A little over a year ago we reviewed a preproduction FlowCell Foodcell bento box and said it was 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.” Since then two things have happened. First we raced with the preproduction unit at 2017 IMFL. And then FlowCell got the funding to produce a finished version (which resulted in us receiving one of those production units this past July). So did the final version stack up to our battle tested IM prototype. Read on to find out.
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.
If features a unique quick clean attachment allowing the FoodCell to be detached from the frame to be quickly cleaned after use via a simple 1 button release system.
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).
The FoodCell offers two mounting options. First is a 2 bolt attachment so it can be attached to frames with predrilled holes in top tube (it comes with two matte M5 bolts which is a nice touch). If no holes, no problem as the FoodCell comes complete with a velcro attachment system, allowing almost any bike with a toptube to use the FoodCell.
The FoodCell is available for £44.99 (or about $59 USD) at https://flowcell.co.uk/products/foodcell.
Lets start with the differences we noticed. First of the production FoodCell is a touch thinner than the original. Like the preproduction unit, the production FoodCell is wider than the toptube on our Trek Speed Concept test bike but this one is a smidge smaller. What this means for us is a bit of ungainliness to the design. But you still have the ability to carry those four large 60ml gels which really is the whole point.
The slider on the production unit is much smoother to operate than the prototype. The prototypes was never stuck, but did sometimes require more force than we really wanted to exert. So far our production units feels much more like a hot knife through butter.
We really appreciated the packaging of the final FoodCell. While we wouldn’t call it quite up to the Apple standards. It really is a packaging job worth noticing. The FoodCell, velcro straps, and even the bolts come in their own slots.
Like the prototype the production unit did have the small challenge with the top curve of our SC. The quick clean attachment 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. 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.
Like the prototype, the quick clean attachment on the final unit allowed us to easily hose off the FoodCell after some particularly grueling (read nasty) workouts. 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.
During IMFL we spent quite a bit of time opening and closing the prototype unit and it never failed us. But during some of the worst miles it did sometimes feel like a struggle. The final production unit is so much smoother. You hardly notice needing to pull on it to get the 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 of the hallmarks of AeroGeeks is we write about what we want to ride with. The FoodCell saw us through an Ironman – so you know we are fans. And this being published on the eve of IMFL Haines City (which if you have not heard why it is Haines City and not Panama City please check out our thoughts here) is no mistake. We think the production unit is even better than prototype that served us for 112 grueling miles and if the original came with cherries that means the final unit has the whipped cream and sprinkles to make this a near perfect sundae.