October 28, 2016
Earlier this week, Andrew, Ashley, and I met with the S-Group in Portland to review our latest round of apparel prototypes.
October 2016 marks three years since we started the apparel project. Check out this Blog Post from October 31, 2013, our very first apparel kick-off meeting is described half-way through. It’s funny to look back and see this sentence: “…we know that it’s going to take 1-2 years to develop apparel, and 6 months from now we’ll wish that we’d started 6 months earlier.” Boy has that turned out to be true. Here we are, three years later, and we’re still working on the apparel. Good thing we started early.
Looking back, a mistake we made that cost us a lot of time was starting with a factory that was too big, with us as a small, unimportant client. That factory was in Northern Vietnam, and they make a majority of Klim’s apparel as well as several other major motorsport brands. In one way that was appealing, because they had credibility, but we were just too small of a fish to get their attention. Every new prototype took months to complete.
Now we’re working with a new factory in Bangladesh, a factory that specializes in high end outerwear for winter sports. We’re making rapid progress toward a finished product. I’m so happy we made the change, I only wish we’d done it sooner. Can’t say enough good things about this new factory. It’s gratifying to review the latest protos and finally see a direct path to a finished product that reflects our original vision. We’ve learned a lot in three years, and no doubt, still a lot more to learn in the years ahead.
Please keep in mind that the prototypes pictured below are not actual colors. We’ll be using substitute colors for at least one more round of prototypes before moving to the next step of dying custom colors.
The outer jacket, which is arguably the most complex garment, is looking good. Some changes are required to the collar, hood, and dirt skirt, but nothing major. The fit is good and it feels totally bomber. FYI: the dark fabric in the pic below is one that we designed from the fibers up. It’s 20/20 waterproof/breathable and has amazing abrasion resistance. The jacket has just three simple pockets – two hand pockets and one inside phone pocket – to keep it light and minimalist, which is our goal. It also has a removable inner mesh liner that fits D30 Xergo armor, which is D30’s top-of-the-line product. Riders who wear a pressure suit (like me and the rest of the Mosko team) can remove the mesh liner and wear the jacket as a shell.
The pants look good too. And finally, they fit well. Our revisions are mainly related to the ankle cuffs, the crotch gusset, and the rear waist section above the belt. We’re also debating vent zipper storm flaps, and whether they are more likely to trap water or let it roll off. Overall though, these edits are more fine-tuning vs. major revisions.
The internal rain jacket and external rain pant are in good shape too: almost no edits. If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll recall that even though the outer jacket/pant are 100% waterproof, we’re also including a stashable inner jacket and outer pant for those multi-day rain slogs when water has a tendency to work its way in through abrasion patches, zipper openings, and things like that. They also work great as standalone rain gear around camp or in town.
Our base layer tee is also nearly ready. This is designed to be worn under a pressure suit, or as a base layer inside the jacket. We made a few small fitment edits but that’s it.
Oddly, the garment that needs the most work is also the simplest: our jersey (no pics, though you can kind of see it in the pic above in the background with the pink sleeves, and no, it won’t be pink, that’s a substitute color they used for prototyping). The cost of the revised jersey came in at 2-3X what anyone would reasonably pay. We experimented with some materials that had some appealing qualities, but not the durability characteristics of a moto jersey. The final result felt more like a jogging shirt. Back to the drawing board.
Stoked to have a new riding kit to test. Hopefully I’ll be doing some of that next week.
We have a new tool roll prototype! This item has really been through the ringer. First, the sample room in Vietnam lost our keeping sample after a personnel change. Then we sent our own sample that we had here in the shop, but DHL somehow managed to lose that one in transit. So we started over from scratch. Fortunately, the latest version looks excellent.
We considered switching the outer material from ballistic to vinyl, because vinyl slides better and has a dual coating for added water resistance, but we switched back to ballistic in this proto for overall durability and abrasion. This version of the roll slides in/out of pockets smoothly in ballistic material, and the ballistic has an internal PU coating for water resistance. In the future we may create an optional welded-seam vinyl shell.
In the pic above you can see the magnetic panel on the left side, for holding screws/bolts while you’re working on your bike. The magnet we found isn’t strong enough, so we’re ditching that feature for now, and replacing it with a clear document pocket. We’ll try the magnet again in a future iteration.
Really digging this tool roll. While I was ‘moving in,’ we immediately found that some of the tool pockets were too tight to hold anything but the smallest hex key. So we sliced threads to make them larger, and will spec them that way in the final revision.
The zippered pockets are great for large tools, spark plugs, jb weld, loctite, etc.
On the outside we have three slots for tire irons, which are accessible without unrolling.
On top, a handle for pulling the roll out of bag pockets. The roll fits perfectly in the rear pocket on the Reckless 80 and Backcountry 35. It slides in/out really smoothly.
New Tees & Hoodies
Rick Lieberson from T-Line Design came up for a visit to show some shirt and hoodie blanks for our new logo-wear. We picked some new blanks and colors to go with the retro graphics we posted in the last blog.
I’ve been wearing my new prototype Mosko hoodie to work every day since the visit. Thanks Rick!!
Other Product News
Along with the tool roll, we also got the latest (and final) version of the new Nomad Tank Bag. This bag is ready for production.
Loving how the Nomad fits on my 950SE.
Plenty of crotch room in my normal seating position. It touches the inside of my thighs when I’m standing but I can live with that. Because of the flat profile, it doesn’t get all up in my business when I’m up on the pegs.
We added this cool hook/loop velcro (hook and loop combined into one velcro, so any piece can stick to any other piece) to control the excess strap lengths.
The straps have these pre-defined cut points, so you can trim the ends to any length.
In the same shipment as the Nomad and tool roll, we also received our new prototype of the Backcountry 30L duffle. We changed the end closures to mimic the new Backcountry 40L. We also added a different kind of tent pole holder, since the dimensions of the BC30 don’t allow for a large enough tent pole pocket. Otherwise the new BC30 will be the same as the prior version.
We received a shipment of Reckless 80 spare parts that we had sewn locally. We can offer these as spare part kits on the website for repairs, and also for riders who want to take spares along on their ride.
Ashley visited with Ride West and South Sound BMW in Washington to discuss the new BMW Atacama Luggage. The crew at South Sound had the Atacama bags displayed front & center on a new F800, and they’ve already sold several sets. Thanks guys!
Other Other News
Between rainstorms, the local singletrack has been fantastic.
This pic was texted to me from the shop last Friday afternoon. I can’t explain it, but I’m pretty sure there was whiskey involved.
Speaking of which, it’s about that time again 🙂