December 11, 2014
Another Southeast Asia trip is taking shape for January, this time a combination of work, vacation, and bag testing. My girlfriend Amarett will be in Bangkok, so the idea is to meet her there, then fly together to Ho Chi Minh City. In HCMC we’ll pickup revised protos of the Reckless 80/40 bags from David and Anton, buy some inexpensive local bikes for a few hundred dollars apiece, and ride them up through Cambodia and Laos. I wanted a Minsk like the one I rode last time, but Minsks are getting old and they weren’t all that reliable even when they were new, so we’ll probably end up on something newer and more reliable, like a Honda Win:
Last time I did a moto trip in SE Asia I stayed along the coast. That route has gotten pretty heavily-traveled and we want to do something different. We’re thinking we’d cross into Cambodia immediately, ride through northeastern Cambodia into Laos — where neither of us has been before — and then cross back into Northern Vietnam to finish the trip in Hanoi. Something like this:
We’d love to do the trip on bigger bikes, but bigger bikes aren’t in the budget. Plus bigger bikes with legal paperwork are harder to find and harder to service in this part of the world. A cool thing about the Reckless bags is that although they were designed for offroad/dualsport, they can be strapped to just about any bike. I think a lot of the add-on features – like external pockets for tools/tubes, MOLLE bags for fuel, and beavertails for quick-stash – will really come in handy on the tiny bikes. So it’s a good opportunity for bag testing and photography, and a fun/inexpensive way to explore this interesting little corner of the world. Really looking forward to it.
With this trip on the horizon, and with Andrew and I already running at full capacity, we need to find some help. We were expecting a winter lull – and indeed that’s probably still coming after the new year – but so far it hasn’t happened. Between voicemail, email, facebook, website contacts, and advrider posts/PMs – plus daily business tasks, ongoing development projects, winter motorcycle shows, and travel – it’s clearly time to expand our two-man team. Apologies to anyone who’s been waiting for a response from us, and thanks to everyone on advrider who has been answering questions in the meantime.
We posted a job listing on craigslist for help with some of the marketing and administrative workload. It’s starting as part-time but will go to full-time soon. Here’s a link (as re-posted on advrider.com): JOB POSTING. We’ll begin reviewing applications next week.
On the sales front, we reached out to our friend Dusty Wessels who we met at the rallies last summer. Among other projects, Dusty is an offroad guide/instructor through his business Dusty Roads Motoventures in Colorado. Dusty was an early adopter of Mosko bags and he agreed to fly out to New York City and work the IMS show there, and probably attend a bunch of the other IMS shows after that as well. Last week we spent a few hours on Skype going through all the bag features. Here’s Dusty saying hi from Colorado via Skype.
Just to get in the right mindset, Dusty took his Mosko bags out last week with the new mounting plates he designed for the big GS racks, and went for a 200 mile ride. He sent us these pics:
In the meantime, I got all our trade show stuff packed up and sent to the hotel in NYC.
The Mosko trade show kit ready to go via fedex @ the Postal Connection in White Salmon, WA
If you’re at the show, please stop by and say hi. Oh yeah, and be sure to ask Dusty how his accommodations in NYC are working out, it’s a really funny story. Good luck Dusty!
BMW & Jesse Brackets
The metal BMW brackets are getting closer. Here’s where things currently stand:
F800GS Adventure – we’re waiting on what we hope will be the final prototype/production sample. It is supposed to arrive this week. There’s a right side and a left side. The latest versions look like this:
2013-15 R1200GS Liquid Cooled: We’re waiting on the first round proto, so it’s a little behind the F800GSA. It’s only one side and it looks like this.
Old-Style R1200GS: This is very similar to the LC, and it’s also at the shop for prototyping. It’s one sided and it looks like this:
Jesse Odyssey II: For these racks, we designed a new front plate for the tool box that goes behind the Jesse Soft Plate. We want to talk to Al Jesse about this (I think he’s riding through Africa right now?) once we get a prototype done. We’re hoping he’ll be ok with us offering these for sale, or maybe he’d even be interested in making them himself.
Andrew’s daughter Sparrow had some creative ideas for decorating the adapters, which she shared.
The new wedge-mount washers are done. They’re shipping-out with all the new hardware packs going forward. We ordered 30 sets, tested them, and they work, so now there’s a larger production run currently under way. To get the washers we visited the finishing shop where they add the black oxide coating, which is the final manufacturing step. This was pretty cool to see.
The oxidation tub for mild steel. Looks like some seriously toxic stuff. And boiling hot.
This tub is for oxidizing stainless, it’s just starting to boil.
Some other parts in for treatment. Leatherman tool for military gun scopes.
Kershaw knife pocket clips.
They do a lot of military work in this shop. These are rifle barrels, with threads on the end for suppressors/silencers. There were some other unusual-looking, short, high-caliber gun barrels in there as well.
These are huge springs the military uses for lifting heavy equipment and transporting vehicles by helicopter in the field.
Final cleaning of our washers.
With the first small batch of washers done, we headed to the warehouse to add them to the puck saks.
We also made some progress on the shop last week, adding insulation and finishing off the walls with plywood. Andrew and I both work from home when we’re on our computers, and our inventory is housed at the warehouse in Portland, so this shop will serve mainly as a workspace where we can focus on bikes, racks, and bag fitment.
Andrew had this receiver/speaker system that wasn’t being used. Man, it’s loud.
It recently came to our attention that orders were arriving in boxes which look like this (thanks for the pic Robert, and for highlighting this issue):
We originally ordered pre-creased boxes that could be cut-down for different size orders. But when we arrived at the warehouse to pack up the first pre-order shipments, the boxes sitting there were not the ones we’d ordered. At the time, it was urgent to get those orders shipped, so we went ahead and cut the boxes down to size anyway. After we left, the warehouse kept using the same boxes, thinking that we’d want to work through our existing box inventory before switching to something new. We requested new boxes over a month ago, but that request never made it to the appropriate desk. So finally last week we worked with Mark at the warehouse to figure out final sizing and order up some new boxes.
There’s a new Mosko Moto website in the works. Nothing fancy, but something a lot more scaleable than the current site, and a little more professional and less homemade as well. With the new items coming up for Spring, plus the impending addition of the MSR camping items and riding apparel, we need a site that can scale to accommodate a broader range of products, more orders, and easier updates. We built the current site ourselves using an online WYSIWYG builder. The price was right ($0) but now it’s time for an upgrade. Hoping to have a new site live within the next few weeks. Our buddy Karl in Hood River is working on it.
We’ve been brainstorming some new ideas for MOLLE pouches for the 2016 launch, which we’ll start working on in the new year, as soon as the metal adapters are done. We like the idea of a totally waterproof MOLLE bag that has a variety of different inserts for things like maps and tools. Maybe even an insulated bag for perishable items.
Here’s a tool/first aid bag combination Andrew designed for a trail-building kit a few years ago. Something like this could be redesigned for dualsport, and would easily slide in/out of a waterproof MOLLE pouch.
The idea is that we could store our tools on the very bottom of the pannier, at the lowest spot on the bike, to keep the weight down low.
Then when we need tool access, the bag would have hooks that connect to the front of the pannier like this, for ready-access to tools without laying them out on mud/sand.
Just something we’re messing around with. Much more to follow.