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Tips for using Occy straps on your luggage

Occy straps

Have you ever seen a motorcycle with luggage tied down with a mass of Occy straps?

You try not to ride too close behind because you never know when something will fall off right in front of you.

The ubiquitous Occy strap has been used for years.

If you don’t know what an Occy strap is, it’s a stretchy strap or bungee cord with a hook on each end.

There is a wide range of types and they do the job … usually.

However, they can also fail with catastrophic consequences.

I think there are many other alternatives out there that are far better than ancient Occy straps and shopping bags such as this convenient Nelson-Rigg tailbag.

Nelson-Rigg Commuter Lite tail bag review
Nelson-Rigg Commuter Lite tail bag

But if you are going to use Occy straps to hold your luggage to your rear rack or pillion seat, there are some simple guidelines you should follow.

Frayed Occy straps

The first is to replace them when they start to look frayed.

You never quite know when a fray will turn into a snap and your luggage spills across the highway.

An Occy strap can easily fray from use and also from rubbing against a sharp object such as a bolt or frame weld.

By hook or by crook

Make sure the hook has a decent bend and hasn’t straightened out from being hooked and unhooked hundreds of times.

If the plastic coating around the hook is cracked, the hook may also be rusted, so replace the strap.

Also, check that the knot inside the hook is secure. This is usually one of the first points of failure on an Occy strap.

Make sure you attach the hook to a solid, unmovable part of the bike where it won’t scratch paintwork or chrome, or interfere with any working parts such as the chain.

Keep straps away from hot engine parts and exhausts.

Try to pass the strap through some sort of loop on the luggage.

Be careful when pulling really tight. If it slips out of your hand it can whack you in the face!

Click here for the official safety standards on Occy straps.straps


Pack heavy items in the bottom of the bag that you are tying on to your bike.

Try to keep bags low and flat. The higher they are the more they will wobble under an Occy strap and become loose.

Make sure packed items are rammed together solidly as a loose pack will mean the straps are no longer tight.

Add one more

Do not skimp on Occy straps. You can always add one more just to be sure!

Place them in a criss-cross fashion so that you are securing the load from moving in all four directions.

    1. Somewhere in the world,at this very moment,there is at least one,one-eyed biker who got caught with one of these dead-dangerous little buggers. My own run-in, happened so quick,I never saw the hook coming.One little slip with the gloves on,was all it took.Luckily the helmet was on,visor was up,though and that flew off instead of my snout! Be careful,people.

  1. Andy Strapz are great. No hooks to catch you in the eye. They keep the load secure, I have travelled many kilometers with them and had no problems. Sure they are dearer than occy straps but good value for money.

  2. Use ROK straps every time , went that way years ago after using Andy Strapz they would fail after a year or so.

  3. I remember a young Coles trolley boy in Karratha WA using these Occy Straps to secure a row of trolleys he had collected from the car park, to return to the store – the strap failed, snapped around& hit him in the throat. He died from this injury. This has seen a change of practice instigated when trolleys are being collected for return to the shop.

  4. no maybe in the 70 s but it is 2020 . go to your local hard ware shop and buy ratchet straps so cheap and minimum rating 200kgs

  5. Ditto Robert, occy straps are just dangerous, especially when there are so many better and safer solutions on the market.
    I haven’t lost an eye yet but came within a gnats whisker some years ago when one worked it’s way loose hitting me in the face just a CM from my left eye, that was the last time I used an occy strap, they should be avoided.

  6. Like any other piece of kit, elastic luggage ties (apparently Occy straps in Oz, bungees in the UK) are perfectly good for their intended purpose if used correctly.
    I am happy to use them to secure some types of luggage to my bike, such as a large tent across the back seat and panniers.
    Soft luggge is better secured with a net, as straps of any kind can displace the soft luggage and become loose.
    As with any kind of straps, they should be arranged so that failure of any one element does not allow the load to become unsafe.
    I have had ratchet straps fail, so I apply the same logic to them.
    Safety of bungees is like anything else. Treat it with appropriate respect! Don’t stand inline with the strap as you are fitting it or unhooking it.

  7. Oky straps are fine if used right. Use quality, always buy straps on pairs and use them in pairs of the same type length and strength. Load your bike on its centre stand so you load straight. In the type of loads carried on bikes do not use ratchet straps. Oky straps keep tight. I’ve been riding daily since the 1970s some of which includes riding as a courier. Only use non elastic straps if they are part of a bag.

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