When it comes down to owning and maintaining a bicycle it can feel like there is always another purchase just lingering ahead of you. For distance bicycling enthusiasts, those that perform in Ironman and Triathlon events, there’s, even more, going on in regards to what you need. Today’s topic is going to be focused on Bento Boxes. No, not the little take out carriers you get from your local Japanese restaurant. We are going to talk about bicycle bento boxes to help you pack everything you need for a long ride.
What’s the point?
Most bicycle riders like to pack light so that they can keep weight off of their bike, thus making it easy to cycle. Still, you are going to need to grab a few granola bars and a drink at some point. Instead of making pit stops to purchase those energizing snacks on the go you can instead bring them with you with a properly secured and quality controlled bento box. A bento box is a smaller container that affixes to several different places on your bicycle. These boxes can range in size, style, and materials depending on what you are going to need to be carrying with you while you ride. They are the perfect alternative to the larger bike panniers.
Where to install your bento box.
Now, if you are at least a mild cycling enthusiast the odds are good that you’ve already started to buy yourself some extra gadgets. Maybe you’ve gotten your mitts on a small GPS/Pedometer combo or a frame mounted water bottle carrier. When you start to stack up all of these individual gadgets it can begin to look like your bike is a magnet for the local sports aisle. So where do you end up attaching your shining, brand new bento box? As it turns out there are a few spots you can attach your new carrying case, each with their own pros and cons.
- Behind the Stem – If your bicycle allows some room behind your stem then this can be a great first position to install your storage device. However, some people are forced to ride their bento box low on the stem and thus could interfere with their knees while pedaling.
- Top Tube – The most common place to stash your bento box will be on the top tube of your bicycle. Here you can have the box readily accessible while still being out-of-the-way while you are pedaling.
- Between Aero Bars – If you are riding a bicycle geared specifically toward triathlon riding then you’ll likely have a spot between your aero bars in order to attach your bento box. This is the most space constrictive spot to put your box but it is also the easiest to access.
At the end of the day, you will want to play around with the different positions before settling on your final spot. The positive aspect is that no matter where you put the bento box you won’t see any decrease in your aerodynamics so you should be hitting the pavement just as fast as you are used to. Mark Cote, from Specialized Products, explains that your bento box isn’t adding any new drag to your bicycle. He says that it would be similar to putting one of your beverage bottles behind your back, the box is tucked into your wake already.
Top Options Available
Now that we know a little bit about bicycle bento boxes it is time to dig in and actually see which ones will work for you. We’ve selected a list of the highest quality bento boxes on the market. While they’ll seem similar at a surface glance you’ll want to dig in a little deeper to make sure that you are getting exactly what you need — just like any other part of your bicycle.
BV Bicycle Wedge Top Tube Bag w/ Flip Top Opening
If you want something that is secure and streamlined then you’ll likely be considering this bad boy. The BV Bicycle Wedge Top Tube Bag is made out of hard polyester and it has a flip top opening for easy access. The sides of the bento box are rigid and made with shock protection in mind. Inside of the bag, which is held shut with velcro, you’ll find a section large enough to stash a camera, tools, and snacks as well as a mini mesh pocket.
XLAB X-Large Rocket Pocket Bag
This is probably our favorite bag on the market as it has a zipper pull opening with insulated material to keep cold contents cool while you are cycling around. The aerodynamic shape and convenient velcro attachment placings make it easy to stash this on your top tube with little trouble. The only issue with this bento box is that it doesn’t have compartments so you aren’t going to separate your phone from your water bottle, for example.
EoGEAR Century Bag Deluxe
If you want something fashionable and functional than this American made top tube bag is perfect for you. What we love about the eoGEAR Century Bag is that you have a large primary component as well as zippers for exterior pockets. The bag is made out of rugged Nylon fabric, 400D rating, and it is weatherproof from the casual elements. The bag also has reflective strips and comes in a variety of different colors so that you can match it to your bicycle.
FuelBelt Aero FuelBox
Our final bento box is going to be the simplest one, as well. FuelBelt has created a container that is as aerodynamic as they come. The Aero FuelBox fits snugly behind your stem and creates zero to minimal drag. You’ve got four attachment placements to ensure that your hold is secure and water-resistant exterior. A single zipper makes it easy to get into your pack where you will find an interior liner that can be removed for cleaning. If you need a no-frills bag to get the job done while you are on the path, look no further.