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April 11, 2016
It’s the spring calm before the summer storm. Our bags are in production at the factory, assorted parts and pieces are trickling into our warehouse, and online orders are increasing, but the official selling season and road show haven’t quite begun. We’re using this pre-season period to update our website, shoot some videos, and develop new products. Andrew left for Asia yesterday, where he will be doing quality control on the items coming off the production line, and prototyping some of the concepts we’re working on for next year.
We’re experimenting with an aluminum back plate for the new bolt-on pannier design. This quick & dirty prototype was laser cut in Portland last week.
The final version will have slits like these, so the beavertail connection straps can be quickly & easily removed, leaving only the back plate on the bike.
These are the full-size beavertail patterns for the factory.
The bottom of the bolt-on’s beavertail has these velcro tongues which slide through corresponding slits at the bottom of the aluminum back plate and then fold back onto themselves, attaching the beavertail to the back plate, and holding the removable drybag in place.
Here’s the pattern for the front pocket of the removable drybag.
The bolt-on is shaping up to be a really slick, versatile system. Pretty excited about it. We’re designing it with BDR-style offroad trips and mid-size dualsports in mind. The capacity will be around 25 liters, and it can be expanded with MOLLE bags and by stuffing out the beavertail. It’ll be economical as well: we’re shooting for price point under $300 retail per pair including all mounting hardware, harnesses, and drybags.
A couple other things we’re playing with:
A redesigned ‘one size fits all’ adapter for bikes with curvy pannier racks (like the BMW racks).
And a little tool bag designed to sit on top of the flat spot on the adapter, which would also work with our current adapters.
Hatch Tank Bag
Some little organizer bags that will go inside our hatch tank bag design. To keep small items like batteries, power adapters, cables, etc under control. These would velcro to the inner sidewalls of the bag.
A map pocket for the top of the hatch.
New patterns for the outer bag.
Getting Ready for Production
Lee’s preparing for our next assembly run in Portland, which will be by far the biggest we’ve ever done. We’ll be using ironing boards to burn holes in the back of the bags for our mounting frames. Behind Lee, you can see the old ‘diving board’ design we used in the past.
We received the first base-layer samples and they look great. Some small changes are required but nothing too substantial. We’re still waiting on first round samples of the outerwear (ie jacket/pants), which are currently being made using the special abrasion resistant fabric we created. The outerwear samples seem to be taking way too long to prototype, an issue which we’re looking into now.
Also got the new belt, which will be included with our riding pants:
Met with Dan, our graphic designer, to develop our first-ever catalog. Something to hand out at shows, replacing the tri-fold handouts we’ve used up till now, and also something we’d send out to our mailing list.
2016 Product Videos
We started filming our 2016 product videos for all the new drybag items. As you can see, we don’t have much of a movie studio here at our headquarters in White Salmon, so Tiffany setup the camera in the back of my truck, and we filmed right outside the shop. The new videos will be posted online this week.
Now that our website photography & videos are done, Lee and I took the new drybag prototypes out riding, and snapped some pics for the website.