Published on July 27th, 2015 | by Ghost Writer
BIKE ME! visits AndyStrapz
I have cupboards full of motorcycling stuff. The vast majority of it falls into the “looked like a good idea at the time” or “Remember…never drink and surf Fleabay” category. Invariably I find myself disappointed at the quality and lacklustre performance of these ‘bargains’. I am not going to give up my love of fermented liquids but I could have saved myself a lot of time, money and ‘failure to proceeds’ had I bookmarked andystrapz.com when I was sober.
I had the signal pleasure of meeting the man himself whilst he beavered away in his Frankston factory, like an arm amputee hanging wallpaper. Now, some men are busy at their work because they have shit to do and let you know that they are martyrs to their job, Andy has a very different presentation. He is obviously having a ball combining his hobby with his business and being very, very good at it. The factory has benches with Acerbis fuel tanks draped in pieces of webbing and rugged fabric. With a grin he indicates these are part of his new line in luggage and expedition panniers. Excitedly he shows me the roll-top panniers. Simple, secure and infinitely variable. A full set of these beauties will allow you enough room to store provisions for a two-week ride in the wilderness or, when pushed, an overnight collection of ‘necessities’ for the missus. The whole shebang including the frames weighs in at 4.1Kg.
Andystrapz started in a garage in Canberra (sounds Dickensian huh?), when a young man who was a trauma responder reckoned there had to be a better way to strap stuff to other stuff. The Eureka moment came when he put together stretch webbing and Velcro. Like all simple yet fantastic ideas it does leave you with a vague sense of jealousy. Well I didn’t think of it and neither did you.
Over the years the business has grown but still remains true to its basic philosophy – which seems to be invent or provide great motorcycling stuff that works and lasts. Andy sees a gap in the market and then fills it through a never ending cycle of design, test, redesign, test again, break, improve, test some more. If Andy wishes to effect change to a product he walks 20 paces to the production area and points at the bit that doesn’t meet his standards. If it is late at night he has been known to jump on the sewing machines himself. The First Aid cabinet is stained with use.
As well as the range of beaut stuff designed in-house by the owner the online shop also carries a range of other quality kit from around the globe. You can be sure that if it makes it as far as this it has endured the rigours of ‘Andy testing’ and not been thrown to the side of the road in a fit of pique between two towns you have probably never heard of just north of Kungabunga. Forget your Australian Standards – If Andy says it is good then you can bet he has tried his hardest to prove it isn’t and failed.
All the materials used in manufacturing are Aussie made. Andy points out that anyone can make that claim if as little as 41% of it comes from the land girt by sea. The clips used do come from NZ and it is unclear to me as to whether the NZ clips are the best you can get (as I suspect) or whether Andy just giggles on the phone when some Cuz in NZ takes his order for “snup clups”.
All bike stuff should be made this way. The vast majority isn’t. I make a mental note to stop being a wanker and buy the right thing the first time. On leaving the factory I am shown Andy’s pride and joy – his 1974 Ducati Sport that he bought when he is 21.
This man who lives by a mantra or quality and reliability has a Ducati. He swears it never breaks down and looks me in the eye when he tells me. I believe him. You should too.
Check out Andy’s range of quality motorcycling gear here.
JUST A QUICK NOT FROM BORRIE
I have known Andy for decades. I love him like a brother and hold him in the very highest of regard. If he didn’t make some of the best motorcycling gear on earth, I would still love him, because he’s that kind of bloke. But he does make great gear. I know because I use it. All the time. I have his brilliant Strapz and I have one of his bags. The bag has traveled well over 250,000km with me. It is entirely intact. Even after bouncing down the road attached to a motorcycle I had decided was not behaving as it should. The zips all work. The Velcro still sticks. The strapping is entirely whole – apart from a small section which melted a bit when I set fire to something it was tied to. Look through the pictures in my yarns and you’ll invariably see Andy’s gear on the various bikes I ride.
Interestingly, when I first beheld them, I laughed scornfully. How could these strange flat green things ever replace the mighty occy strap, the deployment of which I had mastered over many years and prided myself on? Bullshit, I said. And went about my business with my occy straps. Then I was given a set of Andy Strapz as a gift by my wife. I have not looked back. It’s alright. I felt the same way about anti-lock brakes when they first came out, too. I have changed.
I actually buy the Strapz I use. Sure, Andy would give them to me (he did give me the bag many years ago), because I am “media” and people who have stuff give it to the media because that’s how they imagine the media works. As a consequence, the media feels very entitled to get stuff and the stuff-providers feel they have to keep handing out their stuff to the media.And in exchange, the stuff-providers get (if they’re lucky) a few dreary sentences extolling the perceived virtues of the freeby.
But I’m not like that. I don’t think I am entitled to anything. Sure, I get given stuff and I write about it and sit in judgement upon it. If it’s shit, then I will tell you it’s shit, or simply hand it back to the company that gave it to me and tell the people there it is shit (and yes, that does happen). But now and again, I put my hand in my pocket and my money where my mouth is. Each year I buy a can of Plexus from Andy. Usually at the MotoGP where we catch up for a bit. Plexus is the best visor and sunnies (and anything made from perspex) cleaner I have ever used. If I have lost any of his Strapz, or had them stolen by mates, then I buy some of them, too. I tell everyone I know to buy his stuff.
And now I’m telling you. It’s great gear from a bloke who stands behind and believes in everything he sells. I can offer no higher recommendation.