Mosko Backcountry Panniers.

  • I've been asked to jot down some thoughts on my Mosko BC35s. After 5 years and 3 proper 'adventure' rides (Africa, New Zealand and South America) and many kilometers of rough gravel and the odd spill I think I can say I've tested them fairly thoroughly.

    The first thing to say about the Moskos is that they are not a cheap alternative to hard panniers, they are the soft alternative to hard panniers. That's to say they cost about as much as a set of Holan or Bumot metal boxes. They are bought by people who are looking for the advantages of soft panniers: They don't dent when you fall off, are waterproof, they're less prone to catching your heel when paddling in sand (whaddaya mean you never need to?) and possibly less likely to crunch an ankle when falling off. And they transmit less energy to the subframe and rack if you do fall off. They also have some of the perceived disadvantages of soft bags -you can't lock them and they can be taken off the bike easily if you know how. Anyway, the debate over hard versus soft rumbles on to this day on various sites, so let's say you're a soft pannier guy; how do these shape up?

    Mounting plates on a TT Zega rack.

    I nearly always carry a pillion, so the first thing I wanted to avoid was straps across the seat - these are a definite no-no. The Moskos mount on a plate which is fixed to the rack (a Touratech Zega in my case), but the plate has adjustable mounts so fits many different types. This locates with a matching plate on the back of the pannier so you just drop the pannier down vertically and then lock it in place with a simple catch. The plates have a bevel on them which locks them together. The pannier material is sandwiched between a plate inside the bag and the outer mounting plate and that is what that supports the pannier - it's very strong and has shown no signs of tearing at all. Does that make sense? Either way, removing them takes a couple of seconds, useful if your bike is on its side and you want to make it a bit lighter before you heave it upright. The plates are bolted to the rack though, and don't exactly look sleek.

    The main bag is made of very tough nylon, and has a thick welded vinyl liner bag which velcros inside it. This makes the main part totally waterproof once the top is rolled down in the conventional way. Zips have no place on a bag like this. You can roll down both bags together or separately - separately means you can just lift the inner bag out if you want to leave the panniers on the bike for some reason.

    There is a 2 litre outside pocket as well. This is not waterproof despite the roll down top so I use normal dry bags for the stuff that lives in there such as tools or my compressor. You can also add pockets on to the 'Molle' straps, a 2 litre one at the front (which I have) and a 1 litre SIGG bottle sized one underneath which I don't. Configured as my bags are I have 37 litres both sides, which is enough.

    Mosko expect these bags to lead a hard life, so they designed them with a thick sacrificial flap on the outside which they call a beaver tail. This serves a dual purpose in that you can stash things like your fuel bag in there or rubbish or something you might need in a hurry. It's a genius idea - I wouldn't want to carry the fuel bag inside the pannier.

    'Beaver Tail' in use.

    One of the best things about soft luggage is that you can cinch down the straps if you're not carrying a full load. Keeps everything safe rather than rattling around in a big metal can. That said, the aluminium hooks on the Moskos don't allow the straps to pull through that easily, maybe because they are so chunky. They never come loose either.

    So that's the Mosko BC35. As soft bags go they're heavy - the U shaped plastic mount screwed through to another plate inside the bag and the general heavy duty construction see to that. That same construction means that they have survived several offs on gravel (I've never fallen on tarmac) without damage and clever details like a separate inner bag means that you can get behind a rip and fix it properly from the inside if you do manage to tear them. I feel that they offer the flexibility of packing that soft luggage does - you can shove stuff in and they give a little, but you can vary the volume if travelling light. They may not be as secure as hard bags (though I've never had them touched) but I feel like they offer hard bag versitility and ease of use with all the soft bag advantages listed above. I expect to continue to use them for many years to come.

  • Having discussed the Monsoon 3s with Craig I bought a set last year. yet to test them out, but they hang well on both the Alp and the F8GS :)

    Great write up Three Dawg. Those things cost nearly as much as the TT cans I have 8|

    Steve T


  • Recently noticed I had some cracks in the mounting wedges for my Moskos. Contacted them in the States and they are doing me a warranty claim (an upgrade too) to fix the problem. Fantastic service considering they are at least 8 years old and have been used on four continents. Guess you get what you pay for sometimes.

  • Phunnily enuff in a conversation with the "staff", in the new Ducati outlet in Dundee last week, the allegedly positive attitude of Ducati to warranty claims Vs the relatively high cost of servicing the bikes came up.

    Dougie K has had a number of cosmetic but expensive items fixed, on his Multistrada, under warranty.

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