It’s 2022! Belated happy holidays and happy new year to all!
It’s been a long break since the last blog post. This happens every winter. It’s because we’ve been riding a lot. Our advrider ride report from Liberia & Sierra Leone is here. We’ve also been on the SoCal BDR and in Baja recently. The days at home between trips have been a frenzy of laundry, stacks of mail, bill paying, email/phone catchup, work stuff, household chores, packing/unpacking, bike maintenance, and playing with our dogs.
Now we’re home for a few days before the 2022 event season kicks off with the Desert 100 race in Odessa Washington next week. We won’t actually setup a Mosko booth on vendor row like we have in the past. Instead we’re making a rider’s lounge with heaters, speakers, and couches, and a group camping area for anyone who wants to be part of it. There’s no charge to camp with us, just the entrance fee for the D100 itself. Many of us will ride and race. If you’re interested in joining please email Ryan Turner at ryant (at) moskomoto (dot) com. The weather looks great this year!
After the D100 we have meetups and shows one after the next through the rest of the spring and summer. Ryan, JC, Azure, and Wade are managing the US roadshow soup-to-nuts this year, while Roel is managing Europe as always. Ash and I will attend as many events as we can. Hope to see you out in the world somewhere this year!
New Team Members
We have some new team members to announce!
Alistair joined our team in January as Director of Sales and Marketing. Alistair spent 14 years at DaKine – most recently as CMO – where he worked with Andrew and many other folks on the Mosko team. After DaKine, he spent 4 years as CMO and then GM of an exercise equipment company in Hood River. He’s been advising Mosko on a range of marketing and brand-related projects since we started Mosko. We’re so stoked to now have him on the team full time. Alistair has a KTM 500 for touring and a KTM 300 for trails. He’s a badass on the track and trail, good luck keeping up. Welcome aboard Alistair!
Some of you may already know Wade (far left in pic above) from shows and meetups, or maybe you’ve chatted with him on advrider (@Wade-O). For the last 12 years Wade’s worked in intelligence for the US Marines in San Diego. Between overseas deployments, Wade spent as much time on his BMW as possible, plus he spent lots of weekends helping Mosko with events. He recently setup an internship at Mosko through a special program offered by the Marines. Wade rides a BMW GS1250 Adventure. We spent New Years together on the SoCal BDR. Welcome aboard Wade!
David joined our team from Immersion Research, a drysuit manufacturer based in the Gorge (he actually sold me my kayak drysuit). Previously David worked in a variety of roles in the whitewater and hospitality industries, including three years as a kayak instructor and raft guide at Wet Planet Whitewater in Husum. In 2014 he lived in Uganda for two years working as the operations manager of a whitewater kayaking operation in Jinja, where he did some two-wheeled exploring in his spare time. David is a photographer, he knows how to swim backwards, and he rides a KTM 250 XCF-W for trail and a WR450 for dualsport. Welcome aboard David!
Supply Chain Situation
Currently we have most of our major bag items in stock. Apparel should start arriving June, with shipments extending out into August. Black Friday preorders are expected to ship on time.
Everything is taking longer than before, but our forecasting and purchasing processes are adapting. Our first water freight shipments are scheduled to arrive in the next few weeks. After that we should have additional shipments arriving every 2-3 months, barring any additional surprises. It will take a minute to climb out of the financial hole we dug with our big airfreight bills last year, but a new supply chain equilibrium is in sight. Again: assuming no more surprises.
We’re closely watching the Russia/Ukraine situation, China/US relations, and the dockworker negotiation coming up in June. We’re a little jumpy after the last few years. Right now though, today, at this exact moment… things look better. Not like before, but better.
If I had to pick one word for the last 3 months (besides ‘Riding’) it would be ‘Media.’ Not only social media, but the process of generating, capturing, editing, and posting media content. I talked about this a little in the last post, and it’s only gotten bigger since then.
Back in September I bought my first GoPro (Hero 10), and since then I’ve added 360 cameras (Max 360 and Insta360), and a small drone (the DJI Mini 2). I also started engaging with Instagram (@moskopete) more than ever before, and last week I opened a TikTok account too (also @moskopete). I’ve gone from being the guy who groaned every time we stopped for photos, to a guy the old me would’ve rolled his eyes at.
Part of me still lives in a world where blogs were a cool new thing to do, enthusiast communities revolved around bulletin boards and forums, phones were for talking (not internet and pics), and Myspace was a new new thing. Back in the day, I awkwardly got on Myspace just to understand it and to start sharing travel pics, and then later I switched to Facebook when that became the obvious thing to do. Since then I’ve been sitting on the sidelines watching as Instagram and TikTok blew up. Now suddenly I’m the the old guy playing catchup: me on TikTok is like your grandparents fumbling with VCR buttons in the 80s.
Ash is kicking off a new department at Mosko called Mosko Media. The idea is to create more and better media (mostly video), take full advantage of the many opportunities for media creation at Mosko, and more fully leverage all the major media distribution platforms including Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook, plus any new platforms that pop up in the future. This is in addition to – not instead of – the blog and advrider. I’ll be blogging till they pry the keyboard from my cold dead fingers.
The new media projects are shaking up my existing workflow for the blog, which is based on using a single device (cell phone) to capture a single type of media (still pics) for a single platform (blog). Now I have 4 devices (phone, GoPro, 360 camera, drone) capturing four types of media (still photos, portrait video, landscape video, 360 video) for multiple platforms (blog, instagram stories/reels, TikTok, and YouTube videos/shorts). Sorting, managing, editing, and uploading video is much more complicated than still pics. That part is a work in progress, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Learning new stuff is fun.
Here are some videos from the last few months.
Brand Video: Big thanks to our buddy Jesse Rosten aka @onelostmoto for this awesome new brand video to kick off the new year. We’ll be making more of these in 2022.
Studio Product Videos: Thanks to our marketing manager Jack – the star of these new product videos – and also our friends at Workhorse Collective in the gorge, for bringing the Backcountry 35 and Reckless product videos up to date.
In-The-Wild Videos: now that we have cameras, we’ll be making some kind of product video on pretty much every ride. Because, why not?
Shorts: We’ll also be making a lot more short clips for Instagram and TikTok.
Tips & Tricks
Travel & Riding
IMO, these new ways to capture and distribute media fit great with Mosko’s transparent business model. In the beginning it was just me running around with my camera or cell phone, snapping blog pics. Now lots of people on the team have phones or cameras out, filming meetings, visitors stopping by the shop, events, new products in development, and rides. Sometimes they’re capturing media for our Mosko pages, and sometimes for their own personal pages. On the team trip in Baja there were at least 6 GoPros, 3 360 cameras, 5 drones, multiple DSLRs, and plenty of iPhones and Androids. Almost everyone on our team is on Instagram, and most are also on Facebook. A few are even on TikTok. The more the better.
We’re just getting started on this Mosko Media thing. We’re learning a lot. More coming!
Mosko Mule Gear Hauler
We’re building a beast of a gear hauler. We want this to be the most kick-ass, multi-use gear hauler you’ve ever seen. We’re focused on three primary use-cases:
Singletrack day riding from a trailhead – grab the bag, throw it in your truck or van.
Drive-in trips (i.e. Moab, Death Valley) – pack your riding gear and your personal stuff in the same bag, throw it in your truck or van.
Fly-in trips (i.e. Africa, Asia, South America) – pack your personal stuff, riding gear, and Reckless 80 in the bag, check it as luggage on an international flight.
The Mule will be a modular system that splits into two completely separate standalone bags, plus 4-6 internal organizer bags, each of which is removable and also functions as it’s own standalone bag too. This is a big, complicated, sprawling project… but man, when we get there, it’s gonna be awesome. We were amazed that the first prototype we got from the factory is actually a fully functioning bag,
I took the first prototype to Africa in February. Everything for the trip – including all my riding gear, a folded-up reckless 80, and all my clothing and gear – fits inside, using my Stinger 22 and the Mule’s helmet insert as carryons. I split the bag in two at the airline counter, and checked each bag individually. Each bag maximizes the full 62 linear inches and 50 pounds allowed on international flights. The two bags then quickly re-attacher when we landed in Liberia, so we could roll through customs and out to a taxi, past all the touts at the exit door.
For trailhead riding closer to home, you can use just the bottom half of the bag, which even on its own is still one of the largest gear bags out there. You can leave the top half in your garage, storing any items you don’t need on that particular day.
Packing for Africa, I realized how handy all the insert bags are. In addition to using the helmet bag as a carryon, the two little packing cubes came with me on the bike for the entire trip: the medium one for clothing and the smallest one for cables and electronics.
This insert bag was intended for tools, fluids, and stuff like that. The first iteration doesn’t work how we planned. The pockets are either too big or too small for the stuff we wanted to store there. This will be reworked in the next iteration.
This little cube is great. On a BDR-style trip this would fit all my clothing.
The helmet bag doubles as a handheld carryon. You can take your helmet on the plane, or you can check the helmet and use this bag for other stuff. It’s a top-opener, which makes it easy to access under the seat in front of you. We’re adding a shoulder strap to make it easier to carry through the airport as well.
This happened on the way to the airport. The total weight of the bag was around 100lbs. The wheels folded into the sidewall. Amazingly, it still made it all the way to Africa and back. We’ll fix this in the next go-round.
This bag is AWESOME for travel. I am very very stoked. I’m going to stick a 2×4 between the wheels and keep using it till P2 shows up. That’s how much I like it. For such a huge, unwieldy, and unusual bag, it’s incredibly functional.
Now we’re at a point where we start adding pockets, straps, handles, and features. Got any special requests? If you have an opinion on gear haulers, please share it! The best spot to post is in our advrider thread. We’re all ears. Thank you!!!
Scout 25 Panniers
We have a new concept for the Scout 25. Instead of a meal backing plate, this system would have a harness that connects directly to the rack with no pucks. A welded-seam drybag would then get snugged up to the rack by the harness. This saves a few pounds (and dollars) without sacrificing durability.
We’re still just messing around with this idea. Might go somewhere, might not. So far though, I’m digging it.
The Barfly Microshell
We love the first prototype of the Barfly. It packs tiny and fits great. Scottie found a nice 3-layer fabric to try on P1. This will replace the now-discontinued Deluge. Compared to the Deluge, we’re adding:
Snap vs zip-off hood
eVent branded membrane (reduce cost)
Hand pockets (reduce size)
This is the packed size of the current version. We want this jacket to live on the handlebars so you don’t have to get off the bike to put it on. This is about the max you could fit, so we’re limited in terms of what else we can add.
The Barfly has velcro cuffs that cinch tight around your wrists to keep the water out. That was a miss on the Deluge.
Above the hips in the middle of the torso there’s a tunnel going all the way around the jacket with an elastic drawstring for flap control. You can cinch it down to remove slop from the middle of the jacket, to prevent (or at least reduce) the hunchback ‘ballooning’ effect at speed.
We’re using the same main zip as we did on the Deluge: the YKK Vislon Aquaguard. This adds bulk and cost, but we’re not comfortable going smaller due to issues of dust and clogging on the trail. Big zippers add a lot to the packed size, but zippers are also the #1 source of failures, so it’s not a great place to make cuts.
We’re using use a much smaller zip on the chest pocket, which is protected by a flap.
This is what the inside tricot looks like on the P1 fabric. It’s comfortable next-to-skin.
Snaps vs zippers on the hood. We’ve yet to test these in wind. If wind pulls the hood off, we’ll go back to a zipper.
The direction of this project from this point forward, mostly depends entirely on fabrics. Originally I hoped we could make a $99 waterproof shell, but now we’re feeling like the materials sacrifices we’d have to make to hit that price, would result in a kit we wouldn’t want to put our name on. We could get there on a windbreaker, but not on a waterproof/breathable shell.
Our current options are as follows:
Make it a nice 3-layer, 20k waterproof jacket that packs to about 2/3rds of the Deluge in size, and costs ~$200.
Make it a less-nice 2-layer, 20k waterproof jacket that also packs to about 2/3rds of the Deluge in size and costs only ~$150, but feels clammy when it touches your skin, and loses it’s waterproofing gradually as it rubs on your armor.
Make it a non-waterproof DWR windbreaker jacket that packs to maybe 1/2 of the Deluge in size and costs ~$100.
My personal feeling is that #1 and #3 are viable products that I would love to add to my kit, whereas #2 is not. #2 is basically every cheapo rain jacket ever, so there are already plenty of those out there for people who want one. Most of us have owned one before. In fact I probably have a few in my closet right now with the membranes peeling off. Ultimately I could see adding both #1 & #2 to the line, but we have to start with one. Given that the Deluge wasn’t a great seller, it doesn’t make sense to add two jackets in the same category in the next iteration. For me, if I had to pick one, it would be the waterproof version. It costs a bit more, but it stops both wind and water, whereas the windbreaker only stops wind.
I gave away one of my two Deluge’s in Africa and now I only have one left. So for personal reasons I really want to see this project get across the finish line. I know others on our team feel that way too. There’s strong internal momentum for a waterproof version. But then again… that’s the same line of thinking that produced the Deluge
Keep an eye out for these cool new booth displays that Lee is working on. These are based on a type of camp furniture we see at Burning Man a lot. People call it ‘playa-tech.’ Everything disassembles and packs flat without screws and bolts. These pieces will be made from aluminum not wood, but it’s the same concept.
Our buddy Pedro in Mexico made a couple of these awesome ‘Wildcat’ light-up signs. Wildcat is Andrew’s nickname, and also the name of our new backpack.
The Backcountry brush guard project is nearly done. We’ve settled on a design and materials. It’s a small add-on, but if you ride in the desert a lot (which we do) it’s a substantial upgrade. I really want these. The sooner the better.
The Stinger 22 backpack straps need an upgrade. This was on my list of gear notes from Africa. I wish they had more padding. They dig into my shoulders after a few minutes.
We had a major snowstorm over the holidays here in the Gorge. This is the view from our kitchen door. We lost power and our well pipes froze and cracked. We were running on a generator, wood stove, and water jugs for a while.
Ryan, Azure, and JC have been plotting the spring/summer roadshow. We’ll visit most of the major west coast cities in 2022, and many eastern cities as well.
Andrew is developing a new dirtbike tailbag similar to the Reckless 10, but minus the removable drybags. It’s not waterproof, but it’s smaller, lighter, and fits tighter to the bike.
Here are some recent packing lists from two different trips. The first is from a Reckless 10 & backpack ‘minimalist’ overnight singletrack trip. The second is from a fully-loaded week-long ‘comfort’ trip on a BMW R1250GSA with Backcountry 35 panniers and 40L duffle. Together they represent two bookends of the packing spectrum for riding dirt, at least from my perspective. I’m sure there are other people out there pushing those bookends further than I do.
This is Rachel. She’s our part-time controller. She and Ames worked closely with everyone on the Mosko team this winter, to make the most detailed operating budget we’ve ever had. Things have been tight since the supply chain chaos. First we didn’t have inventory, then we got some but it came with massive air freight bills. Cash is tight because we have so much inventory in the pipeline, and profit is tight due to all the added freight costs. We’re sharpening our pencils, putting on green eyeshades, breaking out the 10-key calculators, and working toward a more sustainable bottom line for 2022.
Our friends Paul and Patric from Rheon labs in the UK came over to the US for a visit to talk about armor. Andrew snapped this pic. Unfortunately Ash and I were out of town for these meetings. We arrived just in time for dinner on the final night.
Bear found an ingenious use for a torn Backcountry 35 pannier. He converted it into this awesome shoulder tote. This could be a Mosko product.
Brandon, Chris, and Chad from Upshift Online stopped at the shop last week to review some new apparel designs. From left to right: you can see the back of Chris, Chad, and Brandon’s heads. Awesome seeing you guys, thanks for making the trek!
If you’re interested in Ash & my trip to Liberia and Sierra Leone, check out our advrider.com ride report here.Otherwise, here are some riding and travel pics from the last few months!
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