Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Our Mosko Moto Gear Review

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We followed the dirt tracks out of town and before long we were riding on salt planes again. Salt Planes, as far as the eye could see. The heat made the horizon glisten. It was such a remote and harsh area but at the same time so incredibly beautiful.

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And only because of our setup were we able to fully appreciate it: In these remote, hot areas, water is the main concern and this is where the Mosko Moto Bags on the front of the Africa Twin come in. With over 10 liters of water in each of the 25 liter bags we were able to call Pilon de Azucar home for two days. And we were able to share water with those we came upon who were broken down, including a family we encountered on the salt planes.

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First breakdown encounter of the day... roughly 20 minutes into our ride. These guys had a flat and had been working at it for a while. We lent them our tools for a bit and shared our water with them before continuing on our way.

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For a while, we could see nothing but shimmering heat on the horizon. Then there was a dot. As we got closer the dot became five dots. A family of 4 next to their broken down motorbike. They were literally in the middle of the salt flats with no shade in the blistering heat. Before I went to work on the guy’s bike, Azure dug a water bottle out of one of the Mosko’s and gave it to the mother who was very grateful and eagerly poured water in her toddler’s mouth. The guy thought he was not getting any spark but could not work out why. We messed around with the wiring but it would not work. I took one of my used spark plugs I carry as a spare to clarify the culprit. It worked, and somehow it was the same size spark plug! They thanked us, most of all for the water, and turned into one dot again as they rode off into the distance. We downed a bottle of water ourselves before getting back onto the bikes. We were amazed that in all of the time we were stopped with them, not a single vehicle or bike stopped and at least 3 went by during that hour. Who knows how long they had been there before we rode up. 

After 8 months of putting the Mosko’s to the test on a day to day basis, it’s time for a review.
We first learned about Mosko Moto at the Overland Expo in 2014. About a year later, at the Horizons Unlimited meeting in California I managed to get my hands on a set of Mosko Moto Scouts and mounted them on my crash bars while Pete, one of the founders of Mosko, was busy selling his products hand over fist. The bags fit and looked much better than my old soft bags that needed to be replaced (a squirrel had eaten through them in Idaho to get to Azure’s granola). Pete figured out what I was doing and admitted that he had never thought of having the bags on the front of a bike. He knew of our journey and decided to send us off with a set of Scouts for a unique kind of product testing... on the front of a motorcycle.

Mounting the Mosko's was very easy. It is a very strong construction with two plates with a 45 degree angle hooking into each other. The bags are very sturdy and even when they are empty they hold their shape. They consist of a very tough waterproof outer layer with a removable drybag inside. If you do manage to damage the outer bag, whatever is inside of the dry bag will still be dry. Smart design. I have dropped the bike a couple of times since mounting the bags. They have never come off and you can hardly see a mark on the bags which attests to the durability of both the frame and the bags construction.
All the Mosko bags have military type webbing on the outside so you can attach a Mosko Mole or any military pouches for more storage space. It’s a convenient place to store a water or gas bottle, wet clothes or in my case, flip flops...

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The military-type webbing on the side is where I usually keep my flip flops, but a Mosko Mole pouch also attaches here for even more storage capacity.

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The double layer means that if the outer bag gets damaged, the dry bag will still key all of your stuff dry.

After riding the Mosko’s through many heavy downpours and several deep rivers I have found them to be completely waterproof. I love having the extra storage space on the front of the Africa Twin. Whether it is an extra can of oil (for Azure’s bike) or a big load of groceries and drinking water to be able to stay of the beaten track for a few days, it really makes traveling life a lot easier and more comfortable.

What I like most about the Mosko design is the mounting system: you can take them off and put them on the bike in a matter of seconds. If we’re not camping out next to the bikes, the bags come off and come inside wherever we are staying.

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The mount on my front crash bars

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The latch on the back of the bag, that clips onto the mount.

The only point of improvement I can think of is the possibility to put a padlock on the locking mechanism so it’s not too easy to steal the bags in case you leave the bike somewhere.
Mosko Moto is a small American owned company, founded by riders and run by riders, which strives to make the best possible soft luggage. And they're good people. You can follow and contribute to their product development on their website, by sending in your own ideas for improvements. For more information and the full array of Mosko Moto bags and equipment check out www.moskomoto.com If you're interested in a set of bags please get in touch with us via our facebook.com/MyTicketToRide page or mytickettoride.com for a code for free shipping in the US or a special deal on international orders.

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