Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pimp your Ortlieb: Replacing plastic hardware with stainless steel

Have you ever been bothered by the plastic hex nuts that Ortlieb uses inside their bags? Quite possibly your answer will be “no” and you haven't ever thought about them. However, some people are bothered by them, as they stick out into the inside of the bag and can get snagged on things—and also look a little cheap.

When, after many years of heavy use, I lost one of the nubs, I remembered that I had once seen an alternative on a German bike touring forum. Unfortunately, several different local hardware stores didn't have the required parts. But hey, McMaster-Carr to the rescue!

Here's the before:

And the after:

Much nicer, isn't it?

These are the required parts, from left to right:

For a full conversion of a Back Roller you will need thirteen of each. I got everything in stainless steel, which is probably a bit overkill and quite expensive. If you're paranoid about waterproofness, it might make sense to add a little Seam Grip before tightening.

Credits for coming up with this solution go to GeorgR.


  1. Those do look nice, but after 12 years of use ... my various Ortlieb bags are still working just fine. So like the rest of the bag, it would seem Ortlieb did their homework on the design.

    1. David, no argument from me there. Ortlieb bags in their stock configuration are just fine. This is mostly an aesthetic upgrade, except that the new hardware is less likely to snag on things when you pull stuff out of a pannier (especially when it's very stuffed).

  2. I'll look into this....my two Ortliebs have fallen apart after 6 years of daily use. Should have lasted longer as my wife's have lasted with no problems after 10 years of daily use. Maybe they moved manufacturing somewhere in between.