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September 17, 2019
Last night, on our way home from the KTM Rally in Breckenridge, CO, Ash and I parked our camper at this epic spot in Eastern Utah, just across the Colorado border. We’re staying here today, taking advantage of the excellent cell service to catch up on emails and the blog. We’ve been traveling non-stop for the last 6 weeks – including two weeks off-grid in Black Rock City – so there’s a lot to catch up on.
That trail cutting up the ridge just outside our window is the 150 mile Kokopelli motorcycle trail, which runs from Fruita, CO to Moab. This would be a pretty great spot to hang for a bit, wish we had more time.
The Backcountry Pannier v2.0 is finally here!
We were briefly stocked-out on the prior version before v2.0 was ready, but now it’s in stock and shipping. At the moment, v2.0 is only available from our US warehouse. We’ll be stocking it in Europe starting sometime next year.
Major updates include:
For more info, check out the video below:
We posted a bunch of new product videos for our apparel. If you’re curious about the Basilisk or Deluge, if you’re considering switching from integrated armor to separate armor, or if you just want to learn more about technical waterproof fabrics, you can kill some time at the links below.
Thanks for the videos Pierce Hodges @ VideoKid Productions!
Basilisk & Deluge
Armor Layering vs Integrated Armor
Fabrics & Waterproof Membranes
The Road to Colorado
For our first test-run with the new show truck and trailer (aka the Mosko Flying Circus) we headed to Dolores, Colorado for the annual GS Giants Rally. If you aren’t familiar with GS Giants, you can learn more here.
Our buddy Scott made these cool new backdrops for the booth. At outdoor shows these block the visual noise behind our booth – cars, trailers, generators, trees, shrubbery, the back of someone else’s booth, etc. The vinyl backdrops we’ve been using for that purpose act like huge sails in the wind, so we often have to take them down. The new backdrops should look great at our indoor shows this winter too.
Before leaving for GS Giants, JC and I stocked up on everything we need for the new show trailer, like tools, a generator, an air compressor, moving pads, a cooler, a bottle jack, etc.
Packing the trailer, we discovered that our 4 show mannequins fit neatly in the two built-in closets that were already installed. Perfect.
This is what the Mosko Flying Circus looks like right before its maiden voyage. Two trucks, two trailers, three people, two dogs, and 120 feet of bikes, displays, mannequins, samples, and living quarters. What could possibly go wrong?
Just outside Caldwell, ID a driver passing us signaled that something was wrong. I looked in the mirror and saw a bunch of smoke. We pulled over, and saw that two of the rear tires were touching, the third axle was out of alignment, and the suspension hanger had broken off the frame. Shit!
JC found a 24 hour welder in Caldwell. We limped to his house and he got us fixed up and back on the road before dark. We spent the night in a Les Schwab parking lot, where we had new tires mounted in the morning.
Under the trailer, we found a bunch of worn, broken, or nearly broken suspension components. That suspension hanger was just the first piece to break (or actually the second, the first was a shackle at the Desert 100 race in April). We ordered replacement parts on Amazon and had them shipped to our destination.
Arriving in Dolores, It was cool to unpack the new trailer and setup the new booth for the first time.
The new backdrops look great.
There were some rainstorms coming through, so we got ponchos for the mannequins to keep them clean.
This was our first time at the GS Giants Rally and we had a total blast. Sales were great, the people were awesome, the location was beautiful, and we even got to sneak out for mountain biking during the day. To our friends at GS Giants: thanks for including us and thanks for all the support. We’ll be back next year for sure!
Ridgway & Crested Butte
After GS Giants, we picked up the suspension parts, and our buddy Forrest (who lives in Ridgway) offered to install them. Thanks so much Forest!! We owe you one!
We paused in Ridgway for a day to check out some the local trails and visit with Forest on the property he manages just outside of town.
The property has a large lake stocked with fat, gullible rainbow trout.
Forrest buys old rusted-out horse trailers like this one, refurbishes them, and converts them to kick-ass little portable saunas. He makes the wood stove from a re-purposed beer keg and finishes the interior with wood. After a delicious elk meat dinner (also from the property) we ended the day with a sauna. One day, when we have the space for it, we will definitely want one of these.
With the trailer fixed, we headed to the Crested Butte area to catch up on work and do some product testing before the Mosko Meetup in Denver. The trails in Crested Butte are just like, wow.
The weather was basically excellent, but every day we had some chilly afternoon rain, which was perfect for the Deluge. The Deluge is by far the coolest little moto rainsuit I’ve ever seen. It packs tiny, stays totally dry, and hardly feels like anything at all when you’re wearing it. After a storm, I was surprised how long I could continue wearing it before I started getting hot.
Here’s a time-lapse of me stashing the Deluge.
Ash used the new Rak pullover, which she loved, despite the fact that this prototype is several sizes too large for her. The Rak is made from a heavier fabric than the Deluge, which we selected more for touring than trails. Because of that, when the rain stopped, Ash warmed-up noticeably sooner than I did.
I’ve been experimenting with different mounting ideas for the Reckless 10 on my KTM 300 XC-W. Instead of using mounting cleats and the supplied rear connection straps, I’ve been bolting my R10 directly to the fender. I never go riding without it, so I figured I might as well bolt it down.
On the side of the R10, because there’s a long reach for the leg connection strap on most dirt bikes, I made two zip tie pass-throughs that completely eliminate any up and down motion in the leg.
With the R10 mounted this way, there is absolutely zero movement. I love it. In a future revision maybe we can add some pre-cut mounting holes and some extra cleats for the leg straps. If anyone else has a creative approach for mounting the R10, please share. We’re all ears.
I’ve been appreciating the large thigh pockets on these Fjallraven pants. They’re awesome for holding OHV trail maps. We’re adding pockets like these on the new Woodsman pant.
Here’s a few more riding shots from Crested Butte.
After a fun weekend riding and working in Crested Butte, we headed to Denver for a Mosko Meetup at Meta Magazine. ADVrider.com, West38 Moto, and Doubletake Mirror were our co-sponsors.
This was the busiest Mosko Meetup so far. We had a great venue with steady traffic, we made some awesome new friends, and Ash and I presented on our favorite topic (international fly-in trips). Sales were enough to pay for the venue, beer/food, and travel, plus everyone who ordered there got a 10% discount and free shipping. We were stoked. Huge thanks to everyone who came! Great meeting you!
Black Rock City
After Denver, we hurried home to Washington to unpack, repack, and drive to Nevada to for our annual Bored Meeting in Black Rock City. Great to see so many Mosko and UNRally folks out on the playa this year. One of you is in this pic with us, you know who you are
After the Burn, we were home for a few days unpacking and repacking for the annual KTM Rally in Breckenridge, Colorado. We had some new show bikes waiting at home, a KTM 790, Honda 450L, and KTM 250 TPI. We loaded those plus 5 additional booth backdrops into a Uhaul truck, and drove that plus our camper back to Colorado.
We arrived in Breckenridge late Thursday and finished setting up in the dark. This is what the booth looks like with the new backdrops and bikes. Since we sell direct and we don’t have dealers, our booth is becoming more store-like. The backdrops and dedicated show bikes were another step in that direction. I think materials like metal and wood look cool at temporary shows, where vinyl backdrops, plastic tables, folding chairs, and gridwall displays are the norm. Plus the heavier materials stay put when it gets windy.
JC built some cool sample storage boxes from aluminum and plywood. These will protect our bag samples in the trailer, and they’ll also work as display tables in the booth.
The KTM Rally totally nailed it this year. Perfect weather, happy riders. It’s a small event – only 350 attendees – and it always sells out fast. The number of pro-riders, guides, instructors, industry insiders, press reps, and KTM staff that attend this event is kind of nuts. KTM puts on a killer event. Breckenridge was a great spot. Next year it’s happening in Idaho.
Here’s something for any long-term moto travelers who use separate armor, or who are considering switching. An armor pressure suit fits nicely in the BC35 beavertail, for those moments when you’re tooling around town and don’t necessarily want to wear it.
I’m addressing this here because we’re already getting a bunch of inquiries. A company recently started offering products with notable similarities to products from several other companies including us. This happens all the time with soft goods, especially with successful designs that have been on the market for a few years. We’ve seen it and we’re not bothered. There’s at least one other company that we know of (and probably others that we don’t) working on something similar. If someone is considering buying one of these, I’d encourage them to make a side-by-side comparison with the original, and make their own judgement on which offers better quality and value. Despite the apparent similarities, there are lots of meaningful differences in design, materials, and construction. We’ll keep moving our designs forward as always, and won’t lose any sleep over any companies that try to follow. ‘Nuff said.
We’ve been experimenting with some different approaches to latching the wedge and frame together. Earlier this year we got some working 3D-printed models of a low-profile, multi-function locking latch that we like, although it was a bit complex and expensive to make. That option is still on the table, but here’s another simpler idea we’re also experimenting with. It’s based on a side-mounted locking pin. 3D printing is so cool!!
The Woodsman Pant
We currently have two versions of the Woodsman in the shop for testing. One is made from a heavier waterproof stretch soft shell (black and blue in the pic below), and the other is made from a lighter-weight non-waterproof stretch material similar to a mountaineering or work pant (brown and grey in the pic below). Both are designed to be worn over-the-boot.
Scott, Ash, and I took them to the Gifford for testing. We traded pants mid-way through the ride. Yes that’s right: Scott and I traded filthy sweat-soaked pants in the middle of a hot summer trail ride. Such is our commitment to product testing.
We decided the heavier waterproof pant is too hot. We’d rather focus on a lighter, less insulating, more breathable material. However we’re also experiencing issues with abrasion and heat at the bottom of leg (boot/bike and boot/rocks). We’re thinking we’ll change the Woodsman to an in-the-boot design, removing some of the leather and making the whole pant lighter and cooler.
The next sample will be a non-waterproof, in-the-boot, stretchy, soft-shell pant that works for trail riding and enduro-touring. In wet/cold weather, it will pair easily with a waterproof overpant like the Deluge or Rak.
The insulating layers are coming along well. We have two new prototypes. Both are currently heated, although we might convert the smaller one to a standard insulated jacket, and only put heating elements in the warmer one.
Here’s what they look like packed up, compared to three standard heated liner jackets by other companies. Our jackets both have high quality insulation in addition to the heating elements, so they work as a warm layer both on and off the bike.
Scott found these cool zipper pulls with a SIM card tool and storage sleeve for international travelers. Yeah it’s a little geeky, but still… cool right? Why not? If you don’t need it, don’t use it.
New Office Space
Things are getting pretty cramped in our current shop, with up to 9 people, several dogs, and a bunch of bikes and mannequins all stuffed into 1,000 sq ft. For telephone calls, when it’s warm we go outside. Here we are on a conference call with our buddy Dave Wachs in Bend, getting feedback on the Basilisk riding kit.
For private meetings we go down the block to our storage space.
Now we’re expanding into some additional office space upstairs. The upstairs of our current building is all separate artist studios, three of which recently became available. Two are connected directly to our current space by stairs. We’re turning one into a product showroom, one into a meeting room, and one will become the customer service office. As an added bonus, there’s even an unfinished deck.
Andrew is in the middle of a Reckless 40 redesign.
We just ordered a batch of custom Voile straps. Giant Loop also stocks these (the Pronghorn straps) and Upshift Online has a cool logoed version as well, so we’re not exactly breaking new ground here, but soon you can get your Voile Straps in Mosko blue too They’re handy for attaching a tool roll, tire tube, rain jacket, or pretty much anything else to your bike.
We’re also working on some cables for the new locking bar on the Backcountry 2.0. These designs are done, they’ll be available sometime this winter.
Saying goodbye to our awesome summer intern Jesse, we had a final all-hands Wim Hof in the White Salmon.
Next week we’re returning to Colorado for our company ride, starting and ending in Grand Junction. Can’t wait for that!