March 19, 2019
It’s great to be back in the office! There’s a lot to catch up on.
We’ve been on the road nearly non-stop since November, with just a few quick breaks between trips. Seven trips on four continents since last November. Winter flew by. Now the rally/show season is starting up again, with March Moto Madness in Tellico Plains, TN (March 38-31) and the Desert 100 in Odessa, WA (April 6-7).
Welcome Aboard Ames
Ames Conant joined the Mosko team six weeks ago. Rather than sending his resume via email in response to a job listing we’d posted, Ames showed up unannounced at the Mosko shop with a six pack and a bag of chips. Previously he was a project manager at AM Racing in Hood River, designing and manufacturing motorcycle parts. Before that his background included everything from finance to yacht design. He has a BS in business from Cornell, with two years of undergraduate work in engineering, and a certificate of Yacht Design from the Landing School. He recently sold his Honda Grom and bought a KTM 350 EXC-F.
Ames is currently riding in Ecuador with Sarah. Ames: welcome aboard!
New Mosko Website
Mosko has a new website. Check it out here: https://moskomoto.com/.
Big thanks to Ash for managing this project through to completion, and also to Foghorn Labs (our digital marketing firm). Dan Cox (our graphic designer), and Karl Golts (our developer). We were long overdue for an update.
If you find any glitches or typos, please let us know.
Europe Warehouse & Shows
The EU warehouse is up and running!
There’s a header on our website, at the very top of the homepage (you can see it in the screenshot above), with instructions for how to order. Basically: email us and we’ll take it from there. We don’t have an EU webstore yet; orders for the EU warehouse are currently being processed by hand. Email us, and we’ll email you an order form back. It’s a multi-step process – and far from ideal – but it works, for now. We’re still in the ‘soft launch’ phase.
If you’re curious: the reason we didn’t launch an EU webstore at the same time as the EU warehouse, is that we were waiting for the new US site to go live. That took a few months longer than we expected. It didn’t make sense to setup an EU store based on the old site, then launch a new site, and have to re-do the EU site too. Now the US store is live, so the EU webstore will follow soon.
Meanwhile, Roel has been busy at the EU shows. Thanks for these great pics from IMOT pics Markus Wimmer!
This pic is of our booth at the moto show in Utrecht, Netherlands . Hi Jasper!
This is the Mosko booth at the show in Austria.
And my personal favorite:
Canadian Shows: Andrew’s Take
Andrew & Sarah went to Vancouver for the motorcycle show there, then Andrew headed east for the show in Toronto. As one of our two resident Canadians here at Mosko, Andrew currently staffs all the shows in his motherland. He sent this writeup from Toronto:
“I flew into Toronto with the entire trade show in 3 large duffle bags, and picked up other supplies at Home Depot. I had to keep it lean. It was going to be $1,200, plus unknown customs delays to get it all into Canada by shipping everything. So I decided to fly with it all in checked luggage and pay the over charges. Then I sold most of it at the show. Turned out to be much cheaper and easier. The only wild card was weather, we have been having some major snow events here in the Gorge. I left my house to drive to the airport just as the highway opened after a 12 hour closure.
Here is the booth set up with the 3 loaner bikes that Chris Trott and Brent Langman brought down for me. They are from the Simcoe County ADV riders group just north of Toronto: SCAR: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SCARriders/
Thanks so much for the bikes!
They were a perfect set of bikes, a big brand new KTM1090, a Triumph Tiger 800XC and a new KTM 250 EXC dirtbike.
The show got off to a slower start on Friday than I was use to at the Vancouver show but then it steadily picked up. By Saturday I was slammed all day. Luckily I had Mason and Mark who generously helped me handle customers for most of the day. Mark came all the way up from Buffalo NY, and Mason came down from North of Toronto with his buddies. Mason runs MasonsADV an adventure riding youtube channel.
That’s Mason in the hat and Mark beside him. Then Melon and Mike in the front row. Thanks for all your help guys!”
We had our first ever ‘Mosko Meetup’ in Portland two weeks ago. This was a test run of something we’d like to start doing in other areas as well. Sarah, with the help of our friend Rick Lieberson in Portland, found a perfect venue – Two Stroke Coffee in Portland – where we hosted an open bar from 3:30 to 7:30 pm.
Here’s a pic of me loading a couple bikes to bring into pdx that morning. It snowed hard overnight. At this point I was wondering if anyone would come?
Two Stroke Coffee is a really cool moto-themed coffee shop and bookstore on the North side of the St. John’s Bridge. There was plenty of space to setup display bikes and lay out samples.
Lots of people came! It was great! We met a bunch of really cool riders, had some excellent chats, and sold more than enough gear to cover the cost of the event. Sales were quite a bit more than we expected, so we were happy about that. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out and made the first-ever Mosko Meetup a success!
Thanks for all the help Rick Lieberson!
The setup & tear-down crew went out for Indian food after.
We’d love to host more of these smaller, more intimate, more frequent regional popup events, using this first one as a model. Starting here in the Pacific Northwest, but eventually across the country. It’s a neat way to connect with other riders, and it’s also a good excuse to tote our samples around so people can see & touch the gear before they make a decision.
Sarah is taking the lead on this project as soon as she gets back from Ecuador. She did a fantastic job with the first one. Stay tuned for more, and please send Sarah a note [moskomoto (at) moskomoto (dot) com] if you’d like to help host a meetup in your area. We’re looking for places with a big enough concentration of ADV riders to attract a crowd, and a cool venue (with room for bikes) where we can meet.
Adventure Days @ Zakar
Jim & Stephanie Hyde from RawHyde Adventures took their annual ADV Days gathering to a whole new level in February, opening of a dedicated facility in the Mojave Desert called ‘Zakar.’ The name comes from ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ & ‘Dakar,’ which seems about right for a compound of stacked container-dwellings around a huge fire pit in the middle of the desert. When zombies attack, this is where I’m headed. We loved it.
This is what the inside of the container rooms looks like.
Ash & I did a presentation on fly-in trips, like the one we just finished in Ethiopia. This is our favorite topic to present on. We’re doing it again at Overland Expo in May, so come check it out if you’re there.
Our friends Paul & Aida came out from New York – where they were taking a short break from their multi-year round the world trip – and did an awesome, engaging, and hilarious report on the first 18 months of their trip. This was their first time presenting on their travels, and it was one of the best travel presentations I’ve ever seen. I laughed so hard I cried. Learn more about them and follow their trip here.
ADV Days tripled in size this year, and even with the larger size, it still sold out. There’s a ton of room to expand on Jim & Stephanie’s new property. I think it’s around 100 acres. Over the next few years this could easily become the largest event of its kind for the ADV community. We’d love to see that happen. It’s the right spot and the right people. Join us there next year!
Here’s a drone shot of Zakar that was posted on the RawHyde FB page after the event.
Sarah & Ames in Ecuador
Sarah & Ames – aka the Mosko Customer Service Team – have been on a week-long trip in Ecuador with Ecuador Freedom Bike Rentals, returning to the gorge today. With Roel & Dusty’s help, they’ve been keeping up with emails and work stuff while they travel.
Here’s a few pics from Facebook.
Product Development & Design
There’s so much happening in product development right now. Andrew and Scott have been hard at work all winter, and the results are all over the shop in the form of new samples, with more boxes arriving every couple of days.
I spent 5 weeks living out of the new Reckless 80 Revolver this winter and I have zero additional revisions to offer. This bag is basically done. Based on our current inventory of v2.0 and our factory’s production schedule (which is full until July) we’re probably 8-9 months out from having v3.0 in stock.
There’s a new v3.0 prototype here in the office. I love the revised look of the outer leg armor. It’s fun to see the finishing touches applied.
We’ve been working on some new latch concepts for the Backcountry 35 pannier system. This is just a mockup, but it’s pretty cool and it works great. Instead of a latch, there’s a spring-loaded pin that connects the frame to the wedge from the back side of the pannier. Andrew’s had this idea for a while, but last week he made a quick & dirty prototype and it works well. Like, really well. It’s so much simpler than the other latch ideas and prototypes we’ve been messing with..
The first draft of the cell phone case that our intern Jesse created last summer was amazing on our trip in Ethiopia. I interacted with this little bag more than any other single piece of gear I took. My iphone was our primary navigation tool. I loved having it protected in the bag – i.e. not exposed on the handlebars where it could break or get snatched – with a shade cover to keep it from overheating. Overheating was a recurring issue in Ethiopia, the shade really works.
We looked at alternatives for mounting the sun cover on the side, and ultimately decided to make the cover modular so it can be mounted on either the top or bottom of the case. Mounting it on the bottom makes it easier to open, and also allows air to flow over the phone while riding, keeping it cool. Mounting it on top is more aerodynamic and allows rain water to flow over the bag. We’re not making this bag waterproof, since most modern phones are already waterproof. We’re more concerned with overheating.
The Scout 25/60 prototypes are back on the edit table. The new Scout is SO cool looking, with big improvement to the beavertail. It’s still many months from completion, but we’re digging it so far.
We got samples of the Basilisk replacement fabric from SuperFabric. This replaces the defective fabric we mentioned in an earlier post. These samples were approved. Basilisk production is scheduled for April, which means we should have them in stock by June assuming no more surprises.
We got the first prototype of a midweight insulating layer for 2020. This thing is really cool for a first proto. Scott’s been wearing it to work every day. It’s light and packs tiny, but it’s also warm and comfortable, almost like a shirt. We want our insulating layers to work as crossover products both on and off the bike, so it’s the only insulating layer you need on a long distance trip. This particular layer would be for a warm weather trip, we have a heavier version underway for cold weather as well.
We also got a first prototype of our soft-shell trail riding pant. The fabric on these samples is too light and stretchy – almost like a sweat pant – but the cut, fit, and features are great. It’s hard to believe this is a first sample. It feels close to a finished product. Which is not to say there aren’t revisions to be made, there are. But still, I remember when our first few samples of the Basilisk pants barely even looked like pants.
With apparel getting closer to launch, Martin is creating some new displays to present apparel at shows & rallies. We also want to add some seating in our booth, so he’s taking a shot at that as well. The displays and seating have to pack up neatly into 6′ boxes so they can fit in our trailer, or be palatalized and shipped to shows.
We’re also shopping for mannequins. There are many different kinds, I had no idea. Every size and shape imaginable, standing in all kinds of poses, with and without heads. We settled on this one. Headless, so easier to pack and ship. Ordered!
Ash has been collecting all the used and/or blemished bags around the shop for an upcoming DirtyBird Sale. These will be up on the website this week, and we’ll post a link on our advrider thread when they’re ready for sale.
The UNRally is on! Alvord Desert, Southeastern Oregon, June 20-23.
Every spring since forever ago, a group of us have met on the Alvord to camp, ride, explore, chill, and party. Three years ago we named it the ‘UNRally’ and made it official. Everyone’s invited, but you gotta’ sign up, because attendance is limited by the BLM. Be forewarned: this is not a rally. Nobody’s making money, nobody’s trying to sell you stuff, nobody’s in charge, and we each take care of ourselves. We have some core principles that we ask you to read, understand, and respect before joining. Beyond that: anything goes.
What’s the UNRally? click here
Where is it? click here
How do I signup? click here
^ Photo Credit: @hektervision
Got this email from Andrew about blog content, I’ll just leave it here.
Paul Stewart, aka RTWPaul, sent me some questions via email, and posted this online Q&A on advrider.com last week. Thanks for the great questions and writeup Paul. See more of RTWPaul’s advrider writings at this link.
On our way home from ADV Days, we got stuck in northern California for a few days. A snowstorm kept us from crossing Siskiyou Pass with the trailer. With time to kill, we found a tattoo shop.
Long post, 64 pics. Thanks for reading!