When I head out on a motorcycle adventure with new products to test in the wild, it sometimes means I'm stuck with the wrong gear in the wrong place at the wrong time. On the happier occasions, I discover a simple product that costs less than $20 but improves our enjoyment of motorcycles.
I’ve been on a ton of motorcycle trips and taken those trips on a ton of different bikes and storage is always an issue. It doesn’t help that I’m kind of an over-packer to begin with, and then bring photo and computer equipment so I can work.
On top of that, most motorcycles are not designed to have things strapped to them. Their designers are not thinking about the size and shape of any possible attachment points, let alone whether those attachment points are away from things like your hot exhaust.
For my trip to Arizona, I decided I had waited long enough and finally ordered a pair of ROK Straps. ROK Straps are fairly simple in their design. They resemble most nylon tie-downs, but with two major, life-changing differences.
The first major difference is that both ends of the strap, the parts that actually attach to your motorcycle, are closed loops instead of a hook of some sort. This allows you to run the strap around any part of your motorcycle and then back through the loop, making virtually any part of your motorcycle a point of attachment. Then the two sections snap together in the middle using a buckle.
The second difference is that one part of the strap is made from an elastic bungee material while the other half is a nylon strap that is adjustable for length. Why is some bungee better than all bungee, you ask? It allows for a much greater degree of adjustability. The stretchy bungee material doesn’t like to be fed through the typical nylon adjustment buckles, so by including both a stretchy section to add tension and a nylon strap section to change the length, you get the best of both worlds: maximum tightness and maximum adjustability.
This also makes ROK Straps incredibly easy to fasten. With normal bungees, you have to pull and yank while trying to get the hook around your attachment point at its maximum tightness, all while doing so with awkward leverage. With regular nylon straps you have to pull and yank on the straps until your bike almost falls over to get them tight enough.
For our trip to Arizona, I used two ROK Straps to secure my massive duffle to the bike, and then two more to secure my tent to my duffle bag. Other days, the straps secured some firewood or a case of beer for the camp site. When the boys met at my house to depart, the first thing I told them was that they needed to get some ROK Straps. Per usual, they blew me off. Three days into the trip, after fighting with bungee nets and motorcycle tie-downs while I quickly and easily secured my luggage, they finally admitted they were going to order some as soon as they got home. Sometimes it isn’t the $1,000 helmet, fancy touring suit, or crazy accessories that improve the ride. Sometimes, it’s just a really well-thought-out $13 pair of tie-downs.