Al Jesse: History of Moto Manufacturing and MirrorLok


In 1985, Al Jesse was riding his bike across the Sahara following the Paris – Dakar route. Along the way, he realized there was a big gap in the market.

Back then, there was practically no motorcycle luggage available for adventure riders.

“I came up with the idea to make aluminum travel boxes for bikes. Being on the road myself, I wanted to create something that would work under any conditions, and that would last. A traveler’s bike is his home, and I knew people needed something reliable. I designed my first set of boxes out of cardboard in a friend’s garage in New Zealand. When I got back to the States, I made the first aluminum set in Monterey, CA”.

And that’s how Jesse Luggage, a company that now sells motorcycle luggage worldwide, was born.

“In the very beginning, our biggest challenge was keeping up with production!  It took almost three years before we had even one set in stock”, – remembers Al.

According to him, the key to success of Jesse Luggage was all about hard work and long hours. “And the quality and durability of the product, of course. Our boxes got so popular that people even held “Jesse Luggage” pannier installation parties: for the first few years, we didn’t have instruction manuals on how to install the racks and the panniers, so people would get together and help each other out. To date, the highest mileage for a set of Jesse Luggage panniers is 465,000 miles and counting”.

From Jesse Luggage to Moto Manufacturing

After successfully selling Jesse Luggage to an enthusiastic successor, Al Jesse could have retired and gone for a another round the world journey on his motorcycle. Instead, he founded a new company, Moto Manufacturing.


When asked why, Al says he just couldn’t help himself. “For the first time in decades, I finally had the time to just go and ride my bike. But when I ride, I always think about solutions to all kinds of problems that stock motorcycles have. So many things on stock bikes just don’t make sense, and I love thinking about different ways to fix the problem”, – explains Al.


Growing up on a farm in Iowa, where things often had to be fixed or re-made from scratch, Al was always fascinated by the creative process. “Before Jesse Luggage, I was a motorcycle mechanic. I’d learn new things every day – for example, having a customer whose bike wouldn’t run and finding out there were six small plastic toys in the engine (the customer had a six-year-old son)! Jesse Luggage was a natural next step, and now with Moto Manufacturing, I’m hoping to continue to invent smart motorcycle accessories that will help riders make it all about the ride, not the details!”, – says Al.

Moto Manufacturing’s first product, MirrorLok, is currently trending on Kickstarter. Installed on the handlebars, MirrorLok extends the mirrors offering a significantly better rear-view, minimizes mirror vibration at speed, and functions as a helmet and gear lock. Made from machined aluminum with a black powder coat finish, MirrorLok weighs mere three ounces and helps motorcyclists see better and keep their gear safe.

Before MirrorLok…




“I decided to launch MirrorLok on Kickstarter because it’s an amazing platform where people can get involved in the whole process. It’s a very exciting time right now”, – says Al.

Intrigued? Find out more, support us, and be the first one to test MirrorLok!


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