I’m always looking for ways to get weight off of my back and onto my bike. This can be especially challenging in the dry southwestern climates I do most of my riding in, as water begins to take up huge amounts of real estate on my bike. Recently, I was able to test out the Gorilla Cage system from Free Parable Design. It’s similar to other dry bag systems like the Salsa Anything Cage with Cage Bag, but has some unique features that set it apart.
The Gorilla Cage system comes in three parts: the mount, cage, and bag. The three work seamlessly with one another to create a sturdy fork-mounted storage system. For riders with boss-less rigid or suspension forks, such as myself, the zip tie mounting system is a real life saver. The Gorilla cages can be used with standard three-boss mounts if you have them, but the “Gorilla Clip” was a real life-saver for me. This three-cleat clip can mount just about anywhere on your bike. It uses rubberized zip ties to hold the clip securely in place. The back of the clip itself is also rubberized to keep it from sliding. Finally, I have an easy way to secure gear without going back to the old “hose clamp and tube strip” method.
Once you’ve mounted the clip, the “Gorilla Cage” simple slides onto the cleats and locks into place. The “Gorilla Bags,” 5.5 liter 500D tarpaulin dry bags, are specifically designed to mate with the velcro straps of the cage. Once the velcro straps of the cage are threaded through the webbing of the bag, the two essentially become one unit.
This is what I really loved about this system. I used them on a recent trip to the rugged slickrock mesa trails outside of Hurricane, UT. The trail systems here are extremely harsh and technical and can be difficult to ride on a fully loaded bike. We would ride out onto the mesas and find a nice spot to camp, but then I could just unclip the whole bag from my bike, go ride some technical slickrock, and head back to camp where my gear waited for me. The whole system is just so easy to load and unload, and all you have left on your bike is the small Gorilla Clip.
I found the bags to be perfect for stuffing bulky, formless items, like jackets, pillows, and other clothes. Anything I needed to stay dry went straight into these two bags. Even on really rough terrain the bags always stayed put and performed as needed.
I only saw a few drawbacks to the Gorilla Cage system while I was using it. There is no way to tighten the zip ties once they’ve been installed. I didn’t personally have any issues with slipping, even on the rough terrain we were riding, but doing long miles with a tapered fork would make me a little nervous. I always ride with extra zip ties, so on-trail adjustments wouldn’t be difficult if necessary. The system as a whole didn’t seem overly heavy, but the bags are made of some really thick, tough material. As with everything in biking, this is a plus to some and a detriment to others. It didn’t bother me, but there are other dry bags that use much thinner material. You could even use your own dry bags with the clip and cage system, but you may miss out on the cage-specific webbing build into the Gorilla Bag.
In the end, I would definitely recommend these to riders looking to move weight off their backs, or move away from clumsier mounting system. The ease of loading and unloading these cages was a huge benefit to me, and one that I think many other people would appreciate. Each piece of the system seems to be well made, and especially well thought out. Check out their website and full line of products at freeparable.com.