November 5th, 2014
With cold weather ahead, and with our living rooms, sheds, and trucks already overflowing with samples and prototypes, we decided it’s finally time to get an official workspace. We found this little shop for rent in White Salmon, WA – right across the river from Hood River – and jumped at it. It’s nothing fancy, but we can get our bikes in there and use them for test-fitting, and there’s lots of shelf space for all the stuff we’re accumulating. There’s even a wood-burning stove for heat, big double doors for rolling bikes in/out, concrete floors, and 240v power for a welder.
We spent three days last week down in Portland, running the assembly line to get some more bags in stock. This time we had 5 helpers and things ran pretty smoothly since we’d been through it once before. Big thanks to Sam, Ty, Nayelli, Kenny, and Guy.
Andrew has been working like mad trying to get all our revisions done and off to the factory for the Spring 2015 production order, so once we got the line running he setup shop off to the side and spent most of his time working on that.
Reckless 70L & 40L
We ponged the two Reckless protos and they came in right around 70L for the large and 40L for the small. A little bigger than we expected, but keep in mind that includes the external pockets. With Molle attachments both bags can be expanded by an additional 5-10 liters.
I took the large Reckless out for a spin. This bag was thoroughly tested last spring in Moab, but we’d made some changes since then, so it was good to get out and ride for a bit. I packed it with all my normal camping gear. Here’s what the dry bags look like off the bike.
The new loading system is really cool. When the dry bag is half-way into the harness like this:
You reach up through the hole at the bottom, and grab hold of the handle on the bottom of the dry bag like this:
Then pull it down into the harness:
Here’s what it looks like all buckled up:
I put my tent poles under the beavertail, which worked great. Normally I don’t pack those in a dry bag since it doesn’t matter if they get wet, and they’re a weird shape to pack inside a bag.
Went out for a ride on the Washington side of the river.
This bag is nearly ready for production. We did find a problem with the new mounting system though. With the luggage rack off my bike, there wasn’t enough distance between the strap and the footpeg to pull the strap tight. We have a cool solution for this, suggested on advrider, to do a MOLLE type system here so riders can move the location of the adjustment strap to fit their individual bike.
Here’s what the current Reckless 70 looks like on Andrew’s KLR. This bag is a lot like having two panniers and a rear duffle, but without the need for luggage or pannier racks, which saves a ton of space and weight.
On the small Reckless, we test fitted it on two KTM 450 EXCs this week, different years.
This is a great little bag. Next spring I want to try some ultralight overnighters here in the gorge, camping off my trail bike. I think I could carry a night or two of food/gear/water with this kit, packing really minimalist. Really easy to get in/out of the dry bags while it’s on the bike which is cool.
We’re thinking we want a goggle pocket on the beavertail.
Dan from Chinook Sailing was nice enough to let us come over and try out the new Jesse Luggage Soft Plate on the Odyssey II Jesse racks on his F800. Our bags mount right on there, no problem. Jesse mounting challenge solved, nearly.
They sit a few inches higher than the stock Jesse bags, which is not necessarily a bad thing in terms of keeping the bottom of the bag away from your ankle. However there is an excess length of metal at the bottom of the soft plate, so we’re going to look into the possibility of a custom-shaped metal plate of some kind. Also considering an optional lowering plate for the wedge, not just for BMW racks but for all types of bikes/racks.
On the F800 GSA brackets, man these have been a challenge. We’ve put a ton of time into it so far. ETA on the next round of protos is within the next two weeks. Hopefully this will be the last round. We know there are a bunch of people waiting on this.
For the R1200GSA models, we gave up on finding a local test bike, so we sucked it up and paid $250 apiece (that’s for just one side of the rack!) to get a set which we can have on hand for testing/fitting the brackets. Those will arrive this week. After that we can confirm the fit and place a production order.
It’s been almost 3 months since our last P-38 mailing. Finally got another batch out this week. Seems like someone must’ve posted our P-38 link on a UK bicycle forum, because there were a bunch of bogus signups from the UK with people listing various bicycle brands under the “bikes owned” question. Easy to screen those out though, and it was still a big mailing.
Apparel Fabric Selection
This week we had a chance to meet with Marc from Polartec (red shirt, below), who was nice enough to drive down from Seattle to meet with us. Polartec makes a really cool high-tech waterproof/breathable membrane that is actually air-permeable. In other words it is 100% waterproof, but it lets both water vapor out AND a small amount of air in, unlike most WP/BR fabrics (like Gore) which have zero air permeability. This fabric gets great reviews online. We have some samples in our possession now and will be testing it in the weeks ahead. We feel like there’s definitely an application for this technology in moto gear.
We’re headed up to Seattle next week to meet with an interesting Swiss company called Schoeller, who makes waterproof breathable fabrics specifically for moto gear, with very high abrasion resistance characteristics. Looking forward to that. We also got some new samples from Toray to review.
We’re headed back out on the road starting next week to attend the International Motorcycle Shows in Long Beach, CA from November 14-16 and then in Seattle, WA from November 21-23. Come say hi if you’re in the area!