On behalf of the entire Mosko team: Happy New Year! This pic is from our Mosko holiday party at Sushi Okalani in Hood River a few weeks ago. We were joined by Scott & Lauren's new baby girl Rosland. Ecuador Gear Testing Trip Ash and I spent the holidays in Ecuador with our friends Court & Sylvain at Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental. We rented a couple DR650s and went exploring in the hills around Quito. Ecuador is an absolutely breathtaking country, and what a perfect way to see it on two wheels. Back in the old days, if you wanted to explore Ecuador on a bike, you had to quit your job and ride all the way down there. Now you can have almost the same experience, flying in for a week and returning home before anyone notices you're gone. We did this entire trip over the holidays, missing only a single day of work. It was only 9 days, but it felt like a much longer trip. It's almost surreal to board a plane in Atlanta and land in Ecuador less than 6 hours later - still in the same time zone - with an ADV bike all setup, waiting, and ready to go. We had a total blast. The pics tell the story. Court & Sylvain have an epic location in downtown Quito, close to the action but still private and secluded. They have 50 bikes, ranging from big BMWs down to little 150cc scooters. Plus some 4x4 trucks. It was neat to see all the rental Mosko gear on their shelves. I took the Reckless 80 'Revolver v3.0' prototype with a Nomad tank bag. Ash took a Reckless 80 v2.0 with the Pico tank bag. The reason we're calling the new R80 the 'Revolver' is that the legs can be rotated at different angles for different sizes and shapes of bikes. Setting it up on the DR650 was no problem. I was a little worried about the Nomad on the DR but as it turned out, no problem. When I stood up I felt the bag on my legs, but it was worth it to have my water and extra stuff on the tank. The stock DR is pretty short for me anyway, with a very tight cockpit, so I didn't spend much time on the pegs except to stretch. Ash took the Pico tank bag, which fits perfectly on the DR with an aftermarket tank. We had some rain fro a few days and the Pico stayed dry while riding. However one night we left the Pico on the bike overnight, it rained very heavily throughout the night, and the next morning there was some water inside. Because of the way we had it mounted (with the front propped up on the edge of the gas cap), we think the headphone port on the bottom of the bag was exposed. Water came in through the port, wicked its way through the webbing on the seam-binding of the inside pocket insert (which has sewn rather than welded seams), and into the inside of the bag. In a future version, we will modify the design to prevent this from happening. For now though, we changed the wording on the Pico product page from 'waterproof' to ' water-resistant' just to be safe. It's an awesome little tank bag, but don't leave it out in the rain overnight. We were also riding with a bunch of apparel prototypes, including the Basilisk jacket/pant, the Deluge jacket/pant, the Signal jersey, the Imbricate base layer, and the Forcefield Adventure Harness. Here are some assorted pics from the trip, starting with Court's pre-trip briefing, all the way through our return to Quito 9 days later. Ecuador is a spectacular place to visit. It's very mountainous, with lots of dirt roads, nice people, and interesting little villages. This is a batter-fried guinea pig. We ran into our good friend Round The World Paul just outside Quito. 0 degrees north, at the equator. In Ecuador there's a tradition of dressing up in elaborate drag costumes to celebrate the New Year. Court & Sylvain took us for a nighttime ride in Quito before we headed to the airport for our flight home. It was a great trip, and it was over way too soon. Huge thanks to Court & Sylvain for making the week so special. Ecuador has everything we need for gear testing - from hot & humid to dry & cold - with lots of interesting stuff to see, and plenty of rough riding in between. We'll be back for sure. SuperFabric Issue When we returned to the Mosko shop in January, a sample of the Basilisk jacket/pant was waiting for our approval. The arms, shoulders, and knees of the Basilisk use a specially engineered material called SuperFabric, which features small ceramic plates applied to a fabric under-layer, to protect you and your gear from abrasion in a slide. SuperFabric is very expensive stuff, especially when applied to a waterproof/breathable base fabric like eVent. Our designs use a lot of it. There is more SuperFabric on the Basilisk than on any other motorcycle jacket I've ever seen. When our factory in Bangladesh did their QC check on the rolls of SuperFabric we received for production - which cost $30,000 and took 120 days to make - they noticed immediately that some of the ceramic plates were missing. On further investigation, they realized the plates were not adhering to the base fabric as strongly as they were in the samples. The blue fabric below is the sample (SuperFabric applied to eVent), the black fabric is from production. We rubbed a key on both to test the issue, using the same amount of pressure. The blue fabric didn't lose a single ceramic plate, whereas the plates scraped off the black fabric with relative ease. The jacket I'd been riding with in Ecuador - the blue one, which Scott is measuring below - used the sample fabric. After discussing this issue at length with the factory and SuperFabric, we all agreed that we cannot move forward with production until the issue is resolved. This decision was especially disruptive for our factory, as they had several production lines scheduled for Mosko production, and all the other materials are already sitting there ready to go. SuperFabric is replacing the damaged yardage with a rush production order, so hopefully this will set us back by only 30 days or so. It sucks, but we're thankful the issue was identified before production started, and we're thankful to have good partners. Cell Phone Case We received a prototype of a new MOLLE cell phone holder that our design intern Jesse developed last summer. Stoked to try this out in Ethiopia next week. As I mentioned in my last post, several of us have been using Quadlock mounts for our phones recently, which initially gave me some pause with respect to the need for a soft-bag cell phone case. I dig the Quadlock on smooth surfaces, but I've had one spontaneous pop-off while riding on dirt (I had to ride back along the trail to find my phone, fortunately only the screen protector was broken). I also had one broken Quadlock mount when my bike flipped upside down in the sand dunes and landed on the handlebars. I also destroyed the image stabilization on the Iphone camera from too much vibration on the handlebars. So I still think there's a good argument for a soft-bag cell-carry case. In Ethiopia, I'm planning to use the handlebar mount on pavement and the MOLLE case offroad. New Dirt Bike Pant Scott is working on a new trail riding pant. I'm very stoked to see this item develop. He's working on one in-boot style and one over-boot style. He has some really cool ideas for this item, more on that in a future post. Backcountry 35 v2.0 Samples Andrew got new samples of the Backcountry 35/25 v2.0. They look great. We're talking to the factory to see if it is possible to introduce these new revisions in 2019. Instead of a sewn-on rear pocket, the new BC pannier will have MOLLE panels on all three sides, along with a series of holes to bolt-on a new auxiliary pocket harness/drybag system we're developing. The aux pocket may not be ready at the same time as the pannier, so we're planning to introduce that at a later date. Here's a rough prototype of the new aux pocket, mounted on top of a Backcountry duffle using MOLLE webbing. We designed the aux pocket to mount on the pannier, but it works great in other places too. Backpack Design Thanks so much to everyone who responded to my last post, and provided feedback on riding backpacks in our advrider.com thread over the last few weeks. We were totally blown away by the amount and quality of feedback. We've read through everything, and now we're processing it. We'll be referring back to those posts a lot over the next few months as we kick off the development process. At the moment Andrew is up to his ears in new bag prototypes, so it will take a month or two to get started. In the meantime, I've been particularly intrigued with various front-mounted storage options lately. This is a home-made custom pack that Scott uses for hunting, which has a bunch of storage on the front straps. This is a tactical pack I recently bought from a company called Hill People Gear, which my buddy Adam suggested in a Facebook comment after the last blog post. It's designed for carrying a handgun, but I thought it might be handy for day rides on a dirt bike, because sometimes it's a hassle to get stuff out of a backpack, especially when I'm wearing body armor. I've taken it on a few hikes so far and I love the front storage, but the side straps make it hard for my chest to expand when I'm breathing heavily. European Distribution With the exception of a few last items, all the inventory we've been waiting for has now arrived at the warehouse in Europe, and Lee is currently in Amsterdam doing a final QC check. Roel came to Mosko HQ last week and we spent some time figuring out how to process orders from a second inventory location. Initially, to keep things simple, we will be taking manual orders for the Europe warehouse. The longer term solution is to setup a second website for Europe using a completely separate cart, but we are currently in the middle of a website redesign, so the European website is on hold until that project is complete. Please contact Roel at moskomoto (at) moskomoto (dot) com with the subject line "Attention Roel" if your are interested in being one of the first to order from our new European warehouse. He will send you information on pricing and product availability. For customers located in Europe, there is is a very substantial savings if your order from the Europe warehouse vs ordering from the US. Not only do you save on shipping, but you also bypass the very substantial US import duties. We'll have pricing posted soon. In the meantime, check with Roel for more info. In Other News When we returned from Ecuador, Ash had 8 hours to unpack, do laundry, re-pack, drive back to Portland, and fly to Dallas for the International Motorcycle Show. Which - as it turned out - was totally worth it, because we had the best show we've ever had in Dallas, by far. She also got to test out our new booth backdrop, which looks awesome. Nice work Ash! Here's what the booth backdrop previously looked like at the show in Australia last month. We had an issue with the printing, so there was almost no contrast between the two different shades of blue. Lee is redesigning the Reckless 80/40/10 bolt-on mounting cleat. It's almost done. We have some new hats! They're not on the website yet, but they will be soon. We got the coolest Christmas gift from our friends at Upshift Online: goggles for the entire Mosko crew. Thanks guys!! For anyone who isn't already on the Upshift distribution list, I highly recommend clicking this link and subscribing. It's free. And the best part is that you can read it while you're sitting at your desk and looking like you're working. This time next week, Ash & I will be in Ethiopia. Our buddy Chad has been helping us figure out how to find bikes there. Stoked for this trip!! We'll be in Ethiopia for four weeks. I'll try to do a quick blog update from the road. Happy New Year!