April 23, 2019
Between the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, we attend a lot of motorcycle events. So many that I sometimes lose track of what’s next. We don’t have dealers to spread the word, so we load up the Mosko trailer, drive around the country, and do it ourselves. Like a small band with a new album: Mosko Tour ’19!
Our shop in White Salmon is overflowing with the stuff we need to support all these events: things like samples, display bikes, mannequins, flags, seating, speakers, shade structures, and displays. We need space. Last week we looked at a little warehouse just a few blocks from our shop. If we get this, we’ll keep our office where it is, and use the new space for storage and special projects like creating displays, testing fixtures, and sorting samples.
March Moto Madness: Tellico Plains, TN
Last year Ash flew to Tennessee to check out March Moto Madness. This year we returned and worked it together. With 700+ riders, MMM is currently the largest ADV gathering in the world. It’s also one of the few large-scale events that’s not attached to a specific brand (like BMW, KTM, or Touratech) or piggy-backed on another event (like Overland Expo). The location is awesome, the people friendly, and we wrote lots of orders. MMM is now a permanent addition to our calendar.
Here’s a cool idea for mounting a cell phone on your Nomad tank bag, at least until our new cell phone holder is ready. Take a MOLLE-mounted velcro patch (order it online, not from us), then attach some heavy-duty adhesive velcro to the back of your cell phone case. Great idea Bob!
We ran into Jesse, one of our first customers, whose Backcountry 35 v1 panniers with the rip-stop tops and HDPE mounting frames are still going strong. There’s some sun damage on the rip-stop, but otherwise these v1 bags are in great shape.
The ADV hill climb was entertaining. Carnage!
There weren’t any nearby hotels, only cabins. We got this cozy little cabin with a kitchen, hot tub, and views of the Tellico river. Having a cabin was great, because we cooked our own meals, and caught up on work in the evenings. There was no cell service at the event itself.
Ash, working on our new sell-sheets in the cabin at night.
The Desert 100: Odessa, WA
The Desert 100 is the largest motorcycle event in the Northwest. It’s also the largest off-road motorcycle race in the US, with 1,300 racers and thousands of spectators. It’s mainly known as a dirt bike race not an ADV event, although plenty of ADVers go.
A few weeks before, Mike (one of the organizers) contacted us with the idea of creating an ‘ADV Lounge’ for tent campers who want to ride in on their ADV bikes. The D100 happens in early April, so strong wind, cold temps, and rain are common. Mike suggested that a sheltered, heated, lit space would make the event a lot more comfortable for people sleeping in their tents.
Ames, Lee, Ash, and I decided to go. On the way in we broke a spring hanger on the Mosko trailer. The first person to arrive in the tent area, Matt, was an auto mechanic, which worked out great. Thanks for the help Matt!
For the ADV Lounge, we rented a big tent with a propane heater, and hauled in our UNRally couches. The space turned out great! There were only a few tent campers, so it didn’t get much use this year, but we see the potential and we definitely want to do it again. Next year, join us!
We setup display bikes on vendor row with a note saying we were out riding, and to stop by the lounge after hours with any questions. In retrospect, leaving a display unattended on vendor row probably wasn’t the best idea. When people see an EZ-Up, they expect someone to be standing there with it. The day after we got back, we got a pissed-off email from a customer because we were never around. Sorry if anyone else had a similar experience. Next year we’ll skip the vendor row display and focus on the ADV Lounge and riding instead. We’re really there to ride, not to work.
The D100 is huge! There must be at least 5-6,000 people, with thousands of toy haulers and RVs stretching as far as the eye can see. Like Burning Man, but for bikes.
On Friday we all rode the practice loop, alternating between dirt bikes and ADV bikes. On Saturday Ash & I followed Matt on the Dualsport/ADV Poker Run, which is a series of big-bike friendly singletrack loops, connected by long stretches of easy, straight, flat gravel. The smooth, tacky, high-desert singletrack was a blast.
The ‘Odessa O’ lives on a small hill above town, at the mid-point of the dualsport route.
If you’ve never been in a Poker Run (we hadn’t), here’s how it works. For every one of the challenges you complete (i.e. the singletrack loops on the dualsport ride), you draw a poker chip with a card on it, up to a total of 5 cards. Whoever gets the best 5 -card poker hand wins. Matt drew a flush, and won a big trophy, which must’ve made quite a sight on the ride home. Matt: we had a blast hanging out with you.
On Sunday, Ames, Lee, Ash, and I all entered the race. Lee and Ames did the 50 mile loop, Ash did the 100 mile loop, and I did the 50 mile ADV loop on my 690.
The start of this enormous race is something special. The line of riders is nearly a mile long. Everyone stands 50 feet behind their bikes. When the starting cannon fires, they run to their bikes, start them up, and rocket into the open desert, braiding and weaving through the sagebrush. A few miles in there’s a choke point, and everyone’s jockeying for position before they reach it. It’s madness. What a rush.
I originally said I would hang back, take my time, and let everyone else go first. But when the cannon fired, I found myself running and racing with everyone else. There’s so much excitement, it’s hard to not get caught up in it.
Everyone on the Mosko team finished what they wanted to finish, nobody broke down, and nobody got hurt. Ash rode the entire 100 miles, nearly 6 hours without a break. She finished in the top 20 women, and I finished 4th in the ADV class. We were all completely exhausted. Lots of stories, lots of smiles.
Next year is the D100s 50th anniversary. Is anyone interested in a group camping situation together? It doesn’t matter if you’re riding or driving, tenting or RVing, riding a big ADV bike or a trail bike. I think it’d be really cool if we put together a crew and all camped together, using the ADV Lounge as a communal hang-out and gear-up spot. Anyone interested? If so, send us a note at moskomoto (at) moskomoto (dot) com and let us know. We’ll keep you posted as plans develop.
As you can probably tell from this post, we really enjoyed it!! Thanks for this nice note Shane & Danielle (I think?)!
Mosko Meetup: Bend, Oregon
Last Friday we had our second-ever Mosko Meetup at Spoken Moto in Bend, Oregon. Spoken Moto is a really cool coffee shop, bar, and moto restoration shop with a big outdoor eating/drinking space and a bunch of food trucks. Rugged Thread came too, doing onsite sewing repairs of luggage and apparel.
We hosted an open bar, and had a steady stream of visitors from 3-7pm. We connected with a bunch of local riders, got to show off our bags, and sold more than enough to cover the bar tab and travel costs. Best of all, it was fun. Big thanks to everyone who came out to show support! We’ll be back.
Next stops: San Diego, CA (May 1) and Boulder, CO.
Apparel On The Road
We got mannequins!
They’re a little intimidating ha! Makes me want to work out. We’ve already gotten lots of feedback that they’re not indicative of the typical ADV body. Think of them as ‘aspirational.’ They’re for display purposes, not for fitment. They show the gear well.
Martin is building these cool mannequin storage/display boxes to take on the road. Each fits two mannequins for shipping and transport, and they come apart to make two display stands each.
We’re also making these folding pallet-benches, which strap to the outside of the mannequin box and ship on the same pallet.
We want to create a mobile pop-up store, with our various products displayed out front on bikes (for the bags) and mannequins (for the apparel). Then we’ll have a full assortment of sizes for test fitting hanging on garment racks in the booth, with benches for people to hang out on while they’re waiting. We’ll have a changing room of some kind (probably a small stand-up tent) and a mirror. Overland Expo in Flagstaff (May 17-19) will be our first show with this new setup.
Mosko Moto Europe!
So excited to announce that customers in the EU can now order directly from our new EU Webstore. EU orders will be fulfilled from our warehouse in the Netherlands. There’s a flag toggle in the upper right corner of the site. Customers located outside the US and EU can decide which warehouse they want to take delivery from based on shipping costs, and their country’s duty agreements with the US/EU.
Inventory status and product availability may be different in the two warehouses. Apparel, for example, will initially be available only in the US. If an item isn’t in the EU warehouse, riders can still order from the US warehouse like before.
We got our first sample of the ‘Rak,’ a pull-over riding jacket concept, a few weeks ago. We’re using a heavy-duty but packable, eVent three-layer, waterproof/breathable material, while adding as few zippers, seams, vents, pockets, and features as possible. It’s clean, minimalist, and tough enough for RTW, but small enough to stash. For a first sample, it looks pretty good. Can’t wait to test it.
Mosko Hydration Reservoir
We’re developing a custom reservoir for the Nomad. It has a nozzle shutoff valve, a nozzle cover for dust/mud, an insulated hose, and an internal ziplock that reduces capacity from 2L to 1.5L, preventing sloshing and using up less volume.
MOLLE Cell Phone Case
I am inordinately excited about the new MOLLE cell phone case, because it solves a major mounting problem for people (like me) who use a smartphone as their primary off-road navigational device.
I’ve broken a phone mount off my handlebars, cracked a screen when I didn’t fully engage the phone in the mount, and destroyed my camera’s stabilizer because of excessive vibration. It sucks to lose a phone in the middle of a trip, especially if you rely on it for navigation and photos. It also sucks to dig your phone out at every intersection.
Here’s a quote from an email I got last week, which pretty much sums it up.
“My experience using the cell phones is that they are not user friendly for on the fly navigation and having to stop and everyone pulling out their phones creates a cluster zone.” – Jeff
This small, simple, inexpensive bag is the answer. It mounts on a MOLLE velcro patch, so you can remove it when you’re wearing the Nomad as a backpack.
New Reckless Mounting Cleats
Lee is developing new aluminum cleats for fender-mounting the Reckless 10/40/80. These are nearly done, he tested them at the Desert 100. They’re similar to the old cleats, but a whole lot beefier.
The UNRally now has its own website: www.unrally.org.
It also has its own sound system. Four powered Mackie speakers, two powered JBL subs, and a small mixer. It’s a big step up from the home-audio amp last year.
We’re building two land-boards for the UNRally, propelled by windsurfing sails. We have the sails, masts, and booms, now we just need two boards to mount them on. If anyone has an old mountain board sitting around, we’ll put it to good use!
I’m headed out for a 5-day moto trip in the desert. See ya next week