When I first met one of the two founders of Mosko Moto at a trade show a few years ago, it was clear Mosko was a motorcycle luggage company seriously driven by and designing for the needs of adventure and dual-sport riders. At the time, I was strictly a street guy, but lately I have gravitated toward smaller and more ADV-purposed bikes, so I recently took another look at what kind of luggage solutions they offer. I found the American company has grown considerably and expanded their line of products while still focusing on all kinds of ingenious storage solutions for the back-country rider.
I was drawn immediately to their 40-liter Reckless V3.0 System (and “system” is a perfect describer). My first box to tick was that the gear had to be rackless—I had no desire to wrench more weight onto a smaller bike, plus, honestly, I’m not nuts about the way side racks look. A second feature of the Reckless 40L that attracted me was that the two side “legs” of the system ride high along the frame and rear side panels of an ADV or dual-sport bike, well away from the muffler. (Note: Mosko includes an aluminum heat shield with hose clamp in the package just in case there is a muffler heat issue, but it wasn’t required on the G 310 GS or Kawasaki Versys I tried the luggage on.)
From the excellent video about the Reckless on the Mosko Moto site, it was also obvious that the gear was very adaptable to most any kind of off-road capable bike and varying payload demands. And another plus was that it appeared mounting the 40L on a typical dual-sport or adventure bike would still leave space on the rear rack for a tailbag or other gear like a sleeping bag, tent or cot.
When I was riding bigger bikes in the past and making longer highway runs, I used drybags from great companies like Ortlieb, Wolfman and Inpreda. What drew me to Mosko Moto was that their drybags slide into tough, ballistic nylon sleeves, protecting the waterproof, polyurethane-coated drybags from tears and other abuse inherent to off-road travel. The 40L Reckless setup has pockets for 14-liter bags on each side and a wide Beaver Tail flap to secure the Stinger, an eight-liter bag, in the middle. The Stinger also comes with straps to turn it into a small backpack; it could also be used as a standalone tail bag. All three drybags are sealed with hook-and-loop strips and buckles to keep the top rolled. The Beaver Tail can expand to hold a jacket or other gear, like a fly rod tube or sleeping pad. All three components swarm with MOLLE panels for clipping on items like cell phones, GPS units or multitools, and sewn to each of the side sleeves are two-liter pockets for fuel or water bottles or small tool kits.
Once ordered, the Reckless 40L arrived in less than a week, and it was time to download the PDF instructions and put the system together. A harness has to be assembled first and is adjustable for narrow dirt bikes or for mid to large ADV dual-sporters. A thick layer of foam padding on the bottom of the harness protects the bike frame and saddle from wear. Straps and hook-and-loop strips secure the side sleeves and middle drybag to the harness. Bolting together the three sections of harness with the supplied hardware was easy, as was mounting it to a bike. The straps go to the frame near the pillion pegs and around the tail, though cleat hardware is also supplied for alternate mounting.
Mosko Moto claims the welded-seam drybags in the Reckless system are 100% waterproof, and assuming they’re sealed up properly, I think that’s a pretty safe guarantee. The harness, which is the foundation for the three storage sections, is made of ballistic nylon with Hypalon armor and aluminum stiffeners to keep the storage “legs” from drooping down. Both of the side drybag sleeves can be detached from the harness to carry into a tent or a hotel room. My first impression was that the whole system was built to take practically any kind of abuse.
The Mosko Moto Reckless 40L may look like a minimalist luggage solution, good for—as the website says—“long day trips, hotel hopping, and camping off your bike,” but I was surprised by how much I could pack on. I found I was able to pack rain gear, enough clothing for an overnight or two, plus toiletries, bedding and some survival-type food. My tent is a joke for its size and weight, but one like the Redverz Hawk II (which I seriously pine for) would work nicely with the smaller Reckless, either clamped under the Beaver Tail with the Stinger or strapped behind it, possibly paired with a Thermarest Ultralight Cot. I plan to use the two side pockets on the legs to carry a water bottle and maybe a Jet Boil. For more carrying capacity, and for a bigger bike like an R 1250 GS, the company offers the Reckless 80L, which follows the same design.
My reservations about the Reckless 40L at this point are minor. The one I’m testing is black and gray (mostly black), which makes it a heat sink, but Moto Mosko does offer a two-tone version (black and tan, one of my favorite beers). Using three different drybags can also present a problem when it comes time for memory-challenged riders like myself to find that extra pair of socks I stashed. However, each of the two side drybags has a clear viewing window, which should help. Also, with just 40 liters of space, I think I should probably go back and read Mark Barnes’ suggestions on paring down what I’m sure I need to carry. (Ed. note: Ron is referring to a column which ran in the print magazine. It will be available soon on the website and as a podcast episode.)
Obviously, any soft luggage presents security concerns, though with the drybags enveloped in tough pockets and the Beaver Tail strapped down, the Reckless doesn’t lend itself to a quick slash and grab. I’m old and the antithesis of nimble, but didn’t have a problem swinging a leg over with the Reckless on either bike. At $520, the Reckless 40L is pricey, but almost all testimonials and reviews I’ve looked at seem to agree its toughness, clever features, expandability and lifetime guarantee make it worth the cost.
Unfortunately, my Reckless 40L arrived the same day we got our first snowfall, signaling the end of my riding season here in Wisconsin. I’m already planning destinations for next summer and will offer a second installment of this review in 2023 after a full season of testing.
Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering, Mosko is a nickname for the “Mosquito Coast,” a remote area on the eastern coast of Honduras and Nicaragua where the company’s products were first tested. To learn more about Mosko Moto, visit moskomoto.com.