Back to the Future
October 17, 2014
The pre-orders have shipped and there’s no more rallies on the near-term horizon, so we can finally get back to focusing on the future: product development. We try not to obsess about specific dates, but it sure would be nice to have the new items ready and in stock by next riding season. Even though it’s only mid-October, we’re already up against our development deadlines for Spring. We’re feeling the pressure.
Fit Kits & Brackets
There are a few thorny pannier rack systems that we’re still developing fit kits for. Mostly these are bikes with racks that “bend” around the muffler. Metal is not exactly our “substrate of expertise” so developing these brackets has been hugely time consuming. Thankfully, we’ve had some help. Here’s a quick update on the progress:
2014 BMW F800GSA: This bike is challenging because it has unusual hoops on both sides of the bike. Plus the hoops are recessed into the gas tank, leaving minimal clearance for any kind of aftermarket bracket. And the bike ships from the factory with racks already installed, so there won’t be many aftermarket racks. Here’s some pics of the progress we made this week.
Brett in British Columbia didn’t want to wait so he made his own fit kit for the F800GSA. Nice work man, thanks for the pics!
BMW R1200GSA (by BMW/Touratech): These bikes are different year-to-year, there’s the new LC versions and then some older versions too. They all fit the same basic profile, with one side flat and the other side bent around the muffler. Andy Hart in Colorado came up with this really cool mounting system for his 2014 LC and sent us a second set to play with. Now we’re looking for a local bike to test it on. We like this approach, and we think it could potentially work for all years/models of the R1200GS with the BMW/Touratech brand racks.
Here’s what it looks like off the bike
Here’s what it looks like mounted. This pic also demonstrates the correct way to pack a rubber chicken. Thanks for that, guys.
Jesse Luggage Odyssey II Racks: The bags made by Al Jesse down in Arizona are some of the most bomber hard cases out there, and they come with their own unique mounting system. We were getting a lot of inquiries about mounting the wedges on Jesse racks, so we reached out to Al directly and it turns out he’s already on top of it. He’s designed a really cool soft-bag plate system with a convenient tool box that fills the gap between the bag and the rack on the muffler side. This is a brand new system that he’s just starting to ship this week. We sent Al one of our panniers to test and he sent us back the pics below. A sample is on the way right now. We’ll post more pics once we’ve had a chance to play with it.
Apparel Fabric Selection
The apparel factory is ready to start on our second-round prototypes, but we’re having some second thoughts regarding the Toray fabric we originally specced, particularly with respect to abrasion. One problem with waterproof/breathable fabrics is that the thicker/more abrasion resistant a fabric is, the less breathable and more insulating it tends to be. Toray is great on the waterproof/breathable side, and we had originally selected one of their most abrasion resistant options with Kevlar in the weave. But… there’s “abrasion” as it pertains to normal sports, and then there’s “ABRASION” in all caps as it refers to what happens when we go sliding off a motorcycle. Last week we did an abrasion test of our own by rubbing the Torray fabric on rocks (forgot to take pics, sorry!). We weren’t that stoked with the outcome, so now we’re back to the drawing board on fabrics.
We’ve been doing a ton of research on this subject. We’re looking for a fabric that is:
– 100% waterproof
– Vapor-permeable (i.e. “breathable”)
– Non-air-permeable (ie “windproof”)
– Highly abrasion resistant
– Non-thermally insulating (in other words not too thick or heavy)
– Has some degree of two way stretch (i.e. to accommodate sitting/standing/leaning/walking/riding without feeling stiff)
That’s a lot to ask from a single fabric, we’re learning. There’s really only a handful of mills to even approach with a technical challenge like this. We’re reaching out to them now, and will hopefully be settling on a new fabric in the next week or two. In the meantime, here’s some pics of the DIY fabric tests we came up with. Not exactly laboratory science going on here at the Mosko Moto headquarters. But hey, it gets the job done and we’ve been learning a lot in the process.
DIY Air Permeability Test
DIY Waterproofing Test
DIY Vapor Permeability Test (the cups are on top of a steamer on the stove top)
DIY Abrasion Test (after rubbing on rocks)
Accounting & Purchasing
With the pace of activity the last few months, we haven’t had any time to catch up on accounting or purchasing or any of that kind of stuff. This week we finally got our revenue and expenses from the summer categorized (ack!) and put together some financials for our little startup. The result? Looks like it’ll be a little while before anyone around here gets a paycheck, but at least we’re still solvent and for the first couple months of business it seems like things are off to a good start. We have almost no real (business) expenses aside from buying the product, driving/riding/flying around to rallies, and paying the interest on that SBA loan we got. The website and shopping cart we built ourselves, the photography was done by friends, and we’re doing all our own bookkeeping. We don’t even have an office. Here’s Andrew demonstrating the principals of “lean office” management.
We’re about to buy our first fixed asset aside from that bandsaw we got last year: an enclosed trailer for taking bikes and samples to rallies.
Lots of inquiries about progress on the Reckless. We’re working on it. As soon as the new BMW brackets above are done, the Reckless is next on the list. I’m taking the latest prototype out for a few nights in Oregon next week (weather permitting) and will post an update after that.
Chris and Moffet from Inspired Rides stopped by to say hi and check out some gear on their way through town. These guys run moto tours and rentals out of Skagway Alaska. If you’re headed up that way check them out.
It’s been awesome to get all the pics that people have been sending/posting of their Mosko bags in action over the last few weeks. Thanks for that!
The rear pocket on the Backcountry 35 pannier fits a growler! Who knew?