We have lots of pre-orders on the books, rolls of materials sitting at the factory, thousands of dollars in mounts/pucks/hardware sitting in Portland, but no actual bags yet. The last minute design changes we made definitely had some significant downstream affects on the production schedule.
People want their bags for trips in September, plus the US riding season is in full swing, so our selling window is getting shorter. We’re providing as much notice as we can on production delays, and offering zero-hassle refunds to the few people who have requested it, which is thankfully only two so far. Getting the pre-orders right is extremely important to us because many of those orders are going to people who have been following the blog and providing input on advrider since the beginning. Our business depends on these riders being stoked, and we hate to disappoint them by moving the dates. That said, with the first production run a brand new product coming from a new factory, firm dates have been hard to pin down.
For folks who have pre-ordered: we currently expect to start shipping in early-to-mid September. However, those dates are still fluid. You’ll know as soon as we do. Thanks for your patience.
On the ride to Minnesota I spent a lot of time thinking about apparel. Here are some of my notes from that trip. Some of this stuff is pretty obvious, but from a product development standpoint I think it helps to share it anyway, because these are the building blocks that our riding kit is based on. I grabbed some pics from around on the internet to illustrate.
Three different types of trips:
– Adventure Touring: large-bore bikes, longer duration trips, mix of hotels and camping, mix of paved and graded dirt/gravel roads. Picture the “Long Way Round/Down.”
– Enduro Touring: mid-bore and large-bore bikes, multi-day to multi-week trips, more camping than hotels, mostly dirt/offroad riding. The Backcountry Discovery Routes would be an example. I don’t know who these guys are, but cool pic.
– Day Tripping: Small-bore to mid-bore bikes, street-licensed dirt bikes. Multi-day trips would require super-minimalist camping gear or a support/shuttle vehicle.
Our first riding kit is designed for the “Enduro Touring” type of trip. It works on the freeway and it works on the trail, but it’s designed for extended multi day/week trips with a big dirt component and a broad range of weather/temperature changes. In the future, we will create apparel for the “Adventure Touring” and “Day Tripping” segments as wel.
Five functions of a riding kit:
1) Abrasion & Impact: two types of accidents.
– The serious crash, i.e. the kind where I’m just happy to walk away. In a serious crash I don’t really care what damage occurs to my riding kit as long it protects me. A lot of pavement accidents fit this description. For example hitting a deer/cow, or hitting a car.
– The offroad slide, i.e. taking a turn too fast or dropping the bike in a tricky section. Happens much more frequently than the serious crashes. This is more like falling off a dirt bike or mountain bike. In this kind of accident, I just want my riding kit to hold together and not get totally thrashed, in addition to providing some impact/road rash protection.
2) Waterproofing: two levels of waterproofing I think about.
– The mid-day drizzle, i.e. where I’m riding in a storm and that has a distinct start/finish. Maybe I can see the end of the rain ahead on the road, or in any event I know it won’t be more than a few hours long. I want to stay dry without having to stop and add a layer.
– The deluge, i.e. where there’s a major system overhead with no way around it, and stopping is not an option. In this case I don’t mind adding layers. A few years ago I was riding from Baja to Oregon in January through a big week long snow/rainstorm. It was rain and snow all day every day for days. We get this a lot in the PNW.
– A function of location, altitude, weather, and type of riding/speed.
– Extended trips will inevitably cover a large temperature range, sometimes even in single day: for example, going from low to high altitude, or from pavement to technical dirt.
– I don’t want any insulation in the outer layer. All I want is an outer shell that is tough enough to hold up offroad and which won’t flap like crazy in the wind. If I need insulation I’ll wear a fleece underneath. A lot of moto jackets are really heavy and bulky with their cordura-type outer fabrics, multiple layers of pockets, integrated armor, and liners.
– When it’s hot or I’m working hard I want a lot of venting, to allow air to move through the gear. When I’m really hot, I want to take the jacket off completely and still have the protection of wearing armor (i.e. a pressure suit).
– Venting and waterproofing work against each other. The more seams and zippers on the gear, the harder it is to keep water out no matter how many zipper garages, gutters, and weather flaps are attached or how much you tape and seal the seams.
4) Wind/Sun Protection:
– Riding in a pressure suit without sun protection for days/weeks/months in a row isn’t all that healthy skin cancer-wise Plus I get some weird tan lines from the pressure suit, and I get really f-ing dirty.
– Wind-flapping drives me crazy, like when I’m riding fast and whatever I’m wearing is too lightweight and not properly fitted. Whether it’s on a shirt, jacket, pants, or whatever, flapping is annoying as hell. Wearing a hydration pack helps control flapping but it’s a pretty sloppy solution. Here’s an iphone video of riding on the freeway at ~90 mph in north dakota with my arcteryx outer shell flapping in the wind. I wanted a video so we could figure out where to put the adjustment straps on our jacket.
– There’s a conflict between wanting a breathable outer shell that’s not covered in pockets, and not wanting to experience wind-flap. The lighter the garment is, the more likely it will flap. We’re going to need some reinforcement in the flap-prone areas and some adjustment straps so it never gets too lose. Which are handy anyway for increasing/decreasing the size of the shell to accommodate more/less layering underneath
5) Function & Storage
– I don’t like stuff in my pockets. 2 pockets is enough for chap stick, occasional toll change, and sometimes wallet/phone. Everything else goes in the bags. Having lots of stuff in pockets weighs down the jacket, creates an opportunity to lose or break things (like a phone), and it’s just one more thing to make bruises in a slide. Some of the dualsport jackets out there have 15-16 pockets on them. For me that seems like total overkill.
– I’d rather wear a hydration pack than put a bladder in my jacket. Some dualsport jackets have built-in pockets for this, but I don’t see them actually being used all that often. I can’t see myself ever using one. Same for the tool pockets on the back, the tools go in my bags.
Different layers of riding gear
1) Base Layer
– Top: mountain bike shirt with mesh sides for most riding conditions
– Bottom: Moto-skiveez (just switched to these on the MN trip. Was using under armor and bike shorts before but these are a lot better.)
– Thermal long underwear top/bottom for cold weather
2) Insulating Layer (cold weather only)
– Insulating layer: a normal fleece or puffy coat.
– Heated layer: I take a heated vest when I’m expecting harsh weather. They seem kind of gadgety, but it’s nice because they eliminate the need to carry additional layers, and I can adjust the temp without having to take layers on/off.
3) Protective Layer
– Pressure Suit: I’m a huge fan of the pressure suit, Yeah they look kind of weird but the protection is way better than any built in armor and I can take my jacket off when it’s hot out and still have protection. I started wearing one for trail riding a long time ago, and now I use it for all kinds of riding. I don’t mind having to take it on/off if I stop for food or whatever, it’s worth it on an extended trip.
– Built-in armor: this is handy for around town or commuting, where a pressure suit is a bit impractical.
4) Water Layer
– Outer jacket/pant: totally waterproof outer layer, but with lots of vents.
– Second layer: If there’s any chance of a sustained deluge, I take an extra water layer, either outer or inner.
5) Wind/Sun Layer
– Outer Jacket, when it’s cool/cold and for higher speed riding
– Mesh Moto Jersey, to wear over a pressure suit when it’s hot, for sun/dirt protection.
My current riding kit pieces together various items from my dirt bike stuff with an assortment of performance outerwear (not motorcycle outerwear). It’s not perfect, but it works better than any other kit I’ve ever used. And it costs less too. But it could definitely be improved a lot, which is what we’re working on.
Just wanted to share some of those thoughts as some “context” for where we’re headed with the riding apparel. Last week we got all the prototype revisions done and off to the factory. Looking forward to seeing the next round.
– Our SBA Loan closed this week, which is a relief. Here’s me signing on the dotted line. Thanks Corey!
– Andrew has left Vietnam and is now with his family in Switzerland. He made lots of progress on the Reckless large/small, but I’m waiting until he gets back to post about that. Hopefully we’ll have some pics as well.
– P-38’s finally went out this week! A huge shipment. Thanks for all the signups. We ran out of carribeaners, so some of the folks who signed up in the last week or two will be in the next round. A restock order is on the way. Thanks for the help Ava & Rio!
– Been doing lots of “sales and marketing” planning, all intended to address the question of how we get exposure without being in retail stores. More to come on that front.
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