Sarah Miller: Welcome Aboard
October 4, 2018
At the moment, I have Mosko headquarters all to myself. Andrew is in Vietnam visiting our sewing factory. Lee is in Europe working with our new fulfillment center and attending the INTERMOT show. Ashley and Sarah are on a motorcycle trip near Mt. Adams. Scott is at home with his wife Lauren expecting a new baby at any moment. And Tiffany is working from home. So it’s just me and the dogs holding down the fort. A good day for the blog!
Welcome Sarah Miller
I’m very excited to introduce Sarah Miller as the new ‘Director of Customer Experience’ at Mosko. Sarah will be in charge of all customer service and communications going forward. Her background includes seven years at Marmot and eight years at REI, plus senior customer service management positions at DaKine (where she worked with Scott before he joined Mosko) and Nau/Blackyak. In addition to riding motorcycles, Sarah is an avid backpacker and enduro mountain bike racer. She’s outgrown her current dualsport, a Honda 230, and she’s in the market for something new. Sarah brings a ton of experience managing customer service, warranty, and e-commerce for major outdoor brands. We’re SO stoked to have her on the team!
Welcome aboard Sarah!
Ash and I returned from Burning Man, had a few nights to dust off and repack the trailer, and then we were back on the road, headed to the KTM Rally in Park City, Utah.
The KTM Rally is a medium-size event – maybe 300-400 riders total – and it’s always in an awesome location. Nearly everyone at this event already uses soft luggage, so it’s always an excellent show. I saw way more Mosko bags at this event this year than I ever have before.
We caught up with Kurt & Martha from Black Dog Cycleworks and Bill & Joan Whitacre over dinner.
We also saw Brandon & Simon from Upshift Online. If you haven’t seen the Upshift online magazine yet, I highly recommend checking it out. The content & photography is absolutely top notch. How they manage to deliver all that original content free of charge with minimal advertising is beyond me. It’s a great read though, and I really appreciate their unique perspective on riding & travel.
Nice to see that the Backcountry 35 can also serve as a center stand in a pinch.
KTM does a killer job with this event. Even the food was amazing. This year they had a new event called the ‘Ultimate Race‘, with the two finalists from Park City traveling to Morocco to race.
I saw this interesting mod to a Reckless 80 on a KTM 690. He drilled directly through the bag and mounted it to the frame of the bike using the same mounting bolts as the factory grab handles. We’re really intrigued with mounting options that combine hard and soft components. I might have to try this one on my bike.
At the KTM Rally, everyone was out riding in the middle part of the day, and our dualsports were being used to display bags in the booth, so Ash & I explored Park City on mountain bikes instead. Big thanks to our friend Marcus for showing us around.
On long road trips to/from events and rallies like this one, it’s awesome when we can stop somewhere interesting instead of sleeping in rest areas or truck stops. On the way home from Park City we spent a night at the Bonneville Salt Flats, which is a great place to wake up, and also a great place to see how fast your truck can go.
The next night we lucked out again, stopping just a few miles from this neat little hot spring.
The Dream Roll
From the KTM Rally, our next stop was Prineville, OR for an all-women’s event called the ‘Dream Roll.’ A crew came up from the Gorge to meet us there for the weekend. Aside from this great pic of Tiff waking up in the back of her truck in sub-freezing temps, I have hardly any photos from this event, because it was women-only. The five women in our group spent their days working on dirt riding skills at the ‘Dirtastic‘ clinic.
Since we couldn’t participate, Lee & I went riding instead.
Everyone enjoyed themselves. The feedback on Dirtastic was awesome as well. Even from the sidelines, I could tell there was an energy and excitement at this event that was really inspiring. People were up partying around campfires late into the night, and everyone we met was super cool. There were no guys there at all, so Lee & I kept a low profile, cooking and cleaning in the camper while the women rode and partied. If you want more info about this event, please send a note to Tiff, Sarah, or Ash.
New Apparel Samples
Back in the shop on Monday, Bill Whitacre was in town, so he stopped by to take a look at the latest apparel samples. The fact that we’ve turned around an entire sample set since my last blog post shows how things have accelerated since Scott joined the team. Sample rounds used to take a minimum of 3+ months.
We had to make a decision with respect to the ‘Deluge’ jacket. The Deluge is the name for the secondary rain layer we want to offer in conjunction with the Basilisk outer jacket/pant. If you’ve been following our apparel development, you probably remember that we want a fully waterproof/breathable outer jacket and ALSO offer a thinner rain jacket that goes underneath for hardcore multi-day downpours when rain tends to find its way through openings and abrasion spots. We’re doing this while knowing full well that many people will think it’s totally weird to offer a second rain layer when the main jacket is already 100% waterproof. It’s a confusing marketing message, no doubt about that, but anyone who’s ever been damp or wet inside a high-quality, fully-waterproof jacket after several days of rain, will understand. At high speeds on bikes that don’t have a front fairing or windscreen, rain eventually finds a way in.
Originally we wanted to include a Deluge jacket/pant as a package deal with every Basilisk jacket/pant. We wanted it to be an inexpensive, replaceable, packable extra layer. Mainly for cost reasons, we decided to use a generic waterproof breathable membrane. However even with the generic material, the end result was still too expensive to include with every Basilisk. Especially since some riders (for example, in the Southwest) will never need a second layer like those of us here in the Northwest do. It was adding $150-200 to the price of the Basilisk. So we changed our thinking, and now we want to make the Deluge a separate, standalone item that also serves as a stashable waterproof layer for dirt biking and wearing around camp.
The trouble is, because of the generic material we originally chose, when we stood back and evaluated the Deluge as a standalone item, we all agreed it’s just not quite there. Something in the trade-off between weight, packability, durability, and price didn’t add up. It’s not as packable or light as we’d like, and it doesn’t have eVent’s breathability. Plus it’s two-layer not three-layer, and none of us really likes two-layer jackets. So we decided to make a material change, which means we won’t be able to introduce the Deluge and the Basilisk at the same time. It’s also going to make the Deluge quite a bit more expensive than we originally intended. But so be it. There are plenty of functional, cheap rain jackets on the market already, the world doesn’t need another one of those. Better to make something really cool that we can all get excited about.
In this pic we’re comparing the packed size of a Deluge (in grey) to a Patagonia rain layer (red).
We briefly considered switching to a three-layer stretch Toray fabric – which would have been less expensive and faster – but in the end, we all want eVent.
The current version of the jacket and pant look great. Each round of samples brings us closer and closer to a finished product.
We added this cinch cord around the neck opening to make it adjustable.
The internal zipper gutters are now sewn-down, providing a back-stop for any water that sneaks past the zipper opening.
We also added an inside liner at the very bottom of the pant, where we were seeing some boot abrasion on our test samples.
We added a small amount of articulation to the knees with these darts. In general, we’re not trying to get too crazy with articulation, opting for simplicity instead. Less pieces, less seams, less sewing, less possible failure points.
We’re using a new material on the neckline. We were already seeing some pilling in the neckline material on our test samples, plus that material was holding moisture.
It’s getting to the point where I come back from test rides with no major suggestions, so that’s gotta be a good sign. Yesterday I went out for 4-5 hours of jeep track riding and I came back with a few minor thoughts about sleeve size and the velcro on the cuffs, but these were really small edits. Basically, I just really love this kit. I’m looking forward to using it on our company trip here in Oregon in two weeks, and then again in Ecuador in December.
Honda CRF450L Release
A big thanks to the crew at Honda Powersports and also Jesse Felker from PNW Dual Sport for inviting Mosko to attend the release event for the new CRF450L dualsport model in Packwood, WA. This event happened while Ash and I were en route to Park City. Andrew was able to attend, and he brought some Pico Tank Bags and Reckless 10s to test fit on the bikes. He sent these pics.
The reports on this new bike both from Andrew and also from everyone else I know who has ridden one have been overwhelmingly positive. Can’t wait to try one myself.
This happened to Andrew. He nearly got run over. Glad everyone was OK.
Reckless 40 Singletrack Trip
Last week, Ash, Andrew, Alistair (who manages Mosko’s social media) and I headed out for a quick overnight trip on Washington singletrack. We were all on non-plated bikes, 300cc or smaller. Half two-strokes and half four-strokes. What a blast. It’s like ultralight backpacking, but on a bike. The feelings afterward were unanimous: let’s do more trips like this.
We get a lot of questions about camping with a Reckless 40, what fits in it, etc. Here’s a video with the details of what we took, and also some pics below as well.
In Other News
Matt from Forcefield Armor and Bill from Motonation (Forcefield’s US Distributor) stopped by the shop a few weeks ago to meet with Andrew, Scott, and Lee to discuss armor options for the new Basilisk jacket.
Ash and our graphic designer Dan Cox have been working on a complete redesign of the Mosko website. The rest of the team got our first preview last week, and it looks really great.
The fall riding season is ON here in the Pacific Northwest. We’re on the trails every chance we get. Big thanks to Brian at BGR Moto for lending Ash one of his modified and lowered TM 144’s. What an awesome little bike.
Ash and I enjoyed driving our big motorized chair around the desert at Burning Man this year, again. It was great to run into some Mosko friends out there!
If anyone you have any questions about our bags, gear, or anything having to do with motorcycles or anything else, please post them in the blog/advrider comments below. Ash just informed me that we’ll be doing a video response. Cool!