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November 8, 2018
Lee is at the warehouse in Portland. Ash & Sarah are at Overland Expo in North Carolina, and Scott & Andrew are at the Outdoor Retailer show in Denver. Tiff & I are holding down the fort in White Salmon.
A few weeks back, we closed the office for a week and went riding. I love that everyone on our team rides. Everyone rides, everyone knows the product, and everyone contributes to development.
At least once a year – and ideally twice – we do a company trip. Past trips have included the Arizona BDR, Owyhee Canyon, Baja, and Moab. This time we wanted to cross Oregon on dirt, following some parts of the Cascade Discovery Route and Backcountry Discovery Route, but mostly navigating our own path and connecting some favorite spots. Not everyone was able to join for the whole trip due to family obligations, but four of us made it all the way. 740 miles riding south on almost all dirt, plus a very fun ride back north on mixed dirt/pavement for a total of ~1,100 miles over nine days.
In addition to the usual assortment of Mosko bags, everyone had at least one piece of our new Basilisk riding gear. We had several generations of prototypes represented, making it the largest collection of Mosko-clad riders to date, with a healthy dose of our favorite Klim gear mixed in as well.
The Reckless 10
Oh how I love this bag. Let me count the ways.
Here’s what the R10 looks like fully packed on my KTM 300 XC-W. We’re still waiting for R10 drybags to be delivered, so I’ve been using large MOLLE bags instead.
My minimal trail riding tool kit, mostly the stock tools that came with my KTM.
I added two small MOLLE pouches for extra gas. Ash and I have been doing 100+ mile desert loops, so we need the gas. On one side of the bag I carry an extra tube, air pump, and food. On the other side I have a Pinner Tool Roll and tow rope. My jacket and license plate go under the beavertail, and my InReach mounts on the front of the leg.
Here are some pics of Ash using the beavertail. The four little webbing loops hold our license plates. I’m not vouching for the legality of mounting a plate here, but it’s the only spot I’ve found where they don’t break off the bike. We’ve never been stopped, but we’ve also never been spotted.
When we’re riding on public land, we do the Outdoor Tree 10 Piece Challenge, picking up 10 pieces of trash on every ride. Here’s Ash using the beavertail to hold an old pillow we found last weekend.
Ash mounted her R10 with a Voile strap wrapped around the rear fender. I bolted mine directly to the fender by drilling holes. Neither of these is the ‘official’ mounting solution (which uses our rear mounting cleats), we’re just testing different ideas. The bolts work great if you don’t mind drilling and you don’t need to take the bag off easily. Voile strap works well if you don’t want to drill and need easy on/off. Although with the Voile strap, the bag does move around a bit more while riding.
I can’t get over how awesome this little bag is. I love not carrying everything in my backpack. It works for a long-distance enduro loop, and just as well for a day messing around in the sand.
New Backcountry 35 Pannier Latch
We’re working on a new locking latch for the Backcountry 35 panniers. We got a functioning rapid prototype from the factory, and it looks awesome. 3D printing is amazing.
The latch is designed to lock the bag to the bike, and also lock the bag closed, in a single mechanism with a retractable cable lock.
We try not to think too much about cost when we’re designing something. We want to make the best product we can, then figure out how to pay for it later. The new latch will test that principle. The cost per unit is reasonable, but the upfront molding cost is astronomical, nearly double what we spent to create the mounting wedge and frame. Plus, because of the high volume required to make it, the latch needs to go on every pannier we make. Offering it as an add-on upgrade is not an option. So the new latch will raise the price of every BC35 pannier we sell.
The question is: how much? It depends on our unit sales volume, how we amortize the mold cost, and the profit margin we need. With normal margins, a zero increase in unit sales volume, and a two year cost amortization, the price of the pannier would be way too high. With lower margins, moderate growth in unit sales, and a five year amortization, it could work. But is 5 years without substantial changes realistic for a latch? What happens if we make the molds, then discover some shortcoming down the road? These are some of the questions we’re debating, with the final answer still TBD.
Bottom line: we like the latch and we want to make it work.
It seems like every week lately we have some breakthrough on apparel, or we get a new sample in the mail. We have officially placed our purchase order for the Basilisk kit, and made our deposit with the factory. The first delivery is expected by February 2019. Yay for that. I used the latest prototypes on our company ride a few weeks ago, and returned home with nothing to change.
The Deluge – our two piece rain kit – was delayed while we switched to a new higher quality fabric. We got revised samples from the factory this week with a new 3-layer eVent fabric that we love. It’s tough, waterproof, breathable, highly packable, and has a great feel to it. We want to make a few more small revisions, but nothing to hold up a PO with the factory. Exciting.
The Deluge works hand-in-hand with the Basilisk in a heavy, multi-day downpour. It also works as a standalone rain suit to wear over non-waterproof dirt bike gear or around camp. When combined with the Basilisk, the jacket becomes an ‘under’ jacket, and the pant is an ‘over’ pant.
Scott has been developing a custom logo application for the Basilisk. We experimented with both screen printing and embroidery on past prototypes, and we didn’t like either. This new molded, reflective 3D logo looks cool, shines at night, and is nearly impossible to remove.
In this pic Scott is doing his abrasion test, which involves grinding the hilt of his knife back & forth 50 times.
Here’s the bag the Basilisk will be delivered in. Except that it will be grey, not white.
The Basilisk is on order. The Deluge is about to be ordered. Belts have arrived. Jerseys are in production. Base layers are in production. And we’re about to place a PO with Forcefield for armor. That’s everything. It’s all happening.
Product Availability & Pricing
With all the new shipments coming in, we updated our prices to reflect higher duty rates from China. If/when duties return to historical levels, we’ll roll back the prices accordingly.
In Other News
New Dirt Bikes
Ash and I got new dirt bikes! I mean like, brand new. A KTM 300 XC-W TPI and a 250 XC-W TPI with a factory lowering kit. These are KTM’s new fuel-injected two strokes. It’s the first brand new dirt bike I’ve ever owned. I love it.
Lee’s New Truck
Lee and his girlfriend Ashley flew out to Idaho to pickup their new Suburban conversion camper. This company – Suboverland – takes older used Suburbans and turns them into overland stealth campers. So cool. It has solar, an outdoor shower, deep cycle battery, fridge, bed, and lots of internal storage. Lee & Ashley are joining Andrew & I in the desert with their new rig this weekend.
New Show Displays
The original Mosko EZup was getting a bit sun-faded and tired from so many shows. Plus we needed a second matching EZup to make a 20′ booth. So we upgraded our trade show displays. Ash & Sarah have the new displays at Overland Expo East, and they’re setting up today, so I’m hoping for a pic soon.
We also got this cool folding booth backdrop for fly-in shows, like the one coming up in Australia in a few weeks. Unfortunately we were too subtle with the blue-on-blue design, so we’ll have to get a new one with more contrast. It still looks cool but it’s hard to see our logo. Whoops.
Bye Bye 950 SE
I swallowed hard, and sold my 950 Super Enduro to Mike from The Dalles. This is the bike I took to La Moskitia, which is where ‘Mosko’ got its name. I have a hard time not getting sentimentally attached to bikes. That 950SE is an epic machine. Enjoy it Mike!
Andrew’s Halloween Outfit
Andrew fixing butterfly wings for his Halloween outfit. (kidding, it’s for his daughter Sparrow).
New Desks & Chairs
Sarah & Tiff assembling office chairs. Check out the new desks. Built by Tiffany’s husband Martin.
Andrew gets back from Denver tonight. We leave tomorrow to ride in the east-side desert, returning Monday. Then Ash & I drive to California for the Long Beach Motorcycle show. From there we fly to Australia for the Melbourne Moto Expo. Then we fly back east for my Mom’s birthday in Philly, followed by 10 days of riding in Ecuador, and a month of riding in Ethiopia. We get back from Africa with barely enough time to get back to Cali for Adventure Days at the Rawhyde Ranch. Sometime in March 2019, we’ll have a couple weeks at home before the spring/summer rally season starts. This winter will pass quickly I think.