The Free Parable Gorilla Cage is a really versatile concept, predominantly aimed at tourists looking to haul bulky but relatively lightweight items such as sleeping bags, or big mineral water/soft drinks bottles. With a maximum capacity of 40x20cm and 1.5kg, it's a boon for everyday riding too.
The kit consists of a huge (25x12cm) quick release composite platform (available in black or yellow), with three sturdy Velcro closures, Monkii cage adaptor (the Gorilla's smaller sibling) and three cleats.
The Monkii system enables the cage to be positioned higher or lower on the bosses to suit rider preference. This also goes some way to addressing compatibility headaches with smaller frames.
If your bike doesn't have braze ons, no problem – the kit comes complete with a Gorilla clip, which as well as fixing to rigid/suspension fork legs also affixes to long stems – so it's a viable option for small folding bikes and other, less obvious hosts. It seems pretty compassionate towards paintwork, though a strip of electrical tape or scrap inner tube where the two make contact is a sensible precaution.
Otherwise, simply slip it on your frame's bottle bosses via two of the supplied cleats, and consign the third to your spares drawer or designated pocket on tour. Adding a drop of thread lock to Allen screws is another sensible precaution before snugging them down to 3Nm. It may prove necessary to relocate your midi/mini pump bracket; the cleats caused mine to splay outwards, jettisoning the pump.
It nudges the scales at a modest 68g (considerably lighter than aluminium alloy PET variants designed for hauling 1.5 litre bottles) and despite some provocatively heavy cargos, has only needed the hardware nipping up tight on two occasions. That said, it's worth checking them as part of your bike's weekly once-over.
All told, the design is intended to accommodate objects up to 16cm in diameter and 1.5kg. On our maiden voyage, I took a 15-mile blast down to the beach and picked up a 1.25 litre soft drinks bottle before taking the scenic route home.
Charging along dirt roads at 25-30mph, the base felt a bit whippy, leading me to scrub off the speed and check the straps. Having overcome this trepidation, I decided it was time to try a different cargo and location.
Repositioned to the tubby tourer's fork leg via the Gorilla clip and cable ties, I loaded it with papaya; a more obvious candidate for panniers perhaps but my load returned unscathed from the same route, albeit at a more considered pace.
Even in these contexts, it hasn't wandered towards the wheel. I've also commuted for a week carrying a change of clothes (trousers, shirt, socks, pants) rolled up in a dry sack. However, meticulous packing and anti-crease fabrics are a must to avoid looking dishevelled in professional situations. Conversely, placed in proper tubes, it's been a convenient way of porting prints and plans to clients.
Feeling brave and playing devil's advocate, I refitted it to my tourer's down tube bosses and headed out for a 1 litre disposable Argon/CO2 welding gas bottle from the wholesalers. These hover around the 1.2kg mark. Having taken the precaution of mummifying said cylinder in bubble wrap, I eased it into the cage and drew the Velcro as tight as I could muster...
To its credit, we made it back without incident, although the bracket was clearly showing signs of strain, so I stuck to relatively well surfaced roads and a pedestrian 14mph, muttering 'just because you could, doesn't mean you should' and similar adages under my breath. Bottom line: yes, the system will manage this kind of payload, but I wouldn't want to be covering any distance, let alone touring with it.
Convenient cargo cage but best suited to bulky and relatively lightweight loads
road.cc test report
Make and model: Free Parable Design Gorilla Cage
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"For Adventure Cycling, Bike Packing and Touring
"Choice of mounting options for standard or high/low mounting"
Well conceived cargo cage for tents and other lightweight overspill.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
24.5 x 8 x 3 cm
70 g / 0.15 lb
1.5 Kg / 3.3 lb
Maximum fastening diameter
16 cm / 0.52 ft
In the box
．Cleats x 3
Despite some obvious signs of flex, the composites seem very resilient with no signs of fatigue to date.
68g is impressive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, it's a convenient and surprisingly versatile means of porting all kinds of relatively compact and lightweight overspill that you might want to keep segregated but within easy reach.
For some clutter-phobic commuters, it could also remove the need for a small pannier/similar luggage. That said, while the lightweight composites seem surprisingly sturdy and genuinely capable of a kilos plus, flex becomes quite pronounced beyond 800g. Therefore, I would stick to lightweight tents, sleeping bags and clothes. Camping gas/other cylinders run the risk of dinging the frame tubes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Lightweight, user friendly design, rugged composites.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
While it will genuinely manage the maximum payload, under these stresses it feels decidedly whippy.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, so long as they weren't looking to exceed 900g on a regular basis.
Use this box to explain your score
It's a good, versatile option for lugging bulky, lightweight equipment, but 1 kilo is pretty much the practical limit for touring/longer rides.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)