February 20, 2018
Ash and I are currently in the air over Hudson Bay, headed to the Netherlands for the Utrecht Motorcycle Show.
Our buddy Roel has been working a number of European shows for Mosko this winter. Andrew flew over to the UK to help him at the Birmingham show a few months ago, but this will be the first European show Ash and I have attended personally. We’re coming not only to help staff the show, but also to evaluate ways that we can expand our business in Europe.
The high European VAT rates and overseas shipping costs, plus the hassle of having to get product through customs, has caused some frustration for riders in Europe. Initially we considered selling through distributors, but with the added distributor margin plus VAT, the final retail price would be insanely high. We’re going to be looking for a creative way to sell direct-to-consumer overseas, hopefully at prices no higher than what we charge in the US. At a minimum, we’ll need fiscal representation in the EU – that, or we’ll have to setup our own subsidiary – and find a local solution for storing and distributing inventory.
Ash and I returned from Baja last week with a long list of notes on all the bags and apparel we used on the trip, which we reviewed with the rest of the team in a fun and productive development meeting that lasted pretty much all day.
Backcountry 35L Pannier Update
The first bag on our agenda is the Backcountry 35 pannier. We need your input and ideas! If you have any gripes with the current design, please share. Here are some revisions we’re already considering.
1: Making the panniers symmetrical (no right/left side)
2: Changing the rear pocket from sewn-on to bolt-on with a removable drybag. The harness without the drybag can fit a Fatty Tool Roll or a 2L Dromedary.
3: A locking latch, either with a key lock, or with a special tool-handle that can be removed (which would actually be a torx head or something like that, in case you lose it).
4: A new way to lock the bag closed, probably with a cinching cable combination lock that loops back and forth over the roll-top through metal d-rings that are riveted to the bag, like in the pic below.
In this pic, the black webbing would be a sliding cable lock.
5: Adding some cut-proof cable around the inside of the liner. We get a lot of questions like ‘what if someone cuts into the bag.’ It’s actually very difficult to cut into the current version of the BC35, but by adding this cable around the outside of the liner, it would be nearly impossible. The front and rear of the bag are already protected by hard panels, so it’s only the sides and bottom that could benefit from added protection.
6: We’re considering reintroducing a 25L version of the Backcountry pannier, to provide a second size option, and also to enable offset kits for riders with asymmetrical pannier racks.
7: We’re also considering some different color options. Historically this has been a challenge because of high fabric order quantities, and the last time we tried to introduce colors a few years ago, our orders weren’t big enough. I think we’ll have better luck this time.
We’re very interested to hear more feedback from riders who currently have this system. We have a small window right now, before we start working on the next round of samples, to implement revisions. Please: chime in!
KTM 690 Owners: Nomad Tank Bag
I made a small change to my Nomad so it fits better on the KTM 690. By cutting a half-circle out of the top of the mounting harness, I was able to push it an extra inch or so forward on the bike, up around the ignition key. With this small change, the bag fits absolutely perfect with either Rally Raid Evo2 tanks or with the stock tank (it does not, however, fit well with Safari tanks). We’ll try to implement this as a permanent inline-change on a future production order. In the meantime, this DIY edit will not void your warranty on the bag.
Jason Small was the very first non-Mosko-employed person to try on the new Basilisk riding kit last week. He’s one of a handful of testers who are going to help make sure we haven’t missed anything before we go to production.
The remaining test kits are going out in the mail this week.
We finished decorating the new shop with all the stickers everyone sent in, plus this awesome sign that Ash and Andrew painted. So far we’re loving the new workspace.
Mosko was approved for an inventory loan through US Bank and secured by the SBA (Small Business Administration). Borrowing money is always nerve-wracking, because everything I own is on the line as collateral, but it’s part of running a small business. We have to make stuff before we can sell it, building inventory takes cash. We were very happy and honored to get this loan, and we’re hugely appreciative to our banker Corey, US Bank, and the SBA, without whom we’d never have made it this far.
Andrew headed North to Canada for the Vancouver motorcycle show in January. This show is always a blast, and very busy, and this year was no exception.
Roel attended the Assen Motorcycle Show in the Netherlands and reported great traffic there as well, attendance was over 25,000 people. Check out the awesome booth he made for the European shows. Now we need to step up our booth game on the US side of the pond as well. We’re planning to make something similar before the BMW Motorcycle Owners show in July, which is our first indoor show of the summer in the US.
Finally, here’s an assortment of pics from the second half of our Baja trip.
Huge thanks to Kurt & Martha from Black Dog Cycle Works for the hospitality when we stopped by their place on Conception Bay!
Now we’re somewhere over the Atlantic, still 2.5 hours from Amsterdam. Amazingly, there’s now a direct 10 hour flight from PDX-AMS. We’re landing at 9am Dutch time – midnight our time – after zero sleep… so might need a nap.