January 8, 2021
Happy New Year!
2021 will be our 8th full year in business at Mosko. This is my 149th blog post, which is pretty wild to think about. In my mind we’re still a startup. I can’t thank you all enough for being part of this. We’re having a blast, and I hope you are too. THANK YOU for the support!! We couldn’t do this without you. Truly, we’re just getting started.
Welcome Sammy & Silke!
First I want to welcome Sammy & Silke to the Mosko team.
Sammy will be working with Jenn, Paulina, and Silke in Customer Service. Maybe you’ve already met her on the phone, or via email or chat, or out on the Alvord with us. We’ve been friends with Sammy for a while, so when the CS position opened up she was a perfect fit. Sammy is an avid rock climber and ADVer. Prior to joining Mosko, she studied and worked in massage therapy. Sammy spent the holidays at the Oregon coast, van camping at the dunes and riding with a paddle tire on her DRZ400.
Welcome aboard Sammy!
Silke will also be working with Jenn, Paulina, and Sammy in Customer Service. She lives in Munich, Germany, and speaks English, German, and some French. Her background includes more than 10 years of experience designing trade show displays and managing event tours for major international brands. Silke holds a degree in Architecture & Design from the University of Applied Sciences in Munich. She’s also an avid ADVer, frequently exploring the Alps and the TET on her BMW R1250GS HP.
Welcome aboard Silke!!
Our COVID Experience
Ash and I spent the holidays sick with COVID, quarantined in our camper in the desert in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge about 30 miles south of Quartzite, AZ. Catching COVID was a fittingly weird end to a very weird year. We’re still mystified as to how it happened: we were working from home, and hardly leaving the house. We only interacted with a few people in the week before, none of whom got sick and most of whom later tested negative. Someone we interacted with must have been asymptomatic. The fever, headaches, and exhaustion lasted about 10 days for us, after which Ash recovered quickly. I still have no sense of smell, limited taste, and some lingering fatigue but it seems to be getting better.
Catching COVID while not at home creates some special challenges. After getting a positive test, we bought several week’s worth of groceries with contactless delivery – i.e. without having to leave our truck – and headed out into the desert to isolate.
The red arrow points to our camper. It was beautiful but we hardly noticed. We were sick. We spent most of the time laying around the camper watching movies and reading books with the blinds closed, waiting to feel better. When we tried to do anything active, we were instantly exhausted.
When I took this pic it was 80 degrees in the camper in the middle of the day. Still shivering, covered in blankets.
As soon as we felt better and were no longer contagious to others, we headed straight home. Catching COVID sucked. I’m glad it’s (mostly) over. Now we have some natural resistance to the virus for a while, which is the next best thing to being vaccinated. That’s the silver lining.
Reckless 80 Mounting
In December, right before the holidays, we met to brainstorm a more secure mounting system for the Reckless 80. We’re picturing some kind of quick release, hard-mount system, with as few straps as possible. We would still offer the strap option too, for fly-in trips and for swapping between multiple bikes. If anyone has any hacks or mods they’re currently using, or knows of an awesome quick release fastener that would apply here, please share. We’re specifically looking for something that works on <500cc enduro bikes, in addition to the larger ADV bikes.
There are two spots where the harness connects to the bike: the three straps on the rear of the harness, and the one strap at the end of each harness leg. We’re want to add some fixed mounting points that a) make it impossible for the harness to shift to one side of the bike or the other (esp the non-exhaust side) and b) try to prevent the ends of the legs from moving up and down because there’s too much slack or throw in the leg straps. We’re probably looking at one or two fixed mounts on the rear of the harness, and a single fixed mount on each leg.
For the rear harness mounting point(s), we’re picturing something like a channel on the bottom of the bag, that slides or clicks onto a nub that’s mounted to the bike, like this one we borrowed from a Fidlock fastener.
This would then slide into a keyhole slot or channel on the bottom of the harness, maybe like in one of these sketches.
For a fixed mount on the legs, one option we considered was something that brings the connection point closer to the end of the leg. Maybe we could create a hard mount sort of like StegPegz. The mounts would have to be bike specific, which is a hassle, but maybe unavoidable. Maybe we could even reach out to StegPegz about a partnership, since they’ve already developed all the mounts.
We made a really rough mockup that tees off the subframe bolt.
Another idea would be to have a bolt-on nub like the one from the Fidlock above, that mounts where the subframe connects to the frame, or in pretty much any bolt hole on the bike, like maybe the footpeg bolts on a larger bike. Then there would be a hard mount on the harness that clicks or slides onto the nub. In that scenario the whole setup would have to be tensioned by a rear strap.
Another idea we’re playing around with, which Jenn tested on a trip to the Mojave in December, is using Voile straps instead of webbing. I’m not sure whether this actually solves the problem, but it’s certainly worth experimenting with. Jenn said it was very stable on her trip, and she preferred it to the webbing straps.
We’re still at the outset of thinking about this. Lee is working on a first round of drawings and garage-made protos.
Again: if anyone has any ideas for this we’d love to hear them (thank you in advance!!).
A lot of folks have requested an OTB version of the Woodsman. We currently have a sample in house that we like a lot. We should have these ready for the 2021 riding season. For anyone who has been asking for these: stay tuned!
The Strata Base-or-Mid Layer
I spent a bunch of time wearing the Strata NuYarn insulated layer in October and November. I was just wearing it around everyday, using it for mountain biking, etc. In fact I am wearing the bottoms right now. I’m really stoked on how this kit is coming together. Normally I have itching issues with wool, even Merino, but I found that after washing the NuYarn a few times, it felt as smooth as a synthetic. Wool is great for longer trips, because it still keeps you warm even if it gets wet, and it doesn’t stink like synthetics. Another thing I dig about this kit is that it’s great for just lounging around, like at camp for example, or for sleeping.
Originally we designed the pants without a fly, with the idea that for lounging around it made them feel a little more pant-like. After wearing them around for a while, for a lot of different activities, I missed having a fly. We added one on the latest protos.
This is the latest proto of the quarter zip top. I used the removable hood on a very cold desert trip back in November and it was great. The temps were below freezing in the morning, with ice on the ground, and I was wearing a well-ventilated trail helmet with goggles and no face shield. Putting the Strata hood up under my helmet, was the difference between being comfortable and not. Mid morning when the temps warmed up and I didn’t need the hood, I snapped it off and put it in my backpack. It works.
We’re also working on a NuYarn neck gaiter from the same material to go with this kit. We tried out a few different sizes, and settled on the middle one below (the black one). If that camo pattern looks familiar it’s because this is the same factory that makes Kuiu’s NuYarn base layers.
We’re making a few minor edits to the Jackaloft for 2021. First: we’re adding some material across the back and under the armpits, as we’ve had a few reports that it’s too tight in those areas. Second, we’re stiffening up the collar a bit.
I really love this little shirt-jak. I have two, and I wear them all the time for riding, for outdoor stuff (like mountain biking and hiking), and also around town and to work. Here’s what the new collar looks like.
Gnome & Nomini Tank Bags
We got our first factory samples of the Gnome and Nomini tank bags and they’re awesome. Up till now, all our samples were ones we sewed locally with the help of our buddy Reynaldo. These factory samples definitely take it up a notch into a near production-ready version. These are going to be two very cool little tank bags when they’re done. They will both fit on smaller enduro-sized bikes with peaky aftermarket fuel tanks.
First here’s the Gnome. This is our half-size version of the Nomax, which comes with a 2L lumbar hydration reservoir, and which turns into a hip sack (rather than a backpack) when it’s off the bike. There’s a die-cut hypalon MOLLE panel on top, designed to hold the Navigator cell phone case (or any other MOLLE add-on).
This is the Nomini. It’s an even smaller version of the Gnome, which doesn’t come with hydration. It’s a little bigger than the Pico, with the capacity oriented horizontally rather than vertically.
A spare key hook.
This is what the Navigator looks like mounted on top.
Both the Gnome and the Nomini come with a rain cover, similar to the Nomax.
Here’s something else pretty cool: our buddy Mike at Tacomoto in Las Vegas is making these vents for aftermarket enduro tanks, which enable you to put a tank bag directly on top of your tank cap without pinching the tube.
The pic below is of an early prototype that’s on RTW Paul’s KTM 500. The red section of the vent tube is a one-way valve to prevent gas from leaking. I have a couple units of the production version at home, but I haven’t actually installed them yet.
If this works as well as we think it’s going to, it will solve a big problem with mounting tank bags on small bikes. Fingers crossed. Cool idea Mike!!
Bates Mototel: Closed for Season
When the cold/wet weather arrived in November, we stopped getting visitors at the Mototel, so we packed it away until spring. With the help of our buddy Trent and his excavator, we also cleared and leveled a dedicated space at the edge of the parking area for the tent (see pic below) so we won’t have the tent in the middle of the parking area next year.
For anyone who missed it in earlier posts: the Bates Mototel is our free backyard campground for travelers. If you’re passing through the Gorge next summer, stop by! You can find it on the Tent Space map on advrider.
Here are some random pics from the last few months:
We pulled off the highway to camp one night, and woke up under a boulder that had this all-time epic epitaph bolted to it.
“Desert Steve – Born June 16th 1882 – Founded Desert Center Sept 21 1921 – Worked like hell to be an honest American citizen – Loved his fellow men & served them – Hated booze guzzling – Hated war – Hated dirty deal damn fool politicians – Hopes a guy named Ragsdale will ever serve humanity at Desert Center – He dug his own grave – Here are his bones – I put this damn thing up before I kicked off – Nuff sed – Steve”
Ash and I got trials bikes!
Our new window sign, made by our buddy Pedro in Mexico. Thanks Pedro!!
Here’s an awesome Christmas card from our buddy Wade in Iraq (@Wade-O on advrider). Happy Holidays Wade!