crossed the mountains on Saturday, about half the vehicles cleared out. Those who stuck around – the dusty survivors – were rewarded with awesome riding in cooler temps, a fun and intimate fire Saturday night, and pristine weather Sunday. The Alvord is a place of extremes – heat, cold, wind, water, sun, and dryness –  and this year did not disappoint.

Huge thanks to everyone who contributed to such an epic gathering. We’re already brimming with ideas for next year. Let’s take it up a notch. I seriously cannot wait.

Pics from Bryon Dorr, Exploring Elements

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Pics from Hekter Elliot, HekterVision

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Expos, Bags, & Poop Trowels

June 22, 2018

Greetings from Philadelphia! Ash & I are back east for my sister Nadya’s wedding. We’ll be here through the weekend, then return home for a little over a week, before taking off for the BMW MOA Rally in Des Moines, Iowa July 12-15.

Note that Mosko will not be attending the Touratech Rally this weekend. We’ve received a number of inquiries about that. We make luggage and so does Touratech, and they felt that for competitive reasons, it doesn’t make sense for us to be there selling bags that compete with theirs. Which we completely understand, although of course we’re very bummed to miss it.

Overland Expo West

Another great year at OX West!

It’s amazing how large this event is getting. Over 14,500 attendees and 365 vendors this year. A lot of that growth is coming on the adventure vehicle side rather than the motorcycle side, but it’s still a very large show even just looking at bikes alone. It’s our biggest event of the year, and we had a total blast there as always.

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Somehow, unbeknownst to us, Ash and I ended up on the bingo board (second square down on the right side) with our #noregerts tattoos.

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The new tables & displays we had made for shows worked out great. They’re a bit of a pain to transport, but it’s a lot easier than taking a ton of bikes to every show.

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Nick Calderone from the television show Right This Minute stopped by. The story with this Mosko shirt is that he accidentally spilled bleach on the shirt but didn’t want to throw it away. So he took a moto tire, rolled it through bleach, and then rolled it over the shirt, and now he has a one-of-a-kind Mosko shirt. Good idea Nick.

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Nice shot of some Mosko bags on the cover of the Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental brochure. Thanks guys!!

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We stopped to do some mountain biking just outside Battle Mountain, Nevada on the way home from Arizona. There is some epic desert riding in Nevada. We’ll definitely be stopping here more often.

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New Prototypes

Andrew arrived at OX with approval samples of our new welded seam, waterproof Hood tank bag. The production order has been sent to the factory, we should have these in stock by Fall. They also come with a waterproof map pocket, which is exactly the same as the one on the Nomad.

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Both the Hood and the Pico have this cable pass-through port.

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We added these removable foam pieces to help the bag conform to newer adventure bike tank ‘humps.’

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These are the wallet/cable inserts.

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We also got the final production sample of the smaller waterproof Pico tank bag.

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This is what it looks like with my wallet inside.

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Here’s what the latest Reckless 10 prototype looks like with a chainsaw, for all the trail builders out there.

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We’re in the process of switching the Scout 60 & 25 duffles to a new fabric made from PU instead of PVC. We got our protos in the new fabric and approved them a few weeks ago. These will start working their way into our inventory later this summer.

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We’re removing the ladderlock from the BC Cinch strap and replacing it with a second cam buckle. The second cam buckle adds some bulk and weight, but it’s stronger than the ladderlock, which helps if you’re using the straps as an emergency tie-down or tow strap.

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Also a new logo application on the strap, just to spice it up a bit 🙂

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Reckless 80 v3.0

Andrew has been experimenting with this new concept to enable the R80 legs to rotate & expand/contract for different sizes/shapes of bikes.

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Here Andrew is pointing out a problem we had with the leg sticking up too much and possibly rubbing on the bottom of the Stinger 22.  On the opposite side of the harness (the side with 5 bolts) is the new concept, which doesn’t stick up as much.

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Really stoked with how this is progressing. However the changes are substantial enough that we are going back to the patterns, which means there’s still a lot of work and prototyping ahead.

Backcountry 35: New Locking System

Here’s a new locking system that we are considering for the BC35 panniers. This is made by a company in Oregon. It’s a combo lock on a ratchet that would replace the top-center compression strap on the pannier. It would both a) lock the bag closed and b) lock the bag to the bike.

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The ratchet strap has metal and Kevlar inside, and cannot be cut with cable cutters, although we discovered that it can be cut with tin snips. It’s surprisingly strong and would certainly deter a thief.

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Reckless 80 Fitment: KTM 690 & Husky 701 

I was having some fit issues with the R80 on my KTM 690 on the last few trips. Sometimes the bag would move around a bit while riding or contact the tire when the suspension compressed. The main issue is that the R80 is designed to mount on a bike where the rear of the bike is wider than the seat, whereas many of the rear racks for the 690 are actually narrower than the seat. Also the 690 has a pretty aggressive forward lean to it, more like a dirt bike than a touring bike.

The answer is this rack extension I ordered from Perun Moto, who also makes the best rear rack for this bike that I’ve found so far. I also put the passenger peg mounts back on the bike, minus the pegs themselves, as a connection point for the R80 leg straps. Problem solved. The fuel hole lines up with the filler cap, the connection to the bike is rock solid, there’s no ‘bulge’ in the harness over the seat. Posting pics here in case anyone else has experienced this issue on the 690 or 701.

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Sailing Jackets & Smocks

Lately we’ve been geeking-out on paddling jackets and offshore sailing jackets for ideas that might translate to moto gear. They have kind of a weird fit, but we’re trying to find one we can ride with & test. One thing we noticed right away is that paddling jackets are cut high in the back and low in the front, which won’t work for riding because water can pour down your back. So we’re focusing more on sailing jackets.

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A lot of sailing jackets unfortunately have these huge neoprene waistbands that get in the way when you’re seated. Something about these jackets feels like a throwback to the 1980s…

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I ordered one of these from Helly Hansen: Coasting Anorak. I’ve been wanting to experiment with an Anorak-style pullover for riding for a while. They’re super simple, with minimal seams and zippers, and they pack small and light. They’re kind of a hassle to put on & take off over body armor though, which could be an issue.

Welcome Aboard Jesse

Stoked to introduce Jesse to the team. He’s working at Mosko on a summer internship from design school.

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One of Jesse’s first projects is this poop trowel. This is a super-strong, super-lightweight trowel designed for backpacking by The Tent Lab. It’s called the “Deuce of Spades” and it weighs less than an ounce. We want to do a version in Mosko blue with our logo. Mainly to use as an interesting promotional item, and also to offer for sale on our website.

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Little artistic details make all the difference.

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New Company Bike

We picked up a new company bike last week, a 2018 BMW R1200GS Adventure. This is one of the most common bikes we outfit with bags, both Mosko-branded and also the BMW Atacama bags. We wanted to have one in the shop for test fitting. And also… we get to ride it 🙂

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I took it out for a spin the other day and man, BMW has come a long way since my old 2003 R1150GS Adventure (which was also an awesome bike). Excited to get out and log some miles on this new one.

UNRally

The UNRally unhappened… more on that in the next post 🙂

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Scott Bryan: Welcome Aboard!

May 21, 2018

Very excited to introduce Scott Bryan as the newest member of the Mosko team. Scott is an Industrial Designer with 14 years of experience in the outdoor and action sport industries. His official Mosko title is ‘Director of Apparel.’

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Scott joins us from DaKine in Hood River – a designer and manufacturer of outdoor accessories and apparel – where he was Senior Designer and Design Lead for the snow and mountain bike segments. He’s exceptionally experienced with all facets of the design process, from concept development and forecasting, to materials, tech packs, construction, costing, and fit. Plus, he can sew.

Before DaKine, Scott was at Patagonia, Inc. in Ventura, CA, where he worked with a team of developers, contractors, and factories to design cool new products for the alpine, snow, surf, and sportswear segments. Earlier in his career he designed outdoor products for leading brands like Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Outdoor Research, Mountain Hardware, and Raceface.

Scott has a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, BC (the same school as Andrew). His hobbies outside of work include mountain biking, backcountry skiing, ultralight hunting, surfing, kiteboarding, rock climbing, fly-fishing, backpacking, and travel. Scott rides a DRZ-400 with an oversize tank that’s all setup for backcountry exploring in the Northwest.

Scott passed his license test and joined the team just days before we headed out for our company ride. Here’s what his first day at Mosko looked like.

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Scott: welcome aboard!!

During Scott’s first week, Roel Bremmers (who is helping develop Mosko’s international distribution) was also in White Salmon, learning the various Mosko systems and getting ready for our company ride. Thanks for the help Roel!

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With both Scott and Roel in the office, we had our biggest staff meeting ever.

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Company Party

A few weeks back, we had a small party & BBQ to celebrate the new Mosko shop in White Salmon. Huge thanks to everyone who made this such a fun night, and especially to those who rode/drove long distances to be there.

Harry Hatton stole the show with this awesome outfit.

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Brooks: thanks for the awesome fire starters. We used them on our trip last week.

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Dan Cox (graphic design) and Rick Lieberson (screen printer) were both there. Rick brought samples of the latest Mosko tees with Dan’s designs on them. Really happy with how these turned out.

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Stock Status & Pricing

We’re low on inventory at the moment.

Backcountry 35 Panniers: We briefly ran out a few weeks ago, but now they’re back in stock. We received a shipment via air freight last week, and there’s another on the way, with a water shipment expected a few weeks later.

Scout 25 Panniers: We’re currently sold-out of these. We’d planned to get a new delivery in early June, but we ran into some challenges with an important fabric supplier, and now that delivery has been delayed until July.

Nomad Tank Bag: We’re temporarily sold out of these. There’s an air freight shipment scheduled for mid-June, with a water shipment arriving a month or so later. They should be in stock consistently after that.

Reckless 80 Pricing: The Reckless 80 price just increased to $599.99. The increase is directly proportionate to an increase in our factory cost on the drybags, due to a new custom fabric we’re using. The new polyurethane fabric is more durable, more malleable in cold temperatures, more environmentally friendly, and features a cyan blue interior so it’s easier to find things inside. It is also a lot more expensive. Our factory cost for the drybags nearly doubled. We think it’s worth it.

In the pic below, the new fabric is on the right (note the blue edges along the black panel on the front of the bag).

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It’s on the left in the pic below.

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Summer Shows

Sadly, for competitive reasons, we were not invited to attend the Touratech Rally in Plain, WA this year. Touratech makes luggage products and so do we, and even though our products are quite different from theirs, they are also somewhat competitive. While we’re not invited to attend as a vendor, we are invited to attend individually, and maybe we’ll elect to do that in future years. In the meantime, we completely understand their decision and we’re grateful to have been included in prior years. We remain enthusiastic supporters of the Touratech brand and happy users of their products.

Ash & I are currently in Flagstaff, Arizona for Overland Expo West (more on that in the next post). After this we have the UNRally in SE Oregon, and then the BMW MOA event in Des Moines, Iowa.

We’ve been working on some new show displays.

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eVent Fabrics Visit

Glenn from eVent fabrics was in Portland a few weeks ago, and he visited us in White Salmon. eVent makes the waterproof breathable membrane we’re using in our riding apparel. Glenn walked us through the main differences between Gore and eVent.

In particular, we talked about how eVent uses a similar membrane technology while achieving substantially better ventilation. This stems from how the two membranes achieve protection from oils and dirt. Gore blankets their membrane with a protective coating that blocks both water and air (but not moisture vapor), while eVent coats the individual fibers, which allows both air and moisture vapor to pass, while blocking only water.

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Mosko Company Ride

Last week, we shut down the Mosko office, and the entire team went riding and camping together. We were joined by Roel, Dan Cox (our graphic designer), and Jesse Felker of PNW Dualsport.

We had 6-7 sets of the new riding gear on the trip, and we uncovered several issues to be resolved in our next (and hopefully final) round of prototypes. From my perspective, finding issues like these before production pays for the entire trip.

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Ash found a great way to mount a DSLR camera on her Scout 25 duffle. Finding a reasonably protected but easily accessible spot for a big camera on a bike is always a challenge. A MOLLE compatible camera bag would make this even easier, this camera bag was mounted on the MOLLE using a belt loop.

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Because we were traveling on an offroad route that criss-crosses between Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho, I was carrying 5 folding maps and maybe 20 folded Gazetteer pages from three different books. to keep all those maps dry and clean, but still accessible, the removable map pocket on the Reckless 80 came in handy.

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This trip I tried a different method for keeping electronics charged. Rather than plug everything directly into ports on the bike during the day – which is always a hassle – I left a battery pack connected to the bike all day (using the charging port on the Nomad tank bag), and then recharged my phone, kindle, and InReach off the battery pack at night. This turned out to be a whole lot easier.

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Andrew rigged the latest prototype of the Pinner Tool Roll on the crash bars of his Africa Twin using Voile straps. This is a handy spot, although it’s also the first thing to hit the ground in a crash, as Andrew demonstrated several times…

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Andrew was using the latest version of the Reckless 80 v3.0 prototype on his AT.

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Roel put the Fatty Tool Roll to the test with this complete RTW assortment for his 1990s Africa Twin.

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^ Anybody need a caliper?? As it turned out, I did, in the middle of the trip, for my clutch.

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Lots of thinking, discussing, & sketching. Lots of new ideas.

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Nothing says ‘family’ like a week in the desert. Love this crew.

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UNRally 2018

The second annual UNRally is happening June 7-10 on the Alvord Desert. We’ll meetup there at a GPS coordinate (still TBD) to camp, ride, and chill for three nights. Everyone is invited, but the total number of people is limited by the BLM. Last year we had 60, this year we can have up to 100. The UNRally is a leave-no-trace, wilderness event. It’s organized around the principles of participation and self-reliance. There are no group rides, check-ins, raffles, vendors, trip reports, or classes. The participants, and our stunning surroundings, are the only entertainment. Donations go toward firewood, permits, and restrooms. If you’re interested in joining us, more info is available here.

Here’s a little side project I’m working on for this year’s UNRally. See ya there!

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Note: due to an unexpected family emergency, we are temporarily shorthanded. We will do everything possible to keep up with emails and phone calls in the meantime. We’re sorry for any inconvenience, and we truly appreciate your patience & understanding.

Toy (Hauler) Story

April 17, 2018

Ash & I are at Summer Lake Hot Springs near Paisley, OR. We stopped here for the night to catch up on email and blogs, and relax a bit after an awesome weekend working with the Rawhyde Adventures team at their Adventure Days event in California.

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Rawhyde Adventure Days

Huge thanks to Jim & Stephanie Hyde, and the entire Rawhyde team, for hosting another epic, flawless, and totally fun event. Rawhyde Adventures – if you haven’t heard of it – is an official BMW Adventure Training School located on a beautiful 120 acre ranch in the Southern California mountains. It’s a totally unique experience, check it out.

Orientation on the first night.

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Our booth.

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This being our first road show of the year, we remembered to bring bags but completely forgot to bring stuffing. We found some gift wrap and and party balloons in town, which worked fine, and also set a festive mood for the weekend. Thanks for the idea JC!

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This is Jim Hyde, adventure riding pioneer and the founder of Rawhyde, demonstrating the ‘safe way’ to retrieve drones from trees 🙂

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Ash and I did two presentations at the event. One was on ‘Time’ as it relates to extended international motorcycle travel (i.e. how much time you need, and how to get it without quitting your job), and one on how Mosko Moto was started.

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Exchanging Baja notes with some fellow moto travelers, who were headed south from the event.

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Saturday night raffle.

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Mosko Mobile Office

For the last 4 years, I’ve been crisscrossing the country for motorcycle shows with my camper and trailer. Here’s what that rig looks like.

The camper worked great when I was working shows solo, and I was only on the road for a couple weeks at a time. Now Ash and I travel everywhere together, plus we’ve added two dogs to the team, Kade and Brady. The camper doesn’t feel quite as big as it once did, plus we’re working double the number of shows, so the road trips are getting significantly longer.

So we decided to get something bigger. Like, a lot bigger.

In fact, the new rig is so big that I feel kind of silly towing it around. It sure does make the long road trips a lot more fun though. Ash and I spend a lot of nights in rest areas, truck stops, and Walmart parking lots (like 4 of the last 7 nights for example). It’s really nice to have some living space and enough fresh water to take showers.

The new Mosko rig has a separate bedroom, lots more living space, a garage for bikes and samples, and 3 extra beds for the rest of the team. Here’s a photo tour.

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This is the view of Summer Lake.

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This is the garage, when we were packing for California last week.

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We had our first mechanical issue in Cali. A banjo bolt failed on the hydraulic jacks. Big thanks to Phil @ Rawhyde, who’s a wizard with all things mechanical. He welded the broken bolt back together, and got us back on the road.

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Apparel Revisions

Over the last 2 months, Andrew, Ash, Lee, Chris and I have all spent a bunch of time in the new Mosko riding gear. We also got a bunch of feedback from our 6 independent gear testers. There was lots of overlap in the feedback, so we headed to Portland last week to meet with Maia & Gary at S Group and document the final revisions.

The bearded dude in the pics below who is not Lee or Andrew, is Scott Bryan. He’s joining the Mosko team in May (from DaKine) to head the Mosko apparel program. Scott’s in Asia at the moment wrapping up some final design projects for DaKine. We’re SO stoked to have him on the team. Much more on Scott soon.

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The new Basilisk label looks awesome! Thanks Dan Cox.

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These two binders contain one-each of our trims and fabrics on the jacket and pants. Apparel is very complicated.

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If you follow us online, or if you saw our latest ad in Upshift Online, maybe you noticed the new riding diaper we introduced on the first of April. More info on our website here: Mosko Technical Riding Diaper.

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Backcountry 35 v3.0

We’re working on the Backcountry 35 pannier v3.0. If you have suggestions, please share them on our advrider.com thread soon. We hope to wrap this up in the next few weeks.

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We’re designing a new locking system for v3.0, as an alternative to the Steelcore locking straps and locking latch. This sliding cable lock would lock the bag closed, and also lock the bag to the bike.

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Andrew has been in Taiwan, developing ideas for a new custom lock. We’re also brainstorming ideas for a custom latch as well.

Reckless 10/40 Mounting

We’re experimenting with a new mounting option for the Reckless 40/10. If it works, this would fit pretty much any dirt bike, no drilling required.

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Death Valley

Andrew spent a week in Death Valley, riding with the BC35 v3.0, the new BC35 cinch, and the latest apparel prototypes. Looks like another epic trip, wish I’d been there!

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Other News

Huge thanks to Pedro Garcia at Taller de Diseno in Monterrey, Mexico for sending a surprise gift of this awesome Mosko Moto lettering. This is now the very first thing you see when you walk into the new Mosko shop. Thanks Pedro!!

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Check out Ash’s ‘Industry Insider’ article in the April edition of Upshift Online.

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Jason at Future Folk Supply in Parkdale, OR started welding up some cool new bag displays for rallies and shows. We hope to have them for the BMW MOA event in Idaho in July.

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Paul Arcaria & Aida Valenti got the first-ever Mosko Moto tattoos last week in Peru. So cool! Ash & I are next. Follow Paul & Aida’s world travels here: Life Unloaded RTW

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The UNRally

Last week, Ash and I stopped on the road for Chinese food. A fortune cookie said:

“The UNRally is happening. Lucky Numbers 6,7,10,20,18”

We ate that cookie, so the fortune must be true.

If you’re unsure what an ‘UNRally’ is, join the club. We know where it is (Alvord Desert in SE Oregon), and we know when (June 7-10, 2018), but we’re hoping someone emails us what before then.

Let Me Google That For You found this weird post from last year. Also this link to sign up.

A little birdie said attendance this year is limited by the not-so-little BLM, so if you’d like to join us, now’s the time to sign up. Everyone in the pic below hopes to see you there.

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European Distribution

March 19, 2018

We’re back in the US after an awesome trip to Europe.

We started at the Utrecht Motorcycle Show, working with Roel, Jasper, and Arjen in the Mosko booth. The Utrecht show reminds me of the Progressive shows in the US, except that it’s bigger and better attended, and the major OEMs have a significantly larger presence.

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Roel found an awesome trade show booth, which he bought used for only $400. We customized it with Mosko graphics and it looks great. Roel and his Dad made some great little display racks, which convert into a rolling cart to transport stuff in/out of the show. The whole thing looks so much better than the booth we’ve been using in the US, that we decided it’s long-past time for an booth upgrade here at home.

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This is Arjen, demonstrating his DIY quick-release locking system for the Backcountry duffle.

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Dinner & bitterballs with Roel, our new friend Nick, and Jasper.

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The Mosko booth was consistently busy throughout. It reminded me of the first few shows we did here in the US 5 years ago. Roel, Jasper, and Arjen: thank you guys so much for all the help!! And for the loaner demo bikes. That was a lot of work, setting up, working the show, and tearing down. Word’s can’t express: thank you!

Neither Ash nor I speak Dutch, and even though most of the attendees spoke English, they seemed to prefer Dutch. That left Ash and I with some time to explore the show.

It was great to see the BMW Atacama bags on display in Europe. These are now available through all BMW Motorcycle dealerships worldwide.

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That’s Ash, second from the end, about to get jumped over.

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The new Husky 701 Vitpilen, so badass.

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Moto fashion. Sometimes I cringe.

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People are quick to dismiss Chinese-made bikes, but the trajectory from 5 years ago to today is like wow. I did a 3,000 mile trip on a Chinese-made dualsport in Africa a few years ago and it performed flawlessly. The entire display below – a European brand called ‘Mash’ – is all Chinese-made bikes.

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New Indoor Booth(s)

Inspired by Roel, we want a better booth here at home. We need one booth for fly-in shows and one shows we drive to.

For the fly-in booth, we like the folding style shown in the pic below. These displays fold up like a camping chair and fit in a little carry case. They’re cheap to buy, light to ship, and extremely fast to setup and tear down.

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For a full-size indoor booth that we transport via trailer, we like the design shown below, which is built from pipe.

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The pipe structure is sturdy enough to support lights, which is nice, because lighting is often an issue at indoor shows. If you don’t happen to be positioned directly underneath whatever ceiling lights are permanently mounted in the venue, the booth can look a little depressing. Here’s an example of the pipe construction we liked, with lights mounted overhead. In my opinion this particular booth is a little low height-wise, but you get the idea.

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Here’s what we’re thinking for a new booth. This setup can be configured as either a 20 foot or 10 foot booth, with or without the overhead lighting supports in the middle. Hopefully we’ll have an iteration of this booth at our next indoor show, which is the BMW Rally in July.

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European Distribution

At the Utrecht show, the issue of European distribution came up with customers again and again. Because of high shipping costs, double-duties, long shipping times, and the hassle of visiting to the local post office for pickup, many European customers prefer to purchase from EU-based companies.

Ash and I took a few days to meet with and tour several fulfillment centers around the Netherlands.

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We’re currently reviewing quotes, and we hope to select a partner in the next few weeks. We’ll place a separate production order to send inventory into the EU, so it’ll be another 4-5 months before we’re up and running.

Nomad Hydration Reservoir

We’ve received several requests for a different hydration reservoir in the Nomad tank bag. Specifically, riders are asking for a shutoff valve on the nozzle (to reduce the risk of leaking) and a wider reservoir opening so riders in hot climates can add ice. We found a 1.5L reservoir from Platypus that we like, and which fits well in the Nomad.

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It has a bellows in the middle to prevent sloshing, and to keep the reservoir from ballooning up into the Nomad, using up capacity in the bag’s other compartments.

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Reckless 10

The Reckless 10 – a smaller version of the Reckless 40/80 designed for lightweight day trippin’ on dirt bikes and dualsports – is nearly done. We received the latest prototypes this week.

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We’re experimenting with a ‘consumable’ bottom panel on the R10. If it works, we may expand this concept to the 80/40 as well.

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The center of the R10 has this ‘reversible beavertail,’ meaning the beavertail can be reoriented either parallel or perpendicular to the bike. Or it can be removed entirely. The Stinger 8 and Tracker 10 both fit under the beavertail, but will not be automatically included with the kit.

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Rear MOLLE panel.

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We tried using metal rivets at all the corners, as extra support for the seams, but the rivets would cause abrasion on the bike, so we’re removing them.

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The side pockets on the R10 are specifically sized to fit any of the following: a) the included drybags, b) the Fatty Tool Roll, c) two 1L fuel bottles, or d) a 2L hydration reservoir.

This is how we’re planning to secure fuel bottles in the harness. We will include a little leash that ties them together, which is then secured by the center strap on the leg harness.

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When it’s not in use, the bottle-holder leash would become a small handle on the bottom of the drybag, to help with pulling the leg bags into the harness.

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We brainstormed a large number of different hydration reservoir holding concepts, and ultimately decided to make the leg harness wide enough to accommodate our existing 4L Molle pouch. A hydration reservoir goes in the MOLLE bag, and the MOLLE bag slides into the harness. You could also put a reservoir directly into the harness (but it would be in there unprotected) or you could put it inside one of the included drybags.

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Backcountry Cinch Strap Change

We want to change the Backcountry Cinch Strap from a ladderlock and cam buckle to two cam buckles. The reason is that, in testing them as an emergency tow strap and tie down system, we consistently found that the ladderlock was the weak point strength-wise.

Andrew found a cool double-cam buckle (top in the pic below) but we decided to go with two sewn-on cam buckles instead (bottom in the pic below.)

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In Other News

Our new friend Brent from Durango, CO stopped by the new shop. Great to meet you Brent!

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We’re (finally) getting some new product videos done. Some of the videos on our website are embarrassingly old. If you check out the Reckless 80 and Reckless 40 product pages today, you’ll see the new videos.

Our old videos were done with a little point & shoot camera mounted on a tripod. The new ones are done entirely on a hand-held iphone. It’s so cool that we can film, review, edit, and publish/post the videos entirely from a cell phone. Sure makes things easier.

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Ash and I spent a couple days in Belgium. It was really cold outside but we took off our gloves just long enough to wolf down a couple tourist-style Belgian waffles and laugh a lot. Walking around Bruges is pretty cool.

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Back home in the gorge, the trails have dried out a bit, and we’re mountain biking in the mornings before work.

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Andrew’s parents stopped by the new shop this morning!

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Ash flies to Tennessee tomorrow morning for March Moto Madness. I’m staying home to work on taxes and duty refunds (yawn).

Nether-Nether Land

February 20, 2018

Ash and I are currently in the air over Hudson Bay, headed to the Netherlands for the Utrecht Motorcycle Show.

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Our buddy Roel has been working a number of European shows for Mosko this winter. Andrew flew over to the UK to help him at the Birmingham show a few months ago, but this will be the first European show Ash and I have attended personally. We’re coming not only to help staff the show, but also to evaluate ways that we can expand our business in Europe.

The high European VAT rates and overseas shipping costs, plus the hassle of having to get product through customs, has caused some frustration for riders in Europe. Initially we considered selling through distributors, but with the added distributor margin plus VAT, the final retail price would be insanely high. We’re going to be looking for a creative way to sell direct-to-consumer overseas, hopefully at prices no higher than what we charge in the US. At a minimum, we’ll need fiscal representation in the EU – that, or we’ll have to setup our own subsidiary – and find a local solution for storing and distributing inventory.

Ash and I returned from Baja last week with a long list of notes on all the bags and apparel we used on the trip, which we reviewed with the rest of the team in a fun and productive development meeting that lasted pretty much all day.

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Backcountry 35L Pannier Update

The first bag on our agenda is the Backcountry 35 pannier. We need your input and ideas! If you have any gripes with the current design, please share. Here are some revisions we’re already considering.

1: Making the panniers symmetrical (no right/left side)

2: Changing the rear pocket from sewn-on to bolt-on with a removable drybag. The harness without the drybag can fit a Fatty Tool Roll or a 2L Dromedary.

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3: A locking latch, either with a key lock, or with a special tool-handle that can be removed (which would actually be a torx head or something like that, in case you lose it).

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4: A new way to lock the bag closed, probably with a cinching cable combination lock that loops back and forth over the roll-top through metal d-rings that are riveted to the bag, like in the pic below.

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In this pic, the black webbing would be a sliding cable lock.

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5: Adding some cut-proof cable around the inside of the liner. We get a lot of questions like ‘what if someone cuts into the bag.’ It’s actually very difficult to cut into the current version of the BC35, but by adding this cable around the outside of the liner, it would be nearly impossible. The front and rear of the bag are already protected by hard panels, so it’s only the sides and bottom that could benefit from added protection.

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6: We’re considering reintroducing a 25L version of the Backcountry pannier, to provide a second size option, and also to enable offset kits for riders with asymmetrical pannier racks.

7: We’re also considering some different color options. Historically this has been a challenge because of high fabric order quantities, and the last time we tried to introduce colors a few years ago, our orders weren’t big enough. I think we’ll have better luck this time.

We’re very interested to hear more feedback from riders who currently have this system. We have a small window right now, before we start working on the next round of samples, to implement revisions. Please: chime in!

KTM 690 Owners: Nomad Tank Bag

I made a small change to my Nomad so it fits better on the KTM 690. By cutting a half-circle out of the top of the mounting harness, I was able to push it an extra inch or so forward on the bike, up around the ignition key. With this small change, the bag fits absolutely perfect with either Rally Raid Evo2 tanks or with the stock tank (it does not, however, fit well with Safari tanks). We’ll try to implement this as a permanent inline-change on a future production order. In the meantime, this DIY edit will not void your warranty on the bag.

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Apparel

Jason Small was the very first non-Mosko-employed person to try on the new Basilisk riding kit last week. He’s one of a handful of testers who are going to help make sure we haven’t missed anything before we go to production.

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The remaining test kits are going out in the mail this week.

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New Shop

We finished decorating the new shop with all the stickers everyone sent in, plus this awesome sign that Ash and Andrew painted. So far we’re loving the new workspace.

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Other News

Mosko was approved for an inventory loan through US Bank and secured by the SBA (Small Business Administration). Borrowing money is always nerve-wracking, because everything I own is on the line as collateral, but it’s part of running a small business. We have to make stuff before we can sell it, building inventory takes cash. We were very happy and honored to get this loan, and we’re hugely appreciative to our banker Corey, US Bank, and the SBA, without whom we’d never have made it this far.

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Andrew headed North to Canada for the Vancouver motorcycle show in January. This show is always a blast, and very busy, and this year was no exception.

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Roel attended the Assen Motorcycle Show in the Netherlands and reported great traffic there as well, attendance was over 25,000 people. Check out the awesome booth he made for the European shows. Now we need to step up our booth game on the US side of the pond as well. We’re planning to make something similar before the BMW Motorcycle Owners show in July, which is our first indoor show of the summer in the US.

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Baja Pics

Finally, here’s an assortment of pics from the second half of our Baja trip.

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Huge thanks to Kurt & Martha from Black Dog Cycle Works for the hospitality when we stopped by their place on Conception Bay!

mosko-moto-motorcycle-soft-bags-dualsport-offroad-adventure-soft-luggage-pannier-duffle-ktm-bmw-klr-rackless-reckless-tank-bag-adventure-jacket-pants-jersey-BMW Atacama-2-20-18 ( (27)

Now we’re somewhere over the Atlantic, still 2.5 hours from Amsterdam. Amazingly, there’s now a direct 10 hour flight from PDX-AMS. We’re landing at 9am Dutch time – midnight our time – after zero sleep… so might need a nap.

Gear Testing (Back to Baja)

January 29, 2018

I’m posting from the rooftop deck at Kurt & Martha’s (from Black Dog Cycle Works) house near Mulege, Baja, Mexico, which does not suck! We stopped here for a few days on our way south through Baja to rest, clean up, and catch up on work, blog, etc.

New Shop/Old Shop

We used the Christmas holiday to relocate Mosko from our original 600 square foot shop to a new 1,000 square foot shop down the street. With six people and at least 4-5 bikes, the old shop was getting pretty cramped.

First we had to paint and put in new floors. Huge thanks to Tiffany’s husband Martin for all the work.

Then furniture, which was a major assembly job in its own right.

And finally, decorations. We put up a post on FB requesting stickers, and got an amazing response! We’re going to cover a lot of the new shop with these.

Everyone is now relocated and operational in the new shop. It’s nice to finally have room to breathe. We’ll miss the old shop, with it’s wood burning stove, but it’s not going away. Ash and I took over that lease personally, and we’ll be using it for extra storage and projects going forward. Projects like… getting our bikes ready for Baja!

I just got a new bike, a 2017 KTM 690 Enduro R. This is my first new ADV bike since I bought my KTM Super Enduro in 2009. Very stoked. I immediately set it up with Black Dog Cycleworks pegs and crash plates, Rally Raid Evo 2 Tanks, Cyclops lights, and a Seat Concepts seat.

Riding Apparel

We were really excited to get these boxes from our apparel factory, which contain 16 size sets of the new Basilisk riding kit.

Right out of the box, everything looks great. Jacket, pants, rain kit. We already had the belts, jerseys, and base layers.

We also got several sets of the Forcefield Adventure Harness (upper body protection) and Limb Tubes (knee protection), which we’ll be selling along with the jacket/pant. This is by far my favorite body armor on the market.

There were a few issues we noticed after playing with the gear a bit. First, the zipper closures are not waterproof. These samples were made individually in the sample room and the zipper closures are not the same one we’ll use in production.

In the meantime, for the samples we have, we filled the zipper gaps with a waterproof sealant.

The second issue was with regards to the size ‘small,’ which, due to a typo in the specs, came in WAY too small. Which is a bummer, because Ash was looking forward to wearing the pants on our Baja trip. Here’s a pic of Lee trying on the size small.

Aside from that, the gear looks really, really good. We’ve been riding with it for two weeks now in Baja and we have a long list of revisions, but they’re all pretty minor, mostly related to sizing not features or materials. I’ll have a lot more feedback when we get back from this trip.

Love the new hand-drawn label artwork. Thanks Dan Cox!

Baja Trip

Ash & I are in Conception Bay at the moment, working our way south through Baja. We originally planned to do a one-way trip to Guatemala but we’ve been wandering around and taking our time, plus there were some issues with bike shipping and flights from Guatemala (like, the price), so now we’re just meandering through Baja and returning via the mainland next week. We’re testing the new apparel, and also traveling with the Backcountry 35 Panniers and Backcountry 30 Duffle, in anticipation of continued brainstorming for an eventual version 3.0.

Man, adjusting the rear preload on a new KTM 690 is not easy. My brand new shock locked up the first time I tried to adjust it. Huge thanks to M&M Offroad in El Cajon, CA for helping me get it unstuck and back on the road same-day.

We started our trip in Borrego Springs, CA staying with our good friends Jonathan & Carla.

Stopped to say ‘hi’ to the one and only Coco @ Coco’s Corner.

Found some really cool unmarked cave paintings thanks to local advice and a hand-drawn map.

Tried homemade caramel, a first for me.

Took some ‘diving lessons.’

And crossed a lot of rivers.

We ran into the legendary Troy Lee of Troy Lee Designs, riding through Baja with his buddies. Check out his awesome custom Baja helmet.

Ash and I brought a compact spear fishing kit on this trip. That has worked out even better than we expected. With 6″ travel fins, rocks as dive weights, and a three-piece 6′ pole spear, we find dinner everywhere we stop. Using the bikes to access out-of-the-way points and beaches for spearing has been awesome.

If anyone else is interested in spear fishing on a moto trip, here’s the gear we’re carrying.

We’ll stay here in Conception Bay a couple more nights, then continue south to La Paz. From there we’ll cross to the Mainland by ferry and return to the States via Copper Canyon. That’s the plan anyway, still subject to change. We’ll be home for a few days in mid-February, then we’re headed to the Netherlands for the Utrecht moto show, and to look for a European fulfillment center. After that, probably another trip to Bangladesh.

For now: more Baja!!