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December 7, 2019
We have another new addition to the team to announce. Paulina joined Mosko last week from See See Motorcycles in Portland. Before that she worked at the outdoor gear company Poler, also in Portland. Paulina rides a KTM 200 XCW on the trails, and she’s interested in getting her first dualsport soon. She’ll be working with Sarah & Jenn in Customer Service.
Here’s Paulina, 20 seconds into her first day at Mosko.
Here she is a little later that same day, training with Jenn.
Paulina: welcome aboard!
New Scout 30 Duffle
We received a final prototype of the revised Scout 30 duffle, which will replace the Scout 25 duffle sometime next year. We added 5L of capacity, changed the beavertail design, beefed up the backpack straps, and made the straps detachable. I’m really digging the look and feel, can’t wait to use it on a trip.Lee has been riding with a prototype of this bag all summer and he loves it.
Our new Voile straps arrived a few weeks ago. You can find them on our website here.
This is how I’ve been using Voile straps to connect a Basilisk Jacket to the MOLLE panel on the Reckless 80 beavertail. Right below it, the Fatty Tool Roll is also connected to my BDCW luggage rack with Voile straps as well.
On a trip last week, I used the MOLLE panel behind the Backcountry 35 v2 beavertail to connect a Deluge rain suit with a Voile strap. The jacket fits on one side, pants fit on the other. There are pass-throughs on the Deluge stuff sack specifically for this purpose. With the beavertail cinched down, you’ll barely even notice it’s there.
Show Bike Builds
Big thanks to Daryl and the team at Cyclops Adventure Sports for traveling all the way down to little ‘ol White Salmon and installing lights on our show bikes. So cool!
These things are BRIGHT!!
Also: big thanks to Woody’s Wheel Works for these awesome rims on our BMW R1200GSA, KTM 790 Adventure, and Honda Africa Twin. This might be the most excited I’ve ever been about rims. Woody’s Wheels are tougher and lighter than OEM wheels, and the anodized hubs looks totally bad-ass.
In addition to Cyclops and Woody’s, our 5 show bikes now feature parts from Black Dog Cycle Works, Adventure Spec, Outback Motortek, Doubletake Mirror, IMS Tanks, Seat Concepts, Bark Busters, and Hippo Hands. We’re also talking to Bridgestone about tires and Trail-Tech about GPS. These are going to be some very well equipped bikes. We’ll do a more detailed writeup when they’re done.
While Cyclops was working on the show bikes, JC pulled up outside with our newly wrapped show trailer, and we (and Kade) got our first look.
San Francisco Meetup
With the show bikes done and the trailer loaded, JC left for San Francisco by road, while Sarah, Andrew, Ash, and I flew down to meet him for a Mosko Meetup at Moto Guild on Treasure Island, cosponsored by our friends at advrider.com.
Moto Guild is a DIY repair shop with dozens of lifts and tools for doing just about anything you can imagine to your bike. They offer classes on bike repair and mechanics, consignment gear sales, and bike storage. I wish we had something like this in White Salmon.
We had about 125-150 people come through from 2-8pm. We polished off 20+ pizzas and two kegs of beer.
Chris MacAskill (aka ‘Baldy’), the founder of advrider.com, gave a presentation on the history and founding of the site. Chris was originally a geophysicist, who got into the tech industry working for Steve Jobs at NeXT Computer. He later started an online bookseller called fatbrain.com, which was acquired by Barnes & Noble in 2000, and which eventually became barnesandnoble.com.
Chris started advrider.com as a community gathering point and online forum for moto travelers. At that time there wasn’t an easy way to share photos, so he created a second and separate site called smugmug.com, which is now one of the leading photo sharing sites on the internet. Smugmug is still a family owned business run by Chris’ son, with over 200 employees. Meanwhile advrider.com – always a side hobby – has grown into one of the largest forums on the internet. I mean not just in the motorcycle space, but the entire internet. With more than 350,000 registered members, 30 million posts, and millions of monthly visitors, if you google nearly any topic related to adventure riding, advrider.com invariably floats to the top.
Chris is a great storyteller, a great public speaker, and also a great photographer, which is not surprising for the founder of an online photo site. He shared old pics from the early days. He also told us about an injury he recently sustained while riding off-road with hard luggage. You can see his broken fibula on the screen below.
Thank you Chris!
Attendance was great, the presentation was awesome, and sales were enough to cover our costs. Big thanks to everyone who braved the traffic and came to Treasure Island to hang for a bit! Especially Ray and Abe for coming early and staying late to setup and tear down.
By the way, Sarah Miller, you’re crushing it with the meetups! Thank you.
Long Beach IMS
The International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, CA is always the busiest of our winter shows. This year we had a 20×30 island instead of the 20×10 inline booth we’ve had in the past. We also had new displays, flooring, and lights, but we didn’t really have a plan for how to lay it all out when we arrived. We got there two days early so we’d have lots of time to tinker. Scott Bryan from Mosko and Wade Olsen, our friend from So Cal, joined us at the show. Thanks for the hard work and help guys!!
Here’s our little truck and trailer lined up with the big boys.
Here’s the Michelin man telling Kade about tires. Kade’s like, ‘cool story bro.’
With the larger trailer, there’s no getting around the Teamsters Union at the loading dock. Our stuff is forklifted, weighed, and charged by the pound on it’s way in, plus there’s a roll-in fee for each bike. We’re also required to use Decorator’s Union labor for setup and tear down. It’s hard to figure out how much you’ll be charged, I asked the lady at the service desk and she had no idea. There’s a hectic negotiation when you arrive at the door about how much help you’re going to get, which has more to do with how busy they are/aren’t than how much you need. From reading the exhibitor pack, I think setup labor was $110/hour, tear down labor was $220/hour, and the forklift was $80 per hundred pounds. Our booth was right inside the door and we have our own carts for everything, so we didn’t actually need any help, but that is not how it works.
These new flooring tiles not only make the booth look better, they’re also a hell of a lot more comfortable to stand on all day. Or maybe I am just getting old.
At first we were worried about our backdrops being only 20′ whereas the booth was 30′, but this ended up working fine. It actually works better to block one of the short ends instead of the long end.
We used the backdrops from our outdoor shows to make a little storage room in the middle of the booth, displaying three of our four mannequins.
JC built this storage box to hold our bag samples in the trailer. It also makes a great display table for tool rolls at the front of the booth. Ash found a local printer who made the white lizard decal that afternoon.
Here are some pics of the finished booth.
Brett Tckas from PSSOR gave a presentation in the “Adventure Out’ section of the show directly across from our booth, in which Mosko bags were prominently featured. Thanks Bret!
The new Harley adventure bike was on display. In a box, which was weird.
We had a great show. We were just $100 shy of our all time record (set at the BMW Rally in TN). Thanks to everyone who stopped by!
New KTM 1290s
The day after returning from Long Beach, Ash and I picked up KTM 1290 Super Adventure R’s from our friends at Fun Country Powersports in the Dalles. We set them up that night, and left for the Oregon coast the next day.
It’s hard to tell in this pic, but Ash is doing her happy dance.
The first step was to install some new Outback Motortek racks and Backcountry v2 panniers. Ash used the 25L, I took the 35L. The racks were super easy to install and our Mosko wedges mounted seamlessly. These are the ‘Standard Frame’ racks, not the ‘X-Frame’ racks that are also made by Outback Motortek. OM is now our go-to recommendation when people ask what racks to buy.
Ash and I both tested the new Rak anorak jacket, a prototype of our new heated jacket, and some heated pants from Venture Heat. Temps were low to mid 30s with mixed rain and snow, and we were quite warm throughout. It was like riding in a sauna, except for our feet, which were cold.
Armor-over-insulation is more comfortable than under, because the fabric isn’t stretched tight over the armor, and it’s also warmer because the heat is closer to your skin. However the heated pants are noticeably bulkier than long underwear, which made everything feel pretty snug on my bottom half. The upside is that you can ride comfortably all day long in freezing temps and rain, be completely warm and dry, and not have to add a ridiculous number of layers.
The idea for this brief 4-day trip was to go surfing. A few years ago our friend Richard Siberell turned us on to ‘surf mats’ as a practical way to surf from a motorbike. A surf mat is a small inflatable raft that you ride like a boogie board with fins, but which packs down small so you can store it on a bike. They are made from heavy duty welded-seam materials with a rough side (which faces up and sticks to your body) and a smooth side (which faces down and slides across the water). They are absolutely the kookiest things in the surf lineup, but you can paddle out in pretty much any kind of surf and have a blast. Plus they fold small and fit easily on your bike.
Here’s a couple videos of surf mats in action:
Here’s the company I got mine from:
Fourth Gear Fliers Fatty Surf Mat: http://surfmats.com/the-fatty.html
I can fit the surf mat, fins, 5/4 wetsuit, booties, gloves, and a hooded rashguard in a Stinger 22l drybag duffle. This I mounted over the passenger seat of the bike.
Water and air temps were both in the 40s, which made for chilly fingers and numb hands. They sting like crazy when they come back to life.
At a restaurant we found a simple cheapo stylus that someone had left behind on the table. Our buddy Juan suggested using it to operate a cell phone with gloves on. That’s one of the main difficulties I’ve encountered with my cell phone as a navigational tool. Screen-friendly gloves are too clunky to type with. Is a stylus the answer? I’ll try it.
That night I ordered this ‘tactical pen’ with stylus from Smith & Wesson. It is also a weapon, apparently.
The Super Adventure comes with a robust OEM tool kit. I integrated this into my existing tool kit and Fatty Tool Roll, which now covers all six of our bikes.
Coming back from the trip we arrived at the house to find two new boxes of 1290 accessories from Black Dog Cycle Works: skid plates, foot pegs, and luggage racks. Stoked to get this stuff installed.
I’ve been using the Nomad tank bag for the last few years. This trip – on a big ADV bike with lots of rain – was a perfect opportunity to ride with the Hood. I love that the Hood is waterproof without a rain cover, and it’s so easy to get in and out of. Something that could use improvement is the internal organizer wallets. Coming from the nomad – which has tons of internal storage pockets – it is a little awkward to find a spot for things in the Hood, especially charging cables. When we got back to the office on Monday, Andrew, Scott, and I brainstormed ideas for additional internal organizational in a future version of the Hood.
Social Media Advertising
Blake has been working on new social media ads. You might see them in your news feed on Facebook and Instagram. This is totally new for us. We just started doing social media ads for the first time a few months ago, and the first round were just simple images with some copy. The new ads are mostly video or animated. Let us know what you think? They’ll be updated monthly, so it’s easy to make changes.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Black Friday & Cyber Monday came and went while we were on our trip. The chart below shows sales (in $$, but with the numbers removed) by day through the month of November at our US store. The one-day spike on Dec 18th was our San Francisco meetup. The three-day spike on the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th is the Long Beach Show. The huge spike you see on the 28th and 29th is Black Friday. So that gives a sense of the scale of Black Friday versus our other winter sales efforts. It’s massive.
Aside from Black Friday, November and December are extraordinarily quiet. BFCM is basically two months of demand packed into 4 days. Because the demand is so spiky, I worry about picking errors and lost packages, because our warehouse and the shipping companies (UPS, Fedex, USPS, & DHL) are all working tons of overtime and using temps. We’ll see what happens with customer service calls over the next few weeks.
Despite the challenges presented by Black Friday, it’s really fun to see all the orders roll in, and it always generates a lot of excitement both inside and outside Mosko. On Friday we had visitors from 92 different countries, which is almost half the countries in the world. Amazing!
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who ordered!
In Other News
We got color swatches for the new Woodsman Pant. One colorway is the tan/black on the left (a sportier look), the other is the solid greenish grey on the right (more of a ‘travel’ look).
We also brainstormed ideas for 2021 including a possible update to the Basilisk and Deluge, heated gear, more insulating layers, and an update to the Signal Jersey and base layer. We’re also looking at the possibility of custom private label armor, ideally in partnership with Forcefield or Leatt.
The showroom is coming along well. We don’t get many visitors this time of year, but I’m really looking forward to this project being done.
Jenn had surgery on her broken ankle. She expects to have her leg back by the holidays, just in time for ski season.
Our buddy Juan, who joined us with his Africa Twin on our desert trip and also on this more recent trip to the coast, has been working on a carbon fiber laptop case called the “Valeo Case.” You can check out his website here. He sent this video testing his new case by driving over it with a car. In a Mosko Imbricate Base Layer no less.
For anyone carrying a laptop on longer trips: how do you protect it? It would be great to pass your input along to Juan as he gets this new business rolling.
Ash and I are currently on the East Coast. She’s in New York setting up for the IMS at Javits Center in Manhattan, while I’m in Philly visiting my folks. We’re meeting up at the show in New York today.