July 11, 2016
June was a record month at Mosko! Thanks so much for the support!
Ashley and I are flying to New York tomorrow to attend the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association rally in Hamburg. We’re in booth Y9 in the indoor vendor area, so please come say ‘hi’ if you’re there!
Lots happening in product development right now. We’re turning our attention to the 2017 riding season. This post will focus on riding apparel, the next post will focus on bags.
Last month we switched to a new apparel factory. The factory we’d previously been working with in Vietnam was really big, and as a small customer, it seemed like we were always at the bottom of their priority list. Prototypes were taking months to complete, and they weren’t too excited about some of the out-of-the-box design ideas we wanted to experiment with. So we found a new factory that works with our friends at the S-Group, Trew Gear, and Cotopaxi. The new factory is located in Bangladesh instead of Vietnam, and they specialize in super-premium waterproof/breathable outerwear for the outdoor market. They’re a better fit for us size-wise, and and they’re much more growth-oriented than our prior factory.
Last week we got our hands on the latest prototypes and they look great. Obviously they still need work, but it finally feels like this project is back on track. We’re still anticipating a Spring 2017 launch.
A couple things to point out:
- The colors below are not the actual colors. We’re just working with what the mill had available.
- All the outerwear will be 20/20 waterproof/breathable.
- The light color panels in the pics below will be made from a highly abrasion resistant material we developed from scratch. The darker color will also be lighter-weight, to keep the overall weight and insulation of the jacket to a minimum.
- The outer hood is designed to be worn under your helmet, and will be removable.
- The cuffs and collar are being totally redesigned in the next round.
Huge chest vents. Right below the chest vent, a separate pocket.
The ‘dirt skirt,’ a way to keep wind/water from working its way up into the jacket from the bottom. This would be our answer to the zip-together feature a lot of moto kits offer, but which few riders actually use. The current version of the dirt skirt is way too tight, but in general, we like the concept.
Rear exhaust vents
The hood will be redesigned without a bill and a much tighter fit to make it helmet-compatible. This hood can be removed and zipped-onto the rain jacket (shown below) for use when you’re not on the bike.
In this version, we experimented with a Boa-type system (like on snowboard boots) integrated into the jacket to prevent flapping. Unfortunately, we weren’t all that crazy with how it works, so we’re removing it in the next round of samples. Tightening the Boa made the fabric bunch awkwardly under the arms, and we are also concerned about mechanical issues with the Boa itself, over the lifespan of the jacket. If we experience flapping with the new fabrics, we’ll re-evaluate a simpler cinch-system in a future prototype.
The pants were once again sized way too big for any of us to properly wear. That’s why they look so baggy in these pics. However we really liked the overall shape and cut, we just need to get the next round sized a little differently. The final pants will also come with a leather belt, which also works separately on your jeans, so it’s one less thing to pack. I’ve been wearing the belt prototype everyday for months, and I love it.
Two knee vents.
Two thigh vents and two side pockets, which will have a storm flap in the next iteration.
We’re adding some exhaust vents on the back of the leg as well in the next iteration.
For the inside of the leg, we’re debating between leather – which we all like – or maybe this new carbon fiber fabric that Andrew found. We did some heat tests on both. The results were actually pretty similar. The carbon fiber fabric is much lighter and thinner than leather, and it’s insanely abrasion resistant. I tried to rub a hole through it on a concrete surface and was totally unsuccessful. I literally could not wear a hole in it. Pretty amazing stuff.
For those who have been following this project since inception, you may recall that our kit will include a separate rain jacket and pant, even though the outer jacket and pant are 100% waterproof on their own. This separate rain jacket/pant pack down tiny, and can be left at home if you don’t anticipate rain. Riding in a multi-day deluge, rain has a tendency to find entry points over time (for example cuffs, partially-open zippers, collars, pockets, etc), so this is an extra waterproof layer for heavy downpours, to absolutely 100% ensure the water doesn’t reach your skin.
The rain jacket is an ‘inner’ jacket, so it’s protected by the outer jacket if you crash. The rain pants, on the other hand, are an over-pant, because it’s such a hassle to remove your boots and pants for a pant liner (like in the old BMW Rallye suits, for example). Our rain jacket/pant also work as standalone garments separate from the riding kit, so they can be worn around the campsite, into town, or wherever. Again these are not the actual colors show below, and as with the outerwear, the sizing on the pants is still way too baggy.
We’re adding thumb holes to the sleeves so the sleeves don’t catch when pulling the outer jacket on over the rain jacket.
The lengths of the inner and outer jacket are slightly mismatched, which will be fixed in the next version.
Originally we designed the rain jacket to zip or snap into the outer jacket – so they could be taken on/off together – but we’ve since scrapped that idea, making them totally separate jackets instead. The rain jacket is only necessary in a torrential, multi-day downpour. For short thunderstorms and normal rain, the outer jacket is all you need.
For those of us who prefer to ride with separate body armor (which includes everyone at Mosko), the entire internal armor liner on the jacket/pant is totally 100% removable. So the jacket/pants can be worn as a straightforward shell, with no liner, making the kit lighter, simpler, and cooler.
Touratech & NW Overland Rally
Two weekends ago we attended the Touratech/NW Overland Rally in Plain, WA, which was a total blast. Attendance seemed way up this year, and the weather was perfect. Ninkasi Brewing sponsored happy hours at our booth in the afternoon, which was awesome!
Nice clean install of the Scout panniers on a Honda CB500x with an aftermarket exhaust.
Good example of a double heat-shield install for the Reckless 80, on a WR250R.
Spencer Hill took one of the new Stinger 8 drybag out for a spin. This is an awesome standalone drybag for tools, tubes, fuel bottles, etc on a day ride.
Jesse Felker brought his camera drone. Looking forward to seeing the footage!
I got some new solar panels and a new power inverter for my camper from Overland Solar. Running the generator every night to keep my batteries topped-up at these events was getting really old. Now that I have them, I can’t believe I waited this long to pull the trigger!
If you’ve received your July issue of ADVMoto magazine, you may have noticed our little catalog tucked in the middle. This was a neat experiment we did this year, sending our catalog along with the magazine. Because we only sell direct, we’re always looking for new ways to get our name out to a broader audience, since a lot of folks still haven’t heard of us. Right after the catalog dropped, we saw a nice spike in website traffic and orders that lasted for several days, which was cool!
Big thanks to Bill Dragoo for this nice mention of the Backcountry Pannier kit in his ‘project bike’ writeup.
We had our second-ever paid advertisement in this issue as well.
We also have a new box of bag prototypes here that we’re playing with. Including the first version of ‘The Hatch’ tank bag prototype, which looks really cool. Plus the latest version of the Nomad, which is currently in transit form the factory.
Here’s a couple photos of the first prototype of The Hatch. More on this in the next post.
Hope to see some of you in New York this week!