December 20, 2021
Happy holidays, happy new year, and thanks for all the support!
What a rollercoaster it’s been. We’re so stoked for 2022. Lots of new products are in the pipeline, we’re adding many new events to the show calendar, and we have the same new year’s resolution as always: ride more, camp more. See you out there!
Supply chain-wise things haven’t changed, except that Black Friday came and went and we still have inventory, which is great. Because of the supply chain situation, we shortened the BFCM sale to 4 days vs 10, offered smaller discounts on in-stock merchandise, and offered discounted preorders with future delivery dates. The preorders shifted about 50% of BFCM demand to March, when our first water freight shipment will arrive. That inventory is in transit now, entering the far end of the long, dark, mysterious tunnel that is the world’s supply chain.
As we work on kicking our air freight habit, we’re incorporating 10-month water freight lead times – including production – into all our planning. In other words, we’re ordering inventory now that we plan to sell over Black Friday weekend in 2022. That’s twice what our lead times were before Containergeddon, so we need twice as much inventory in production (and twice the deposits) at any given time. New products will also take twice as long to get to market. It’s not ideal but what can you do? We’ll be happy just to have a warehouse full of water freight like we used to in the old days. That should happen by March.
Here’s one way to speed things up (thanks Silke!)
Apparel & Protection
The Ectotherm 12v heated jacket finally landed. Our Mosko Models went straight to work. Check out Andrew’s Blue Steel, it’s .
I love this jacket. It’s been fun to see the response so far. We’re learning a lot about power draw, stator capacities, connectors, adapters, and batteries.
If you’re interested in the Ectotherm but you’re unsure about sizing, go big. Some riders are reporting they fit tight. Personally, I’m 6’3″ and 190lbs and I wear an L, which seems about right to me, but if you’re any bulkier you should definitely size up. It’s meant to be snug for an under-armor fit, but not to the point of feeling restrictive. For the next round, we’ll move the entire size grade down a notch so the current L becomes M and the current XL becomes L. We offer free shipping and returns on apparel so don’t be shy about doing an exchange to get the size you need.
Here’s a video we made in the desert a few weeks ago using the Ectotherm.
Some riders have asked why the Ectotherm doesn’t have heated glove/pant connectors. The answer is that we eliminated those to make the jacket more comfortable and packable. All those extra wires and plugs are part of what makes old-school heated gear feel so weird on your body, and most of us never use that stuff anyway. I really love heated jackets and vests and I’ve been using them for well over a decade, but I’ve only ever tried heated pants once, and my grips are already heated so I’ve never needed heated gloves. A 42w heated jacket is warm enough for the coldest temps I’d ever want to ride in.
With the Ectotherm, we wanted to make a heated jacket that’s so comfortable you hardly know it’s heated until you need it. Most of the time you can just wear it around like a normal jacket, but on long cold pavement stretches, in shitty weather, on chilly mornings, or after dark: plug in the jacket and bam! The six carbon fiber panels extending from your neck down through your torso, back, and arms will light you right up. In 30 seconds you’ll have your own private sauna. It’s an awesome feeling.
The second question we’ve been getting about the Ectotherm is whether it can run off a separate battery pack when you’re not on the bike. The short answer is ‘yes.’ At the SoCal IMS show, we bought a few Antigravity batteries to test.
The two obvious choices from the Antigravity line are the XP1 and the XP10. The XP1 is smaller, but I opted for the XP10 because it has 50% more capacity and it weighs about the same. I hooked it up to the Ectotherm in the office and ran it on low (green) – which is still really warm if you’re not on a bike – and got 2.5 hours of heating. The XP1 should get about 1.5 hours. If you wake up freezing in your tent in the middle of the night, it’ll warm you up enough to get back to sleep. Plus the battery doubles as a jump starter and USB power bank. It’ll recharge from the bike while you ride.
Standing in the security line at the Portland airport, I suddenly wondered: is a jacket with cables an issue? It doesn’t matter, nobody cares, no problem.
Here’s Scottie giving the CS team an overview of the Ectotherm at Mosko HQ.
On the subject of cold weather riding, here’s what I’m taking on the Southern California Backcountry Discovery Route next week. We’re expecting lows in the 20s and highs in the 40s. I’m riding a BMW R1250GSA, but this kit would be the same on a 500.
As we get further south toward Yuma and the temperatures get warmer, I’ll be riding with just the Woodsman pant, Graph base layer, Workhorse jersey, and armor. The Woodsman vents will all be open, and my jacket will be rolled up on the back of the bike. That’s one of the great benefits of separate body armor: layer up when it’s cold, strip down when it’s warm. You get optimal comfort in a huge range of riding conditions – cold, hot, dry, wet, technical, easy, fast, paved, etc – with better impact protection throughout.
The Rak Hood
We’re experimenting with removable hood designs for the new Rak jacket. This hood is mainly being designed for off-bike use, although it will work under a helmet too. We’ve received this request from other riders, and we’ve experienced the need ourselves too. It’s something you might not think you’ll need until you wake up on a cold, rainy morning and climb out of your tent to break camp. At that moment: a hood is really nice (although a helmet works too).
The hood pics remind me of the Frey sons in Game of Thrones
We’re captivated by this neat anorak for distance running from Patagonia, which opens from the chin and zips down the front. The appeal for runners is to access the water that’s stored on their shoulders. We’re wondering if there’s an application for this style in moto, if we turned the access zippers into vents. We ordered one to try on a bike. If nothing else, cool jacket!
Here’s a prototype of the new Basilisk, which we nicknamed the ‘Flapalisk’ due to the addition of zipper flaps. This kit is a size too big for Scottie, and the color is what they had on the shelf for sampling (not actual colors), but you get the idea. We want to step up the storm-proofing for 2022, the new zipper flaps are part of that.
Along with the updates coming for 2022, we’re making new label art as well. These labels feature original art by our graphic designer Dan Cox. Nice work on these Dan!
Barfly Microshell Pants
Here’s something fun we’re looking at for the Barfly ultralight rain kit: a full-zip waterproof bib overpant. A lot of times water gets in from the waist and wicks its way north and south from there. A bib could resolve that.
These are looking good. Minimal changes needed.
These are also looking good. Simple, flexible, comfortable.
The knees are getting close. These are a bit more complicated.
The knees are hinged at the top, to prevent them from sliding down the thigh. The latest prototype has a different shape to the hinge, with less of the lighter material showing than what you see here. You can see in this pic that the lighter mesh is already pilling from contacting the velcro after just a few days of testing.
These no-slip bands will also help with thigh-slip. We’re trying to avoid a solid silicone band, which causes rashes for some riders (including several of us) over long periods in hot weather.
The armor inserts you see in the armor above are just placeholders. The actual Rheon pads are shown below. This is our first look at a full CE2 shoulder pad mad by Rheon. It’s so light, flexible, and ventilated that you’d never guess it was CE2. That’s a lot of protection in a very unique, compact package. Can’t wait to get the full kit and ride with it.
Armor: Chest/Back/Shoulder Harness
Here are models of the chest piece mold. The chest and back are a significant undertaking, both in terms of creating the harness itself and also in terms of the investment in molds. Every size will need a separate mold, which is why most armor companies (including us, at least at first) offer limited sizes. A mold like this takes special machinery to make. Once made they can’t be altered, so it’s important to get it right.
The harness will be neck brace compatible.
Surveyor Trail Pant
Before the snow came, I spent a day in the latest Surveyor trail pant. It was cold out, and this is a highly ventilated pant, but I didn’t freeze. I was already sweating from the ride, and the ventilation felt great. I wouldn’t want to go any colder than that in this pant though, plus I was carrying an overpant in my backpack just in case.
The Surveyor’s ventilation is neat. The knees and butt are made from the same Schoeller mesh as the Kiger Pant (i.e. the black material in the pics below), so all the high abrasion material is mesh. Having mesh in the knees and butt feels great, especially over the highly-ventilated Rheon armor. I could feel the air coming through the knees of the pant, through the ventilated armor, all the way through to my skin and across my thighs. Which is exactly what we’re going for.
Our experiments with waist adjusters continue. This one is pretty good. You see this same closure on a lot of motocross-style pants. That’s actually our least favorite thing about it (ie that so many other companies use it). On the bright side though, that also means it’s been thoroughly tested.
These Pearly Possum Socks are awesome for cold weather riding. Highly recommend. The owner Duke and I started an email dialog a few months ago. He sent a few pairs for Ash and I to try. We really dig them. We’re not affiliated, I just like the socks. We’re getting some for the entire Mosko team.
This is what happens when you don’t roll up your jacket tight enough and the sleeve flaps loose and catches in the chain. This was our last size large Rak in red
Luggage, Bags, Mounts, and Cases
BC Pannier Assembly
After importing a large shipment of unassembled panniers in October (due to COVID-related factory closures), we spent several weeks putting them all together. Here are some pics of Team Germany hard at work on the EU portion of the shipment.
Here’s what our assembly line in White Salmon looked like. Our buddy Reynaldo managed this, training an awesome crew of local helpers who absolutely charged the project. Thanks all, on both sides of the ocean!!
Colors, Wildcats, & Gnomes
The first samples of the new ‘Stargazer’ colorway (the blue color below) are arriving and we dig it. It’s pretty ‘far out’ by moto luggage standards but that’s kind of the point: i.e. to break out of the classic ‘airline luggage,’ ‘OEM coloring,’ and/or ‘caution color’ framework that we’ve all been seeing for years. Holding physical samples of Stargazer really brought this colorway to life for us. Will it sell? The initial response on social was positive, but we won’t know for sure till we make it.
Making interesting colorways is no small task. Everything gets more complicated, from purchasing and materials to inventory management. That’s the hard part. The good part is that color is awesome! We’re working towards having three year-round colors: classic black, treeline/woodland/mountains (green), and desert/sand/dune (tan). We’ll introduce flashier stuff like Stargazer in limited-edition seasonal runs. That way we’ll always have variety in the line, and we can still try riskier colors without overcommitting.
Outback Motortek Hard Boxes
Lorry at Outback Motortek has some cool new hard boxes in the works. OM makes the pannier racks we sell on our site, but this is Lorry’s first foray into making his own luggage. He’s using our frame/wedge mount to connect the boxes to the bike, so he stopped by last week and we looked at some ways to incorporate soft bags and MOLLE accessories. With Lorry’s setup, you could easily switch between his hard boxes and our soft bags using the same mounts. Your MOLLE accessories would transfer back and forth as well. If you have ideas for Lorry, please post on OM’s social feed. He’s keeping a close eye there for feedback.
We talked about adding some tool storage and maybe a magnetic bolt tray to the underside of the lid.
Lorry designed this cool internal divider system.
Maybe he could add MOLLE webbing or cutouts to the dividers.
We thought some rigid MOLLE panels on the outside would be cool as well. That orange bag on top is a prototype of our new MOLLE first aid kit.
New Heat Shield Designs
Lee is working on some new heat shield designs that are longer, taller, interlocking, and modular. We would offer this in two lengths, which can be combined in various ways to achieve the right amount of coverage.
Our buddy Joel (Sammy’s BF) always comes up with awesome carbon things. He made some samples of our current shield, but in carbon with a heat-resistant backer. They’re so cool!!
Backcountry 35 Pannier Brush Guards
We’re working on a ‘brush guard’ for the Backcountry 35 panniers. This is to address a recurring issue we’ve seen and experienced when riding a larger bike on tight doubletrack. The trail forces you to pick one track or the other because the median is too soft or rocky, while the pannier sticks off the side of the trail and slams into every bush, stump, and rock it can find. This is going to be pretty hard on any type of pannier, hard or soft.
In these pics you can see how the brush guard has progressed, from a cardboard cutout to a rough-sewn prototype.
This will be a tough, sacrificial, removable panel. It can get destroyed and replaced, or removed and repaired. A few weeks ago we took some mockups to the desert for sagebrush testing on a T700 and 1250GSA.
The hard plastic polyethylene version, which we thought was the toughest, was the first to fail. You can see where it’s broken in the pic below, plus the hardware is coming out and the threads are frayed.
The fabric guards performed a lot better than the plastic. Focusing on this one specific issue all day, really opened our eyes to just how insanely abusive this specific riding situation is. Full-grown sagebrush is tough on bags!! We took tons of videos which we’ll upload to our Youtube channel shortly.
We’re working on a new latch for the Mosko BMW OEM pannier mount we’re working on. BMW hard panniers come with a large and expensive latch that you can buy directly from BMW, but the cost is really high (~$200 with locks) and the latches seem like overkill. We messed around with a few of our own ideas to see if we can come up with something simpler and better.
I wood prototypes.
We ordered some of the longest straps Voile makes to try on the R80 legs. They work great, as long as you keep them away from the exhaust.
Also on the R80, I tried this new way of mounting a tool roll in the harness on a recent desert trip and it worked out well. The only downside is that it puts the weight of your tools directly over the back of the bike, but at least they’re secure and accessible.
On the R80 beavertail, Andrew came up with this interesting way to apply MOLLE both vertically and horizontally. A lot of us have been strapping our jackets here, so the vertical MOLLE would be super handy.
The idea of a rigid R80 harness is progressing. We’re expanding this concept to include the legs, and adding some center stiffeners to beef it up a bit. This bag is a Frankenstein but we think it’s a neat idea.
Here you can see the double thickness with the stiffener.
Maybe we can use some of this for heat resistance.
Juan’s Laptop Case
I’ve been using the aluminum version of the laptop case in my backpack. The corners bent ever so slightly, and now it’s a bitch to get my laptop out. The aluminum looks totally badass but we can’t have it bending like that. Thin aluminum bends too easily, thick aluminum weighs too much, and carbon is too expensive. Next up: composite.
We’ve been working with No-So to make a custom Mosko repair patch. These patches stick to anything. They work great on PU and ballistic nylon and should work well on apparel too.
Wildcat Chest Rig
In my last post I referenced the challenges we faced with magnetic buckles on the Wildcat chest rig. We were adding some velcro panels for additional support and we were pretty sure that would hold.
Update, it didn’t hold. We rode more and it popped off more. Glad we kept testing.
Here’s another buckle we tried and rejected.
And another we tried and rejected.
In the end, we went back to a simple side release buckle. They’re easy, reliable, and tested, plus they’re on every piece of outdoor gear anyone’s ever owned, so we can practically operate them blindfolded. Which is important because we’ll be operating this buckle while wearing a helmet and gloves.
First Aid Kit
Here are some ideas for a waterproof, MOLLE-mounted, easy-to-access first aid kit that Andrew’s working on, based loosely on the Hood tank bag. This thing looks pretty cool so far. We’re working on the medical kit that goes inside too.
Events & Marketing
We wrapped up a busy 2021 event tour with meetups in San Diego and Ventura, and the SoCal IMS in Orange County. SoCal IMS was a great show, the busiest of the entire IMS season, and a nice way to close the tour.
Now we’re planning next year’s tour. We want to try meetups at some of the famous – but mostly non-ADV – biker gatherings like Sturgis, Bike Week, and Moto GP. We’ve never been to any of those events and we want to check them out, so why not do a meetup? We also want to try new formats like multi-day pop-up stores and overnight ride-to-camp events. We’re also talking to a few OEMs about teaming up for demo rides. Omicron aside, 2022 should be a big year for events. Right now, a little time off the road to regroup is nice.
Ryan’s birthday happened during the SoCal show. Happy birthday dude!
We have a goal to make more and better videos in 2022. Better product videos, better brand videos, better educational videos, more stop motion, more social reels, more inside-the-Mosko-shop captures, more documenting our rides, more engagement with Youtube, and so on. A total video facelift. Our videos have always been pretty low-tech, dating back to when Andrew and I made our earliest product videos, which were shot on a little cheapo handheld point & shoot. A ‘360 degree product view’ back then consisted of hanging a bag from a bungee cord and spinning it by hand. I’d never even used a GoPro until a few months ago. Time for that to change. Follow Mosko on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube to be part of it!
Content ain’t easy
To further our future video dreams, Ash and I are also learning to drone.
Also on the video front: Jack, Ash, and Paulina, plus our friends Jonathan and Luke, joined pro-videographer and all-around awesome guy Jesse Rosten (@onelostmoto) in the desert in October, to work on Mosko’s first brand video. Jesse is a total pro. I saw a draft of the video and it’s awesome. It’s a minute long, and it captures the sights, sounds, and experiences of a multi-day moto trip, presented in a short-form format to satisfy the tiniest of attention spans. We’ll release it in the new year. Thanks for the awesome video Jesse!!!
We had our annual DirtyBird blemish sale in the US and Europe a few weeks back. These pics of boxes are from the EU. Last year we got some backlash for over-marketing the DB sale, so this year we didn’t do any advertising at all and that seemed to work fine.
Team Europe: working late!
Mosko has a new accounting team: welcome aboard Holly & Rachel (front row, 3rd and 5th from left)! Rachel and Holly worked together at DaKine. Now they’re helping Mosko part-time, and boy did we ever need it. This had been a long time coming.
EU Team Visit
Roel & Fernando – 2/3rds of our Europe team – visited White Salmon for the first time since COVID. We see each other weekly on video but it’s not the same. As soon as they arrived in the PNW, we immediately went riding. Check out the Ectotherm video to see some footage from that trip.
Ryan and Donzi’s son Roland has a knack for epic photo-bombs
With Roel and Fernando in town, we also had our first face-to-face staff meeting in two years. Even though we’re back in the office, staff meetings seem to run a lot more efficiently online. Many of us (including me) join by video even though we’re sitting only 50′ apart. Doing one in person was fun though, I’m sure we’ll do it again sometime.
Our buddy Geoff has been making improvements to the Mosko shop.
He painted the downstairs hallway and showroom walls.
He also expanded the downstairs door so we can roll larger bikes through. We were hesitant to replace the original door, but if a bike can’t fit it’s gotta go.
New Credit Line?
We had a nice meeting with Eric from First Interstate Bank. We’re talking to FIB about a new line of credit for inventory. The new line is significantly larger and less expensive than what we have right now, and it’ll be the first real credit facility we’ve had that isn’t SBA guaranteed. Eric’s a rider too, which is great because he understands our business.
Ash is recovering from carpal tunnel surgery. She can’t ride for a few months, so we spent Thanksgiving tooling around the desert in the van. It’s not quite as exciting as exploring on two wheels, but it sure makes turkey dinner easier.
Ryan & Donzi’s New Spot
Ryan and Donzi moved into their new place on a few acres just outside White Salmon. It’s a beautiful spot. They invited us all out for a campfire and housewarming party a few weeks back. That night marked our first snowfall of the season!
Mosko Holiday Party!!
Thanks for setting this up Paulina & Jenn, and thanks to all who came! Best one yet.
Mom’s Are The Best
My mom wrote this awesome note and apparently left it on a bike with hard cases that was parked on the street somewhere in Philadelphia. She has been researching all things adventure riding and Mosko. The note made it full circle back to Sammy on our CS team, who posted it on Slack, where I saw it and recognized Mom’s handiwork. She does all her ‘posting’ and ‘commenting,’ with pencils, staples, and index cards Whoever sent this: thank you! It totally made my day. Mom thought it was pretty great too.
Ames’ Foot Break
Ames broke his foot in the desert when we were out there riding with Jenn, Roel, and Fernando making the Ectotherm video. His foot caught on a rock and crunched up inside his boot, dislocating toes and breaking a bone. He had surgery to fix the break a few weeks ago, and he’s recovering now. It should all work out fine, no permanent damage.
Bear and Ames are both on crutches, and Lee has been recovering from his latest leg surgery too. Injuries are contagious.
Even Kade hurt his paw.
We packed up the Bates Mototel (our free backyard campground for travelers) for the season. The Mototel saw a lot of upgrades in 2021 including a tent platform, an outdoor kitchen, and an enclosed shower. If you’re riding through the gorge next year and you need a place to crash, we got you covered. Contact the main Mosko email/phone to reserve a spot. The Mototel will be up and running again mid-Spring, although we always have free tent space anytime.
This is our graphic designer Dan Cox. He took me kayaking a few weeks ago. I walked around this part.
If you still have any attention span left after all the above, here are some videos from the last few months.
Happy Holidays! Stay Classy ADV!