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Gear Testing (Back to Baja)

Gear Testing (Back to Baja)

January 29, 2018

I’m posting from the rooftop deck at Kurt & Martha’s (from Black Dog Cycle Works) house near Mulege, Baja, Mexico, which does not suck! We stopped here for a few days on our way south through Baja to rest, clean up, and catch up on work, blog, etc.

New Shop/Old Shop

We used the Christmas holiday to relocate Mosko from our original 600 square foot shop to a new 1,000 square foot shop down the street. With six people and at least 4-5 bikes, the old shop was getting pretty cramped.

First we had to paint and put in new floors. Huge thanks to Tiffany’s husband Martin for all the work.

Then furniture, which was a major assembly job in its own right.

And finally, decorations. We put up a post on FB requesting stickers, and got an amazing response! We’re going to cover a lot of the new shop with these.

Everyone is now relocated and operational in the new shop. It’s nice to finally have room to breathe. We’ll miss the old shop, with it’s wood burning stove, but it’s not going away. Ash and I took over that lease personally, and we’ll be using it for extra storage and projects going forward. Projects like… getting our bikes ready for Baja!

I just got a new bike, a 2017 KTM 690 Enduro R. This is my first new ADV bike since I bought my KTM Super Enduro in 2009. Very stoked. I immediately set it up with Black Dog Cycleworks pegs and crash plates, Rally Raid Evo 2 Tanks, Cyclops lights, and a Seat Concepts seat.

Riding Apparel

We were really excited to get these boxes from our apparel factory, which contain 16 size sets of the new Basilisk riding kit.

Right out of the box, everything looks great. Jacket, pants, rain kit. We already had the belts, jerseys, and base layers.

We also got several sets of the Forcefield Adventure Harness (upper body protection) and Limb Tubes (knee protection), which we’ll be selling along with the jacket/pant. This is by far my favorite body armor on the market.

There were a few issues we noticed after playing with the gear a bit. First, the zipper closures are not waterproof. These samples were made individually in the sample room and the zipper closures are not the same one we’ll use in production.

In the meantime, for the samples we have, we filled the zipper gaps with a waterproof sealant.

The second issue was with regards to the size ‘small,’ which, due to a typo in the specs, came in WAY too small. Which is a bummer, because Ash was looking forward to wearing the pants on our Baja trip. Here’s a pic of Lee trying on the size small.

Aside from that, the gear looks really, really good. We’ve been riding with it for two weeks now in Baja and we have a long list of revisions, but they’re all pretty minor, mostly related to sizing not features or materials. I’ll have a lot more feedback when we get back from this trip.

Love the new hand-drawn label artwork. Thanks Dan Cox!

Baja Trip

Ash & I are in Conception Bay at the moment, working our way south through Baja. We originally planned to do a one-way trip to Guatemala but we’ve been wandering around and taking our time, plus there were some issues with bike shipping and flights from Guatemala (like, the price), so now we’re just meandering through Baja and returning via the mainland next week. We’re testing the new apparel, and also traveling with the Backcountry 35 Panniers and Backcountry 30 Duffle, in anticipation of continued brainstorming for an eventual version 3.0.

Man, adjusting the rear preload on a new KTM 690 is not easy. My brand new shock locked up the first time I tried to adjust it. Huge thanks to M&M Offroad in El Cajon, CA for helping me get it unstuck and back on the road same-day.

We started our trip in Borrego Springs, CA staying with our good friends Jonathan & Carla.

Stopped to say ‘hi’ to the one and only Coco @ Coco’s Corner.

Found some really cool unmarked cave paintings thanks to local advice and a hand-drawn map.

Tried homemade caramel, a first for me.

Took some ‘diving lessons.’

And crossed a lot of rivers.

We ran into the legendary Troy Lee of Troy Lee Designs, riding through Baja with his buddies. Check out his awesome custom Baja helmet.

Ash and I brought a compact spear fishing kit on this trip. That has worked out even better than we expected. With 6″ travel fins, rocks as dive weights, and a three-piece 6′ pole spear, we find dinner everywhere we stop. Using the bikes to access out-of-the-way points and beaches for spearing has been awesome.

If anyone else is interested in spear fishing on a moto trip, here’s the gear we’re carrying.

We’ll stay here in Conception Bay a couple more nights, then continue south to La Paz. From there we’ll cross to the Mainland by ferry and return to the States via Copper Canyon. That’s the plan anyway, still subject to change. We’ll be home for a few days in mid-February, then we’re headed to the Netherlands for the Utrecht moto show, and to look for a European fulfillment center. After that, probably another trip to Bangladesh.

For now: more Baja!!