Mosko Moto Soft Bags for Offroad & Dualsport

Discussion in 'Vendors' started by Sideoff, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    My buddy and I are designing our own soft luggage for dualsport & offroad adventure touring. This has been an interesting learning experience so far. I'm tracking our progress in a blog, and thought I would post it here so you can follow along if you're interested.

    Here's the blog link. I'll post a few back entries and all future entries here as well. Feel free to chime in with ideas.

    http://moskoblog.wordpress.com/
    #1
  2. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    10/4/13

    Learning a lot about bag manufacturing and materials.

    We have some initial high level sketches of the panniers, but now we need to translate those into physical prototypes. We decided that it would be more efficient to work with a prototype as opposed to trying to design everything on the computer. In other words we will have a local seamster (who we met with this week) create the initial outer bag, and then we will work on adding features like compression straps, outer pockets, etc later once we have a physical prototype in hand. The problem with designing everything on the computer is that a) it’s very time consuming and b) things that look good or seem to work on the computer don’t always translate into a physical product.

    This local seamster we met, Chip, is a sailmaker and master seamster who lives out in the countryside with his wife in really cool little house they built from hand. He’s extremely talented. In addition to sailmaking he has done a lot of outdoor gear for local companies here in the gorge. Really cool guy.

    Two of the soft panniers we’ve seen out in the market and really like are:

    Wolfman Expedition Panniers: I own a set of these and so do some of my friends. they’re bomber construction, simple, and inexpensive. Made out of PVC material with welded seams. As long as you don’t tear the outer material, they’re also waterproof. However they’re a pain to get on/off the bike, they are round (which wastes space), they have no exterior pockets or alternative access points for tools/tubes etc, and the connection straps are on the outside of the bag so they’re the first things that break if you go down. Plus the attachment system is clumsy. Overall though these are good bags and they get the job done.

    [​IMG]

    Kriega Overlander 60: These are new and I haven’t seen them in person, but they seem pretty cool. Made from cordura on the outside and a waterproof liner on the inside, they separate the abrasion resistance from the waterproof layer, similar to the BMW Rallye jackets. This is a cool setup because when you crash you don’t lose your waterproofness. They also have a quick/easy on/off system unlike the Wolfman. Plus they’re rotopack compatible if fuel carrying is an issue. Seems like a cool system, I’d like to see one in person. The main downside here is the price of $800.

    [​IMG]

    We’re researching fabrics, but in general we like the idea of separating the abrasion/waterproofness and we also like the idea of a fabric exterior (as opposed to PVC) because you can add a lot more features to fabric such as pockets, compression straps, access points, etc. These things are very hard to do with PVC because everything needs to be welded not sewn, and welding is very limiting.

    Right now we’re thinking that we’ll do an exterior in cordura or some other ballistic material and an interior from pvc. The pvc is great because its bomber and total waterproof, so if you pull out the liner on a trip and take it over near the campfire or into you tent, you don’t have to worry about puncturing it. The cordura is great because it protects the pvc from abrasion, and can support a bunch of exterior features. So that’s the angle we’re taking.

    With respect to the mounting system, we met with an awesome engineer this week here in the gorge who gave us some really creative ideas. His name is Hein. Previously we had been looking at a quick release system similar to Kriega or Happy Trails, using little metal clamps and some kind of quick releases. Hein got us thinking in a whole new direction. More on that to follow.

    [​IMG]

    On Monday we should have our initial pannier design off to Chip for pattern-making, then we’ll start building some prototypes of the mounting system out of mdf. Our harbor freight bandsaw had some major issues this week including a blown motor, but seems to be working ok now after a bunch of retrofitting.
    #2
  3. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    10/7/13: Mounting System

    Most soft panniers mount to the bike with straps, so the bags bounce around a lot. Plus the straps are a total pain in the ass to get on/off the bike. I generally take my panniers off at night regardless of whether I’m camping or in a hotel. Last winter in Central America there were a lot of mornings where I found myself fidgeting to get my soft panniers back on the bike, sweating like crazy because it’s HOT and I’m in all my moto gear, and of course surrounded by people on the street who gathered to watch. At those moments I really missed the one-click mounting of hard cases.

    Andrew and I want our bags to have an internal hard frame, kind of like a backpacking “frame pack” for your moto. That way the bag/bike connection is between two hard surfaces, which eliminates the bouncing when riding offroad. Another advantage is that we can create an easy on/off mounting system, similar to a hard pannier. Until last week we were picturing something similar to the happy trails or kriega mounting systems, i.e. using 3-4 little metal clips which can be mounted wherever necessary depending on what kind of pannier rack was being used.

    Here’s what those other systems look like for reference:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had thrown together this plywood prototype for illustration purposes and it seemed to work OK:

    [​IMG]

    But then last week we met with a local engineer who creates a lot of high tech stuff for aerospace and machinery, plus he’s a plastics expert, and he steered us in a different direction. He pointed out that all those little metal clips are clumsy, expensive, and prone to failure. He suggested going along the lines of something larger and simpler with more contact area. His idea was to make a “wedge,” like a puzzle piece so the bag slides right into place, and gravity does some of the work. We really liked this idea. Today we mocked up a proto in MDF and it works great.

    [​IMG]

    Materials-wise, we ‘re planning to use either high density or low density polyethylene (HDPE or LDPE). I’ve been reading a bunch about this material online. It’s a totally bomber plastic that is fairly common and can withstand a lot of stress before breaking. This is the same stuff Kriega is using on their mounting plates (LDPE). More info on HDPE is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-density_polyethylene.
    #3
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  4. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    10/11/13: More Progress

    This week we're working on creating a very rough mockup of our pannier shape. I've been learning a lot about things like patternmaking and stitching, which I really knew nothing about until this project.

    We want to create a very fast, simple prototype of our shape just to check dimensions and make sure we're headed in the right direction before we start choosing fabrics or adding straps/pockets/buckles/etc. For this purpose we're using a soft nylon fabric scrap that Andrew had sitting around. This is not the actual fabric or color we plan to actually use in the bag. We just need a basic 3 dimensional shape to look at before we continue designing

    Here we're meeting with Chip to create the patterns that will make up our bag. A pattern is like a stencil, which is used for cutting a piece of fabric that will be combined with other pieces to create the final shape.

    [​IMG]

    Once we created the patterns we added a 1/2" seam allowance around each pattern so there will be extra fabric around the edges that gets sewn into the seam. These are the puzzle pieces that will make up the bag when sewn together.

    [​IMG]

    We laid out the patterns on the fabric and traced their outlines, plus made a series of marks on each one so they can be matched up in the sewing process.

    [​IMG]

    Then we cut these out and handed them off to Chip for sewing. It was very interesting to watch him work. He really knows his shit. There's a lot of skill required to translate the 2 dimensional seams and patterns we laid out into an assembled 3 dimensional shape.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow we meet again to review the initial mockup and see where we stand. Even just in the initial pattern making and sewing we can see there are going to be some big changes needed.
    #4
  5. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    Great to see new players into the equipment arena and what ideas will be developed. keep us apprised.
    #5
  6. eddyturn

    eddyturn Wannabe

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    In. :lurk
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  7. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    Can't wait to see what you come up with. I personally need to have a bag that I can carry a helmet in. One reason I love my Ortlieb bags.

    Ortlieb also makes a thinner, quick release bag, called the QRL.

    The QRL mounting components can be bought separately.

    It's cheap too and the way it adapts to different sized racks is genius.

    Perhaps you should order up a set of those to compare to your design.

    Removing the bag using this system doesn't even take any time, you simply lift the handle and the thing unlatches.

    You would need the following components for each bag;

    QL1 Long Top Rail from 2007+ $7
    [​IMG]


    QL 2 Top Hooks w/inserts $14
    [​IMG]


    QL 1 Oversize Lower Hook E110 $7ea, you would need 2
    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    +1

    What seam construction/ type are you guys using?
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  9. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    Can those be adapted to the HT Mojave back plate? Do you know if they'll fit a wolfman rack?
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  10. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    I'm say yes to adapting them to the Mojave.

    Shoot me a pic of the Wolfman rack. If it's tubular and roughly the same dimensions as a GIVI tubular rack or a Touratech rack I'd say yes.

    I can send you the QRL bags if you would like to try them out.
    #10
  11. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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    In -- nothing like watching the product development process . . . . only thing better is to be part of it!

    ;-}
    #11
  12. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Right on!

    Those are cool! Thanks for posting. Had not seen those before. Ortlieb is a great company, they make some really cool bags. We're meeting with Hein again today and I'll bring some pics of that system. I feel like the connection could possible be made more robust for offroad use, but I love the easy on/off and the adaptability.

    Originally we were going to do all welded seams and use a pvc or urethane fabric for the entire bag. But as we got into PD and started talking to factories we quickly realized that was going to limit the features we could add to the outside of the bag. For example we want to have an exterior solution for storing tubes/tools, water, and fuel. That way a rider doesn't have to dig through all his gear just to change a flat or refill his tank (since these heavier items are generally stored at the bottom of the pannier). Also we were concerned that if we rely on the outer shell of the bag as our only waterproof layer, the waterproof layer can be easily compromised due to abrasion if the bike goes down. This happened to my wolfman bags once on a rainy trip (fortunately they're easy to field repair). Right now we're thinking we'll do the outside in some combination of cordura, pvc, urethane, and/or hypalon but with sewn not welded seams. Inside the bag we'll have a simple removable liner that is made from pvc with welded seams. The outer bag will be water resistant, not waterproof, and the inside layer will be totally 100% waterproof and protected from abrasion. By making the inside layer from welded pvc it will be totally bomber so if you bring over to the fire, throw in your tent, or use it to get water you don't have to worry about punctures, as opposed to some of the more tent-material-type fabrics. I like the double layer system (like the bmw rallye jacket or the kriega overlanders) because there is just no way water is getting in there. Everyone hates that feeling of "thinking" a certain bag/pannier/jacket/glove/boot is waterproof and then getting stuck in a major all-day downpour and finding out it's really not. Sucks!! That definitely will not happen with these bags.

    Any thoughts on the double layer vs single layer approach?

    We'd love your feedback. We're developing these in real time so please weigh in. I spent last night cutting out and notching the newly revised patterns in my kitchen. Andrew is coming over in 20 and we're headed up to Chip's house to start sewing round-two prototypes. Will do another update either tomorrow or Friday. Lots of progress this week!
    #12
  13. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    double layer is always better, we're not backpacking, no reason to go super light.

    Also, for bags attached to the outside, perhaps have that be a custom option that can be retrofitted later on.

    Something that would be really need would be to have the front and back outfitted with Molle webbing. 4-6 rows worth. Make up a few smaller sized pouches, maybe a fuel bottle holder with molle webbing and voila. More products in your catelogue and riders can pick and choose what they would like.

    Can I get a set in OD green for my "Harley"

    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. FlowBee

    FlowBee Just me.

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    Any way you could laminate a PacSafe mesh bag between the two walls so the bags can be made slash resistant and lockable? That's pretty much the main reason people use hard bags - "security" when away from the bike.

    The Magadan bags use a layer of aramid weave to attempt this.
    #14
  15. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    Problem with any slash proof/resistant layer is that it's only resistant to a point. Aramid decreases over time as well apparently.

    More info here:
    http://www.satra.co.uk/spotlight/article_view.php?id=394

    Exomesh by pacsafe is currently the best way to go for security but that also has a limit, but a very high one. Those guys that own that company are notoriously disinterested to collaborate.
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  16. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    I'm convinced this is the best approach. No fabric does it all. The capital investment and minimum weight involved is low enough to warrant it. Something with the highest possible abrasion resistance on the outside, and a waterproof shell inside. Most nylon fabrics are waterproof because of the coating they put inside to prevent fraying. But it's the seams that cause the problems.
    #16
  17. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    the problem with laminating that exomesh in between two layers is that it is not visible. You generally would want that on the outside the the "honest theif" sees it and then moves on to an easier target.

    If someone slashes the bag open to find it has an exomesh skeleton then it's already too late, your bags have been slashed.

    One reason I never lock my panniers is that I rather have someone open them up and see that there is nothing of value in there, than to break it open only to find out the same.
    #17
  18. HaChayalBoded

    HaChayalBoded Brooklyn Bored

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    No need to go through pacsafe. You can make your own for a tenth the cost and make it from any gauge wire you like.

    All it is is a few really long coated steel cables with a bunch of double cable umm, thingies. I forget what those are called. But they are in bins in different sizes right below the steel braided cables in any home depot or lowes.

    I've made plenty of custom stuff using that stuff in the past, it's a peice of cake to duplicate a pacsafe.

    Next time you're at a home depot or lowes check it out and you'll see what I mean.
    #18
  19. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    I disagree with that. To me it tells me that there's something valuable in there worth the trouble. The shiny catches the eye which is the loss of the first line of defense. Inconspicuousness. Nothing wrong with a slashed bag so long the liner isn't slashed. Even then, it can be patched.
    #19
  20. tmotten

    tmotten Lefthand ride Dutchy

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    True. They're just swaged joints. I'm making a daisy chain that way, but it's all of labor if you sell it as a product. I'm not sure how the steel is laminated to the nylon. I think their patent is close to running out though.
    #20