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November 4, 2017
The road trips continue: from Oregon to Germany!
A few days after returning from OX East (wow that was fun), Jesse Felker from PNW Dual Sport and I took off for some riding and gear testing in Eastern Oregon. We had a couple days of rain, followed by a couple days of absolutely perfect sunny desert weather, and some small town dive bar shenanigans between.
If you’re ever at the Horseshoe in Prineville, keep an eye out for a couple Mosko dollars above the bar, facing the entrance.
Eastern Oregon is one of my favorite places to explore on two wheels. The wide open expanses, rocky and moderately technical terrain, and complete solitude are mesmerizing. Thanks for the great pics Jesse (below)!
I took a new prototype of the Reckless 80 v3.0, and came back with a long list of edits, but all pretty small… moving straps and buckles, minor construction issues, stuff like that.
BMW Visit in Munich
We returned Sunday night, then first thing Monday morning Andrew, Lee and I headed to PDX for a flight to Munich to meet with BMW AG. Three guys, three boxes of samples. Needless to say, we were stoked for this visit.
To Munich. Note that we’re all wearing collared shirts. Fancy.
This is BMW headquarters in Munich. The four cylinders were inspired by a car engine.
After working with BMW for the last three years, including countless emails and phone calls, it was awesome to finally put faces to names of our contacts in Germany. From left to right: Susanne, Kitty, and Ursula. We were also joined by Mathias but he’s not in this particular pic. We discussed a bunch of logistics related to the Atacama program, including the order we’re currently building, and we looked at samples of a several new products (like the Nomad and the Fatty) to provide inspiration for future projects. Plus we discussed a number of changes to the existing Atacama bags. Mathias gave us an overview of the BMW organization, and where Motorrad and the GS line in particular fit in.
I guess we expected a serious, collared shirt business meeting. What we found instead was a group of very cool, very smart people with a deep understanding of motorcycles, and also the business of motorcycles as well. We covered all the serious topics, but there was plenty of laughter and joking around as well. To say we were impressed is an understatement. Best of all, it was fun.
Everything at BMW is first class. The BMW campus literally has it’s own zip code in Munich. We were standing in the atrium of a BMW break room, and we realized that if we moved the entire Mosko shop into just the atrium, it would be a major upgrade over our current space
This is the BMW cafeteria where we ate lunch. Each bullet point on the sign represents a different kitchen with a different type of food. You practically need a GPS to meetup after getting your food. It’s a lot bigger than the Mosko cafeteria (aka Everybody’s Brewing in White Salmon
That night we went to dinner in Munich, and wandered around downtown checking out sights and exploring the beer gardens. That’s Mathias in the center below, he manages all the BMW Motorrad aftermarket parts. And he’s been riding with a set of Atacama bags, which made us happy.
Next day, we toured the BMW Museum. Downright impressive.
BMW’s very first motorcycle.
A multi-story wall of motorcycles showing the evolution of the current product line, starting at the very beginning.
The Dakar bikes
This is Elvis’ car. Like, literally, his actual car. Well, at least one of them I suppose.
The Isetta. So cool.
I had this feeling of awe regarding the long history of ground breaking design and innovation that’s woven throughout the history and culture of BMW. Even the lawn mowers are automatic, just wandering around the grass.
That afternoon we metup with Lee’s friend Leo, who he met in a small town near the Cambodia/Vietnam border while working with our factory there. Leo showed us around Munich that night.
We eventually ended up in this cool little nightclub. Can’t recall the name. Somehow I ended up in the DJ booth.
All around, an excellent trip. We returned to White Salmon even more excited work with this iconic international brand, and intrigued about where the partnership could lead in the years ahead. Keep an eye out for more cool new Atacama products!
Hood Tank Bag
Back in the shop, we went to work on the new Hood tank bag. This is our welded seam, waterproof tank bag design. We’ve been brainstorming a fit issue with the newer ‘hump’ style tanks on many large adventure bikes. The Hood, which has polyethylene-reinforced sidewalls, doesn’t contour to the shape of the tank the way we’d like. Here you can see the problem on Andrew’s Africa Twin.
We took a knife to the sidewalls, keeping reinforcement at the top, but removing it from the bottom.
We removed some of the support from the footprint, making it easier for the bag to contour to a bumpy tank.
Now the tank’s hump can push up inside the bag, which eats up a little volume, but results in a much better overall fit. Even though we consider this a ‘large’ tank bag by Mosko standards, it’s still relatively small compared to other tank bags designed for adventure bikes.
Mini Tank Bag & Reckless 15
It’s dirt bike season in the gorge, and with a stretch of sunny weather to dry out the trails, we jumped at the opportunity to test the Mini tank bag and Reckless 15 on my KTM 300. I usually ride with a hydration pack on my back and a tool roll mounted on the rear fender. It’s not ideal, because the hydration pack is very restrictive over body armor, and sometimes the tool roll hits me in the butt while riding. With these two new bags, I was curious whether I could do away with the hydration pack altogether.
The Mini mounted perfectly on the front of the bike (a tank bag… on a dirt bike?) and presented zero interference with my legs on singletrack. I stored my Delorme InReach, some snacks, and my cell phone inside. Really cool to be able to see my phone through the clear cover, and even operate it without removing it from the bag.
On the Reckless 15, a Fatty Tool Roll fits perfect on one side.
And on the other side, since I was trying to ditch the hydration pack, we experimented with different water-carrying solutions. Mainly we focused on how to contain two store-bought water bottles. We experimented with a couple different ideas but they were all kind of clunky. It’s easier to contain two fuel bottles rather than water bottles, because the fuel bottles are taller.
With the bags rigged, Jesse, Lee, and I went out and did some of this (thanks Jesse Felker for another great pic).
Everything worked great except the water. It was annoying to reach back, undo the clunky bottle holder, open a bottle, drink, and then put everything back every time I got thirsty.
I really loved the small beavertail. I put a tow rope and a jacket under there, and it was still low profile enough that it didn’t hit me in the butt. When you don’t need the beavertail, it flattens out and cinches down tight to the bike.
A couple days later Andrew took the same kit out riding, but instead of bottles, he rigged a hydration reservoir, running the hydration hose through the connection straps on the Mini tank bag.
This worked great. But just having an exposed reservoir suspended in the R15 pocket wasn’t ideal. We’re working on a better way to contain, suspend, and protect a reservoir, while still providing additional storage in the pocket on that side of the R15.
By the way, the R15 will also include two waterproof storage pouches that slide into the harness, just like on the R80 and R40. So on each side you can choose: fuel bottles, hydration reservoir, tool roll, waterproof roll-top bag, or any combination of these.
In Other News
We got our shipment of prototype jerseys and base-layers. All looks good. We rode with them last week. These styles are basically done, not we’re just waiting for samples of the outer jacket and pant.
Love the laser-perforated logo on the back.
We also got our first look at Paul Stewart’s (RTW Paul) Scout pannier, which recently survived a bear attack. Wish I could claim it’s still waterproof. However aside from that, the pannier still worked, and the bear didn’t get anything, so I guess we can kinda claim ‘bear-proof?’
Tooth marks. Or claw marks. Not sure.
Stoked to be part of this cool new Rally Bike build by Lyndon Poskitt Racing. Thanks for stopping by the shop Matt Baker!! Pretty sure this is the first serious rally bike with our bags and logo.
Earlier this week I headed out for a few days of spearfishing and r&r in Baja. Man, do I love Baja. Back home now.
Quick update on stock status: the new order of Nomad Tank Bags and Fatty Tool Rolls has arrived and passed QC. However, now we’re waiting on rain covers and map pockets, which come from a different factory. Production is done, everything has been shipped, and it should all arrive in the next few weeks.