We first looked at the FoodCell just over a month ago, and at the end of our First Look we said that we would be getting one soon. Well, apparently “soon” was just a few days later. And we have been riding with it ever since. Also, since we last posted, FlowCell found a new investor, which has drastically changed their funding needs from over $100K to closer to $25K – meaning the chances of production just went way up! Keep reading to learn more about the FoodCell, our thoughts, and their new investor.
The FoodCell is a CFD-designed bento box featuring a tapered KammTail shape, dimpling, and unique ‘slider’ opening. The FoodCell is designed to hold four large 60ml gels with room to spare. The top slider allows for super-easy access to your food with just one finger. No longer will you have to worry about getting it zipped and unzipped.
The FoodCell is designed to fit any road, TT, or tri bike by offering a Bolt or Velcro attachment option. The FoodCell itself unclips from its bottom base unit to allow for easy cleaning of both bike and container.
The FoodCell has undergone extensive development work. FlowCell (the creators) guarantee it’s good for 10,000 openings (that’s the equivalent of taking out eight gels a day every day for two years).
Before we go any further, we have to make it clear that the FoodCell we have been testing is a preproduction unit. Final versions may have small differences either intentionally (based on feedback) or unintentionally (the realities of manufacturing). Once the FoodCell goes to final production we will make sure to get a unit to see if there were any major changes.
Lets start with the install of the FoodCell. We tested it on our second generation Trek Speed Concept (size large). The FoodCell is actually two pieces – the base you install on the bike, and the bento box itself which slides onto the base. We installed the base via the top tube bolts (the FoodCell can also be attached via Velcro straps for those bikes that do not include top tube bolts). When we went to put the bento box onto the base, it wouldn’t slide on. After a good five minutes of trouble shooting where we went as far as uninstalling the base and sliding it (easily) onto the box, we found the root cause. The front of the top tube of a Speed Concept is slightly upsloped, which resulted in the base having a curve to it rather than the level foundation it required. The base allows about 10mm of fore and aft travel, so when we shifted the base all the way back, the curve disappeared and the bento box slid right on.
Once we had installation sorted, we got to riding with it. The FoodCell holds a lot! We typically had 3-4 gels in it, plus a sleeve of blocks (inside a ziplock bag), and there was room to spare. We measured it as being 47mm wide and 200mm long, and that gives you plenty of room to work with. One thing on the width is that its wider than the top tube of our Speed Concept – something that had no impact on us riding the bike, but that did irk us a little to look at. With a soft bento box, the bottom of the box tends to hug the toptube, but with the hard base, the extra width is noticeable. Unfortunately we do not know If this would have any impact on aerodynamic performance as well.
On the bike, opening and closing the FoodCell was easy, but it did require a bit of pressure. We found this to be a good thing as it ensured it did not accidentally open when we didn’t want it to. Despite the bit of pressure needed to open, we never found that we had to specifically concentrate on getting gels in and out. We also found the inside to be sweat and rain resistant – the outside was coated in grime, but the inside was fairly clean (and we think any moisture that did get into the FoodCell got in there when we were opening and closing it.)
One thing we really like about the FoodCell is the fact the bento box can be removed from the bike and washed. Some of our nutrition leaves our bike in a pretty horrid state, and the bento box is perfectly positioned to get nasty. To clean, we simply pulled it off, put it in some soapy water, and let it dry out – easy as can be.
Funding and Kickstarter Update
Just 10 days after we first shared the FlowCell, they let us know they had snagged an angel investor.
FlowCell Founder and CEO, Dr Mark Tallon told us, “We are very excited to have found a great investor with a real interest in the endurance market and is 100% behind our vision of functional, beautifully designed and perfectly packaged sports products.”
The new investment has allowed for the re-launch of the FoodCell® via its Kickstarter page with a relatively small investment target of £20k. Once this new target is reached FlowCell will produce its 1st batch of FoodCells.
We liked the FoodCell. A product that allows us to carry all of our training nutrition in an easy-to-grab manner is a big win in our book. And the fact that it cleans up easy is a nice cherry on top. Our fingers are crossed that they can get fully funded. To get on board and help bring the FoodCell into full production you can sign-up to purchase your very own at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/flowcell/foodcell-aerodynamic-nutrition-carrier-0. Stay tuned for any updates regarding funding and final production information. And as always, thanks for reading!