Tips for using Occy straps on your luggage

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.


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