March 19, 2018
We’re back in the US after an awesome trip to Europe.
We started at the Utrecht Motorcycle Show, working with Roel, Jasper, and Arjen in the Mosko booth. The Utrecht show reminds me of the Progressive shows in the US, except that it’s bigger and better attended, and the major OEMs have a significantly larger presence.
Roel found an awesome trade show booth, which he bought used for only $400. We customized it with Mosko graphics and it looks great. Roel and his Dad made some great little display racks, which convert into a rolling cart to transport stuff in/out of the show. The whole thing looks so much better than the booth we’ve been using in the US, that we decided it’s long-past time for an booth upgrade here at home.
This is Arjen, demonstrating his DIY quick-release locking system for the Backcountry duffle.
Dinner & bitterballs with Roel, our new friend Nick, and Jasper.
The Mosko booth was consistently busy throughout. It reminded me of the first few shows we did here in the US 5 years ago. Roel, Jasper, and Arjen: thank you guys so much for all the help!! And for the loaner demo bikes. That was a lot of work, setting up, working the show, and tearing down. Word’s can’t express: thank you!
Neither Ash nor I speak Dutch, and even though most of the attendees spoke English, they seemed to prefer Dutch. That left Ash and I with some time to explore the show.
It was great to see the BMW Atacama bags on display in Europe. These are now available through all BMW Motorcycle dealerships worldwide.
That’s Ash, second from the end, about to get jumped over.
The new Husky 701 Vitpilen, so badass.
Moto fashion. Sometimes I cringe.
People are quick to dismiss Chinese-made bikes, but the trajectory from 5 years ago to today is like wow. I did a 3,000 mile trip on a Chinese-made dualsport in Africa a few years ago and it performed flawlessly. The entire display below – a European brand called ‘Mash’ – is all Chinese-made bikes.
New Indoor Booth(s)
Inspired by Roel, we want a better booth here at home. We need one booth for fly-in shows and one shows we drive to.
For the fly-in booth, we like the folding style shown in the pic below. These displays fold up like a camping chair and fit in a little carry case. They’re cheap to buy, light to ship, and extremely fast to setup and tear down.
For a full-size indoor booth that we transport via trailer, we like the design shown below, which is built from pipe.
The pipe structure is sturdy enough to support lights, which is nice, because lighting is often an issue at indoor shows. If you don’t happen to be positioned directly underneath whatever ceiling lights are permanently mounted in the venue, the booth can look a little depressing. Here’s an example of the pipe construction we liked, with lights mounted overhead. In my opinion this particular booth is a little low height-wise, but you get the idea.
Here’s what we’re thinking for a new booth. This setup can be configured as either a 20 foot or 10 foot booth, with or without the overhead lighting supports in the middle. Hopefully we’ll have an iteration of this booth at our next indoor show, which is the BMW Rally in July.
At the Utrecht show, the issue of European distribution came up with customers again and again. Because of high shipping costs, double-duties, long shipping times, and the hassle of visiting to the local post office for pickup, many European customers prefer to purchase from EU-based companies.
Ash and I took a few days to meet with and tour several fulfillment centers around the Netherlands.
We’re currently reviewing quotes, and we hope to select a partner in the next few weeks. We’ll place a separate production order to send inventory into the EU, so it’ll be another 4-5 months before we’re up and running.
Nomad Hydration Reservoir
We’ve received several requests for a different hydration reservoir in the Nomad tank bag. Specifically, riders are asking for a shutoff valve on the nozzle (to reduce the risk of leaking) and a wider reservoir opening so riders in hot climates can add ice. We found a 1.5L reservoir from Platypus that we like, and which fits well in the Nomad.
It has a bellows in the middle to prevent sloshing, and to keep the reservoir from ballooning up into the Nomad, using up capacity in the bag’s other compartments.
The Reckless 10 – a smaller version of the Reckless 40/80 designed for lightweight day trippin’ on dirt bikes and dualsports – is nearly done. We received the latest prototypes this week.
We’re experimenting with a ‘consumable’ bottom panel on the R10. If it works, we may expand this concept to the 80/40 as well.
The center of the R10 has this ‘reversible beavertail,’ meaning the beavertail can be reoriented either parallel or perpendicular to the bike. Or it can be removed entirely. The Stinger 8 and Tracker 10 both fit under the beavertail, but will not be automatically included with the kit.
Rear MOLLE panel.
We tried using metal rivets at all the corners, as extra support for the seams, but the rivets would cause abrasion on the bike, so we’re removing them.
The side pockets on the R10 are specifically sized to fit any of the following: a) the included drybags, b) the Fatty Tool Roll, c) two 1L fuel bottles, or d) a 2L hydration reservoir.
This is how we’re planning to secure fuel bottles in the harness. We will include a little leash that ties them together, which is then secured by the center strap on the leg harness.
When it’s not in use, the bottle-holder leash would become a small handle on the bottom of the drybag, to help with pulling the leg bags into the harness.
We brainstormed a large number of different hydration reservoir holding concepts, and ultimately decided to make the leg harness wide enough to accommodate our existing 4L Molle pouch. A hydration reservoir goes in the MOLLE bag, and the MOLLE bag slides into the harness. You could also put a reservoir directly into the harness (but it would be in there unprotected) or you could put it inside one of the included drybags.
Backcountry Cinch Strap Change
We want to change the Backcountry Cinch Strap from a ladderlock and cam buckle to two cam buckles. The reason is that, in testing them as an emergency tow strap and tie down system, we consistently found that the ladderlock was the weak point strength-wise.
Andrew found a cool double-cam buckle (top in the pic below) but we decided to go with two sewn-on cam buckles instead (bottom in the pic below.)
In Other News
Our new friend Brent from Durango, CO stopped by the new shop. Great to meet you Brent!
We’re (finally) getting some new product videos done. Some of the videos on our website are embarrassingly old. If you check out the Reckless 80 and Reckless 40 product pages today, you’ll see the new videos.
Our old videos were done with a little point & shoot camera mounted on a tripod. The new ones are done entirely on a hand-held iphone. It’s so cool that we can film, review, edit, and publish/post the videos entirely from a cell phone. Sure makes things easier.
Ash and I spent a couple days in Belgium. It was really cold outside but we took off our gloves just long enough to wolf down a couple tourist-style Belgian waffles and laugh a lot. Walking around Bruges is pretty cool.
Back home in the gorge, the trails have dried out a bit, and we’re mountain biking in the mornings before work.
Andrew’s parents stopped by the new shop this morning!
Ash flies to Tennessee tomorrow morning for March Moto Madness. I’m staying home to work on taxes and duty refunds (yawn).