FREE PARABLE T2 TOURING TRAILER 5.2 kilos £324.95
The Free Parable Design T2 Touring Trailer is a very capable single wheel model that, despite its modest 5.2 kilo weight, is capable of hauling an impressive 30 kilos/70 litres of kit.
Single wheelers are comparatively rare, so parallels between it and Bob Yak/homages are perhaps inevitable.
Both use a swing-arm style articulated system using nylon bushings and couple to the bike via a dedicated skewer/axle nuts, (depending on whether your chosen tug runs a derailleur, Shimano Alfine or Rohloff T2 hub transmission).
However, there are some pronounced differences between them.
First and foremost, the Yak is fashioned from 4130 cro-moly steel; whereas the T2 is 6061 aluminium. As price would suggest, construction is to a very high standard. TIG welding is extremely neat and uniform throughout and the rear mono blade, to which the 12 inch wheel attaches, is beautifully engineered.
Where most trailers use a broad platform, Free Parable employs a series of removable resin cantilevered supports that attach via a 4mm Allen key, forming a spine-type profile for the supplied, waterproof dry sack attaches to via sturdy nylon compression straps. Another definite plus, is that when dismantled, the T2 folds into its own sack; which can then be stored on a wall hook, out of harms way at home, or indeed, transported by car or train or plane (though tourers heading well-away from creature comforts might prefer steel manufacture should disaster strike and back-of-beyond repairs required). I wouldn’t suggest it's a universal fit but experimentation suggests it plays nicely with other dry sacks too.
A generous resin mudguard shields the rider and cargo from spatter thrown up by the small, 12 inch rear wheel and also bolts very securely to the main unit, via 4mm Allen key, which makes dis/assembly that bit faster. Talking of wheels, these are frequently an afterthought, using bargain basement cup 'n’ cone hubs and usually supplied with an awful, pseudo knobbly pattern tyre.
The T2’s isn’t particularly refined but does, at least, turn on fit 'n’ forget cartridge bearings, which seem pretty smooth and show no signs of grumbling despite being fully submerged along flooded roads. Our OEM tyre seemed to roll pretty convincingly on and indeed, off road but Schwalbe and several others offer a decent slick/trail options. Finally, we come to the plug-in “safety” flag and generous polypropylene mudguard.
Overall performance mirrored my expectations. Distributing weight low down keeps the bike’s handling sharp and predictable. It takes a few minutes to mentally adjust to the longer turning circle and need to drop a gear or two lower before pulling away at junctions or before a climb.
Otherwise, it tracks impeccably. The slender profiles make negotiating tighter gaps in traffic, or technical sections of singletrack that bit easier to negotiate and there’s been no hint of potential grounding in the latter context.
Use of composites and solid mounting points means the system is essentially silent too - no annoying chatter across rippled tarmac, or unmade roads. With a steady cadence, even at higher speeds, the small wheel tends to glide, rather than bounce over smaller ruts and obstacles, requiring less effort to keep everything on track and in turn, reducing rider fatigue over longer distances.
One or two minor stone chips aside, despite the inevitable rough and tumble of utility runs and extended day rides, the finish on our sample remains in rude health and most common replacement parts are readily available.
Not that several weeks’ testing has revealed any obvious weaknesses but if back of beyond expedition riding is your thing, I’d go for a steel unit, in the event of failure can be lashed back together using basic welding equipment common roadside garages. The T2 also favours efficient packers - bung in and go merchants should go for its T1 sibling; or indeed the Yak patterns that have a bigger base.