The influence of catalyst components in the copper–TEMPO (2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine N-oxide) catalysed aerobic oxidation of alcohols was investigated. The type and amount of base greatly influences reactivity. The bipyridyl ligand concentration had no major influence on catalysis, but excessive amounts led to a decrease in activity for longer reaction times. The kinetic dependency for TEMPO was found to be 1.15, and for copper 2.25, which is an indication of a binuclear catalytic system. Optimised conditions with various allylic and aliphatic alcohols give good to excellent rapid oxidations.