July 2, 2014
Northwest Overland Rally
Last weekend was the Northwest Overland Rally in Plain, WA. What a blast. We met a ton of local NW riders and got to check out a ton of bikes. Another extremely fun, very well organized event. This time we didn’t get to actually go on the rides because we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to work on some fit kits for our mounting system during the day, when we had access to lots of different bikes.
We also wrote a lot of ORDERS!! Which was really cool.
Got to setup this classic with some new bags
While everyone was out riding during the day, we cruised the rally looking for every bike we could find that had an oddly shaped pannier rack, and taking photos and measurements. We took over 100 pics. The challenge seems to boil down to BMW or Jesse racks on either an old R1200GS, a new R1200GS, or an F800/650. Fortunately, the differences between all of the above are pretty small, and we think with 1-2 different adapters, we should be able to fit all of the above. We saw a few other rack systems as well, but a bracket which fit the above bikes looks like it would fit on most of the others too.
We got our hands on a used pizza box and used it to make cardboard templates.
Then when we got home, we scanned the templates into the computer, and made drawings that we could print out.
We traced the drawings onto plexiglass, which we could bend with heat and drill through to test the fit.
Then we took the plexiglass out to test on a real bike, and of course ran into some issues right away.
So we’re currently tweaking the prototypes, and will be taking them down to BMW Motorcycles of Western Oregon later today, where the awesome owners (Scott & Madelyn) were nice enough to offer to let us come test them on a few bikes.
Additionally, for SW Motech racks, we came up with a design concept for tweaking our existing mounting puck to accommodate the SW Motech, and we’re waiting on a quote from the guys at Twisted Throttle on these.
And last but not least, the Rally Raid racks. Jack Betty (who by the way has a very impressive collection of KTMs and pannier systems) spent a few hours with us in his garage last week mounting the wedge on the RR racks on his KTM 690 Enduro. After trying a whole bunch of different configurations, we decided that our favorite configuration was to mount with three screws, a little further back and further down on the bike. We tested this and it feels really solid, despite having one less screw. And this approach requires no mounting pucks, which saves the rider $65. Thanks for your time Jack!!
Weights & Dimensions
Last week we headed back to OIA to get some incoming/outgoing freight quotes. The idea was to get exact weights, and then figure out how many bags can fit into an incoming shipping container (without the mounting hardware) and then what size boxes we would need to use for outgoing shipments. We measured and weighed every single little piece and item we have — which is about 26 different items including screws, bolts, and washers and things like that — and also figured out the approximate outgoing dimensions and weights of a box containing a BC Pannier Kit and a BC Pannier Kit with Duffle.
For incoming freight, if we brought over our entire first shipment by airplane we’re looking at approximately $9,688 to ship to the US via air freight, a staggering number. But at the same time, we know there are a number of folks who need the bags in early August in order to go on a trip. So we’re planning to send an email out to everyone asking who needs them urgently and who doesn’t, and then we can stagger the order accordingly. Rush orders will go by air (on our dime), non-rush orders will go by water and show up a few weeks later.
For outgoing freight, it’ll cost about $25 to ship the bags anywhere in the US. We are still waiting on the international quotes. We requested quotes to the UK, Tokyo, Australia, and Quebec.
We got our first round prototypes. Pretty exciting. Of course they’re still really rough, and the sizing is way off. But compared to where we were on our first round bag prototypes, these actually look pretty good. Still there is an enormous amount of work ahead on these, which is something we’ll be focusing on a lot this summer and fall. Much more to follow on that. The first round samples are just the very tip of the iceberg for the riding apparel.
We’re knee-deep in the SBA loan approval process, and really hoping we can get one of these as we need the funding. Spreadsheets. Ugh.
We had a great visit with my buddy Richard who is considering becoming a partner in the business.
In general, from a time management standpoint, both Andrew and I are maxed. We’re working non-stop, but still feeling behind the ball in terms of keeping up with new products, moving the current bags through the pipeline, developing fit kits, and keeping up with the questions which have been coming in via email since we first started accepting pre-orders 6 weeks ago. Apologies if our response turnaround time has slowed over the last few weeks. This will for sure be the first area where we look for help when we can afford it.
We’ll be taking down the pre-order pricing from the website as soon as we get time to get on there and re-do that webpage, so if you’re interested in pre-order pricing now’s the time.
Thanks for all your support!