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 who perform in Ironman and Triathlon events, there is even more going on regarding what you need. Today’s topic focuses on Bento Boxes. No, not the little take-out carriers you get from your local Japanese restaurant. We will talk about bicycle bento boxes to help you pack everything you need for a long ride.
Bento Boxes for Bikes gives you easy access to your cycling needs while looking like an essential part of your bike. Attaching a Bento Box to the bike frame allows your gear to be stored aerodynamically and safely. Most will accommodate items such as tools, electronics, and other small items right at your fingertips. Most Bento Boxes attach to the top tube behind the stem using safety straps. The configuration of these Top Tube boxes makes them very stable and secure to the bike. In addition, most feature a rain-resistant main zippered compartment to keeps your stuff within easy reach.
Top Options Available
Now that we know about bicycle bento boxes, it is time to dig in and 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 ensure that you are getting exactly what you need — just like any other part of your bicycle.
1. Opamoo Top Tube Bag w/ Flip Top OpeningIf you want something secure and streamlined, you’ll likely be considering this bad boy. The Opamoo Top Tube Bag is constructed from tough 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 secured by a zipper, you’ll find a section large enough to stash a camera, tools, and snacks, as well as a mini mesh pocket.
2. XLAB X-Large Rocket Pocket Bag
XLAB Rocket Pocket is probably our favorite bag on the market. It has a zipper pull opening with insulated material to keep cold contents cool while cycling around. In addition, 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.
3. EoGEAR Century Bag Deluxe
If you want something fashionable and functional, this American-made top tube bag is perfect for you. We love the eoGEAR Century Bag because you have a large primary component and zippers for exterior pockets. The bag is constructed of rugged Nylon fabric, 400D rating, and weatherproof from the casual elements. The bag also has reflective strips and comes in various colors so that you can match it to your bicycle.
4. Zipp Speed Box Frame Bag
Our final bento box is going to be the simplest one, as well. Zipp Speed has created a container that is as aerodynamic as they come. The Aero FuelBox fits snugly behind your stem and produces 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 detached for cleaning. If you need a no-frills bag to get the job done while on the path, look no further.
What’s the point?
Most bicycle riders like to pack light to keep weight off their bike, making it easy to cycle. Still, you will need to grab a few granola bars and a drink at some point. So 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 need to carry with you while you ride. They are the perfect alternative to the larger bike panniers.
Installing a 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. But, 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 connect your new carrying case, each with its pros and cons.
- Behind the Stem – If your bicycle allows some room behind your stem, 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 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 to attach your bento box. The upper tube is the most space constrictive spot to put your box, but it is also the easiest to access.
You will want to play around with different positions before settling on your final spot at the end of the day. 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. Mark Cote explains that your bento box isn’t adding any new drag to your bicycle from Specialized Products. He says it would be similar to putting one of your beverage bottles behind your back; the box is already tucked into your wake.